Ask the Landscape Designer
May 25, 2010 - Steve MacNaught
Question: I have been planting and re-planting my front yard to achieve better curb appeal and it never seems to come out like some of my neighbor's homes that look beautiful. Instead, my landscaped front yard looks more and more cluttered and hodge podge. What are some good ideas you might have to help me design a more beautiful front yard?
Answer: First of all, you are certainly not alone. Many landscapes are in very poor condition and actually make the home look worse. In landscape design, one of the most important principles is unity or harmony. This simply means tying all the plant material and other items such as pavers or fountains together with similar colors, shapes and sizes. Unity also means to play off the architecture of the house. For example, placing a nicely rounded bird bath in front of the rounded picture window with a circle of flowers around the bird bath.
Question: I would like to add color to my landscape but the front of my house has a lot of shaded areas. What kind of plants or bushes add color and do well in the shade?
Answer: You might be surprised at what kind of popular plants can actually grow well in some shaded areas. For example, I have seen in many full shaded areas where Ixora 'Nora Grant' perform very well producing an abundant array of pink flowers. Whereas just across the street the same plant in full sun was doing worse with a faded pink flower. Many plant books unfortunately will tell you that Ixora needs full sun. One of the best advise I can give is to drive around your neighborhood and see the kind of flowering plants thriving in the shade. Some other colorful flowering plants you might add are; Gardenia, Azalea, Peace Lily, Crape Jasmine, Impatiens. And some colorful plants with interesting foliage color are; Variegated Shell Ginger, Sword Fern, and Variegated Dwarf Schefflera.