Help with curb appeal!

gensmom(7a)March 3, 2013

I have lived here for several years and have been so focused on projects on the inside, that the outside has remained severely neglected. It has gotten to the point that I am so embarressed of how my house looks from the outside, but I dont know what to do to make it look better. Every area I look at needs desperate attention, and I just dont have the budget to do it all at once. Any ideas, tips, tricks, would be greatly appreciated.

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You don't give your zone or what direction the house faces or how much maintenance you're willing to do.

If a master plan or at least some basic idea hasn't been worked out, I'd definitely start small. First, put the birdbath someplace else since it's just THERE in an expanse of lawn. (I myself am accustomed to lots of lawn; have always had it and wouldn't be happy without it.)

The planter could be made welcoming with the "thriller, spiller, and filler" idea - a nice spike aka dracaena for height; something carefree like sweet potato vine to trail over edges; and for filler color - geraniums, mounding summer dahlias, petunias... Lots to choose from in the annuals line at garden centers, the big box stores etc.

And you might be surprised how far one little thing goes for a start without jumping headlong into tree and shrubbery buying.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 1:39PM
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I'm in zone 7a, southeast Missouri. The house faces north. Right now I have hostas in the brick planter box and in the flower bed under the windows. I dont have alot of time for maintenance, which is why i went with the hosta. But I just feel like everything is so blah. I look at all these pictures of beautiful yards and am so envious, but Im just not very knoweledgable about these things.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Given that you have limited time for maintenance and limited knowledge about landscaping, I'd keep it simple and basic. Even so, you can create a lot more interest than what you have now. An important part of improving the property is formulating a landscape plan. Once you have a plan committed to paper, you can implement it as fast or slow as you wish and still have everything end up in its correct place. You can create the plan yourself (it's just a scale "map" of your property that shows where everything goes) or you can get professional help which will make it a lot easier, but, of course, it costs. In general, the larger plants (the ones that make the most difference and take the most time to grow) are what would be installed first, then medium, and then the smaller plants. But one does not need to adhere strictly to this convention. Since the raised brick planter is already a part of your plan that's in existence (I presume you'll keep it) there's no reason to delay planting it. Filling it with color will probably inspire you to move forth with other landscape projects. Actually, you can make quite a bit of difference in overall appearance if you create and mulch the landscape beds and plant the trees. Shrubs, perennials and future annuals can be installed as you can get to them.

In the sketch I'm suggesting possible/likely locations for plants. I can't show much detail at distance. Exactly how you place things would need to be worked out in the plan; these are general suggestions that must be tweaked by you, according to the site conditions and your desires. The flavor of how it turns out will to a large extent be determined by the actual plants you select, the layout, and the level of detail to which you take it. The sketch is not trying to imply that this is all you can or should do. It's the basics. You can start with something along these lines and take it to the level of complexity that suits you.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:38PM
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I love the sketch, thank you. The low shrubs under the picture window, should I go for an evergreen? I like year round color, and it helps disguise the ugly orange brick. The two small trees I have planted in the front are pear trees. Although they don't seem to have grown any in the two years they've been planted. We had the ice storm in 09 and it took out just abut every tree and shrub on the property. To the left of the house, there is a shrub curantly. Im not sure what it is, but it is already starting to turn yellow. What should I do with the hostas that I take out of the planter and from the front of the windows? They actually get huge, about 3 feet tall. I definately want to keep and put somewhere, if possible.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 7:34AM
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"What should I do with the hostas that I take out of the planter and from the front of the windows?" The best way to determine where they could go would be do create the landscape PLAN, working out the size, shape and location of all beds on paper, and see what place (with the right needs and conditions--could use large hostas. They might be able to be used as a seasonal "hedge" or as a groundcover in a circular bed below a tree ... but needs of the PLAN is what will guide plant selection and use.

"The low shrubs under the picture window, should I go for an evergreen?"Many people feel strongly that front foundation plants should be evergreen, but I don't think this is essential. I find that deciduous shrubs can add winter interest--though of a different flavor--just as much. (It appears that for some time there's been no shrubs at all so it's not hard to imagine that deciduous shrubs could add a lot more interest than that!) I think it's more important to find shrubs that are the correct SIZE so that maintenance is not increased. A little trimming is okay, but you wouldn't want to be cutting off 2' or 3' of foliage every year as some people must do.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:48AM
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