Okay, I now yearn for more formal borders

Today I gardened all day. It was 82 sunny degrees. I had tons of ornamental grasses to cut down and they were everywhere. The front garden is such a big mish mash of things I am truly wanting to formulate a design and make it a bit more permanent. I want open spots to change perennials around and use annuals as I seasonally change the beds, but this constant upkeep is getting tiresome. I never gardened neatly. It's not me. However, I find by letting the front yard become too wild, the neighbors may not share my sense of style and I think it's unfair to them. The back garden is mine to do what I want, but in the front I really do need to get something more foundational and sturdy boned.
So, since design is my worst or least known subject, can anyone recommend any shrubs which will have vast differences in color, texture and height which will thrive in very hot Texas summers, with little water in blazing sun? I want plants to have different foliage colors, possibly evergreen...anyone?
Victoria
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escape wrote:

Native plants will be your best bet.
--
Travis in Shoreline (just North of Seattle) Washington
USDA Zone 8b
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ornamental
big
bit
annuals
tiresome.
front
think
the
boned.
any
will
want
Happy new year, Vic! I should think that any zone 8 xeriscape plant would work for you.......rosemary, santolina, salvias, lavenders, etc. Also found this site which offers a pretty extensive list of xeric shrubs (and other plants) suitable for your area: http://www.sanantonio.gov/dsd/pdf/udc_appendixE_04.pdf
pam - gardengal
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opined:

Thanks Pam, and Happy New Year to you too!
I know the plants, what I am poor at is putting them together in any sort of order. I think I'm going to spend the few hundred for a designer to come out for an hour and give me ideas. All it needs is an hour and a piece of graph paper for me to jot down ideas. I have not found anything in print to guide a design using evergreen, native shrubs for our area. San Antonio is really 9a.
I know someone who will come out for a few hundred for a whole hour. That may be the way to go. I have also been driving around some public spaces seeing what they have done. There are ordinances for public landscaping and they must be xeric and min. 75% native.
Off to the store to see what all is available now. It's been in the 80s after a week with nothing higher than 40. This is very hard on plants.
v
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When you think formal think in twos. A pair of shrubs flanking the front door, Like those tall skinny youpons I can never remember the name of. Then carry on with two similar plantings on both sides. Maybe two really good looking pots with whatever repeated, but not necessarily exactly the same. Keep the bed lines simple. Oval lawn area is always good. Limit the colors to just a few different colors in bloom at a time. A unifying color helps. White is classic. Lots of local shrubs to choose from that bloom at different times of the year. Just keep the main blooming color the same. Orchid tree and white boneset come to mind right off. If you have enough sun a white antique rose or two. White lantana. Then decide on a color for the different seasons if you want a lot of change. Maybe blue in spring, purple in summer, yellow in fall. Lots of red berries to have in the winter. Choose what you like it can change every year if you want. Repeat the same plants a lot. With the foliage think about texture. Mix in some grasses like blue muhly. Rosemary gives great blue color and texture. Aster frikari(sp?) Has good red foliage in the winter. Just think about the different seasons. And don't have too many different plants. Repeat your choices to unify the beds. A specimen plant or two can really make an area glow. Find combinations that you like and repeat them. There are lots of good books out there. But it is probably stuff you already know. Just think about it a little differently.
Cea
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