Landscape Job--Curb Appeal

     We just finished redoing the front planting beds for a delightful couple in Idaho Falls. The homeowners enjoy gardening and growing flowers, but they were tired of fighting the weeds and tending the open beds. They did the hard work of removing the old plants, and last week we installed the design I created for them last fall. Check out the before and after pictures.

Before: dwarf Alberta spruce bookended the front of the house. They were probably attractive when they were first planted, but they had become overgrown.
After:  The new plantings were made up of bushes and perennial flowers, which will come back year after year and take little tending.
Before: A third dwarf Alberta spruce blocked the view of the beautiful front door.
After:  Removing the spruce opened up the front of the house. A semi-circle was left open in the bed. The homeowners plan to fill this area with spring blooming bulbs and annuals, which will bring a lot of color to the entry area of the home.
Before: An island bed had become overgrown with grass and the mountain ash growing in it was sick and needed to be replaced.

After: The homeowners sprayed the bed to kill the grass that had overtaken it. Heavy duty landscape
 fabric and crushed rock mulch will help to keep the weeds down.

     Most of the plants will take a few years to reach their mature size and fill in the beds--too bad we don't have a time machine to take us there so we can see what the beds will look like then. In the meantime, here is a closer look at some of the plants we used.

magic carpet spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Walbuma')

     These little bushes are the exception to the plants needing a few years to reach their mature size. this is about as big as these little darlings get. The golden foliage and reddish new growth look amazing with the gold tones on the house. In the summer the foliage will get a bit greener and the bushes will be covered in pink flowers. Then in the fall the foliage will take on a russet color.

Julia Child rose (Rosa 'Julia Child)

picture from,
which sells this rose
         This rose was a 2006 AARS winner. The bushes we planted were just budding, so I had to borrow a picture to show you the lovely yellow color of the roses. Three of these are clustered just outside the front door where their beauty and fragrance can be appreciated. They will grow to be around 3' tall and wide making them a little larger than the plants around them but not large enough to block the view of the front door.

tor spirea (Spiraea betulifolia 'Tor')

           This has become one of my favorite bushes. It grows to be 3-4' tall and wide. It maintains a tight, compact shape without pruning, though it can be sheared after it flowers. You might want to read that last part twice, because you will rarely hear me say anything can be sheared. In fact one of my biggest pet peeves is when people shear bushes into round balls, ruining the natural form of the plants. But in this case the bush's natural form is round. The bush is covered with white flowers in late spring and its foliage turns orange in the fall.

royal raindrops crabapple (Malus 'JFS-KW5')

      We replaced the mountain ash in the front bed with a royal raindrops crabapple, shown here--well, not this exact one. But this shows what that tree will look like in a couple of years. It is a great variety of crabapple: it has purplish, lobed leaves; great fall color; and tiny fruit that persist on the tree, so it doesn't cause a mess from dropping fruit. And when it blooms in the spring, it practically glows.

fine line fern leaf buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula 'Ron Williams' P.P. #14,791)

      These little guys may not look like much yet, but give them a few years. Fine line fern leaf buckthorn (try saying that three times quickly) grow to be about 7' tall but only 2-3' wide. They will reach to just above the brick on the house, providing a much needed vertical element. They are a great choice where a small columnar plant is needed.
bearded iris (Iris germanica)

      Iris are an old favorite in the garden, and rightly so. They come in a rainbow of colors and have a stately presence when in bloom. When not blooming, their sword-like leaves provide a contrasting texture to other foliage. We chose a golden yellow variety to match the color scheme of the landscape. At the moment these plants are looking a bit spindly, but in a couple of years, when they've filled out, they will be lovely.

      These are not all of the plants we used in this landscape, but they are a good sampling. Perhaps in a couple of years I'll revisit this site. Then I can post "before" and "after" and "way after" pictures.


  1. I love everything about it! Great job! I drove by tonight and LOVED what a big difference this made! :)


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