Landscaping Ranch-style house

mommy_ishtar(7)January 24, 2012

Hi. My hubby and I bought our first home a little over 2 years ago. Since then, I've done some planting, but would like to have a more cohesive, and complimentary, landscape design - rather than a thrown-together, haphazard look. Lol. I'm willing to (eventually) move/replace any and all current plantings. Due to budget constraints and a new baby on the way, things will have to be done in stages. The house faces NE and we're in zone 7.

Currently, I have azaleas lining the front foundation area, pink knock-outs lining the yard adjacent to the driveway, and a weeping cherry tree in the middle of the front yard - almost directly in line with the edge of the house.

I'd like to stick to fairly low-maintenance plants, but other than that I'm up for just about anything. Just no large-scale trees. For some reason that is very common around here, and for several reasons I just do not like it. I prefer a nice, open, sunny front yard. Thanks in advance for any and all ideas!

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I think low-maintenance always avoid to plant some flower and herb.I selected some small arbors,shrubs,you could read their name in the pic.hope my suggests to work.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 4:18PM
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mommy_i, I think it would be helpful if you can post a photo that is not quite so close up and includes more... left and right of the house and closer to the street. What is outlined in blue, below, is approximately how much more I'm wishing I could see. It would also be good to see an additional view taken from where I'm showing the green arrow... trying to capture, more or less, what's within the yellow line.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 5:35PM
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Thanks, designoline6, for your suggestions - I never even considered extending the front porch area the way you've shown. Certainly gives me something to think about.

Yardvaark - I'll try to get a wider shot, as well as the angled view, tomorrow sometime. I look forward to hearing your thoughts :)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 11:21PM
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Yardvaark - I got the wider shot just now. Tried for the angled shot, to no avail. I'll try for that one again either later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, here's a shot that shows just about the entire front yard.

Some ideas - I'm contemplating placing a medium-height, clumping bamboo at the right corner of the house. Specifically, Fargasia 'Rufa' - I think it would give me some vertical appeal with year-round interest, while both softening the corner and sort of filling the space to the right of the windows. If true to it's description, the height would be right and it is a non-invasive, clumping variety. But I'm lost as to what to plant with it. I've thought about hostas and camellias, as well as some sword leaved bulbs/perrenials - irises and the like.

Also, I liked designoline's general idea of landscaping from the street to the front porch - it really seems to draw the eye to the front door. I'm honestly not real keen on the specifics given, but love the general idea. I was thinking one large bed, perhaps slightly wider at the street than at the front steps, with a slightly meandering pathway right down the center. My idea is for it all to be mulched, with some sort of pavers laid down for the path.

In the past, I've been very fond of edging beds with clumping monkey grass, and have access to tons of the variegated variety for free, so that would be a cost-conscience option for edging.

As for the far left of the yard, at the top of the retaining wall by the driveway - I love the show of pink blossoms my knockout roses give me in the summer, but they obviously have no winter appeal, so while I do like them (in the summer), I'm regretting using them as a solid hedge. Soooo - ideas for that area? I originally chose roses because they'd provide a definite deterrent to any neighborhood children - I'm scared to death of someone getting too close to the edge and falling to the driveway below. So, that would need to be kept in mind. I sort of like the idea of a few plants of pampas grass, but like the roses, it wouldn't be good for year-round interest. Besides, my husband hates the stuff. Lol.

One final note - at some point we'll be completely changing the house colors and probably adding shutters. I'm thinking a "sophisticated" gray for the siding, bright white trim and shutters, and a bold red door (white for the window panels flanking the door). Roof will probably stay pretty much the same, maybe just a teensy bit lighter. Just wanted to throw that in there for any color considerations.

Sorry so long, I've just been brainstorming a lot over the last 24 hours. Any and all thoughts and ideas are very much appreciated. I really do look forward to hearing everyone's input. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 4:31PM
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What are the rough dimensions of the space?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:45PM
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I've been very fond of edging beds with clumping monkey grass... There are things that people do that are not horrible. But neither are they advancing landscape design to a higher level. Sorry. Edging beds with monkey grass falls in that category for me. If the bed is empty (of plants, i.e., just mulch) then edging it does not look anywhere near as good as filling the bed solid with monkey grass. A line of monkey grass dividing a paved area (like a sidewalk) from a lawn is a certifiable sin and a person can go to hell for it! (When in school studying horticulture, my very first attempt at landscaping--for a friend--involved doing something exactly along these lines!) It is every bit as useful as installing curbing between hard floors and carpeted areas on the inside of a house... which, thank goodness, no one would ever do.

If you need protection to keep kids/people away from the top of the wall, I'd suggest a w i d e band of low groundcover planted solid. People generally don't walk through such things unless they have a specific enticement. I'm guessing you're somewhere around Atlanta (or in a similar zone) so Asiatic Jasmine would be a good choice. (Monkey grass too tall.) This would also offer a "carpet runner" appearance that visually leads the eye of passers-by to the front door. I see the need for a pathway, but in the short distance, I think straight would be better than meandering. To me, meandering would tend toward looking contrived. (What a path there really needs is actual construction...leveling and a retaining wall, but I don't think you're ready for that.) I would let a groundcover spill over the wall... not have anything tall along the edge (as you now have roses... as if they were damming up an imaginary, but empty, lake. It just doesn't look, "feel" or seem right.)

I would not have anything tall in the "carpet runner" area (if that's where the cherry is.) It will block the view of the entrance. Tall should be off to one side or another...UNLESS YOU GROW IT TALL ENOUGH TO MAINTAIN AN UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW BELOW. No problem with that.

The shubs you have below the windows on R side of house will be fine for low hedge. Trim the tops level (in spite of the slope) so that they give the house a stabile appearance.

While I am a die-hard bamboo lover, I think flowering trees such as dogwood, redbud or sourwood types of things would be a more appealing "look" at ends of house. But bamboo could be somewhere! (Fyi, the type you mention does not like heat/humidity.) Under these trees would be a perfect place for SOLID beds of monkey grass.

I'd put some annual color either side of steps. The left of porch needs some big heap of weeping-ish-ness that does not get tall enough to encroach on the window above. Hmm... nothing is jumping out at me yet. Well, actually, the first thing that just did is lespedeza. That's the kind of look that would work there.

Some big mounding shrubs at the ends of the house would make good backdrops for what's in front of them. But I can't see those end walls so don't have specific suggestions.

Where to put those roses? I still can't see far left and right corners. Not sure, but can't really see those roses in the above mentioned places.

The very large blank space on the wall above the garage would bug me if I lived there. I'd find some art or decoration for it. I don't know what, but I'd be hunting. Heck, a big asterisk made out of copper would work. :)

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 8:22PM
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Scotty - I'm not actually sure of the dimensions. I'll see if I can't get them in the next day or two.

Yardvaark - wow. Lol. I never really thought about the monkey grass thing in terms of if it made sense or was "right" - it is just something that seems to be sort-of, kind-of commonly done around here. What you said makes perfect sense though - now that I do actually think about it. I actually love all of the ideas you put out there for me.

After I posted earlier, I looked at it, and thought about it, and came to the same conclusion as you as to the pathway - meandering just for the sake of it would be silly, to say the least. And as for the space between the two windows - Yes! That has bothered me every day since we bought the place. Obviously just not enough to do anything about it yet. Lol. I've been thinking something like what you said, just never have come across the "right" thing.

I love, love, love your idea of the low groundcover on either side of the proposed path - especially letting it cascade over the edge of the retaining wall! As a matter of fact, there isn't a thing about your suggestions that I don't like. And the illustration helps me to visualize everything so well. Thank you!

On the far left is just a narrow area, maybe 5 feet at the front widening to about 8 feet at the house, between our driveway and the property line - I'd like to turn that whole side into a bed, but again - not really sure what to use there. There isn't very much to the far right, either. The shrubs you can see on the far right are our neighbors' and they run right down the property line. All that is missing from the photo there is a continuation of what you *can* see, with the exception that it is slightly more leveled out leading to those dividing shrubs. I hope that makes sense. If not, or if you want different photos anyway, I'd be happy to take them. I just couldn't really get any wider with my point-and-shoot camera (no wide lens capability) and the neighbors' short driveway (couldn't get any further back).

We are actually pretty close to Chattanooga, only a couple hours north of Atlanta - pretty much the same climate/weather.

As for the roses and weeping cherry - I think I'll just relocate them into the back yard, where I can be less focused on how everything will work with the house, since the view will be from the house instead of looking right at it. Plus I have *a lot* more room to work with. We're on a 1/2 acre plot, and while some of it in the back is heavily wooded, the majority of our plot is what I'd call the "usable" part of our back yard.

Anyway - you have given me *a lot* of good ideas - I've just got to implement them! But for now, I must go tuck my boys in bed, so I'll end this long-winded post. Lol. Thanks once again

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 9:45PM
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M_ishtar, given that you're north of Atlanta, I'm not sure if asiatic jasmine would grow in your climate so if you consider it, be sure to check that out first. Another choice that would be spring flowering is 'Bath pink' Dianthus. Or 'Cheddar pink' (though the color is pretty strong.) Neither of these will cascade, however. Blue rug juniper would be low and spill over the wall. Glad you like the suggestions. I'm just trying to give you the basics, but there's plenty of room for "finessing."

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 11:46AM
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