In the Spring of 2014, I was called by this client and asked to redesign the front and back yards with the understanding that this would be a project that would be a few years in implementation.The client would do all of the bed prep and installation. I would order all of the plants and place them at the appropriate times. Then the client would mulch.
We started in the Fall of 2014 by planting one tree in the front, one in the back, and prepping the beds. Fall is a great time to do all of this because the ground is relatively dry. You can amend the soil with leaf humus and enlarge aggregate for drainage. It is also a good time to plant trees because the roots will have time to adapt and grow. When spring comes, the tree can focus its energy on growing the leaves, rather than the roots.
This past spring, we removed all of the Taxus and Boxwood along the right side of the front of the house. They were growing taller than the windowsills and taking up too much space. After the removal, we had opportunities to add color in this section. We planted Spirea, Purple Leaf Heuchera, and Astilbes, creating a color palette of greenish-yellow and reddish-purple. I picked plants that would be able to tolerate sun now and shade later. As the tree grows, the area will have more shade. In the back yard, besides planting the tree, we put in what will grow to be a Spirea hedge in the right bed. Formerly, this bed had a lot of volunteers and ungainly shrubs that looked downright ugly.
The white flags in the front yard represent the Oak Leaf Hydrangeas for which we were waiting. They will not grow higher than the windowsill but will have huge white flowers. The hydrangeas and the silver leaf ferns will provide neutral tones to provide contrast to the bolder colors.
In the back yard, the client wants to build a raised bed in the back area. The next step in the installation process is on hold until that bed is built.