Front Yard Foundation Bed Renovation
I moved the family into a new home last June and feel like I'm finally at the point where I can make a plan of attack for the front yard landscaping. The house sits on about half an acre of what once upon a time was a well cared for yard. From the looks of things when we bought the place, little to no yard maintenance had been done in the last 3 to 5 years with gardens having largely died out and all of the trees and shrubs being overgrown. I spent the Summer and Fall cutting and clearing the bulk of the property but honestly it was an exercise in keeping up with the explosive new growth.
Here is the front yard as it looks today:
For 2014 I would like to renovate the foundation beds along the front of the house and add stone borders to the island beds in the yard. I've already picked out my border stone and am just waiting for a warmer weekend to lay it down. I've come here looking for your advice on the foundation beds. I plan to remove pretty much all of the existing plants and start over with a cohesive theme that makes sense with the relative symmetry of the home. I'm looking for a dark green evergreen bush that could be used in groupings to either side of the front porch. My earlier research brought me to Otto Luyken laurels to fill this roll. I would love to hear some suggestions on other options or possible partner plants to add interest.
On the left I'd like to maintain some kind of height underneath the upper window on the left side. There simply isn't as much room between the windows on the right side so a vertical element may not be in the cards there. Also on the right, I plan to end the bed where the walk tuns toward the door. That yew positioned out in the yard has a date planned with a tow rope and my truck. I'll also be removing the mulch bed on the yard side of the walk and sodding that area in. Here are pictures of the left and right sides as they exist now.
As you can see, the current selection of plants is pretty random. It would also seem that whomever picked the shrubs in the beginning didn't trouble themselves with worrying about how large the specimens would eventually grow. Neither of these are mistakes that I'd like to revisit.
The porch area is proving to be a bit troubling to me due to its varied 2'-3' raised height. I would like to maintain evergreens here but I don't want them creating a wall in front of the porch. The bed has about 8' of depth between the porch and the walk. The mulch bed in the foreground of the picture will be replaced with sod.
Any suggestions or thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Please remember that I'm planning on taking this back to a blank slate so I'll be open to all possibilities. Hopefully taking care of the planning now will allow me plenty of time to make my changes early in the Spring before the weather gets too hot.