When we moved in, 8 years ago the house looked exactly like this… Then we lost one of the aspens and another. Shade became scarce and eventually I knew we had to start over.
This is my favorite picture of our house, if the trees had stayed put I think I might never had any inclination to become such an avid plants person.
Before we get to the truly ugly after photos (this is a weird post where the before/after is turned on its head) here is another Zinnia frenzied view.
After losing the trees I was anxious to replace them as soon as possible, but nearly at the same time our neighbors cut an incredibly large specimen in their own backyard and we were instantly gifted an incredible view of the Wasatch Front from out kitchen window. Blocking it was just as instantly vetoed. I had decisions to make and they involved starting over and while I was at it removing the grass by the right foundation plantings.
This entire area was xeriscaped, and although most plants are small right now by next spring/summer they should hopefully be large enough to create a cohesive whole. Where the warty pumpkin stands, on the stump of the more recently departed Aspen I would like to display a large clay urn. Eventually the Maiden Grass (miscanthus gracillimus) will fill in at the back and create a backdrop for some Russian sages, black eyed Susans and the Iceberg rose.
I have added Blue Oat grass and Idaho fescue all over both foundation plantings to bring blue/grey notes to echo the new spruces. Every plant with the exclusion of the existing Japanese Maple is waterwise.
The front lawn will get attacked next, with a 4 to 8 feet of grass removed from around its perimeter. This planting of Gaura and Karl Foester I encountered this summer in front of the visitor center of the American war cemetery in Normandy struck me as perfect.
I am planning on using these two plants together with some sedums along the path that leads to the front door. On the street side however I would like to add some short to medium sized trees. My heart is spit between Hot Wings maples (Acer tataricum) or Golden Raindrops crab apples mixed with dwarf evergreens such as grow low sumacs. I think the maples might be more waterwise but the Malus provides food for the birds…