Asked April 24, 2017, 3:00 PM EDT

My house faces east, and I have a big empty wall in front (faces south) that needs some plants near it. In this patch I have a row of hostas that I just divided up front, it is about 4 ft wide. I think I would rather have native and low maintenance evergreens so there is something there during winter, maybe around 3-4 ft high? This photo is around 1:45, so I start to lose sun around that time. I'm planning on adding rocks, not bark mulch after I finish cleaning up and tearing out old weed barrier. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for any help!!

Hennepin County Minnesota landscaping horticulture

4 Responses

That may not be the best location for your hostas. They are more of a shade or morning sun plant. They definitely will not do well with rock. You could put in arborvitae or juniper in that location if you want evergreen. Check the labels for the mature size (height and width) so you do not get plants that will overpower the area. I do advise against rock mulch. Your plants will do much better with organic mulch. You would not have to put down landscape fabric and only have to top it off a little each year. If you do put down rock, make sure you have a good quality landscape fabric. You don't want it to tear and have rocks start to move down into your soil. Any evergreen you plant will need to be kept well watered until the ground freezes each fall to prevent winter burn. Evergreens do not become dormant so they lose moisture all winter but cannot replenish once the ground is frozen so have to go into winter full of moisture.

Thanks for replying so quickly! I probably wasn't clear, but those hostas do get morning sun until around 1. They have been doing great there for years (the previous owners say, and they looked good when I moved in last year). A few neighbors have their hostas all in rock and are doing wonderfully, so are those more the exception than the rule? I won't be laying down any more landscape fabric, we are tearing out as much as we can (original stuff from early '90s) and I'd rather just deal with weeding. Weeding a lot, I know. The poor earthworms were stuck in fibers of fabric :( Thank you for information on watering those evergreens. My neighbor said she tried several arborvitae from different nurseries and she had winter burn every time, I'll definitely pass this on to her! And I'll check out arborvitae now that I know how to deal with winter burn. Thanks!

If you are digging out the landscape fabric and putting down rocks, that is a recipe for misery. Rocks migrate down in the soil and you will be adding rocks year after year without the ability to remove them. I speak from experience. I have landscape rocks 5 feet down because my husband did not put down fabric. Either fabric and rocks or no fabric and organic mulch.

Oh ok, that makes sense. Right now there is about 3 inches of mulch, five inches of rock, plastic and cloth weed barrier and then more rock under that. I'm trying to clean up this disaster, so I certainly don't want any more in future. Thanks so much for all of your advice!!