The front yard is officially 100% installed! First came irrigation installation (although not in the front yard), then sod removal and soil prep. Finally, massive plant order arrived from three different nurseries and the first frost of the season was looming on the horizon. As a landscape designer, I think my favorite day of a project has to be plant day.
First, some designer talk. My overall concept for the front yard was to design an urban meadow. Our neighbors have these magnificent Coast Redwoods, so they have a great urban forest thing going on. I wanted our yard to show the transition from forest to meadow, especially since we have this very flat, 50’s modern bungalow.
It’s mostly a mix of modern grasses with three young aspen trees, but I worked in some smaller conifers or conifer-like plants to smooth that transition away from the neighboring forest. The backyard will be a food forest, but edibles are only lightly planted in the front.
Once the plants arrived, it was time to stage the plantings. That’s landscape designer talk for setting out all the plants in the places they need to be planted, then standing back, hemmed and hawing, moving this one there, nudging that one over a bit and swapping these ones with those ones. Although a seemingly simple process, it took me a couple hours.
The perennial flowers, like Echinacea and Black-Eyed Susan were on their last legs. They are suppose to die back in the winter and are all but invisible now that winter has set in. But some spring, they will shoot back up with vigor.
Black Flowering Fountain Grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’) is one of the three taller grasses I used.
Along with Pink Muhly (Muhlenbergia capillaris) which creates these soft, pink-ish plumes above the foliage.
And Blonde Ambition Blue Gamma Grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’) has these interesting catkins hanging from the ends of the thin leaves. It whips back and forth in light breezes, making it hard to photograph on this windy morning.
I used Blue Oat Grass as one of my ground covers – a small evergreen with a nice, blue-green color.
Plants for that subtle forest-transition-thing included winter flowering heaths and heathers, Nest Spruce (Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’), and Blue Star Juniper (Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’).
I also worked in some broadleaf evergreens, including Evergreen Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum) and Lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idea) – both tasty edibles.
And finally, I planted a couple evergreen Fragrant Sarcococca shrubs near the front door. This unassuming, dark green plant has inconspicuous blooms in January-February. They smell incredible fragrant – a treat for us every time we leave the house and come back home.
I think I planted over a hundred plants, although I’m too tired to go back and count. It looks only lightly planted right now, especially since the perennial flowers have died back. But some spring, there will be lots of lush new growth. I can’t wait to share it with you as the front garden grows in! And stay tuned for more on our backyard plant installation – coming soon!