Design Help! What would you plant here!(pics included)

nycbrooklynApril 30, 2010

This is the view from my front yard. What can I plant here to give my yard some color. We recently purchased the house and the yard is the worst on the block. The porch like area gets some sun. The area just out front of that get's more than enough sun and the area just in front of the drive way has more than enough sun and should make a great planting area. I would like to add some color to the whole place.

Thanks for your help

Here is a link that might be useful: My yard

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If it were my house I would make all the bushes under windows on the right the same height. I think 4-5 annuals or perennials in the mulch bed on the right spaced out & some on left would add color. The bed on curb side of drive looks pretty bare needs something, shape bushes at back of bed & add something on the ends, it looks incomplete right now. If your front yard doesn't have any trees a couple of decorative trees would do a lot for it. Try to go for shrubs or trees with color, lime,plum, red or flowering with interesting shapes. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 9:28PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Which direction does the house face? You have that strange overhang which mostly isn't a porch. Well, you did say the porch area gets some sun, so presumably the house faces south-ish. Perhaps it's lack of water that's made the yews under the windows so unhappy. If you decide to replace the yews with something else that height, plant them away from the house a couple of feet. That'll allow you access to the brick and windows for cleaning, painting, etc., and will get the new shrubs closer to the sun and rain, which will make them happier.

I'd put brightly-colored flowers in front of the lower evergreens which are in front of the yews (junipers, perhaps?). Because the junipers aren't so tall, I'd keep the flowers shorter: pansies, petunias, candytuft, English daisies, etc.

This is not quite what you were asking, but perhaps it will be helpful to you.

My parents once owned a house with a circular driveway. Like your situation, the apex of the circular driveway was in front of the main entrance to the house. Theirs had a wide brick walkway from the driveway to the front door.

The landscaping was designed so the view from the street to the front door was unimpeded. In other words, where you have a lamp with shrubs to either side, they had only grass. There was a gap of 20' or so, then shrubs which continued along the driveway on each side to the street. It was an elegant way to frame the front door.

Obviously you have a lamp in front of the front door to complicate matters. But if you wanted to do something similar -- without moving the lamp -- you could plant low flowers (under a foot in height) where the shrubs are now, with shrubs or taller flowers (probably no more than 2' or so) to either side. With nothing else tall in that area, hopefully the lamp wouldn't give the same effect of blocking entrance to the house when surrounded by low plants as it does now with its wall of shrubs.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 11:28PM
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Hi, very pretty house. Can you extend the porch across the home one both sides? The one I see looks to have seen better days. Is that a wheelchair ramp? Do you need it or was it for the previous owner? Anyway if possible I would extend the porch and keep the same shape beds. They have a nice cut. Start over with a layerig affect. Some shrubs that put out a bloom, evergreens for all year cohesiveness, then perinnials that preform with bloom and foliage. The Bed in front on the lawn side has many possabilites. Keep it uniform and maybe extend it along the curve of the drive. Layer this as well. You don't have to get crazy with what you plant just keep the number of specimens to three or five. Plant perinnials in groupings. Add some annuals for constant color.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 12:49AM
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How much sun does that side of the house get? Which way does it face?

For fast improvement, remove the ugly bits:

1 - Remove the "gap-tooth" shrubs under that overhang, remove the "tombstone" shrub by the fence, and the one at the other end of the house.

2 - Remove the ramp if you don't need it and restore the original front porch. Scrape and paint the railings.

3 - Remove the azaleas. They were planted too close to the driveway, and they were clipped into an ugly hedge to keep them off the drive. They usually die when moved, so clear them out.

missingtheobvious made excellent suggestions about making the drive a feature and the view to the door open ... and removing the azaleas is a start.

Then, post some pictures of the whole front, taken from across the street - landscaping has to be planned as a whole, not bed by bed.

We need to know which way the house faces too.

What is the low plant along the front of that planting bed?

How much work do you want this yard to be?

For "fast color" this year, plant annuals from seed. Tallish ones where the gap-toothed shrubs were, medium ones right in back of those low spready plants, and flat spreading ones in front of the low shrubs (lobelia, alyssum).

Give yourself the whole summer to plan what permanent plants you want, where they will go, and what they will be doing for you. The worst thing you can do is start throwing plants into the ground before you know how you will use the space.

Really study what the plants need, and whether it is the right size for the spot and whether the spot is right for the plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: DIY Landscape Design

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 10:54AM
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