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Have you ever wondered how to beautify the front of your home without building an expensive porch? Try landscaping around a porch to make a porch garden!
If you don't have a porch, you can still make your home look beautiful and welcoming with a porch garden. What is a porch garden? It's the area directly in front of your house that you choose to fill with plants to help cover up the foundation and make your home look more attractive. By purchasing plants, instead of building an expensive porch, you can save money and make your house a home for less.
Landscaping Around a Porch or Deck
Begin with familiar plants
If you are new to the area or porch gardens, start by observing what kinds of plants your neighbors have around their homes. You'll see rhododendrons, azaleas, and hostas commonly used in porch gardens. You may also see hydrangea or butterfly bushes, as well as several different kinds of deciduous and evergreen shrubs. For cost-effectiveness, choose only three to four plant varieties. Easy starter plants include dwarf Alberta spruce, large hostas, and rhodies with a backdrop of ferns.
Consider whether you want a formal or an informal look. A formal look may consist of a hedge of bushes, corkscrew-pruned trees and/or round or square sculpted shrubs. A relaxed look means that bushes and trees are left to grow as they are naturally shaped.
When landscaping around a porch, start by deciding how much space you want your porch garden to fill. A tape measure is not necessary, though you may use one if you like. Pace outward from the front foundation of your house until you've reached a distance from your home that you are happy with. The distance you plant your garden from the house will depend on what kinds of trees and/or bushes you choose. The length is determined by how much space along the foundation you have to fill in.
Make dig marks with your shovel to mark the area, use an old hose to outline it, or pound a few stakes around your desired perimeter. From there, you'll need to dig out any unwanted grass or weeds and make sure you have the soil necessary for the plants you've chosen.
A symmetrical porch garden is a great plan since it's the simplest. If you choose to use dwarf Alberta spruce trees, plant them about five feet from the house and about three feet from the stairs. This tree type eventually gets six feet wide and six feet tall, but it takes twenty years.
Rhododendrons can be planted much closer to the house since they are hardy and easy to prune. Ferns are an excellent option to plant along the foundation as they provide good coverage while the rhododendrons are maturing. If you are going to use hostas, large varieties that grow several feet high cover the foundation of your house the most effectivly. If you opted to go with the simple starter plants for your porch garden, use hostas to fill in the gaps between the rhododendrons and the dwarf Alberta spruce. If you think you want to plant bulbs or annuals, you may want the extra space. If you don't like hostas, daffodils, roses, and other flowers make lovely additions to porch gardens. Some gardeners even include strawberry or other fruit-bearing plants.
Landscaping with trees
If you are considering an asymmetrical porch garden where you don't plant the same thing on both sides of your stairs, Japanese maple or other larger tree can be a beautiful focal point as long as you plant it an ample distance from your house! Plant it about five times as far away as you think you should! You can also plant trees, such as weeping cherry or Japanese maple in your front yard, to complement your porch garden—that way, they have ample space to expand into.
A common mistake many porch gardeners make is planting trees that reach twenty to forty feet too close to their homes (e.g., River Birch). While it may take many years for them to get this tall, eventually, you'll have to pay for expensive tree removal or invest in a chain saw. If you want a porch garden that covers up the whole foundation immediately, you'll need to plant a range of bushes and a couple of trees closer together. This style of porch garden may require more extensive pruning as time passes.
The easiest way to design a porch garden quickly and successfully is to use plants common to your area. However, you should still be aware of soil and light requirements, as well as how large the plants will grow. Consult a local garden center, view neighbors' houses, and look at some gardening magazines to give you additional ideas.
What are you waiting for? Go ahead and get started Landscaping Around a Porch or your Deck. You're going to do a great job!