Over the years I’ve landscape somewhere between 500 and 1,000 homes. I’ve done everything from simple, basic landscapes to extravagant landscapes for very expensive homes. Over the years I adopted a basic landscape design that I could apply to just about any house and actually repeat that scheme on different sides of the same house by switching out the plants.
In this photo you see a Canadian Hemlock planted on the corner of a porch. This is considered a specimen plant because it is singled out, planted by itself and accented with smaller plants. I like use Canadian Hemlocks in a landscape because they can be kept trimmed to just about any size you want them to be. I usually let them get as tall as I can reach without a ladder then maintain that size simply by removing the new growth once each season.
On a corner plant like this I like to use something dark green on the back side of the planting, maybe Taxus Densiformis or in this case boxwood, I think the variety we used here was Green Mountain. Sorry, we did this job a long time ago and I just found the photos on my computer.
On the front side I often use Gold Thread Cypress because they are bright yellow in color and contrast well against the boxwood and the hemlock. Gold thread are an evergreen and very easy to maintain to a reasonable size.
It’s a bit difficult to see in this photo but in front of the porch there are four PJM Dwarf Rhododendron, two on each end. Then planted in front of those, plant in an arc, are some Crimson Pygmy Barberry. This is a newer variety known as Bagatelle, has a variegated leaf. The idea of this arrangement is to allow the Rhododendrons to grow taller than the barberry and provide a backdrop for the barberry.
I’ve used this same scheme with all kinds of different plants, one of my favorites for the arc are China Boy and China Girl Holly. I’ll post another link at the bottom to show you how this design can be changed up.
At the corner of the walk is a Red, Weeping Japanese Maple and under the maple two or three Green Mound Juniper. Bordering the walk we have Variegated Lirope which is an awesome plant for bordering a sidewalk.
The Brick House on the 1/2 Acre Lot.
Back in the “Olden Days” we used to live in a Small, Brick Ranch House on a 1/2 acre lot. A lot of amazing things happened in that house. We raised the boys in that house and I Started My First Backyard Nursery at that location. And I planted a lot of shrubs around the house and in the landscape that I could use to get cuttings for the nursery.
Here are more landscape design photos, and a slew of really good information about landscaping your house. And pictures of the little brick house.
And yes, More Photos of that property and, more Information Here.
Want more landscaping ideas? These Photos are from Our Current Home.
Questions, comments, mean things to say? Post them below.
Thank you for the very informative post! I can’t imagine having landscaped as many properties as you have. I think it’s great to see the simplistic landscaping design you have come up with after all that experience.
Great idea, loved reading through it your post!
Desiree Menke says
I was looking at the plant selection you use often such as the table top Juniper, the Canadian hemlock and was shocked to see how wide and tall they grow according to the Growers tag. I understand from your post you keep them trimmed and tight but how often are you out there keeping them that small?
I also was curious on your Evergreen Azalea you talked about and your Zone. Every Evergreen Azalea I look at says hardy to zone 6. I’m in Omaha, Nebraska which is zone 5 and you are even colder in Ohio. What Azalea did you find that survives your winters?
Plants like Canadian Hemlock I have successfully and easily kept them to the height and width that I want with one simple pruning per year. Mid summer or fall. The info on plant tags can be deceiving. We have all kinds of evergreen azaleas that grow nicely here, many are field raised. Hino Crimson, Hershey Red, Rosebud, Herbert, Stewarstonia, White Cascade etc. And all of the Girard introductions.
Donna Harvey says
I love this design. It gives it Height, Color and Texture. When I design I try to use the same colors through out the design, as you do. It don’t even have to be the same plant, only same color, this pulls the design together. A lot of times Less is More in design. In your design it is not over crowed, which makes each plant stand out, but also come together as one design. I think is Beautiful. Thanks Mike, great Post!
Thanks Donna, I appreciate that.