Clippings by fampoula

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Looks like a relative of dandelion or thistle and one other

posted by: fampoula on 07.04.2013 at 10:04 pm in Name That Plant Forum

I am guessing the plant in the middle with the leathery leaves and yellow flower is probably a weed, but can anyone help identify this? If it's a weed I'm thinking I should pull it soon...

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clipped on: 07.04.2013 at 10:43 pm    last updated on: 07.04.2013 at 10:43 pm

Front yard landscape design advice for unconventional home

posted by: fampoula on 06.20.2013 at 09:24 am in Landscape Design Forum

Hello! I am a long time reader, but this is my first post.

I am in desperate need of landscape design advice for the front of our home. We recently had 2 large, overgrown yews removed that were on either side of the front door, and I feel like that has made a world of difference.

As you can see, we need both foundation plantings, and the front flower bed is a neglected mess. Right now, the only thing growing there is a bunch of standard white allium, which I think won't bloom until much later in the summer. We are in Illinois in Zone 5.

I have 3 main questions:

1) What general direction to go with the landscape design in the front? Several people have said our house has a french feel to it with the Mansard roof. I agree, but I think it is a very American interpretation of a french home, and not classic french. I would love to play on the french theme (I do love boxwoods, lavender and purple allium), but I don't think I want to go too formal, and I also am wary of going too french because I think it might look silly. Along with the french, I think there is a certain rustic, cottage-y, almost barn-like feel to the home because of the thick shakes. I was thinking something almost a mix between a french garden and an english garden might be cute?

I have also played with the idea of going more "cottage-y" with the landscape design with a mix of colorful wildflowers, but I am afraid that that would make our house look even more like a mushroom.

I should add that our house kind of sticks out like a sore thumb on our block. The majority of the houses around us are Victorian and Prairie style, so older and much, much taller than our home. Our house happened to be made on a subdivided lot and was built in 1969. It is the shortest house on the block. One thing I would like to do with the landscaping is draw the eye down toward the sidewalk to make our house look taller. I eventually plan to do some planting closer to the sidewalk, but that will not be at least until next season. In terms of the bed, we are on a slight slope, so I was thinking I could do some taller plantings in the back, then shorter plantings, then ground cover to accentuate the slope?

2) I have spent most of my time and budget on our backyard, so I only have about $100, maybe $150 to put into the front. I had planned on focusing on the front flower bed, and leaving the foundation planting for next spring (possibly fall if I can afford it). What do you think would give the most impact? Flower bed planting, or foundation planting? (The flower bed is approx. 2 feet deep and 12 feet wide. It is full sun. The area near the foundation gets bright, indirect light, but is shaded by the overhang. Right now, there are 2 serviceberry bushes and a bunch of pachysandra growing there.)

3) What can I do on the cheap for this season to make the front look presentable without breaking the bank? Assuming I am focusing on the front flower bed, I was thinking about buying 3 shrubs or other focal points, placing them, and then filling in the rest either simply with mulch and some annuals, or possibly relocating some other plants from the back. Alternately, I could buy 3 shrub roses and plant them in the back of the bed along the fence. I think this would give continuous color and be relatively easy to maintain. Although I am not sure if this is the ultimate route I want to go, if I don't love the look of the roses, I could always re-locate them to the back, which is also full sun.

I guess what I am looking to do this season is really just something simple, but if it could be the foundation for something in the future, that would be ideal.

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clipped on: 06.20.2013 at 09:24 am    last updated on: 06.20.2013 at 09:42 am