In my house update I shared on the blog last week, I mentioned that I’d be writing a post about a recent trip to the garden centre and all the delicious details of which plants I’ve selected for growing in the front bed and up the house itself. As promised then, today is all about the best blooms for kerb appeal so you can be sure that people will positively coo with delight over your home as they walk past.
With the second May bank holiday coming up we couldn’t think of anything more patriotic than our desire for perusing garden centres and what better brand to wear on my visit then the very British Boden…more on that in a moment.
I’m a big believer in soft landscaping. Yes a well executed structural backbone will go a long way but the right plants clustered in a sympathetic design can make any home look breathtaking. Aside from the aesthetics, you can guarantee that an attractive frontage will help to increase the value of your property too so it’s worth investing in the pretty now to get your financial reward in the long run. Or at least that’s what I tell Ste…
If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you’ll know that we’re in the midst of a huge house renovation project and as a way of trying to exert some control and to give our long-suffering neighbours something pleasant to look at, I’ve decided to tackle the front garden and driveway.
But what to plant? Where to start? How long will it be until the plants are established enough to be worthy of a Pinterest board? 😉
To give you the skinny on our driveway then…well it points south-west meaning that it gets the sun for the majority of the day so we’re lucky in that we’re less limited on what we choose to grow. From a hard landscaping perspective we’ve built a new front wall that sweeps around in a half moon shape enclosing the front bed until it meets the verges of the road. That, and the resin bound drive which will be instated when all of the work on the house is complete, forms the skeleton upon which all the soft landscaping will grow.
I adore the thought of a beautiful flowering plant growing up the front of the house but whether to opt for a delicate rambling rose or a fragrant honeysuckle or a decadent wisteria has confounded me.
In addition, the front bed measures about 5 meters across or thereabouts and forms a semi-circular shape; whilst I was pretty darn certain about the fact I wanted a box hedge across the front of the bed as a clear delineation from the pavement I was open to suggestion when it came to the rest of the bed. During my Pinterest travels I came across several beautiful hydrangea hedges (type in Annabelle hydrangea hedge if you want to take a peek) and I just knew that this had to form a part of the planting scheme. More specifically as another hedge behind the box so that from the road looking at the house you’d see both plants but from the house you would only eventually see the hydrangea. But what to do with the rest of the bed? What about succession planting during the spring before the hydrangea bloomed? What about necessary ground cover?
There was only one thing for it. A trip to the garden centre and hopefully the opportunity to tap into the knowledge of a more experienced gardener than myself who would steer me in the right direction.
A quick but in-depth discussion with a very knowledgable man named Mike gave me all the information I needed to know. We chatted through the pros and cons of the climber for the frontage and settled on Wisteria. Being fully hardy and loving the sun with the best spread of the three plants I’d shortlisted it was a clear winner.
The front bed needed a bit more consideration. Whilst I’d picked out two fantastic plants in terms of hardiness and impact, there was the question of what the space would look like in the winter months as Hydrangea tends to shed all of its leaves. We contemplated introducing a tree where the existing conifer is situated; Betula ermanii ‘Grayswood Hill’ was definitely a contender. This is a birch with creamy white bark emblazoned with raised horizontal brown stripes and beautiful yellow leaves in Autumn which would work with the colour I’d picked out for the resin bound drive. But would it look odd with the Hydrangea next to it?
Mike also talked through some beautiful plants that would provide ground cover (thus negating the need for weeding) and colour throughout the majority of the year. He showed me some tough but sweet alpines and some frivolous Campanula which I was rather taken with whilst also chatting through the importance of situating plants of different heights and textures next to one another for interest. Much like how you would structure and layer an outfit I suppose…
Sticking to a particular colour scheme using only two or three hues was key here and with the wisteria picked alongside the hydrangea and the box it was pretty much already chosen for me…blues, greens and whites. So with this in mind I selected Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ also known as Lambs Ear, Campanula, ‘Hungarian Beauty’ violets and lastly ‘Taplow Blue’ thistles.
Oh and my super British outfit for completing all of this exhausting plant shopping? I spotted this silk spotty shirt from Boden and completely fell in love. With a roomy fit I was able to do all the necessary bending and stretching that comes with choosing the best plants from big displays whilst keeping cool in the scorching temperatures at the time.
In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing images of the front of my house all planted up with the selections I’ve mentioned above. Hopefully it will all look rather pretty so stay tuned for more horticultural posts coming to your screens soon!
Have any of you embarked on a planting project this Spring? What shrubs or blooms did you choose? Why not tell us in the comments below….
Photography by Adam Crohill