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What to plant in my front garden?

Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,524
Last year I had a lot of work done at my property including a new drive since when I've been thinking about what I can plant there and I'm not coming up with many ideas.
The front of the house faces north so most the area is in shade between around late September to March but gets full sun the rest of the year.
I'd like something to plant all the way around the edge of the drive that gets to around 1m tall and 1m wide. The overall distance around the edge of the whole drive is 15m.
The soil is generally quite heavy clay but I will dig in compost etc.
I'd prefer a formalish look and was considering something along the lines of Hydrangea Vanille-Fraise, but I'm not sure.
Should I go for the same pant all the way round or a mix?

Any suggestions please folks?

This is the side border (1m wide)

This is the area in front of my acer

Mid winter - looking especially bleak

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 3,416
    Maybe plant mainly one thing, but with specimens or small groups of something else (taller and more ornamental) sporadically to break it up. E.g. Syringa meyeri 'Palibin' or Choisya 'Aztec Pearl' interspersed with your Hydrangea 'Vanille Fraise' (which I like a lot) and/or Euonymus alatus or something like that.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,524
    Cheers Will - mixing it up a bit is probably a good idea and I appreciate your ideas.
    I have a Korean lilac in my back garden which is lovely but about 7ft high. The smaller variety you mention would work well and look good.
    I also have several Philadelphus manteau de Hermine which would nicely complement the Choisya you mention.
    I love the euonymus alatus (especially the new dwarf variety), and I've been trying to think where I can plant one for ages, the autumn colour may be a bit too much competition for my acer, but I'm determined to have one somewhere.

    I'd need quite a few of whatever, but I can take cuttings of the philadelphus and hydrangea and try and give them lots of encouragement.
    Thanks again 
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I'd have an assortment, so that you can have something in flower all year round, and deciduous shrubs can be underplanted with spring bulbs.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,524
    Thanks josusa.
    Your suggestions have helped me focus on what is practical and realistic.
    The acer is the star of the garden so I don't want to detract from that and I don't want whatever is in the border between me and next door to need much maintenance, so want to keep it small and tidy and something 1m wide and high is quite restricting too.

    Will's suggestions got me looking at the crocus site (just as they have a wide choice and good filters) and I came across a little pittosporum 'Golf Ball' that I thought would work as a smart edging all the way around.
    I guess I'd need about 12-15 so I'll have to think carefully!
    Would they mind having little direct sunlight between sept and march?
    I like the idea of the spring bulbs too Josusa.
    The little pittosporums surrounded by a carpet of snowdrops and crocus in the spring paints a very pretty picture, and keeps it tidy :)
    Food for thought
    I plan to plant up early autumn, so plenty of time yet.

    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • rachelQrtJHBjbrachelQrtJHBjb South BucksPosts: 679
    I have a north-facing border that is full sun in summer. As for deciduous shrubs and perennials, you can treat it as sunny site and select plants accordingly. I have Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' with Astrantia 'Roma' at the base, Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy', Viburnum plicatum 'Mariesii' (just added Clematis 'Blue Angel' (Blekitny Aniol) to grow through for summer interest), Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' (pollarded annually), a sarcococca - which gets a lot of shade from larger plants around it in summer, Rubeckia 'Herbstsonne', a white phlox, Campanula 'Pritchard's Variety', bergenia, lamium, heuchera and Euphorbia robbiae, to name but a few.

    I have an established Mahonia media 'Charity', which would be too large for your site, but there are smaller mahonias to consider and they have valuable evergreen foliage. I've just bought Pittosporum Golf Ball. I don't have clay but my friend in Kent grew many fine pittosporum specimens so long as she improved the drainage a bit. I'm hoping it will do well on my site over the winter. Maybe start with one or two and see how they fair during the sun-less months and take a view. 12-15 sounds quite an investment. I am also conscious that heavy snow may break the branches and ruin the rounded form so I'm exploring options for supporting the stems during winter.
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,524
    Thanks for your ideas Rachel.
    I pass a house every day when out with my pooch and they have a formal front garden with a dozen P. green golf ball and red golf ball planted alternately and kept well trimmed (no more then 2ft round) and all under planted with nemesia - looks really good and they have been planted for 10+ years.
    I've admired them for some years and although snow is rare here the ones in their garden always look perfect. They look pretty sturdy and I would think they'd be ok even with a fair bit of snow on them.
    It's not a decision I need to make for a while yet so I'll continue to ponder and as ever get more ideas from the forum.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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