Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Ugly Side

I hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend! We did equal parts laying on the couch and playing/working -- so it was a successful one for us. :) 

I got a TON done outside. I think I said I was done with outside projects for awhile? I was mistaken. I planted about 20 plants -- some where purchases from weeks ago that really needed to get in the ground, some were plants I replanted. And then I finally got the garden in the ground which was another 15 or so. It was a dirty weekend. :) 

I'm so thrilled to have that done though! I wanted to get it all done before the heat of the summer hits, and was congratulating myself out loud to my husband when he mentioned the "other" side of the house. 

Hmmmm. He knows we don't talk about that side. The bad side. The side I choose to ignore and I have no idea why. I showed you the GOOD side a couple weeks ago after I installed the landscape lighting (and shared a tutorial): 

landscaping lights on house

I added a few more plants over there this weekend and it looks even prettier now. :) I still have projects to do, but overall I'm really pleased with it when we drive up:  

DIY landscaping lights

And the husband loves it so much, he's wondering when we I can move on to the other side. The lawn is his baby -- the plants are mine. Totally convenient right about now. 

This is the area with the plants I loathe, where I pile up trash that needs to be hauled away and where I generally tend to ignore things. I'm blowing this one up real big for ya to see all the goodness: 


It may not look too awful at first glance, but let me show you around. 

First of all. I HATE the plants over here. Well, most of them anyway. I have a rose bush that's been in the ground for about ten years and has produced all of about ten blooms. I've never understood why because it gets great sun. 

Soon after we built the house I planted these spirea plants and they SUCK. I'm not going to hide my feelings: 

spirea plant

:) I really do hate these plants -- no matter what I do to them they look half dead. I picked them out because they are cheap and fast growing, and they do get huge quick. But they look like butt and I can't wait to tear them out. (This is the nicest one of the three by far.) If anyone has had success with these, let me know your tips and I'll try them! 

Let's move on to my favorite part -- the trash pile. Keeping it classy! This a metal pergola we had over a section of the deck for a long time. I took ripped up fabric part off last fall and on a nice day back in March I took the rest of the structure down and left it over here: 


Yes it's been two months now. I have held off on getting it hauled away because I thought we might have more stuff, but we're calling to get it taken care of this week. Until then…classy

My watering station leaves a little to be desired: 


For two years I've been planning to build another DIY hose holder, I just haven't gotten to it quite yet. I think maybe this will be the year? My neighbors can hope. 

We had a hail storm that destroyed the siding on this side of the house years back and last year we had the siding fixed -- it looks a million times better. We keep forgetting about the screens on these two windows though: 

The gashes are pretty, yes? 

Overall the solution for the ugly side is basically clean up and plants -- not too bad. I've had bigger plans for this side of the house for some time now, but more on that in a minute. 

Since this side gets the hot afternoon sun, I need to be careful with what I plant over here. No hydrangeas. :( Wahhwah. 

But I can add another one of my favorites, the knock out roses: 
knock out bushes
These are so easy to grow and add color from May till fall. My plan is to add a line of them up against the house, mixed in with some evergreen bushes for year round color and some burning bushes -- they do great in full sun and are just stunning in the fall! 

I started a trend in the back that I want to keep going everywhere else -- I love the mix of purple and red flowers and I think it looks great up against our house. I'll add some of this salvia as well to go with the knock out roses: 

blue salvia
I think it will be just beautiful. Since we live in a suburb and there are houses right next to us, I'd like to add a tree outside one of the windows as well. (We've used some "lighter ones" like river birch in the back that aren't too obtrusive but still give some shade and privacy.)

My dream plan for years has been to add a section of fence on both sides of the house, but it would not extend all the way back. It sounds a little odd, but we really don't need the back fenced with the trees we have back there. The little section on the sides would make it easier to let our little dog roam and would add a ton of interest to the sides of the house. 

I've dreamed of something like this:

side yard gate

Doesn't that feel like a secret garden? Love it. 

I would love a gate with a curved top like this: 

gate with curved pergola

But one like this would work too -- I'm not picky!: 

gate with pergola

Wouldn't that be lovely? 

Of course in my dreams it would be covered in clematis and be crazy gorgeous like this: 

gate with curved top and flowers 
It gets me giddy thinking of all the possibilities around a fence!

I love the addition of a paver detail under this one too: 

gate to garden

Um. Do you SEE those hydrangeas? 

My husband will regret reminding me of this side of this side of the house. :) Buwhahahaha. 

The fence would only go from the side of the house back to the trees we have in the side yard, on both sides. I think for budgeting reasons we may have to do one side of the house at a time though.  

I'm guessing maybe a third of this will happen this year. I'm just aiming to fix the window screens and getting the junk hauled away for right now. Baby steps. But I can see it looking just fantastic some day, right? 

Any recommendations on plants for afternoon sun? We don't have a lot of spaces that have it so this is fairly new to me. Have you done anything fun to your side yard? It's a forgotten space for so many -- but as you can see the potential is huge! 


44 comments:

  1. I love, love, love our Anthony Waterer Spireas. They are always healthy,covered in leaves and have beautiful pink blossoms every spring. I do nothing to care for them. They are in the afternoon shade so maybe that makes a difference.

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  2. Roses....... I wonder if the place you have the rose that does not perform well had a rose planted in the exact place earlier? Roses tend to leave a "shadow" of themselves and don't do so well if planted in the same place. You might consider bringing the roses away from the house wall a bit, and putting something taller behind them? I think your area is a bit too cold in the winter for Mediterranean planting, otherwise, both lavender and rosemary would be good. Anyway, good luck and looking forward to the pics later!

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    1. I did not know that! I planted that one forever ago and it was the first thing there. I can't figure out why it's not growing!

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  3. Where I live metal (from your pergola) can be recycled for free. The city transfer station will take it (fancy name for our local dump) and even a local yard debris drop-off site has a large bin for metal too. Plus the boy scouts often do metal drives and have a bin set up in town somewhere.

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  4. Love your yard! Some plant ideas for the afternoon sun:

    Coreopsis
    Day Lilly
    Sedum
    Salvia
    Verbena
    Gaura

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  5. I'm surprised you don't like your spirea, I LOVE mine! I have the Little Princess variety -- require zero care from me (only needed a little water in the first season in the ground if it hadn't rained in a few days, but now are super drought tolerant), pretty mounded shape, lots of tiny pink flowers in the spring and will bloom again if you trim them back after the first blooms fade, and mine face south so they take hot Memphis sun all day long. I love knock out roses too, but I had to take mine out this year, unfortunately; they got rose rosette disease. I couldn't plant more roses in the same spot because the disease is systemic, so I replaced them with Limelight hydrangeas (well, Little Lime, actually - the smaller variety), because they're supposed to take full sun. I've seen several mature Limelight shrubs around us in full sun and they're thriving, so I'm hopeful! Another shrub I love for zero care in full sun is Loropetalum. The biggest ones get HUGE, but there are several smaller varieties; I have several Purple Pixies that have done fantastic. I actually have several Encore Azaleas in full sun as well. They required a lot of babying in the first season (sooo thirsty... watered every day in the heat of summer), but they've done well since then (as of their third year in the ground, required no additional watering from me). Pretty evergreen shrub, and they bloom in both the spring and fall once established. Firepower Nandina are a smaller shrub that love the sun and are very tolerant of any conditions with no additional care. They're evergreen and the leaves turn red in the winter, which is unusual and pretty. For annuals I've always loved in full sun: lantana, angelonia, zinnias -- I use all 3 of these to clip for bouquets throughout the summer.

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  6. Gorgeous

    Http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

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  7. We have three different Weigela growing on the west side of our house. I just planted them last year, so need to figure out how to prune them, but I love the different leaf types and flowers. http://www.bhg.com/gardening/plant-dictionary/shrub/weigela--cardinal-shrub-/

    I have three spirea by our front walkway that I love, they are always healthy each year and have a great color. Then...I have three spirea on the opposite side of our garage that have gotten huge and look half dead and THEN I have four under a cherry blossom tree that get too much shade and look like crap. I think it all depends on their location for how well they thrive.

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  8. https://snapguide.com/guides/rejuvenate-prune-spirea-shrubs/

    I've done this more a few times in my yard and they always come back looking great.

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  9. Lovely ideas. Are you planning on replacing your screens, using some type of rescreening kit, or patching the holes? We have two screens with some holes in them and not sure what to do for them or where to take them...

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    1. I just had 3 screens completely redone at ACE Hardware for less than $60.

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    2. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

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    3. Screens are really easy to DIY - especially if the frame is still in good shape. :)

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    4. I've never tried doing it myself -- I may try it! Or I may try Ace. ;) Jill ours need to be completely replaced.

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  10. Loving how pretty your yard is. Ours is looking sort of tired, needs tons of work.

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  11. This is a very timely post. We are in the process of tearing out and replacing most of our landscaping and I'm so happy to get rid of the old stuff! We are trying to find a zone 5 shrub that does well in the shade, but can't decide. I will caution you about River Birches--we planted 3 of them 18 years ago and we loved them at first. But as they have grown (to about 30 ft tall) I now HATE them. They drop sticks and trash all of the time. I'm trying to convince my husband that they need to go.

    Your landscaping looks great, thanks for the inspiration.

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  12. When you said you like the red/purple combo and are looking for something to take sun....what about Russian Sage and Bee Balm? Both attract butterflies like crazy, so you're helping out with pollination as well. If you want something 'bushier,' try butterfly bushes there as well. You can get some with really dark purple flowers. Just keep dead-heading and they'll keep blooming.

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    1. Funny you mention that -- I got some bee balm a couple weeks ago to plant in the garden to help with pollination. I love the sage too, I forgot about that. We have butterfly bushes in the backyard and I love how big they are getting!

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  13. I was very surprised when I planted AnnaBelle White hydrangeas in the sun and they grew very fast and seem to like the sun. They're in their second year, and already bigger than my seven year old hydrangeas that are in the shade. I'm confused, but happy. So maybe you can plant hydrangeas on your sunny side. You inspired me to get landscape lighting. Your garden is beautiful.

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  14. I try to stick with native plants because they are easier to keep alive and healthy but I am in love with lisianthus for annuals. They are hard to find sometimes because they are difficult to grow from seed but if you run across them, SNATCH THEM UP! They are a gorgeous cut flower, love to be hot and will last in a vase for a couple of weeks. The blooms look like roses. They are my favorite annual.

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    1. I've never heard of those! I try to stick to perennials but I just looked those up and they are so pretty! Love all the purple varieties too!

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  15. I can't wait to see how this side of the house turns out! The knock out roses are something that I have planned for our house eventually, it makes me happy to hear that they aren't hard to grow!

    xoxo, SS


    The Southern Stylista

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  16. Your garden is looking really good. Even the 'ugly' side is not looking so ugly. I could show you ugly! Love your inspiration pics!!

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  17. Hostas...love hostas A good rule of thumb for the placement and care of hostas is the lighter the foliage, the brighter the sun. The deeper darker foliage retains it color best in moderate shade. The variegated varieties need more sunlight to keep their white and gold stripes. All hostas need some shade and few, if any, will do well in strong direct sunlight. They will fully mature in four to eight years.We had hostas in our garden in the UK and they have large leaves and they eventually will give you mauve or white bell shaped flowers, but the leaves a gorgeous too! Honeysuckle and clematis look beautiful together and of course you get the beautiful flowers as well as fantastic smells. Lavender and rosemary always a favourites of mine.

    There isn't much growing in our garden at the moment because the builders appear to want to put all the rubbish everywhere! So all we have are 3 palm trees, a red peppercorn tree and some bird of paradise plants. We also have one of the larger white bird of paradise plants this one is huge, hopefully will survive the builders and look beautiful when the house and garden are finished!

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    1. I LOVE hostas! I have a hosta garden on the other side of the house and love it. I'm afraid this side would be too much hot sun in the summer. I would love to add some clematis eventually too!

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  18. I planted a hydrangea on the side of our house that gets full afternoon sun and it has flourished! It's been in the ground 2 years and I anticipate having to cut it back this summer once it is all grown in. I would never have guessed they didn't like too much sun.

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    1. I may try it again! I had some over on that side years ago and they didn't do well at all. But maybe as I add other things they would get a little bit of shade.

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  19. Could you possibly reuse your pergola on the side of your house? Half for one side of the house half for the other? At the very least you would have support poles for gates. I am a big fan of reuse, recycle & try to think outside the box when an item is no longer useful as it was first intended. Put it on Craig's list as fabric is easily replaced for a free take away.
    Salvia is awesome, Hosta's are super easy to divide & come in many sizes. I have some hosta that are 2 ft tall at least & matured in 2 years. Decorative grasses- different sizes & colors/variegated. Burning bush -grows quickly, brilliant red in fall. Arborvitae stay green all year, are great for a privacy hedge( as a side "gate") up against a house makes a beautiful backdrop for gardens & look great lit up st night, Dwarf pear tree's - you need two, beautiful. to look at & eat! I have Iris & gladiola's that come back every year. Day Lilly's , like Hosta are SO easy to grow & divide each year. I'm in NJ. Last fall the local Lowe's had a clearance sale & plants were as cheap as a dollar. I loaded up the car! ! Lastly, (sorry for length here) What about a raised garden bed? I have organic strawberries that look lovely & asparagus which grow a fern. You can plant Tulips etc in front of edibles to give illusion of garden. You have a Perfect Spot for edibles & not turning your yard into a produce farm! ! !

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    1. Oh yes, I would have sold it or given it away but the metal was trashed from the wind. Thanks for the great plant ideas!! We have a garden on the other side of the house but I have considered adding more on this side. My cucumbers haven't done well since I moved it to it's current location.

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  20. Oh to live in a place as luscious looking as you do!! I live in a HOT arid climate (Although we've been getting tons of rain!! Thank goodness!), so our "shade" plants still need to be at least "part-sun" to handle the heat. My favorite fill suns are salvia (perennial variety which you showed), knockouts, daylillies, verbena, lantana, coneflower, shasta daisy, and blackfoot daisy.

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  21. I have following your posts for a couple years and was all ready to redo my island with butcher block and paint, and now we are moving. The new house (built in 1997) is all ugly oak-cabinets, trim, windows, but really well built with lots of space. What would be your suggestion for painting the cabinets without redoing all the trim and windows? Also, the house has no island :( Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks

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    1. I think it would look fine with just the cabinets painted! It would update it quite a bit I'm sure. I would go lighter on the cabinets with the wood trim though. If you have room you could get a rolling kitchen island -- I love those!

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  22. I love seeing the different plant varieties everyone uses from all over the country. I have no suggestions, being in south Texas, but your yard is absolutely beautiful! Girl, we all have the piles :)

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  23. Sorry you are having issues with your spirea. I have several (zone 6, full sun) and they are doing really well. They have grown quite big, are full and rounded and I do nothing to them. Maybe ask an expert at a garden center. And I know you think this looks ugly, but it really isn't that bad at all, I was expecting much worse. Keep up the good work, I love reading your posts.

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  24. Burning bushes might look nice. They are such a pretty red and they like full sun. I do like spirea when they look good. We have a few that won't grow and they annoy me.

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  25. My daughter has Limelight Hydrangeas in full sun and they are flourishing!

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  26. Sarah!! I know you're busy but I hope you read this because you will not believe what your post made me discover! So we moved into our new home in November...I ventured to our "ugly side" thanks to your post and found 2 peony bushes (thanks for posting pictures of yours and describing the ants!) and a HUGE lilac bush!!!

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    1. I do have a nice gate with a pergola top on the nice side of the house so I had no need to venture to the ugly side until your post. Now I can't wait for the peonies to bloom so my 6 yr old and I can find out what color they are. I also found a hydrangea in the front thanks to your pics!

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    2. YAY! Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful. Have they bloomed yet?

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    3. They finally began to bloom yesterday!! They're a dark pink and so beautiful! I'd like some on the "pretty side" of the house but I heard they don't like being moved. Now I'm on the hunt for a new one! (Have to do some research on some black and some white spots on the leaves that I found.)

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    4. Oh I love them. Yes, try not to move them -- they are really finicky when it comes to that. I had a gorgeous huge one from a friend and it died immediately.

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  27. This post made me laugh. I love that you shared the ugly side. When we moved into our house, there were about 10 spirea on the property and although I've loved them in others' yards, I HATED them. They were the first to go and I couldn't be happier with the hydrangeas and knockout roses I've replaced them with :) Love your inspiration photos too!

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  28. I love this post. When we purchased our home five years ago I took out all the spiraeas out! I have knockout rose and peonies. I love the combo of the knockout roses with your plants. What are the name of the plants by knockout roses?

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    1. The lamb's ears are the low ones -- I love them! They do great in sun.

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