Help for front of house.

chestnut3April 21, 2012

Hi! Thanks in advance for any help from you experts. I'm new at this. We removed 7 huge trees that totally covered the front of our house and now need some serious curb appeal. The front porch (pad and wall) is being replaced in a few weeks and then a roof put over it. The porch will end between the 2 windows on either side. The A/C unit will go in front of the sunroom. We would like a little privacy for the porch but not full coverage. I'd like to coordinate colors with the red tile roof. I would like a combination of shrubs, trees, and flowering plants which will provide color year round. I live in Pittsburgh, PA, have deer and full sun.


Here is a link that might be useful:

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I try to design.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:40AM
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    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I suggest that you post a better photo. this one is too small and shows the house, but not yard. Can you post one that is square on from the street? Do you have any sketches of the proposed porch? Detail is not clear from your description. Need to see whole front yard.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Designonline thanks for your input!
Yardvaark, I don't have any post-able plans for the porch. It will look similar, although not as long, and have a terra cotta tile roof. The support columns will be between the 2 windows on either side of the front door. 4 steps will lead down to the yard and a walkway straight down to the street- all exposed aggregate like the porch floor. The house sits up pretty high- looking out from my porch, I'm looking into the 2nd floor across the street.
We are planning to have the contractor grade the yard a little so we have a flat bed in which to plant. Currently, there is a little hill at the top, then flat, than another hill to street. Thanks so much for your help.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:11PM
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One other thing I should mention that is important. I'm looking for suggestions on how best to landscape close to the porch in order to provide some privacy and hide a little bit of the brick wall. I might plant some type of border to flank the walkway but my more immediate concern is foundation plants close to the porch.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 12:20PM
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You may not want to hear this given that you just ripped 7 of them out, but you need some trees out in the yard -- not 7 mind you, but 2, maybe? That's a big house on top of a rise and bits of planting up on the foundation alone will struggle with the scale. Plus, foundation plantings aren't a good choice for "privacy." Pick two nice medium-maturing specimen trees and put them out in the yard in front of the house. Then, work on something closer up. If privacy is an immediate issue trellising and a nice vine may be possible on that porch once it's up. Crossvine (bignonia)? Our native wisteria (w. frutescens -- the cultivar 'amethyst falls' is readily available these days)?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Thanks Marymd- the trees (7 huge yew trees, totally covering the house) were taken down before we bought it, after a bad storm destroyed some of them and multiple branches fell on a portico that used to be over the entry. They were all hideous and I would not have kept even one to be honest. We've moved in in October. There are 2 trees close to the sidewalk evenly spaced between our walkway and the property lines- can't see them in the pic but I'll try and get a better one. I was thinking of planting 2 more about halfway down the slope also on either side but not sure if that will look right, although it would provide more privacy. I feel like I just need to soften up the hardscape closer to the foundation.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 1:37PM
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The picture you post should also show what's around the house and be a larger size in order to show details better. Is the new porch roughly what I've outlined in red? Will the replacement walls extend to where I've shown blue arrows?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 2:52PM
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I really appreciate you trying to help! I'm posting a few here, let me know if these are better.
I've also included a picture (the first one) I found on Old House Web which has a front porch similar to what we are planning as far as size and where the support columns are (1 on either side of the steps and 1 splitting each of the 2 windows) In your reply, the red lines are correct but the replacement brick walls will end where the roof ends (continue the red lines down) so the windows on the far right and far left will not be behind the walls. The coil in front of the sunroom (left) is for the A/C. The bare trees in the foreground of the last pic (you can just see the branches)are about 2 feet from the sidewalk in front. Other than weeds, they are the only thing I've got growing there now. It's awful!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 3:49PM
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while the size of your pictures is better, it does not show the leading edge of the yard (from curb back) nor the far right and left. Only good for some preliminary thinking.

I'd get rid of the low-hanging branches on the front trees immediately... before it becomes a big job.

I'm thinking that you're building a rectangular porch and there are not separate, free-standing walls in front of it...? Are there plans to rebuild any walk or steps in front yard?

Where located? Cannot think much about plants without knowing that.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Sorry, Yardvaark I'm in Pittsburgh, PA. You are correct about the porch- the walls are not separate or free-standing. The porch floor, walls, walkway and steps down to the street are being replaced, contractor starting May 1. Walls will be brick, and the porch floor, steps, walkway all exposed aggregate.
My husband just ran outside to snap some more pics.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:48PM
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From the other attached pictures, it appears the trees are a ways away - on a boulevard, perhaps? I sense from many previous posts, yard, that you're not a low branch guy, but I don't see anything in the foreshortened final view indicating they're going to be a problem.

The house is already elevated on a rise, the porch addition is going to add more visual weight to an already imposing structure. The existing trees might help to bring that down some. The inspiration photo is on a flat piece of ground and you're viewing it head on as opposed to from below.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 4:53PM
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No, I'm definitely not one to like low hanging branches. In my mind, it's a problem of plague proportions... seen everywhere all the time. It does not flatter the faces of homes or make space feel good.

Seeing your latest pictures, I think the placement of those two trees at the sidewalk is not at all good. Because it's a nice home and you're making many improvements, without question, I'd start over with new, better trees. These two will not age well sitting right next to the walk. It looks as if at least one has already been top pruned. If they were bottom pruned it would leave a pole. One should always think of the "final destination" with trees. What and how are they to become?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:18PM
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They are township trees. Can't touch them.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:41PM
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