Ideas for Urban 'Front Yard'

ces797(6)March 21, 2011

Hi Guys

I need some help with my front yard. I want to change it up a bit since what is currently there is either dying or doesn't look that great to me (all planted by previous home owner)

I need a creative eye though because I am just completely not sure what to do. I got several quotes to put in a retaining wall but it's going to be between 3K-5K, therefore is out of the question. I don't trust myself to do it either. I'm attaching some pictures below...I know it doesn't look THAT bad but this picture is a bit old. The two evergreens are twice as tall now and one is dead. The azaleas/rhodos are now super leggy and the strange curly cue boxwood design is both eating the japanese maple and was trampled by something this winter leaving huge holes.

The other thing that really bothers me is that it's ALL mulched. Last year I added some daylillies to try and fill it up a bit. My front yard is at that size where it's almost too small for a lawn but too big to be all mulched.

House faces east and is surrounded by mature trees and neighbors evergreen pine so it's definitely "part shade"

It is sloped which is part of what is making the design concept hard for me to figure out (without a retaining wall) and the other part is my front door is not's on the left hand side. Which is throwing me off when I try to think of a symmetrical design and I just LOVE formal landscaping.

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated...

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Maybe urban people enjoy nature,greenrock too. people tire symmetrical formal every thing.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:06PM
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    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:20PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Too bad that knowing how to manipulate images with photoshop doesn't necessarily translate to having a good design sensibility, or an understanding of how designs should relate to the surroundings. A real problem with scale in these photo shopped images; what is shown being added isn't actually at the same scale as the photo. They are interesting little compositions, however, just not necessarily an answer to your dilemma.

I'd think it would go a long ways towards making this front yard more of a garden if you simply added a unifying flowering ground cover between the Day lilies. I don't know where you are, or what your particular climate is, but I'd look into flowering things such as Campanula species, or Vinca minor 'Illumination', or Ajuga, or grassy foliaged things like Acorus gramineus'Ogon', Ophiopogon japonicus, Brunneras, Heucheras, etc. Plants with variegated or yellow/chartreuse foliage would contrast nicely with all the greens, and brighten it up in summer when completely shaded. Maybe add some spring blooming bulbs to the mix as well, something that might naturalize in your area.

You might also check out your local nursery and get recommendations for your area for shade plants, and things that will have different seasons of bloom. Repeating whatever you use in drifts or large blocks may be visually more effective than "one of this" and "two of those". If you were in California, I'd have lots more suggestions, but I'm not used to designing around cold winters...

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:15PM
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Try to get large plants, like a viburnum, in the center back toward the river birch tree. Then get smaller plants in toward the sidewalk area where the address number sign is. If it is fully planted then the grade change won't make a difference. I would also move the boxwoods to go along the side yard as a fence toward the neighbor. Also that way the japanese maple can get some more sun and room to grow.

Small plants like those daylilies you planted should be grouped together toward the front. Look up perrenials and shrubs that do well in the shade and that don't get too big.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 6:01PM
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I live in Central Ohio so Zone 5-6ish
I actually like the idea about moving the boxwood to the side of the yard as sort of a divider between my yard and the neighbors, do established boxwood take kindly to being transplanted?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 4:36PM
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