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Simple, inviting front yard – garden design

Sometimes a simple plan is the best plan. In this case a year-round garden developed by landscape designer Kristopher Dabner, who uses easy-growing plant species to create a front yard, looks good and fresh in all four seasons.

Long-flowering perennials such as coreopsis, daylilies and grind herb offer cheerful spring colors and attractive liveliness when they are not in full bloom. Maidengrass and common yew are colorful even in winter when the perennial plants are sleeping under the snow.

Improve your soil quality – inviting front yard

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Before you start planting, check your soil for a good, crumbly surface (like chocolate brown cake). If you squeeze a little in your hand, something will stick together, but still it will crumble easily. Use the note below to improve your soil quality.

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Clayey soil: Add as much organic material – compost, composted manure, bleached moss peat, or humus – as you want. If all you add is sand, you risk creating an almost outlined substance. Mix the sand with the bleaching moss peat or compost first and then carefully mix that into the soil. Add organic material every year.

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Sandy or slotted soil: Mix humus soil with the compost or bleached moss peat and add that to the soil.

Alkaline soil: Mix white moss peat or foliage soil in the plant beds to gently lower the pH. Or mix sulfur into the soil for a quicker effect. Some plants, such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and blueberries, need acidic soils.

Footpath in the front yard leads to the front door of the house

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Garden tip: Add organic material to stain before planting. Dabner prefers locally available compost, such as that made by garden centers or private companies. To find a source in your area, see the Yellow Pages under ‘Recycling’.

Typical American front garden – steps in front of the front door

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The plan

Although designed for the Kansas City, Missouri, area (Zone 5), most of the plants will thrive in most of the United States. For best results, plant in full sun; most plants will perform well even partially in the shade. To ensure good results in your area, purchase plants from local gardening stores.

The main part of the plan measures about 8 feet by 6 feet deep, but the garden could easily be expanded or reduced by changing each number of the plant species.

Planting: diagram and materials

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A. ‘Winter Gem’ boxwood B. Dwarf Alberta spruce C. ‘Crimson Pygmy’ barberry D. ‘Hicks’ yew E. Korean lilac standards F. ‘Powis Castle’ artemisia G. ‘Golden Fleece’ goldenrod H. ‘Becky’ Shasta daisy I. ‘Butterfly Blue’ pincushion flower J. Butterfly bush K. Coreopsis L. ‘Little Spire’ Russian sage M. Stoke’s aster N. ‘Goldsturm’ black-eyed Susan O. ‘May Night’ salvia P. ‘Happy Returns’ daylily Q. ‘Blue River II’ hibiscus R. ‘Purple Smoke’ baptisia S. ‘Gracillimus’ maidengrass T. Assorted annuals

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Beautiful, well-tended garden design

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