Denise Vilim
May 24, 2011 in Design Dilemma
I am in the process of renovating my front yard flower bed and am in need of any suggestions all you helpful Houzz readers and contributors might have. I have several more plants that I would like to add to the space, I'm having trouble deciding how to arrange it all and what the best way is to incorporate the stainless garden globe. I also have 4 smaller globes iin different colors I think might look nice mixed in somewhere. I am also not sure if a tall or shorter size plant should go at the front of the small bed on the left (closest to the driveway).
Relative Info:
-Most of the plants in the bed are succulents, as are the ones I will be adding.
-I am going for an overall modernist/contemporary look.
-The dirt patches will be covered with more of the existing pea pebbles.

I really appreciate any and all ideas.

Thanks,
Denise
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Annie Thornton
Using the globes together might soften the space a little, as well as open it up through reflection. When I saw the first one, I instantly thought of water. Luckily they are small enough that you can play around with them and see what you like, but somehow creating a loose interpretation of a creek or stream through a loosely linear connection between the balls may be kind of cool — a sinuous line through your planted area that separates yet connects them.
May 24, 2011 at 6:13pm   
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thunder1
The pea pebble looks good, I think larger rocksThan the ones in the picture would balance it out a bit. Also carry that plant style into the lawn area with palm trees as the are shapped the same and are generally green all year. There are also flowering plants that have similar looks such as red yucca. One of the best things to remember is group like plants for a stronger presentation. The narrow bed would look good with an assortment of the same plants with the mini globes strune inbetween them. Agaves come in hundreds of varieties so do yuccas. I look forward to seeing the finished product!
May 24, 2011 at 9:38pm   
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Dirt Digger
Hi, Denise! I would like to see some horsetail reed in the areas to the left of the sidewalk...looks like bamboo, but smaller scale. I think that would give a really nice contemporary effect over there...nice and clean and uniformly vertical. In the main bed I would add some different texture and color...maybe 2 large scale ornamental grasses in front of each window in the middle of the bed...move the globe up to the front of the bed and to the left...I would also take all of the larger rocks and disperse rhem in with the horsetail reeds in the left bed.
May 25, 2011 at 8:12am   
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zimmer
Hello I agree with Susan on the use of ornamental grasses (you did not say what climate zone you are in) just discuss with the garden centre what types to use as certain grasses can be invasive (if using an invasive variety, double plant the grass in a container to control size) Try varigated yucca, japanese blood grass, daylilies, or for a softening affect try ajuga "bronze beauty"
May 25, 2011 at 10:59am   
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terrymichelehouse
Hi how about some really nice metal trelles work. There are some beautiful designs and you can use a few cans of tremclad paint to add colour to your garden all year round. Think about different hights but consistent style intersperse - Some on your walls and some in the garden areas to add hight and interest around your "water balls". Love this look because you can't kill it :)
May 25, 2011 at 11:24am   
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Denise Vilim
Thank you so much for all the great ideas! I am definitely inspired by several of these suggestions. I am also including additional photos and information that I originally failed to mention that are pertinent to the overall layout...
-Although I can purchase more plants and/or decor, this first photo is one of the additional items I currently have that can be added to either the left or right side bed, I'm just not sure where.
-The second photo I am adding to show where we plan to vertically hang our contemporary house numbers.
-The last photo is obviously the house numbers. We will install them with the spacers so they will protrude out from the brick a couple or so inches.

Again, I really appreciate all the responses.
May 25, 2011 at 12:38pm   
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Molto Bene Studios
LOVE those numbers. I am working on my front yard too, but am not as far along as you.
May 26, 2011 at 5:32am   
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Denise Vilim
- nluker - Thanks! Good luck with your front yard reno! Do you know yet if you will be using any large rocks/boulders in your landscape? If so, would you mind sharing where/how you acquired them? I haven't been successful at finding one I can transport and synthetic rocks are really expensive. Thanks!

- annie - My husband and I really like your "sinuous line" using the globes idea. I'm wondering if it would have the same effect using the non-reflective balls I have. Definitely something for us to think about and play around with. Thanks!

- thunder - Thanks! I like the pea pebbles too. hehe
I absolutely agree with you. I think 2-3 larger rocks is really what is needed, especially in the larger bed. I'm hoping I can come across a couple somewhere. I also agree about grouping like plants together and plan on doing that once I can figure out where among the other plants they should go and whether some of the rocks I have should be included in the groupings and how far they should be spaced apart.
Arrangement is definitely not my strongest asset and this seems to be my biggest stumbling block...
I know I don't have and can not currently afford enough foliage and decor to fill the entire bed and I don't know where to leave gaps. For example, say I had 4-5 groupings of plants - should I arrange the groupings closer together in relation to each other or spread them out equal distances apart throughout the bed? Should I add the rocks and globes I have in with the groupings or place them in the open gapped areas of the beds? Whew...so much to think about! Thanks!

- susan - I really like the horsetail reeds! I don't know whether or not they will make their way into my front yard, but they would make the perfect, low privacy fence around my back patio! Thanks for introducing me to them!

- julie - I live in the Dallas area, zone 8, and all of these plants do really well here since we have so many hot months. I have to take extra care of them in
May 26, 2011 at 9:32am   
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Molto Bene Studios
I am in Florida and there are local stone yards, though they are not the kind of boulders I am used to. I just googled until I found the yards. Another thing I did that was helpful was pay $50 for an hour of time from a local landscape designer. he gave me all sorts of resources/ideas. I just wish I had done more homework before I called him in, could have had more specific questions.
May 26, 2011 at 9:47am   
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Denise Vilim
CONTINUED...

the winter months since it gets colder here than it does in zones 9 and 10. So I'm sure any of those ornamental grasses would do fine as long as I take the same winter precautions with them. I'm in still-learning-about-succulents phase while being in love-to-plant-succulents-but-don't-know-how-to-arrange-them phase and it's funny....I did a search for variegated yuccas (love 'em!) and the yucca at the front left and the agave in the center where both pictured. I like Susan's the idea of including ornamental grasses. I'm just wondering if I were to plant them in front of the windows and in the center, if I should move the agave that's currently there now. Hmm...maybe I should sign up for a succulent arrangement course. haha

- terry - Your trellis suggestion gave us an idea for some type of living wall planter we could hang on the brick wall above the narrow flower bed. You're right...height is exactly what that space needs! Thanks!
May 26, 2011 at 9:52am   
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Denise Vilim
Wow, $50 for an hour!? That's not too bad! Thanks for the tip!
May 26, 2011 at 9:54am   
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terrymichelehouse
You are welcome. I was thinking about this and would suggest you lengthen your bed to the right to go around the corner of your walkway. This would soften up the look. You could put 3 veregated yuccas there (in a triangle) and they would really do the trick without adding too much more gravel (keep the $$$ down). I live in Canada but have a horrible addiction to gardening.

To get ideas on how succulents could be arranged - visit some garden/succulent conservatory web sites (search on pics only). They group them so beautifully (they are the professionals) and you would get a ton of ideas. ie: http://www.melbalevickphotos.com/desert_gardens/pages/des_gdns028.htm

There are so many lovely photos here. Focus on planting 3-5 plants in a grouping (not all at once) stealing ideas from the pictures. You will be the envy of your street. Have fun!
May 26, 2011 at 10:06am   
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Dirt Digger
Hey, Denise...where in the Dallas area do you live? I'm in Southlake and would be more than happy to give you a hand...I'm a gardening addict!
May 26, 2011 at 10:22am   
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Denise Vilim
Oh Susan, how lucky am I!! That is so nice of you to offer! I'm about 30 or so minutes from Grapevine, in the Grand Prairie city limit, but in the Mansfield School District - pretty much right where GP, Arlington and Mansfield come together. Right off 360 about 2 miles south of I20. My e-mail address is drvilim@sbcglobal.net. But, I would completely understand if it's too much of a hike for you, I just really appreciate the offer!

- Terry - Thanks for the link. I'll check it out and hopefully increase my succulent placment skills.
May 26, 2011 at 12:56pm   
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Sheila Schmitz
Aprilaries, thank you for sharing your project with us all. Please keep us posted!
May 26, 2011 at 4:51pm   
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koolbeanzzzz
Hi there~ I am in South FLA. I know my zone is different than yours, but I have a rock garden landscape and your dilemma reminded me of when I re-did my own landscape from the boring builder's scape that came with the home. I would like to offer suggestions and I hope they are not too overwhelming because reworking the bed can be a big undertaking of work. But, if I may suggest that I think the bed would look really nice if you first raise it (don't know if you could do that or would want to do that, but this would really my it look professional). I don't know your zone well enough to such plants but I used bromeliads in mine that come in a variety of colors. Even if you are going for that minimalist look, some variety of color would look nice. I will just post few pics that maybe can help since we both have rock gardens.

Good luck. Would love to see it when you finish.
May 26, 2011 at 5:43pm   
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Christina
I love sedum, and I think it would be a nice addition to your flowerbeds.
May 27, 2011 at 10:05am   
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Christina
May 27, 2011 at 10:06am   
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ftw500
So far so good. I like it! Also, aesthetically speaking, it can help to plant in groups of 3's. Taller plants in back, of course, going lower as you move toward the front of the bed. Also, succulents and drought tolerant plants come in so many varieties, play around with the textures. I think a red velvet sage would look nice in the middle on the right, perhaps near the end. An aloe vera would be nice somewhere, and graptopetalum (ghost plant) would go right along with the look you're creating. Can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck!
May 27, 2011 at 10:21am   
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hislala
Ha, I was gonna say I like it how it is (on the right, anyway) until I saw koolbeans pics.
May 27, 2011 at 10:25am   
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kimberlyfawn
If the garden is on the south side you may be able to use coral plant for the matching form to the agave but with coral breezy flowers. Also I would consider adding some lush plants too like an oleander in front of the palm or plumbago if you want a "blue" feel. I've xeriscaped with them before and they do fine w/ the heat from the pebbles.
May 27, 2011 at 1:17pm   
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Denise Vilim
- hislala - haha! Yep, koolbeans landscape is stunning!

- koolbeans - Thank you so much for the tips and for sharing your gorgeous garden! I love it, love it!! Would you mind terribly posting an overall shot or 2 of your beds for some additional inspiration? Thank you!!

- zlotnick - I love sedums too. I had more last year, but they didn't survive the last frost. I think we've decided to build a living wall on the brick above the narrow bed that extends past the step on to the front porch. I think several varieties of sedums will look fantastic planted there.

- ftw500 - Thank you! And thanks for the plant tips. I have learned about so many varieties of succulents from Houzz users this week!
May 27, 2011 at 1:45pm   
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koolbeanzzzz
Thank you Denise. I have more overall shots under my screen name Koolbeans in my Photos.

If I can find a little more time, I would love to come back and offer some more ideas. Right off, I am also thinking that you should extend the bed to go around the sidewalk to take away from that hard edge of the shape. Also, how about find a flat sculpture art piece for the wall on the left; a piece that could compliment your idea of the glazing balls. Oh, like I said, if I had more time to think on this, I would have loads of ideas for you.

The best of luck to you.
May 28, 2011 at 4:39am   
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tcufrog
In Arlington near the intersection of I-20 and East Loop 820 is a really big stoneyard called Whiz-Q Stone. I've gotten stone pavers and decorative boulders there for reasonable prices. Go in the morning before it gets too hot and be prepared to take some time because the selection is overwhelming. If you have access to an SUV, truck or minivan take that.
May 29, 2011 at 5:50am   
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mariannette
A personal preference would be to soften the perimeter of the bed with something like drought resistant, low-growing lantana. Perhaps a solar water feature to add interest and height in the bed. Ornamental iron work on the two windows
would also add interest to the front of the house.
May 29, 2011 at 5:23pm   
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rudysmash
Hi! There are several simple rules that will help you out before you proceed. First, try to frame your entryway first and foremost. Let your garden ideas flow outward from that. You need some plants for scale on either side of a heavy, stone entryway with a recessed, unassuming door. (You might think about adding a nice light fixture and changing out the door for something that makes more of a statement...someday. OR! Simply paint or tile the concrete pad in front of the door in a contrasting color - not crazy, just different).
I think you need something taller on either side of the entry. Alternatively, something on a trellis.
Second, landscape in groups of three. You have a nice collection of succulents but all variety is like a cluttered room. Choose three of the same plants for a grouping - same size, and intersperse your specialties. It's hard to go wrong with threes.
Third, taller in back, shorter up front.
Fourth, variety in foliage. Even succulents come in a variety of shapes and colors. If you want them all to be the same, then switch from gravel to sand (choose a different color), take most of the plants out and make a very formal, raked, Japanese rock garden. Otherwise, add some plants with different size and shape of foliage rather than all spiky. I bet you could get a low ground cover with rounded foliage to go around your spikies.
May 30, 2011 at 10:26am   
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Denise Vilim
First off, I'd like to thank tcufrog for the info on Whiz-Q Stone (I am so there!! At least I will be next week!), marrianette for the lantana suggestion and rudysmash for the awesomely detailed ideas!
I really appreciate the ton wonderful suggestions and inspiration from everyone who responded to my question here! I will defnitely post some after pics towards end of summer/early fall, but I would like to share some of the changes my husband and I have decided to make after discussing all of the above comments at length...
1) Our first step will be extending the large bed around the walkway, butting it up to the driveway.
2) We will add 2 or 3 large rocks/boulders in addition to the rocks we already have.
3) I removed all the bricks (same brick as house exterior) from my fireplace surround and plan on using them to build a small retaining wall through the big bed and backfill so that the back 1/3 of the bed is elevated. The wall will follow along similar curves as the bed's outer perimeter and we will butt both ends up against the existing house brick and mortar them so that the wall has a professional, supposed-to-be-there look to it. We are thinking of planting mostly ornamental grasses in this raised area, but it's still up for discussion.
4) We are going to purchase additional plants of the kinds we already have and arrange the beds using the "rule of 3".
5) We are going to make the brick wall above the narrow bed a "living wall" by building a trellis attached to a vertically mounted planter and planting a climbing succulent or tropical vine in it. We're thinking of going with a flame vine/orange trumpet vine alone or possibly with the emerald jade vine. Still researching this option.
6) Finally, we are planning on installing a new front door with glass insert/s and a thin glass sidelight on the left side of the new door. (Most likely next year)

Thanks again to all!
Denise
June 2, 2011 at 11:58am   
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rudysmash
That sounds awesome! Good luck. Can hardly wait to see the end result.
June 2, 2011 at 12:08pm   
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koolbeanzzzz
Hi Denise,

I was so happy to read your last post. I think a living wall is a fantastic idea. That will look beautiful. If you can add up lights to the wall and of course landscape lighting within the bed, that would be beautiful at night. I did all of my own landscaping lighting too. It's not hard to do and you seem like a DIY person (like me - not afraid of labor). I also think the glass door will look great. I was thinking exactly that when I looked at your pics originally, but I sometimes I shy away from offering too many suggestions because I know it can get expensive and a lot of added work. By the way, my front doors were solid and I added inserts later when I could afford them. I had my original doors cut out and the inserts placed in - much cheaper that way. One other thought that keeps going around in my head that I will just put it out there ... I am one of those Feng Shui people ... You might want to consider planting any sharp, pointed plants to the middle or back of the landscape bed away from the walkway. If they are too close to the walkway, it gives an uneasy feeling when people pass by them that goes against the flow. Also, it's very good to have a fountain in your garden. Keeps the good energy flowing! (I probably sound nuts about now). In any event, I quickly searched and came across this fountain that would look great with your ideas:
http://www.grandinroad.com/stacked-triangles-outdoor-fountain/outdoor-decor/garden-decor/fountains-birdbaths/26398

Lastly, I think your walkway and driveway would look great acid washed in gray/neutral tans or even washed with concrete stain to tone down the concrete. They have some really nice colors out. Check Home Depot. No opaque. I think a transparent color would look best. Just another thought.

Please let me know when you finish. Would love to see your finished work.

Good luck!
June 2, 2011 at 1:29pm   
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Denise Vilim
Thanks for the additional tips koolbeans! I'll keep you posted on our progress!
June 7, 2011 at 11:48am   
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thunder1
When you place the larger rocks you will start to feel a flow in the beds. By planting the taller ones behind the rocks and the others coming around the front gradually getting shorter you will have grouped them without trying. You could also picture a small meandering stream running through the beds. This will allow you to leave a natural looking gap in the foliage. It doesn't have to be defined. Just the idea.

Look around on the dead racks (what I call them) at the home improvement stores. These are the racks where the half dead plants are sold at a greater discount. Sometimes you can find trees. Many can be saved and planted for next year.

Check out Ross for yard decor. They are the cheapest place I have found around here for both outdoor wall art and ideas for the beds. Have fun!
June 7, 2011 at 12:39pm   
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tcufrog
We have trumpet vine growing around our patio walls. It's gorgeous but be prepared to have to aggressively prune it often to keep it off your roof because it will grow quickly.
June 7, 2011 at 8:00pm   
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thunder1
@ tcufrog: We planted wedding veil vine by our pool and it attracted EVERY variety of wasp. From the smallest to the largest. Quite the National Geographic experience but not good next to a pool. We moved it to a remote area in the far corner of the back yard.

There is also a trumpet vine with big orange flowers that attracts hornets and wasps. We also had a passion vine that attracted big black bees. I know we need them for pollination but... :)
June 7, 2011 at 8:06pm   
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Denise Vilim
- thunder1 - Thank you sooo much for those helpful suggestions! I think that's the type of answer I was looking for, I just didn't know the question. haha
- tcufrog - I had read online about homeowners who have and have not had trouble with keeping their trumpet vines contained. Some said they had no problems with overspreading and one guy even wrote the vines spread all throughout his lawn and no matter what he did he could not get rid of it. So, I appreciate yours and thunder1's additional feedback about that and the bees as well. Not a fan of those pesky critters, especially having so many kiddos running in and out of the house. I do so love the look of the trumpet vines, but I may have to rethink having it along the front entrance and go with a jade or some other type of succulent or low-water vine.
Anyone have any suggestions for a colorful (preferably orange or aqua/bright blue/torquiose, just not red or pink) flowering vine that is a succulent or goes well with them?
Thanks all!!
Denise
June 9, 2011 at 12:59pm   
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