Now that it’s the new year and the hope of spring is on the way, it’s time for me to really start figuring out what our front yard re-landscaping project will look like. This past year we undertook the Summer of Smother, during which we covered the entire front lawn in newspaper and mulch so that this spring we can till and start all over with a blank slate. (I’m actually hoping to hire someone to do the actual tilling since it’s not the easiest task and I am a major wuss.)
With the help of my awesome sistrah, I’ve created a basic layout for the yard – the plan for what shape the beds will eventually take. I recognize that the whole thing is way too much to do in one year, so my next step is to figure out a general idea of what plants I want where and then decide what portion to tackle this year. I’ll fill in the majority of the space with thyme and/or other herbs and then remove what I need to when I’m ready in future years. I’ll still be putting in a veggie garden in the back yard beds, so I need to be realistic about how much I can accomplish altogether.
My general color scheme for the front landscaping is black/purple/white/silver. Our house is off-white brick with a black roof, and we hope to eventually paint the trim and shutters black to give the exterior a more cohesive look (right now the shutters and trim are an icky rust color which we definitely do not want love). I’ve read that keeping a limited color palette will give the garden a more professional look, so here’s hoping.
So, for black plants, here are a few thoughts.
I do want to include edibles where I can, though for the front yard I’d like to stick primarily to perennials so that will limit the edible options substantially. I love blackberries, though the plant would only fit into the color scheme when the fruit is ripe.
This Ebony King Blackberry is thornless, which is a bonus (though perhaps since our front yard is unfenced, thorns would be helpful to keep critters from stealing the fruit?).
With the whole colony collapse disorder thing resulting in fewer bees hanging around, I’d like to include plenty of plants that attract pollinators.
This Black Knight Butterfly Bush would definitely do that and while, again, the foliage wouldn’t fit into my color scheme, I think it would be worth it.
With a name like Dark Lord Geranium, how could I not include this one?
I mean, seriously, a plant with purple-highlighted foliage that also has purple blooms AND is a Star Wars reference? No question.
We don’t have too many spaces out front where we need a lot of height, but there is the awkward little side area that runs next to our neighbor’s driveway and is right outside our bedroom window. I think a screen of this Black Bamboo would be perfect:
It would provide some privacy as it got taller, and would also help define the boundary between the neighbor’s property and ours. The only hitch is that it is theoretically for zone 7-10, and we’re zone 6. I’m not sure how big an issue that might be.
I’m really seeking some plants with lots of beautiful foliage, now we’re cooking:
This Black Elephant Ear is great! I love the large leaves and the way the veins are slightly lighter in color. I could see this taking a significant role in the new front yard.
I do also want some flowering plants, and this Black Barlow Columbine is striking:
It supposedly attracts hummingbirds, which would be neat to see.
These are just a few of the plants I’m considering. If anyone out there has experience with any of these particular plants or has any other suggestions, I’m all ears.