Need landscaping plant ideas for new house, PIC

stayn2busy(9)March 31, 2012

We've been in our house for a year now; the inside is all done, now to the outside. I am not a gardener at all... actually have trouble keeping a house plant alive. SO.. I really need some ideas from those that know plants and what they like and preferably low maintenance. I've included a pic of the front of the house which faces east, so plenty of morning sun. We are on a farm, so deer could be a problem, however, I'm not sure they would be brave enough to come up to the house. I would like it tiered with three rows of different plants offering some color. To the left in the picture is the garage which has a double window and a single window. I want the landscaping to start at the corner by the garage and go around the side of the house. I might have a take another picture so you can see the whole front. Any ideas, thoughts would be greatly appreciate it.

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yardvaark

"I would like it tiered with three rows of different plants..."

This seems like an attempt to impose a pat solution that you've seen somewhere else. Is there any thought about responding to what your architecture is offering? Do you want to cover up interesting architectural details? Do you want to ignore blank walls that otherwise have no interesting features? Do you wish to place plants so that the porch and walk feels or looks "barricaded" in by them?

Also, you might add a larger picture that shows more... step back and to the right (from the previous picture) and show some context.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 1:05PM
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designoline6(Z6)

Here are my designs

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 7:01AM
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anniegolden(z7a)

More pictures would really help, esp. a picture from further back including the garage and also a shot from a more northeastly angle.

My initial reaction is that the house and front porch area are very attractive and you don't want landscaping to eventually spoil this appearance. Also, the wide, gentlly curving walk is very nice. I like designolin6's second design which brings out that nice gentle curve, (the first design is a bit too fussy for my taste.)

One basic of landscaping is: start with any additional hardscaping, then plant trees, then shrubs, then the little stuff - bulbs, perennials, ground cover.

One specific thought is that I would plant an ornamental tree of some sort (crape myrtle, japanese magnolia, japanese maple, dogwood) about 12 feet away from the house diagonaly off of the right front corner of the porch. This will help anchor the house to the ground. Also, all that fabulous open porch area on the side would lend itself beautifully to climbers (climbing rose, clematis, or, if you spend a lot of time out there, something fragrant like honeysuckle.)

Since you say you do not have a green thumb, perhaps at some point you might work some liriope into the plan. It is a great plant, and requires no skill. Just mow it once each spring just as the new growth begins.

Good luck.

Christine

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 9:24AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I'm with Annie that your architecture (from what I can see in your photo) really doesn't need plants close to the house.) That low porch without a railing or planting bed right in front of it looks so inviting, and walling it off with plants seems a shame.

Take several photos from farther away, including more than just the house, but also any nearby buildings, hardscape (driveway, paths, roads, etc.) and trees or other plantings.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:38PM
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whitecap2

You should be aware that "the traditional" gets short shrift here, regardless of whether it coincides with the dominant themes and motifs of your neighborhood.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 7:20PM
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stayn2busy(9)

Thanks for everyone's input so far. Sorry I am just now getting around to posting more pics.... had to wait for the sun to set to get some pictures.

Here's the front from the end of the (rather long) sidewalk.

Standing on porch looking east ~ our plans are to one day put a parking pad to the right at the end of sidewalk.

Northeast view

closer northeast view so you can see the layout of the porch

View from southeast showing drive (and my newly planted "Jane Magnolia")

Please feel free to offer any advice ---keeping in mind I'm one without a green thumb, and I've never been one to "work in the flower beds" so low maintenance is a priority (if there is such a thing!) I appreciate any ideas you might have!!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 9:11PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

That is just awesome - do not let anyone talk you into messing up that porch and entryway with plants.

Karin L

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 12:31AM
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adriennemb2(z3/4)

You have some pretty awesome architectural details on your home that really shouldn't be hidden. Even your footings look like the same manufactured stone you've used on the porch. And the tapered pillars leading the eye up to that wonderful steel roof? Wow.

I don't know plants well in your zone but overall I would probably keep the surrounding landscaping very clean, organic and contemporary. I can easily see nothing more than 3 or 4 pairs of columnar evergreens (echoing the shapes seen on the porch) on either side of your front walkway, in order to create that feeling of "entrance". Alternatively, really big, squarish granite boulders could be substituted for the paired trees, if they are locally available. If you prefer this non-herbaceous solution, maybe also consider banding two feet on either side of the walkway with attractive river-type rocks contained by steel edging similar to the tones in your roof.

Your property certainly looks large enough to support the creation of garden beds elsewhere. I personally would explore building an enclosed, deer-proof area to start maybe a veggie patch - a great place to hone your developing horticultural skills whilst letting the beauty of your house speak for itself.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 1:34AM
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adriennemb2(z3/4)

Oh, and if you really want flowers in your life, maybe just construct some planter boxes, painted the same colour as the siding, to sit on the floor between the porch pillars (leave at least a foot gap on either side - your pups will thank you) and fill with pots of whichever annuals take your fancy at the nursery. Easy access to water, monitor and replace if necessary. You can even change the display seasonally.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 2:06AM
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adriennemb2(z3/4)

Oh, and if you really want flowers in your life, maybe just construct some removable planter boxes, painted the same colour as the siding, to sit on the floor symmetrically between the porch pillars (leave at least a foot gap on either side - your pups will thank you) and fill with pots of whichever annuals take your fancy at the nursery. Easy access for you to water, monitor and replace if necessary. You could even change the display seasonally.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 2:10AM
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adriennemb2(z3/4)

Hee, I stuttered...

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 2:15AM
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yardvaark

Looks like most people, including myself, are saying don't cover up the porch. It's low to the ground, made of quality materials... nothing to cover up. I think the house could benefit from a couple of flowering trees with some low groundcover below... where the two porches coming together create a "notch," and at the left of garage. (I might even move them a little further from the house than I show them.) It seems that there could be a hydrangea or something suitable espaliered along the blank garage wall. It would be nice to create an entry experience along the walk, but not something that engulfs it or is too close to the house... maybe along the lines of a scaled down version of the crape myrtle allee as shown below.

"I would like it tiered with three rows of different plants" I never understood what you were after with this. (Or why.) You could benefit from a designer laying out a low maintenance scheme so that the bed shapes were right. I would keep it very simple.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 11:47AM
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whitecap2

So. . .you made the walkway so long to avoid having the parking area right in front of the house? Or is a road to go through somewhere? How will the parking pad be accessed? It all seems a bit odd to me.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 1:29PM
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stayn2busy(9)

Wonderful ideas!!! @Adriennemb ~ I LOVE the idea of flower boxes sitting on the porch! That is something I think I would & could do and might actually enjoy changing it out with the seasons.
@Yardvaark ~ The first picture with the flowering trees looks great. I never thought about doing something like that, but I REALLY like the look of it and since the theme I'm hearing from most is don't cover up the porch, I think I just might just do this. (It sure would make it easier on my DH). My original thoughts were more the traditional landscaping close to the house, but all mostly dwarf or ground cover as not to obscure the view. What type trees are those? And what would you suggest (if anything) for the north porch?

@whitecap2 ~ You can't see it clearly in the pic looking east, but our driveway comes through that cluster of trees on the left, over the hill and down, through another cluster of trees and around to the side of the house to the garage. Our plan is to have a short drive coming off the driveway towards the sidewalk with a parking pad to the left. I detest people coming through the garage into the house which is what they tend to do, follow the drive to the garage. Granted, as far out as we live, we don't have many visitors!

Thank you again for taking the time to give your input! I really appreciate it! One more question, do nurseries have landscape designers to work with or how would I go about finding one?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:11PM
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yardvaark

"...do nurseries have landscape designers to work with or how would I go about finding one?"

While you could benefit from working with the right designer, the wrong designer could as easily take you in the wrong direction. Many designers lean toward over-planting and designers that work for nurseries are often in the business of convincing you that the more plants you use, the better. You must be clear on your own overall goals and interests. If you see landscape work that you like you can inquire to find out who designed it. If you're near an urban area where there are landscape architects and designers, you could inquire to see examples of their work. You could also try calling a landscape architectural office that does commercial work and inquire if there is anyone doing residential work on the side. These days, there are also online designers, but to use them you would need to be willing to collect and supply raw data (mainly measurements and photographs.)

The picture I made is intended to get you started in a direction, not be the "end all, be all." I'm sure other planting details could be added to spice it up a little... maybe some trellises with vines or climbing roses or something. The trees I painted are modeled after Saucer Magnolia (Magnolia soulangeana) of which there are many cultivars. (I'd lean toward a smaller ultimate size.) But there are other possibilities depending on the "flavor" that strikes you and if they grow well and are available in your area: PG Hydrangea, California Buckeye, Photinia*, Snowball Viburnum (macrocephalum), Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus), Weeping Yaupon Holly (as long as they are female and you have a male nearby) as some examples. Whatever you pick, I'd grow it as a multi-trunk tree form and control the trunk structure from youth to create the desirable spread. *If Photinia fraserii grows well, it's a beautiful blooming tree if the top is unclipped. In some places it is prone to disease, in which case it shouldn't be considered.

On the left where the drive appears to be elevated, I'd use a groundcover that is tall enough to come slightly above the level of drive. Variegated Solomon's Seal would be an example. At the porch, I'd use something that was lower. A solid bed of variegated Liriope could look nice.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 8:40AM
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whitecap2

I suspect you may need a gate to shunt visitors into the parking pad. That's a pretty good little walk. But I know nothing of country life.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:25AM
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stayn2busy(9)

@Yardvaark for all your help and for listing names of plants to work with.

@whitecap ~ we live in the middle of 400+ acres. At the entrance is a gate visitors call the house and we have to 'buzz' people through. We'll tell them where to park so it hopefully it won't be an issue.

Beautiful day here in Arkansas!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Brad Edwards

Good choice on the jane magnolia, the tulip magnolias are really pretty.

I would probably plant liriope "monkey grass" about 8inches off the path to the entry along both sides just to widen it and give you a little extra room for the path and mulch 4 inches into the walkway, that way it would give room for it to grow and would save time having to edge. That wall in the front left would look really good with a trellis, for your area I would have to pick an arkansas apple and would see if I could find one already started on an espalier. It should be perfect for that spot at about 8 foot dwarf or semidwarf variety. I would frame that with a cheap ground cover and possible herb garden right along the front.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 5:34PM
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