Forum home Garden design

New Gardener . . . New House . . . What would you plant?


I have recently moved into a quaint (aka needs a lot of work) home in the Los Angeles area.  I have little gardening experience.  The exterior of the home was not taken of and I have stripped out a lot of dying/dead plants and have essentially a blank canvas in which to work with.  I find myself going to the nursery but I get scared to pull the trigger on purchases having  little experience in this world.  So I am asking for help.  What would you plant in these areas?

Front door:

I tore out some grotesque shrub and have hidden the dirt with planters.  I could leave the planters or remove them.  The soil here is very compact, theres not a lot of area and there are pipes and such not that far underneath the soil.  

Front door to the right:

I put in that mexican feather grass and planted roughly 300 bulbs throughout the bed (which you can see sprouting a little).  I have room to plant a small amount next to the feather grass.  

Front of house:

There were two shrubs like the one on the left in the planter.  I ripped both of them out.  The shrub I left wass the smallest of the three.  The planter that is attached to the house is not that wide (1 ft) and not that deep (1 ftish).  There's a trellis which you could grow something up.  I could also rip out the two remaining shrub things.  I have no idea what to plant here.

Side of the house:

I built this above ground planter and planted about 500 bulbs in it.  I was thinking of waiting until they bloom and then planting annuals around the flowers once they bloom.

Back of the house:

I ripped out what was in this area.  Its like 1.5 feet wide, not real deep.  I don't know what to plant back here and have toyed with possibly doing a vegatable garden although I have never maintained one.  That shrub thing to the right of the area I may pull out too or may just leave it.  I don't really like it but it wasn't quite as bad as some of the other stuff that I took out.  

Thanks for reading and any help is greatly appreciated.  I will post after photos as well.


  • It would be helpful to know what you didn't like about the plants you took out, so we know what to avoid image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Matty2Matty2 Posts: 4,817

    A lot of your beds/borders are rectangular, what about adding curves that would widen your beds. Planters by the door look like a great idea but you could go taller with the plants in the planters and maybe really cheerful colours. and I guess as it is so mild where you are. 

    That bed by your pool is very narrow, perhaps you can widen it and reflect the curves of your pool. If that is not possible then use big bold planters with big bold plants arranged to reflect the pool curves, still using the bed you have for maybe climbers. put the planters  up by the bed

    I can't really say about actual plants as our climate is not the same.

    What about getting hold of some good plant/garden books and some catalogues to help you.

    PS swimming pool would be a dream, we just have large pools of water, waterlogged ground and floods in many places at moment. They are saying the wettest year for a hundred years!image

  • kate1123kate1123 Posts: 2,815

    I would go for lots of Lavenders and Rosemary, they will love your conditions, they smell great and will require limited maintenance.

    If you want high impact colour and are prepared to put in a little work Dahlias would be wonderful.

  • This is wonderful!  Thanks so much for your responses they are very helpful.  @Dovefromabove I took out a lot of ill-maintained shrubs.  I wanted a least a little color in the garden and the freedom to plant some flowers.  @New Year  I will look at climbers that grow well in my area I think that's a great idea.  @Kate Thank you for your specificity I will take a look at the ones you recommend.  Great ideas, thank you very much!

  • We've recently taken over a new garden, which was 'low maintenance'- I'm planning to put in a lot of colourful annuals such as marigolds and sunflowers next year, while the rest of the planting is planned/built up. That could give you time to think and work out what works.

    I also love lavendar and rosemary. All mediterranean herbs are useful, pretty low maintenance and great for wildlife. Over time herbs like oregano and marjoram can spread and provide good ground cover.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 23,078

    Before you plant too much make sure the soil is in good condition re: compost, fertiliser. Your climate in Florida must be much milder than in the UK. Do you have frosts, I don't think so. If not, then you can plant all sorts of things that  readers here can't.  I agree with climbers and big planters, but could you go for colourful exotic plants like Bouganvilla, Hibiscus, Oleanders, Lantana, Plumbago and Solanum? Do you have a local garden centre? See what your neighbours have in their gardens.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • In these winters planting roses will be the best option.

    Roses can be easily plant in this weather.

  • I do not want grows in your area but it would look nice with some plants growing by your windows ,pyracantha,clematis,honeysuckle or a climbing rose,with small plants in between with a few in pots,even evergreens.I say this as a garden near me is wonderful all year round,yet it is a small narrow garden.The house is a bungalow.It has a green lawn and it has plants everywhere growing in harmony yet it gives the effect of being not only interesting but bigger than it is.But of course your in a very hot climate so I ll have to leave it at that.

  • Hi Lakerhater,

    Not sure what grows in your area. The only experience I have of USA gardens is some friends in Colorado and looking at gardens in that region - Arizona, New Mexico, Utah. Saw some nice ones in Santa Fe, but I guess the best advice would be to look at what seems to grow well in other people's gardens - ask their advice and make friends! - and plant what you fancy. Don't commit yourself to too much irrigation.


  • -- Posts: 88

    Congratulations on your new home!

    For the front door:  what about Pentas for the wall? I saw a house lined with this and it looked very nice. Dig some of the lawn on the right and line with very contrasting low mounding plants fitting the seasons, like Lobularia, Violas, Alyssum, Brachycombe, Linaria moroccana.

    For the front of house: don´t pull out the shrub. Find a moderately growing climber (as the trellis is not tall enough) to provide a backdrop for the star-spangled banner: Mina lobata is fiery, Mandevilla is romantic, Bougainvillea is not a real climber but always stands out (with some proper tying) and is now available in many colours like pink, red, white, yellow and orange. Plant a flowering shrub to match the other (whatever it is...); find a contrasting colour to the climber: Coronilla for yellow, Justicia has red too, and Tibouchina has pink or purple flowers (see the following:

Sign In or Register to comment.