Almost there with landscape plan... care to comment? (Pics)

staceyneilMarch 11, 2010

Hi there. I've been struggling with the landscape plan for the house we bought in 2008 and hoping I might get some input before I take the plunge next month!

I know you guys like a lot of information, so here goes. I hope it's not TOO much information!!

The house is in zone 5, coastal Southern Maine. This is the SE corner of the house. Tall trees to the S and E do block more sunlight in winter when sun is low. The native soil is clay, with 50's builder sand fill. When its wet, this lawn gets pretty soggy since it doesn't drain well. We had drainage put in last year at the perimeter of the lawn which helps somewhat. I do intend to purchase 4 yards of composted cow manure to amend and regrade these beds. This is a low, sheltered area.

This is the part of the house that's seen from the roads, which are to the E and S (we're on a corner lot.) The house address is technically on the street to the South, which is where the front door faces. There's currently no front path at all up to that street, which is up a fairly steep hill to the South. We come down the side street to our driveway and use the side door.

This summer we will be renovating the exterior. The house will be painted and shingled in tan/gray shingles and paint (think Maine coast cottage). The front entry will be trimmed out to emphasize that it's the Front Door. The patio doors to the north will get a smaller, rebuilt deck with a pergola roof and privacy screen of lattice with foliage. There will be a casual flagstone path simply set into the lawn, leading to some informal steps up the woody/shrubby hillside to the street and mailbox.

There will be a new, larger porch at the side entry, by the garage, that we use most.

The objective is a somewhat casual, friendly, inviting landscape that helps define the front entry and compliments the new modern-cottage style of the house. Aside from the flowering trees and peonies (which are existing on site and I want to transplant) I don't want flowery, cottage-garden look. I'm more interested in foliage, interesting shapes and textures. Not ubiquitous foundation planting. Somewhat modern but not too out there.

Plantings should be as low maintenance as possible. I;m thinking to fill in under/between the shrubs with evergreen groundcovers (juniper, cypress, pachysandra?) and perennial grasses. perhaps some tall grass tufts, too.

I want interest in all seasons, so am thinking:

spring: bulbs, magnolia

summer: peony, allium, variegated dogwood (existing) and purple-foliage sand cherry (existing)

fall: sand cherry, something with fall foliage (???), winterberry

winter: winterberry, (holly?), red-stemmed dogwood, skinny twisty evergreens

of the existing plants, I hope to leave in place-

variegated dogwood

sand cherry

and relocate-


small-leaf rhododendron

big-leaf rhododendron

(I don't think the tall evergreens are worth saving as they're totally bare in the backs! And What about that yew? I don't really like it at all. Maybe someone will want it if offer it free on Craigslist?)

Ok, is that enough info????

Here are photos from when we bought the house. That maple clump in the lawn is gone now, as is the little picket fence on the right and some of the shrubs around the deck (had to be removed to fill septic tank). REmember the house will be all one color, with the cinder-block brick painted tan and tan/gray shingles elsewhere.

And here's my proposed plan:

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P.S. The back of the house is my second landscaping area, it looks out on a long lot with our big vegetable garden, chickens, and small woods. In THAT area, we're hoping to use shrubs that attract birds, since we have a whole wall of windows looking out on it from the living room. But I feel like I should get this side of the house, which is more "public" started first....

Thanks so much for you comments and suggestions!!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 3:05PM
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Good job with the landscape plan! Nice drawing and nice "elevation"

My thoughts are that the weight and height of the trees and shrubs you are looking at are in the wrong places. I dont think I would put the magnolia between the two entrances, or a cypress in front of the window in the corner of the house. I would put a magnolia on the other corner of the house where the sand cherry is currently located. This would anchor that corner of the house, and create a "room" where you plan to put a deck.

The house is low in height, so you don't need a lot of heavy plantings.

Also, from the perspective you took these pictures, there are a lot of doors. I would choose a main entrance and emphasize it.

Those are my initial thoughts - not as eloquently expressed as some of the other writers on this forum - but I am sure you'll hear from them!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 5:04PM
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Thanks, drtygrl...

While I think I understand your points, maybe I should clarify our intentions about the entrances...

The patio doors (with a new reduced-size deck and privacy trellis) are off the master bedroom. I don't want that area to feel like an entrance at all, which is why I enclosed it in shrubs with just a could of stepping stones for access. I want to DE-emphasize those doors. I almost want them to disappear, and am hoping that the architecture, trellis and pergola, blending into and obscured by foliage will help with that. Plus, create a neat sort of private small room for a cup of morning coffee in the summertime. Right now it's just open to the whole neighborhood, as you can see in the pics. Weird!

The middle door is the actual "Front Door" for the home. It won't ever be used by friends/family, since it's further to walk than the side door, but we DO want to emphasize it as "Front Door". That's one of the primary goals here. It's a real selling point that the house's address is up on that South road, and for resale important to emphasize that entrance (hence my planned steps up the now inaccessible slope to the road!) We're trimming out that door to make it stand out more, and I'd like the plantings to reinforce that as well.

The side door, by the garage, is our family entrance. I was hoping that by having the bulkiest plant (magnolia) on that corner, it would shield, and lessen the visual importance of, that entrance.... so the Front Door would feel more important.

BUT----- if you all think that's not the right place for that shrub, please tell me that! It's daunting to spend all this cash (that we don't really have, but I feel like we need to get these plants in THIS SPRING so they can mature before we sell the house in probably 4 years) on these plants and not really know the best places for them. I'm not great at these sorts of compositions, though I know what I like and dont like when I see it!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 6:34PM
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Great drawing!

My thoughts off-the cuff:

1) From the scale provided by the door width, it would appear that the front path could be made a bit wider (i.e 4 feet)

2) The house does seem to be swallowed up by the foundation plantings, so a smaller scale at leaster closer to the house would like nice.

3) The patio by the french doors may as well be expanded into a larger patio incorporating the front door stoop

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 6:53PM
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I actually think your plan of shingles will really accomplish your goal of creating a coastal cottage look - great idea and it will be a nice update with the size of the house. I would suggest painting the door to the garage a color that blends more with the finish color of the house. I think your idea of extending the roof and steps to include the windows is a good one but I would suggest focusing on that as a main entrance. Its the classic new england dilemma - what to do with the front door - but lets be honest, NO ONE is going to use it. (there is a garden book, the self taught gardener, that talks about this dilemma with an interesting anecdote about the substitute UPS man delivering a christmas smoked salmon to the front door of the house - it was not found until spring!)

I also think putting a pergola or arbor over the bedroom french doors will actually emphasize them more. It will create a nice spot for a cup of coffee, but considering that its the front yard, how often would you use it? We sit on our new england front "porch" maybe 10-15 times a year. How often do you think you would use it?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 7:48PM
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If you want to de-emphasize the bedroom doors, why would you swing the walkway toward them?

I'm also struggling with your idea of jungling up your french doors to makethem go away. You don't have to hide them to make them private. They are an architectural asset to the "big picture" and, ideally, an extending feature to the master bedroom. I think you can do that without it seeming like anything other than a private area. Who would not want a place to sip a cup of coffee in the morning sun off of the master bedroom?

This is another instance where the main door as the main focal point is causing conflicts by its proximity to other features. You can't move the door, but you can change the focal point to remove conflicts and open opportunities.

I'd rather see a deck big enough to have a small cafe table with a pair of chairs that is fully railed with plants surrounding it than to hide it. Clearly it would not be an an entrance. I'm not digging the pergola unless it runs the entire length of the white wall and only comes out three or four feet or it will do more harm than good aesthetically if the streetis opposite the main door.

There are lots of good opportunities with this house. I'd hate to see you play hide the house because you don't know how to work with it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 10:15PM
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Thanks, folks.

OK, so I'm totally open to changes... laag, isabella, drtygrl, can you make some suggestions?

About the patio doors: the whole pergola idea originated with a desire to screen the interior from the streets somewhat. We really like leaving the curtains open, like the light and connection to the outdoors that provides us from inside. But then our bedroom is exposed to passers-by. So we thought of putting up a lattice screen, parallel to the side of the house, with climbing plants. Rather than just free-standing we thought to connect it to the house with pergola rafters.

We will have a proper deck in the more private backyard, so we don't need to rebuild a deck by these patio doors. But the doors are there, and must stay, and we want to screen the room somewhat... so how do we work with them??

About the porches/roofs. We'd originally wanted a long wrap-around porch between the side and front doors, but there's just NO WAY we can afford to do that. Money is super, super tight so we're trying to do what we can on very limited funds.

Also remember that the house won't be brick and white anymore; it will read as much more uniform once it's shingled and painted a close color.

Does everyone agree that the plantings should be lower and more delicate than I have shown? I can work on that today, just got a new nursery catalog :)

So let's hear your ideas!!!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 7:21AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

From the pictures and the plan, I'm confused about just how much of a view of the house passers-by really have. There seem to be a lot of trees and shrubbery by both roads. The patio doors are open to the front lawn, but that seems fairly well screened.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 7:43AM
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Sorry, I should take another photo from the street. Up on the south (main) road, you look down a steep little slope (about 30' wide by 12' high slope) which has some shrubs on it. They were overgrown and were cut back hard before we bought the house; we're trying to rejuvenate them. Nothing too special, lilac, old fashioned forsythia, beautybush, low quince, a maple and a trio of slender fir trees.

From the side road (to the south):
There is a row of very tall fir trees right along the road (shown in my drawing). Unfortunately, before we bought the house these trees were limbed up about 15-20'!!! So, what HAD BEEN a nice, secluded front yard, is now quite on display. We'd like to return to that secluded, "Secret" feeling space, but obviously it's going to take some time for things to grow. WE've planted some shrubs as understory plants beneath the row of limbed firs: dogwood, rhododendron, vernal withchazel... but they're not providing much of a screen yet, and won;t for the foreseeable future.

There's also the issue that the house is down in a hollow... both streets are higher than the house, so passers-by look down into the yard and windows.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 7:51AM
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OK, I founds some photos that show the front yard from other angles. I hope these help.

Here's a photo from last spring. The yard had been dug up for drainage work and not grown back yet. This is standing near the garage, looking up at the main road up the slope, and the side street to the right.

Here's standing at the foot of the driveway looking south along the row of limbed fir trees up to the corner.

Here's the same row of trees almost exactly one year ago, from the house (no snow there now!)

And here's a photo from last summer where you can see the corner slope in the background, with the shrubs starting to grow back...

I hope this helps a bit!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:09AM
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Perhaps it would also help if I showed you some inspiration photos?

Here is what I'm thinking for the steps down from the main road. As I said, it's going to be casual. It's more a "gesture" of a front walk that one intended to be used frequently. And that's mainly due to budgetary constraints. I'd love to have granite steps and path, but there's no way that's gonna happen since we have to do the whole exterior of the house and the drainage surprises last year cleaned out our bank account!

Here's a landscape I like

And here's a local house with the same general sort of look. Our shingles are the same as this, and I pretty much like their foundation planting (although we can't afford the lovely rock wall!). Not like, "Wow!" but I like it well enough.... You guys think these shrubs are too overpowering????

We MIGHT add a bit of a roof and columns (smaller and squre columns) to the front door area, if simply adding trim around the opening isn't enough to make it stand out. I would rather not, since it'll be a lot more expensive, but if we had to, something like this-

General feeling we want... pergola detail....

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:39AM
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What if the patio door opened onto a small, very informal flagstone patio area, maybe 6' x 5', sort of nestled into the surrounding plantings with something tall screening the big door/windows from the streets? I guess it would need to get 6' tall, though, and would that look weird? What plant? grasses with tall seed heads?

I'm trying to come up with other solutions to the things you guys have identified as problems....

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:59AM
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I'd like the flagstone, but you'll need to give up two or three horizontal feet to get to it. That will push it more in front of the house. Also, by not steppng down you stay more connected to the bedroom and less connected to the yard. Railings on the deck add more of a psychological barrier from the outside as well.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:54PM
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I have to agree with Laag. If fully railed and you lost the stairs stepping down into the yard and conversely up into your bedroom you are announcing that it is a private space. I don't see how a pergola would provide privacy and think this would just detract from the front door and look odd if only over that small portion of wall.

I think a lot of pieris and rhodies in front of the limbed up evergreens (on the side road) with some fast growing taller perennials in front of those would create immediate screening. Joe Pye Weed comes to mind...

However, from my perspective it seems your main exposure is from traffic headed north on the main road--expecially as you are situated so far below that road--so maybe you replant your overgrown alberta spruces and what ever else you have in the brown area in the drainage work photograph to give you some strategic screening while you are waiting for the other shrubs to grow back.

I believe a jungle of plants against that coffee area will visually compete with a clean visual line up to your front door.

On the other hand, if you planted the Magnolia where drtygirl suggested the lower branches will provide the screening you need during the late spring and summer months.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 8:02PM
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I was thinking that the road runs parallel to the way the cars would be parked in the driveway. Now it appears to me that you are on a corner lot?

Is the first picture at the top of the thread taken from near the mailbox? I'm confused by the path to the mailbox in the plan, the fir trees on the plan, and then the photo of a mailbox and firs. It would be helpful if your plan showed the road(s) and mailbox.

Look at the big picture from the street and try to figure out what would make the house look good in general. Then plan your details to make that work. It is much harder for people to work from general to specific in landscaping than with other things. Maybe because it is just such a big media and we live so close up to it on a daily basis that we start with what is nearest to us rather than backing off and seeing the bigger picture. I think it is easier to see the big picture in someone else's landscape than within our own.

Step way back and look in. Your drawing is working from the house outward so much so that you have not even drawn the edges. Your treatment of the bedroom doors is from inward as well. Sit by the road and imagine how someone else could come out of those doors and enjoy that space the way that you would like to. Think about someone else feeling comfortable in that room and what it might take form outside of that room to make that happen. Keep thinking about the overall look of the house as you do this (I feel like the dude in the Old Spice Commercial - look at your man, now look at me, I'm riding a horse, backward,...).

I don't mentally build spaces around myself from where I stand. I think of myself being some distance away (sometimes a very short distance, sometimes longer) and imagining the space being built around where I would be (yeah, the seveties were a bit rough). The point is that you can only see what is in front of you, so design from outside the space in order to see every direction of it at once. I'm not sure if that makes sense to anyone else or not.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 9:50PM
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All of these doors are somewhat confusing, so your landscaping choices need to be such that depending on your approach you are taken to the proper door. It depends on your lifestyle on which door your may want to emphasis depending on how someone or yourself will approach the house. Based on that conjecture, you might want to consider adjusting the lawn shape and plant beds (moving the artic RT east and transplanting the existing shrubs to the east) to the east of the drive way and the drive way door to show that as a focal point.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 10:22PM
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There is no doubt that the plantings should be totally stripped out. BUT, you don't start by figuring out bed sizes and shapes. A bed shape should be in response to what is in those beds. What is in those beds should be a response to enhance or mitigate something else that you are trying to accomplish.
The thing that is being bypassed is the "what are you trying to accomplish" starting with the most general and progressing to the more detailed. Sometimes these are so obvious that we tend not to think about them, but there are a lot of things going on with this house. There is a lot to sort out. It would be a very fun project.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:46AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

It's certainly an interesting situation. Once the house is shingled it will be very attractive. Laag - I disagree a bit with the 'you don't start by figuring out bed sizes and shapes' statement. I've done exactly that quite effectively in the last couple of years while very consiously shaping the 'negative space'. It strikes me that it makes some sense to think of that issue in this situation where one is looking down at the property and seeing the whole thing at once. You say to step way back and consider things from that point of view. I agree that that is a good idea and particularly relevant in this case. While shaping negative space isn't the dominant issue, I think the negative space needs to be pleasing or the end result will still seem not quite right even if the practical issues have been addressed. Looking at the OP's drawing at this point, I see a heart shape, which is interesting...

I don't see the man door from the garage indicated on the drawing, yet it is very prominent in the pictures - it's actually the first door that catches my eyes. If the siding is a neutral color, it won't be quite so prominent but it is a lot more dominant than the 'real' entrance. And there doesn't seem to be a way to get to the formal entrance for people arriving on the driveway. While the OP indicates that it is not meant to be a high-use entrance, it might still be useful to provide a means to get there. (Or is the 'formal' entrance to be one like that at my east coast grandparents' - only used for weddings and funerals? :-)

I like the idea of a small railed deck level with the internal floor for the master bedroom. If the awning stays that would give added privacy when it is unfurled.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 10:17AM
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Woody, I think you do not disagree with me as much as you think you do. The negative space is "big picture" stuff which is the right place to start - general to specific. The general knowledge that you will wind up with a bigger bed might be there, but it is based on other influences that bring you to that conclusion. It is processed so quickly in your mind that you avoid taking the time to understand what the exact reasoning is that makes you conclude that - this is what most people do.

If you work very hard to understand why you came up with conclusions, you will find that it is based on logic. This is something that people do not like to believe sometimes because it is hard to figure out and much more easy to chock it up to artistic ability.

They break down every last design element in design schools in order to get the students to become aware of these little quick processes. It is so that you can figure out what is going on, what you are looking at, why you like it, why you don't like it, and how and when you can reproduce it or use it to your advantage. I think you're doing exactly that, but you are not as concious as to the details of your thought process as you could be. No matter how well we understand our thought process it can always be cut into smaller parts. It is like pixels in a picture - the more pieces that it is made of, the sharper the picture.

I totally agree that the negative space can be a huge factor in this landscape, but at the same time the bedroom deck is somewhat of a conflicting entity that goes toward that negative space and has some needs of its own, not the least of which is the privacy factor indicated by the OP. If we are not careful, the negative space can get wrecked by the deck, privacy measures, and a pre-determined large bed. This is the conflict in this front yard project that really needs some resolution in my opinion.

The main door's proximity to the bedroom doors and the poor orientation that it has creates a number of conflicts. As we try to enhance the dominance of the main entry we can make the bedroom too public and as we try to make the bedroom more private we risk blocking or interupting the main door. It is not that it is hard to make this work, it is just that we need to be aware of many things at once and not skip to conclusions.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Hi everyone!

Sorry for the confusion.

The first picture at the top of the thread is take from the corner of the lot. The main street (Foreside Road) is South, parallel to the garage and the face of the house with the front door. Since we're on the corner, there's also a side street (Hallmark Road) exactly perpendicular to Foreside Rd, and parallel to the part of the house with the patio doors.

Right now, our mailbox is at the foot of the driveway on Hallmark Road, as you can see in the photo looking up the line of fir trees towards the corner of Hallmark and Foreside.

Our GOAL is to create a front path and move the mailbox up to the main street, Foreside Road, where it belongs. Sorry about that confusion!

laag, I get what you're saying about designing from the outside in. Just not sure it's easy for me to do that! I am feeling really rather overwhelmed by all this. Now even lacking a starting point, which is discouraging.

laag, your last post resonated with me a lot. My dad and brothers are architects and I'm sure they would enjoy this discussion, even it's somewhat over my more pragmatic head! But I do see those conflicts you've identified as needing resolution before any more plant choices or bed shapes are decided on. I welcome any ideas you guys have, becuause it feels a little beyond me right now!

isabella, the family is always going to use the side door (on the south side next to the garage) and from the side street -Hallmarks Rd- it's the only door you see and quite obviously a main entrance. We have a nice new fir door for it, and are rebuilding a more substantial porch there, for utilitarian reasons and because we don't like that teeny third gable currently over the door. I am OK with the fact that this door will feel prominent from the sought elevation, but what I really want to do is to also emphasize the actual Front Door (in the middle of the west elevation)!!!

woodyoak, thanks for your comments. As mentioned in the first post, the main goal here is to emphasize the actual Front Door (that is lost now). I've planned to add steps and a path up to the main road, and relocate the mailbox up there where it belongs. That white door on the side of the garage is simply a garage door (doesn't go inside) and will be painted a similar color to the new painted brick, so that it stands out as little as possible. To the right of that garage door is the main family-use door (under the weird little gable overhand which will go away and a proper small porch added there.)

Yesterday some nice people from Craigslist came and took away the old porch and metal railing outside the bedroom patio doors. I am hoping that will help me visualize better! Also: the awning is NOT going to stay.

So the deck is gone, and that looks good... but it does look weird to have the patio doors just there with nothing in the landscape to give them a reason. I understand the visual and phychological reasons for having a small railing-ed deck there, but I hesitate because #1- I doubt we'd use it for sitting on very much so dont' want to spend a bunch of cash on it that could go into the deck we WILL use out back, #2- If it were railinged, I'd want to make sure there was a gate, because this door has been invaluable for moving large furniture into the house, and at other times its been nice to have it as a means of ingress. What about just a rough granite step and nothing else? Would that just be too weird, patio doors opening into a bed of shrubs?


    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I don't think you need to be discouraged. There are lots of ways to get through this and you have several people giving you ideas. You'll sort through them. ...that's why you posted, remember?

I'd suggest that you first think about the simplest solutions that you can come with for taking care of the privacy issue for the bedroom.
It could be done inside or right at the doors. Maybe you could use some nice type of blind. My sister-in-law has some that lower from the top as well as raise from the bottom which allow her to control both light and privacy in different ways. You could change or alter the doors so that the lower half of them is solid. There are also some very nice wood slat blinds that could give you open view, semi-privacy, privacy with some light sneaking in, or solid privacy. One of these options or something similar does not intrude into the landscape space giving you more options outside. Let's assume for the moment that you'll do that.

A little bit of pergola/arbor/trellis could work on those doors if they don't come out too far. I might like a connected pergola going out about three feet with some light open thin lattice making up two foot wide panels coming out from the wall on either side of the doors going the full height to the pergola top. That could also turn the corners and return for 10 or 12" to frame the doors and make it feel less like an aquarium.

Granite steps would not be bad, but there is already a disconnect with this section of the house from the brick portion. Repetition of material on the steps could be very beneficial in creating some unity (same as the main door).

It actually looks like it is a slider rather than french doors? If that is the case, you won't need a landing on the steps as you would with a door swinging outward. That would be good because you would be able to keep those two steps inside the lattice work. All of this makes the bedroom doors and all that goes on with them to not protrude far out from the wall. This gives you more options.

Woodyoak talked about the "negative space" out in front of both sets of doors and around the walk. The next big issue is how the walkway to the mailbox is going to divide that space. I'd like to see it wind through the middle of the space formed by the "L" shaped building rather than to stay close to parallel with the bedroom wall. I want it out away from that wall. I don't know if the desired location of the mailbox is etched in stone, or if you can layout the walkway for the best result down in the "L" and then place the mailbox by the end of the walk whrever that may be.

I hope that was more helpful than confusing. .... and this is just one approach and not necessarily the best. Keep engaging others and consider their thoughts. There are lots of ways to get good results.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 9:24PM
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Thank you laag.
I'll draw the whole front lot area -to the roads- and see if anyone has any thoughts on the path location...

REgarding the doors:
You are correct, they are sliders.
My original idea with the pergola was close to what you suggested, except I was going to make it 4' deep and have the light, open lattice panel be PARALLEL to the house, rather than perpendicular. I'm not certain I described that clearly early on. The thought was that it would then be somewhat of a barrier. if I was unclear earlier, what do you think of that idea? If everyone understood that already, never mind :)
In that case, What about simply a shorter pergola gesture, 18-24" or so, over the patio sliders, and a couple steps (of the same material as elsewhere, probably composite Trex material though I'd love to do stone...) and a few flagstones to land on, but laid in the bed in a more casual manner than the flagstone walkway...???

We do have privacy curtains and panels in those windows, but it's so much nicer when they're open and we can look out to the pretty yard. That's why I was hoping to achieve at least some privacy screening outside, a many feet away so we still get something of a view.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:14AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

My house has a similar general configuration - corner lot, driveway to the side road, and mailbox next to the driveway. So I am very confused about why you want to move the mailbox. If it's the PO's idea, then you have no choice, but it isn't something I'd ever want to do on my own. For one thing, it's something else to shovel since it can't just be a seasonal path.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:23AM
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gweng... no advertising is allowed here!

mad gallica.. the mailbox is on the wrong street! Our street address is the main street, to the east. But the mailbox is on the side street. It's incredibly confusing every time we need to give directions of a delivery man comes. Plus, the proper street address has definite cache for resale, so we want to have the house more identified with it than with the side street.

We've made some more progress. We've removed all those overgrown shrubs, the patio and awning off the bedroom, and the shutters. It's much more a clean slate now.

We're seriously leaning towards putting a "balconette" or juliette balcony -basically just a railing across the patio doors as suggested above. That way it won't read as an entrance so much. I'll try to post some new photos and scans of updated sketches soon; hopefully you folks can give me some more input.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 3:33PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

So the address is for the side street, and you think by moving the mailbox, you can convince the PO to change the address????

First off, if I have learned anything from the Internet over the years, it's don't mess with the Post Office. If they are currently managing to successfully deliver your mail, don't change a thing. Absolute worst case is they tell you that you are only getting home mailbox delivery because you are grandfathered in, and any changes mean going to a box somewhere. Best case is they mess up your delivery for a few years.

I like getting mail on the 'wrong' street. It's a lot easier to get to since I can walk down the cleared and paved driveway. We also have never had our mailbox eaten by a snowplow, since they don't do nearly as thorough a job on the side street, and I have yet to meet anybody who is confused by the idea that the house is on a corner, and the driveway is on the side street.

To get back to the original problem, getting rid of that walkway redefines the privacy problem.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2010 at 5:04PM
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No, no... you're misunderstanding. Our USPS address IS on the main street, let's call it #176 Shore Road. So someone driving down Shore ROad looking for our house sees mailbox #174, and then mailbox #178. They don't see ours because the previous owner -an elderly gentleman- moved the mailbox around onto the OTHER side street, closer to the side door, because he never used the front door and it didn't have any path or walkway to Shore Road. ......So you have to drive down the side street to see our mailbox, even though the house is actually addressed to, and the front door faces, "Shore Road".

And there are no house numbers on the front door either... so the only way to identify the house is by that mailbox. While the local mailman knows where to go, other delivery people, and guests, have no clue. Everyone wants to Mapquest it or GPS it and I have to go through this long explanation about how to identify the house...

I already checked with the mail delivery people and it's fine to move the mailbox, because we're moving it back where it really belongs. However, perhaps simply by clearly defining the front door with trim and plantings, and adding the walkway and steps, and adding clearly visible house numbers to the front door... maybe we could leave the mailbox where it is.

Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 9:06AM
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