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Plants for pots on natural stone north facing wall


By Tim441

Somerset, United Kingdom Gb

I have a natural stone north facing wall that has our front door & windows. In front is a large tarmac driveway that i feel will look better with some plants near the house. I am thinking of:
1. several pots (stone and/or wood barrels?)
2. Some perennial plants with additional seasonal planting?
3. Larger central feature plant between the 2 windows?
4. plants under the windows should not grow too tall - max 600 - 900mm
5. may include shrub, small tree even?
6. probably not plants that grow directly against the wall as there is acco drainage that we need to clear easily & avoid too many leaves etc dropping in it

There is a high beech hedge along the eastern side (left as you look at the photo). West side is reasonably light & open.

any input welcomed!




It does look quite bare at the moment, doesn't it? I'd say cruise your local garden centres and plant anything you like - just make sure you use large enough containers for the shrubs.
You could link the house and garden by using similar containers and planting out to either side, leaving gaps for access to the other sides of the house. There's a low wall with a plant in it to the right - you could place containers parallel with it on the tarmac side to make more of a statement, provided you don't need the space to park or turn round.
It looks as though you have plenty of space in the rest of the garden to plant out anything that gets too big for its container.

29 May, 2011


thanks for that! Yes... bare & stark right now. Planners insisted on an exceptionally large parking/turning area.. and it is now newly tarmac.... But with the right planting i am hoping it will look good! Any other input welcomed!

29 May, 2011


First thing I'd say is choose your containers carefully - try to pick similar ones, because a range of materials and colours can look scrappy. Also, as Beattie says, make them larger sizes - those packs of 3 ceramic ones you can find in the garden centre are really too small, especially the smallest one of the 3. For shrubs, you'd need a pot that's a minimum of 2 feet deep by 12 feet wide. For permanent shrub planting, I'd also recommend lining the pots on the inside (not the base) with something like bubblewrap - you cut to fit and keep it against the outside walls and then fill with compost. This adds protection to the roots of plants in winter, particularly in metal, terracotta or ceramic containers. I prefer to use that soft, thin, white and warm to touch packing or wrapping material, but I can't tell you what its called because I don't know - I've often got electrical equipment wrapped in it inside all the other packing and its very useful.
The pots also should have drainage holes and you may want to consider raising them off the ground slightly with something like pot feet or, for pots you might want to move around a bit, those little trolley tray things with wheels on.
As for the actual planting, because it's north facing, that can be pretty chilly in the winter, so for permanent shrubs, look at things like Skimmias for against the house wall under the windows (you'd need more than one if you want berries, they're male and female plants with one or two exceptions), and/or Prunus Otto Luyken both these are fine with shade, which up against the house will be. For the centre wall, Camellia perhaps - I'd recommend a red one, most of the others show the brown blotching of the flowers too soon. Note that both Skimmia and Camellia need ericaceous compost, as does Pieris, another evergreen that's good in pots - there's a variegated version of this which looks good all year round and is smaller than most of them. I seem to have written a book already, so I think I'll stop now...

29 May, 2011


I was wondering if rather than across the front of the house you might consider a circle in the centre which you drive around? A raised circular border to match the round window filled with colour slate/stone and one very big pot with a shrub in it or a conversation piece such as a large sundial? If not circular area a simple hexagon would go with the roof line?

29 May, 2011


thanks for the additional thoughts... and writing a book!
Its not possible to have anything in the middle as the drive is not quite big enough (but a worthwhile idea to check!).

Good advice on the pots and bubble wrap idea. I think i have some high quality stuff left over from the building works. Will look for big pots and maybe oak barrels.

Camelia sounds good....

will not rush to get it done as its such a visible spot and if well done will set the house off well... and also reduce the impact of all the tarmac

29 May, 2011

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