Over the last few days, I have been spending the afternoon outside weeding out the garden beds, and actually pulling out all of the weeds that are growing in our grass. We also still have a good amount of pine needles in the front garden bed from where the trees were. There is about a six inch layer of pine needles in that garden bed because the previous owner of the house never did a single thing to the landscaping, so years of dead needles have layered up under where the trees were. And actually if you look at the photo below, all of the orange/rust color that you see in that garden bed is dead pine needles.
In an attempt to get rid of the needles, I raked a section that was probably about 4'x6' and it filled an empty 32-gallon trash can to the top. With the entire section being about 12' wide by 90' long, it's going to take quite a lot of trash cans/yard waste bags to get the area cleaned up.
Also, now that the trees are gone, there is a direct view of the side of the house, which is where the air conditioning unit and all of the utility hookups are.
This is quite the eye sore, especially since, as you can see, we removed two of the burning bushes that were against the house so that the new air conditioner could actually fit. We will eventually dig out the rest of those burning bushes, but we haven't gotten to it yet. I have plans to build a shield for the unit and the other utilities on the side of the house, but it will have a hinged door so that everything can be accessed. Don't worry, I'll post a DIY when I make it.
In the meantime, however, we have been trying to figure out what we would like to plant. I know that we will be planting an adolescent white birch tree, and we will be keeping the rhododendrons that are planted in that space. Other than that though? We have no idea, except that we want some flowering plants since most of the ones along the house are evergreens. I love hydrangeas, but I'm worried about them and the rhododendrons getting too big eventually.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, help?
What would you plant in that big of a space if you had a completely blank slate?