View Full Version : Question with a design

04-12-2008, 05:04 PM
Can someone give me some input on how they design long narrow areas. I have a 46' bed down the side of a home that I need to design. I have a few things I am going to "hide" with 3 dwarf burning bushes half way down the bed. I have always planted in 3's or 5's and I don't think it will look right on such a long stretch. I guess I am looking for someone to tell me it's alright to plant with even numbers, or give me an idea to keep the design from looking too uniform.

This is going to sound weird to most of you, but in the last 5 years I have done all my designs by laying the plants out then planting them. I will look at the area, decide what plants we want to use, figure roughly how many we will need of each, then lay everything out untill I/we like somthing. Then I return what we don't use.

Thanks for any input. MM

04-12-2008, 06:31 PM
What are you hiding? Sometimes things like that make good transition points. Got a pic?

04-12-2008, 09:52 PM
When I have to stay narrow, I tend to use smaller support plants to infill and keep some variety and rythem to the planting.

You might try using the shrubs that you usually use in ones and threes rather than threes and fives. Then use smaller plants - I'm often using lavender, daylillies, shasta daisies, pinks, and some small ornamental grasses - in threes or ones to fill the gaps between the shrubs. You also get a lot of summer color by doing this. Think of the smaller plants just as you would if they were shrubs.

PS. I don't think there is anything wrong with how you are laying out your plants in the field. It is a great way to learn composition. It is how I learned from my father when I was a teenager.

The area in front of the wall below was done similar to what I described. There is a 2 year difference between the photos (and a neighbor built a house in the background behind the garage).



04-12-2008, 11:16 PM
I am hiding a gas meter, a water meter, and a window well, sorry I don't have any pics.

AGLA thanks for the input, I would like to use 1's and 3's but can't seem to make myself do it.
I think I will try on this job, because he said they want lots of color with little up-keep, so lillys and daisies would be great.

Thanks again, any other input? MM

04-13-2008, 08:41 AM
Do your threes in triangles which you probably do already. Just realize that you wn't be able to bump the tip of the triangle out in a narrow area. Fill the gaps between the 1s and 3s by inverting the triangle so the point goes into the narrow bed and keep the infill out. The important thing is not to spread the plants out evenly, but to allow the grouped plants to act as a separate unit from the other species. The pictures above are not the best example of this.


This is a pool side with a 2' wide hedge and planting bed next to the pool decking (pool decking is a mix or rectangular and irregular stone with a stone banding separating them). The bigger shrubs are two different varieties of hydrangea with shrub roses in between and daylilies out in front. The hatched area will be annuals. The bed is roughly 4' at its narrowest.

If the beds are really narrow, climbers on trellises add mass without taking up space. Then you can limit the amount of bigger shrubs without making the planting look dinky.

Another thing that you can do is to plant trees with branching that is 6' or more above the ground. That allows you to add a lot without interfering with the human space because only the trunks are in that space.

Different situations present different opportunities and constraints.

04-13-2008, 10:46 AM
Hey thanks for the pic. I have a few ideas now that I am sure will work. I was thinking I had to use "shrubs" but now I think I can provide a much better landscape by using smaller plants clustered.

Thanks MM