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A bit of earth Landscape solutions: Front-entrance makeover includes water feature

  • Published Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013, at 3:07 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Sep. 5, 2013, at 3:07 p.m.

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The front entrance is one of the most important parts of a house’s landscape. It’s the area that the public sees while passing by, and visitors get a close-up look whenever they approach the door.

Debbie Moody of Wichita wrote in to our Landscape Solutions feature seeking help with revamping her front entrance to make it not only more welcoming but to perhaps add some zing in the form of a water feature.

We asked Mark Moore of Scenic Landscapes Water Garden Nursery to take a look and give his recommendations. His ideas for this south-facing entry, with garden beds on either side of the front walk, may get you thinking of ways you can redo parts of your yard, too.

Landscape problem

Moody describes her west Wichita yard this way: “After living in this home for 20 years, we are in need of a makeover at the front entrance. This rectangular bed has an overgrown rose of Sharon that needs to be moved so it can grow to its potential. We've always imagined a water feature or a fountain in this bed but need a professional to help guide us. I've always wanted this area to be a colorful, welcoming area for our neighbors and guests when they come to visit.”

Landscape solution

Mark Moore of Scenic Landscapes Water Garden Nursery came up with a plan “to create a nicely balanced and pleasing environment to live in and enjoy.”

He recommends a water feature in the form of a bubbling rock, along with boulders and a combination of removing some plants, transplanting others and adding new ones that match the sunny exposure and other conditions of the site.

Here’s what he would do:

• Add a bubbling-rock water feature (pondless) to the west of the front entry step, to add sound and visual water movement. Grasses in the form of five Silvery Sunproof liriope along with two Sum & Substance hostas would be planted around the water feature to soften and blend the surrounding stones into a pleasant entry.

(Moody originally was thinking of a water feature in the form of a fountain pouring over a granite ball. She mentioned it to Moore, who said that he had seen that type of fountain and found it serene. But in the case of her front yard, he recommends something less formal, i.e., the bubbling rock.)

• Place Arkansas moss boulders in both beds, to serve several purposes: to add structure and character, to provide year-round interest, to blend different elements together while also offering a pleasant contrast in places, and to anchor and balance the landscape area.

• Remove the existing threadleaf coreopsis in both beds because it is a weak presence, along with the rose of Sharon, which is overwhelming the area.

• Transplant the existing spirea bushes from the west bed to the east bed, where they might look more impressive massed together.

• In the west bed, keep the existing gold euonymus, a Knockout rose and Hameln grass along the west edge.

On the east edge of that bed, add three Little Henry sweetspires, three salvias, catmint and sedum, from north to south. The sweetspire bushes will add interest year-round, with white spring flowers, red fall color, and dark red stems in winter.

• In the east bed, add an accent at the front entry step in the form of a gold-colored barberry in columnar form.

• Leave existing evergreens and a Sargent crabapple at the north end of the east bed. Add a mass of five catmints between the new gold euonymus and the evergreens, and continuing to the crabapple. Plant three Frances Williams hostas under the crabapple, and 10 Beacon Silver lamium at their edge. Add three Drift roses to the south of the catmints, and seven salvias alongside the transplanted spirea. Nine Stokes asters would fill in the south part of the bed.

• To finish, add compost to the beds and shredded cedar mulch as a top dressing.

Source: Mark Moore, Scenic Landscapes Water Garden Nursery, 5911 W. Maple, 316-942-4861, www.sceniclandscapeswgn.com.

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