Boxwood Growth Over Time

Boxwood, Q and A

This is a two part post in response to a comment left a few weeks ago by a reader. Kim’s question was two fold, first how long before her tiny boxwoods would grow to create a hedge. And second to recommend plants to use between a boxwood border and hydrangea. I hope this helps you out Kim and would love to see after photos!

Boxwood Growth Over Time:
There are a few rules with planting boxwoods for optimal growth. First check the rate of growth for the species you are planting. A species like Buxus ‘Faulkner’ is a medium grower in full sun and should be planted with a 2′ center. While slower growers like Buxus ‘Green Velvet’ are much smaller and should be planted on 1’6″ to 2′ centers. Next, boxwoods like cool roots so mulch with 2″ of leaf compost/mulch.

The final variables on growth will depend on sun exposure, water and the organic matter in the soil, but below is a time lapse between 2005 to 2011 of boxwoods I planted here in Central Ohio. (The boxwoods used are Buxus ‘Faulkner’).

Here are the Boxwoods planted in 2005.
Later in the season in 2005.
Here are the boxwoods from 2008.
Between 2005 and 2008, we trimmed the top and fronts to encourage horizontal growth. 
Another view in 2008. 
And finally, here are the boxwoods in 2011, completely hedged together. 
Another view from 2011. 

Green, White, Silver and Purple:
I think this is a classic color combination for the garden, and even use it in my own landscape. It works well with almost any type of house style and depending on the plants used can go traditional to modern. For Kim’s particular landscape I recommend Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ for the pop of purple flower and silver blue foliage. Also you can plant Alliums for some spring flowers. Both of these grow well in Central Ohio, however the alliums require full sun.

Photo of Nepeta.
Image from Flickr.
Photo of  Nepeta.
Image from Flickr
You could also use English Lavender, however in Central Ohio it is not a long living perennial.
Image from Flickr
Spring Allium bloom. You can also get alliums in white. 

Design 101: Brick Paver Patterns

Brick, Design 101

This is my first post in what I hope will be an ongoing series of Landscape Design 101’s on popular styles and terms used. My goal is to provide the basic knowledge for novice designers to either do a project themselves or talk to a professional installer/designer about what they would like for their home. If there are any particular topics you would like for me to feature, let me know.

My first 101 is the top four brick patterns used in the garden; Running Bond, Stacked Bond, Basket Weave, and Herringbone. There are millions of ways these patterns can be installed, intermixed and used with different types of hard surfaces. Once you know these basic patterns you can start experimenting. 

Four Basic Brick Patterns
Running Bond is one of the most common patterns used. It is easy to lay and  works great in areas that are tricky shapes .
This is a very simple pattern, but not commonly used.  I could see this simplistic pattern used in a modern landscape, compared to a more traditional space.
Depending on the size of your brick this can be done with two or three bricks.  
There are two types of Herringbone patterns, 45 degree and 90 degree. You can see the difference by comparing the next photo. The 45 Degree is the most difficult and most expensive to lay since it has the most cuts and wasted material. 
In comparing to the 45 degree herringbone, you can see that this method is easier to lay, and would require much less cutting. 
In laying bricks a Soldier (or Sailor) Course is often used to transition between styles or along the edges. You can see from the photo below the use of a Soldier Course in both cases.

Four Types in Use
Now, here are examples of the four different types of patterns used in the landscape. You can see the different types of patterns can be used in may different types of landscape styles. (I am missing an example of stacked bond, but will keep looking.)

90 degree Herringbone walkway

45 Degree Herringbone on the thin edge of the brick.
Running Bond. See how it emphasis’s the circular bed.
Running Bond on thin edge of brick.

Basket Weave that transitions into Running Bond.
Image from Flickr.

A Little bit more on Bricks. 
There are two main types of bricks (handmade and factory), and within those two types there are many different color and finish options. I typically prefer handmade bricks that have a little age and quirkiness to them, but you if you do your research you can find some factory bricks that look handmade.

There are also two main type of installation methods for brick walkways, driveways and patios; Wet and Dry. This is totally your personal preference for installation and aesthetic. Wet means it is set in concrete on a concrete base. Dry means it is on a stone aggregate base and is kept in place by using and edger (Metal or plastic). The joint are then filled with sand (I prefer using a poly-sand).  All the images above are dry, but below are two examples of wet. Which ever way you choice, make sure the sub-base is sufficient for the installation method, planned use and climate.

Source: nick mccullough
Running Bond (wet laid)
Wet laid herringbone and running bond