Gardening/Landscaping help- what to do?

I am an amateur who has never done any type of landscaping or gardening. I want to spruce up my front yard especially around the trees and shrubs in my yard. I do not have the foggiest idea as to what plants/flowers to use. Please help me with my yard.
q gardening landscaping help
Shrub on side of front door. What can I do to give it more curb appeal?
q gardening landscaping help
Biggest issue. What can I do with this? What plants/flowers are best for this area? Need step by step directions. Is Mulch something to use? How do I plant with it? What do I do with the stones?
q gardening landscaping help
Any suggestions here is helpful to give more curb appeal.
q gardening landscaping help
Front yard. Grass has been laid in dark area but did not grow. Any suggestions,?
  12 answers
  • Gk Gk on May 24, 2018
    I would plant hostas around the big tree. Remove the smaller shrubs. Cover that area with mulch. As for the shrub by the house--cover that area with mulch and add a small lawn statue. I have 2 rabbits that look like they are made from stone. I would leave the stones. Add a few potted geraniums to the patio area. As for the grass--rake the area well, add some fresh black dirt, sprinkle in some seed mixed with fertilizer--Scotts makes a good one--and sprinkle about an inch of black dirt over. Keep it watered/wet until it sprouts. Fertilize in spring and fall for nice grass.

  • Cat Cat on May 25, 2018
    can't tell if the area next to the house gets alot of sun, but you can plant some perennials (come back every year) - salvia, or tickseed (coreopsis) are easy to care for.

  • Erin Hugar Chavez Erin Hugar Chavez on May 25, 2018
    You can always put some ornamental grasses in there! They typically need cut back for the winter, but they grow back in the spring (in Houston, it won't be a long "down" season.)

    Find something to plant, fertilize, mulch on top. It's pretty easy! Make sure to water quite a bit this time of year because the heat will dry up the soil quick!

  • Maura Campbell Maura Campbell on May 25, 2018
    It is very important to do a little due diligence before investing in the plant material and the time to do the work! Spend a little time in the yard at different times of the day to get an idea of how much sun these areas get and at what time of the day. Do they get full Houston sun all day, some of the day, morning, afternoon (Hostas need shade)? Is there irrigation or are you going to have to hand water? Do you want color: In the leaves, with flowers? How big or tall will they get(many of the grasses get very tall!)? Are the plants annuals? Do they come back next year? Do they drop their leaves in the summer? What will these plantings look like in the different seasons? There are charts available that will let you know what growth zone you are in. You will want to plant what will do well in your growth zone and soil conditions. Do NOT assume that the plants that you buy from Lowe's or Home Depot will thrive where you are going to plant them. If you haven't done much gardening, start by talking to your local ag extension agent (even urban areas have them!) and your local mom and pop nurseries and plant stores. Your community may have a Master Gardener club. These folks generally LOVE to share what they know about plants with you! All these resources will be very knowledgeable about what will grow in your area, where to place the plants, what soil additives you will need, how much water is required. Planting what is well suited to your yard will save you a lot of time and money. These resources can also educate you with respect to how much work is involved in the maintenance of the plants you pick. I would move away from using all the rock to ring these gardens. You will want to use edging that will require less weedeating and be easier to keep up. You will want to use rock to accent or draw the eye to where you want the focus to be. Once you have gotten the input and know what you want, the work should go fast! Good Luck!

  • Rose Middleton Rose Middleton on May 25, 2018
    Get rid of those rocks! They look untidy, and attract slugs and centipedes that will devastate your new plantings. Edging makes it easier to mow and "weed wack" the surrounding grass.

    There are lots of nice garden edging options out there, or you can use your rocks in a more organized fashion. Go here for pics and ideas:

  • Lois Weissinger McGarvey Lois Weissinger McGarvey on May 25, 2018
    I also would get rid of the rocks especially at the back. I would also suggest making it wider over to the other wall And shaping it. i might even move the shrub out away from the house and side walk a bit more. without seeing the front of the house! it is hard to tell if I would actually move it. Use mulch after planting. The other comments above give good advice about finding out how much sun the garden gets. Take photos during the day at different times and take that to the garden centres for help.

  • Susan Swasey Susan Swasey on May 26, 2018
    great ideas from all of the above.

  • Joan Stanley Joan Stanley on May 27, 2018
    Houston is a gardeners paradise because the soil is acidic and plenty of rain. I would plant Azalea bushes around the tree because they are SO beautiful. Anything the garden nurseries sell should do well. Just ask for easy care plants since you're new to it.
    I suggest you lay a strong weed block over the planting area before planting anything. Otherwise grass will fight its way in and ruin things. Mulch will help control that a bit as well.

  • Ellis Ellis on Jun 02, 2018
    Be careful with the mulch, though. Don't hill it up around the tree trunk (sometimes called making a volcano). It will slowly kill the tree. Keep the mulch back from the trunk of trees and bushes, spread it a few inches deep away from the trunks.

  • Lenda Lenda on Jun 05, 2018
    Thank you Ellis. I appreciate your answer. Will use your suggestions.