by Connie Oswald Stofko
by Connie Oswald Stofko
The part of my landscape that everyone sees– the front yard– was so plain it bordered on unattractive. (See the before images below.) I knew what I wanted to achieve, but I didn’t know what it should look like or how to make it happen.
So I called in the experts at Busy Beaver Lawn & Garden and gave them a list of things I wanted to accomplish.
That list included:
- Create a privacy screen between the side of our porch and the neighbor’s window.
- Don’t have tall plants in front of the porch. My husband and I like to wave to people strolling by.
- Make the garden interesting in three or four seasons.
- Have some color.
After talking about what my husband and I wanted, Elizabeth Bonadonna, owner of Busy Beaver, and her staff created three different designs. It was easy for us to get a feel for the designs because Busy Beaver produced images of how the gardens would actually look at our house.
I wasn’t surprised by the finished garden because it looked like the image Busy Beaver had created.
If you prefer to do the planting yourself, you can have Busy Beaver create a design for you and you can take it from there.
Shrub to add privacy
When my husband and I sit on the porch in the evening, the sun is often in my eyes, so I turn my chair and find I’m looking into the window of the house next door.
To solve that problem, Busy Beaver planted a ‘Baileyi’ red twig dogwood, which is native to much of North America. It will get about five feet high and can be pruned back if it gets too tall.
Four seasons of interest & color
The red twig dogwood ‘Baileyi’ is just one of the plants that change and have interest in three or four seasons. It starts out with green leaves that turn red to orange and eventually fade to purple in autumn. It does get flowers and berries, but the berries are considered more attractive than the flowers. When the leaves drop, the red branches add color for winter.
Here are some of the other plants that change through the seasons:
- ‘Dark Horse’ weigela has dark bronze foliage during the summer. Elizabeth Bonadonna, owner of Busy Beaver, chose it because it contrasts well with the white porch. This weigela also gets purplish pink tubular flowers.
- In spring, the new leaves on ‘Magic Carpet’ spirea are a bright red. In summer, they turn bright gold, contrasting with clusters of small pink flowers. In autumn, the leaves turn a rich russet red.
- ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum looks great from spring to summer, then gets plate-like flower clusters that start pink, then age to rosy russet-red in the fall. The foliage will die back to the ground in winter, but will re-emerge in early spring.
- ‘Vanilla Strawberry’ hydrangea starts out with white flowers in midsummer, transitions to pink and finally to a deep strawberry pink in fall.
- A dogwood cultivar called ‘Ivory Halo’ is a dwarf variety with variegated leaves. Like the ‘Baileyi’, its red branches provide winter interest.
I think many gardeners are like me. When we think of color, we tend to think of flowers.
Notice how much of the color in this garden is supplied by foliage and even the branches of the shrub. The black mulch contrasts with the plants and lawn. The rocks also add interest throughout every season.