Since moving into our home last August, our front yard has been the bane of our existence. You see our house sat on the market for almost six months before we purchased it. And in those six months the front yard was mowed maybe four or five times. Thats right front yard only…. the back yard had grass that was almost as high as my knee. It was scary. But lets talk about the front yard, I’ll save the back yard for another post.
Our front yard consisted of two oak trees, an overrun flowerbed mainly consisting of mint, and border of twigs. Our yard was in desperate need of TLC! Step one in rehabilitating our yard was purchasing a lawn mower. Step two transforming our prairie land into some semblance of a yard. Step three ignore the back yard at all cost. (just kidding) After about a month of living here I got the idea to rip out the overgrown mess. So Zachary started pulling out bushes and ripping out mint. This is when his hatred of mint began.
Two weeks later, in October we decided to replant the bed. This seems like an odd time to plant perennials but all the information that I read about planting in the Austin area stated to plant in fall as there are usually mild winters. This would allow the plants to establish before the blazing sun of summer. With minimal plant knowledge we headed to Zachary’s favorite plant nursery, The Natural Gardner. Two hours later we left Natural Gardner with a trunkful of purple leaf sage, mexican honeysuckle and native tall grasses that I cannot remember the name of.
BTW even though this is central texas and sunshine 400 days a year(lol) it is not easy to plan for this garden bed. We had an unseasonably cold winter this year. It snowed, 3 times, and had many days in sub freezing temperatures. Disaster occurred in the flower bed and nothing survived.
This brings us to plant bed 2.0. The first task was to again remove plants. This left us with an empty bed to imagine the plant possibilities. With the plant bed being empty we took this opportunity to remove the existing twig like border, I’m not really sure why we left it in the first place. Instead we had a stone border installed that matched the front of the house.
Choosing plants for the front of our house ins’t an easy task. The front of our home is north facing, meaning at best the plants receive two to four hours of sun a day. Restricting us to shade only plants. Which may or may not sound like a bad thing to you, but the next time your at Home Depot or Lowers take a walk through garden section. Take note of the plants the require sun versus those that require shade. You’ll be shocked by the lack of plants you find… UGH. For us that meant another trip to Nautral Gardner. Now if your as plant crazy as my husband, you’ll jump at the chance to visit any nursery. But Natural Gardner is his favorite! With the help of two workers, we found ourselves headed home with a trunk full of plants and motivation! Only this time we decided to branch and diverse our flowerbed a little.
My vision of plant bed 2.0 consisted of tiering layers of flowering bushes… Once again… little to no sun creates little to no flowers. Meaning I had to let go of my idea and focus foliage. (Zachary on the other hand already recognize the sun to shade issue, and was waiting on me to catch up and get with the realistic version of the plant bed.) Size, shape, color, and texture became the inspiration of flower bed. The flower bed consists of three sections. The back section has a row of Cast Iron plants. Just like the name implies, Cast Iron plants can live in almost any condition and thrive. Just keep it out of direct sun. With dark green, oval shaped leaves the Cast Iron can grow up to 3 feet tall. But its a slow growing plant. The middle section consists of two different types of plants: Tropical Sage and Oxalis. Previously in the our previous design we had Purple Leaf Sage, but with a our new color palette white, purple, blue, and green. I wanted to go with a white colored sage. Luckily White Tropical Sage also known as Snow Nymph is one of the few plants that will flower in shady conditions, making it a must have! But I didn’t want to have a whole section of sage, so my husband suggested mixing in the Oxalis. I had never seen or heard of Oxalis, but I must admit the first time I saw this purple leaf plant with triangle leaves and small light purple flowers I fell in love. The Oxalis and Sage created the perfect blend of plants for the middle section of our flower bed. The only thing that was left was the border section. Initially Zachary wanted a border of Fox Tail Ferns, but I wasn’t sold. I wanted something a little lower to the ground and spread out a little. Together we settled on Dead Nettle. A low lying plant, perfect for creating ground cover. The white and green leaves have almost a heart shaped appearance. And in the right conditions it produces a small purple flower.
Phew…. we finally have the flower bed complete. But what about the rest of the yard. Around our trees we planted, Super Blue Liriope. And on the side of our driveway, along our side walk we had an empty spot of dirty that was probably 4 feet by 3 feet that we placed a Bicolor Iris with two Dwarf “Katies” flanking it. To create symmetry, Zachary dug out a match bed in the opposing side.
Now I don’t think we are done with the front yard yet. Currently we are design a complete shade flower bed for the left side of our house. And we have plans to extend the flower on the right side of the house. But for now we are happy!