Foundation Planting Design Ideas

last month

Summary: Zone 7a. Front of house foundation facing west, close proximity to black walnut trees (jugalone!), ground slopes down. Shaded/dappled for most of the day due to the house. Front few feet gets sun for a couple of hours around 11AM (hostas/heuchera did not tolerate it), then dappled sun until about 4PM when evening sun bakes everything until sundown. I’m looking for mostly evergreens that won’t become leggy or be unhappy in these conditions.

I love plants! But I have no sense for visual design and don’t particularly know what I’m doing. I started this garden in 2019 when I didn’t really know sun exposure and had big, unrealistic dreams. The year ended with a hard early frost that my itea and abelia haven’t ever filled back from. None of my plants are happy where they’re at except maybe the back row. Everything tends to grow in the direction of the slope and sun, and become leggy. I have cherry laurel “chestnut hill” with my “gatsby gal” oakleaf hydrangea in the back; “scentlandia” itea, my disease ridden “mini mauvette” hydrangeas, and “twist of vanilla” abelia in front with a sad astilbe next to the stairs in the shade dead zone. There’s a “green tower” boxwood on the corner that also has never fully recovered from the frost but shoots up new growth every so often to let me know it’s still alive. I have let this bed become unkept because I just don’t know what to do with it. I like the back row but am ready to transplant everything else.

I was thinking of dwarf nandinas lemon lime/blush pink, but I’m not sure if they’d be evergreen in zone 7a or have enough sun. Maybe fill the front with liriope or carex sedge? I would appreciate any advice!

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