Deerly in Need of Advice
After 30 years, the extensive line of yew bushes in front of our house needs to be replaced. We would like to add plants in a variety of colors and shapes, but are restricted to boxwood and native grasses because deer eat everything else. They even have started to nibble on the new growth of the yews each spring. We would appreciate your input on a solution for this unusual challenge.
—Deerly in Need of Advice
Dear Deerly in Need of Advice,
Your story is a sad one. From your submitted photos, I can see your long ranch home is handsomely landscaped with well-trimmed hedges and perfectly placed accent trees. It is unfortunate that your nicely matured garden is being eaten by our expanding deer population. I would leave well enough alone design-wise and just replace your current planting types with deer-proof (or at least deer-resistant) species.
The main switch is replacing the existing yew hedges with boxwoods. I suggest underplanting these with Aqua ground cover and a row of Liriope grass. This adds a new finishing layer to the planting beds = and introduces a purple color scheme that is reiterated by a trellis of New England clematis with a festive butterfly bush in front. I also recommend terra cotta flowerpots brimming with yellow daffodils and ornamental grasses behind the boxwoods to introduce soft, contrasting texture.
Finally, I would gently powerwash the stone retaining wall to make it look like architecture, not landscaping. You can learn about deer-proof plants on various websites, and I’m sure nearby plant nurseries also
can be of assistance.
Hope that helps,
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