Need help with front yard landscape design

penny04(8a)April 1, 2014

Hello all,
This is my first post and I don't have very much experience with landscaping. We purchased our first home back in the fall of 2012 and the landscaping around the foundation of our house looks pretty rough and boring. I would like to completely revitalize this area but I am not sure about which shrubs I can salvage. I would love to see hydrangeas added to the landscape but I am not sure if they would work here.

Could anyone give me some ideas on what I should keep and what would look good? I think the largest problem I have with creating a plan is the slope at the right side of the house. I would rather not have to put in a retaining wall to make everything appear to be at the same level.

I am in zone 8a and our house faces north. The first picture is from around a year ago.

I don't have a large budget and would like to do all of the work myself.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is a photo taken a few days ago...after I attempted to trim everything.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

IMO, you must remove all of the existing shrubbery and replace it with things more promising. The existing shrubbery is wounded, downtrodden and has little chance of recovering. Plus, it was not chosen for low maintenance or excitement. Just start over. You stand a much better chance of making something good out of new plants ... planted a little farther from the wall so they have room to grow.

A retaining wall is only necessary if you need to fix the grade for functional purposes, which doesn't seem to be the case. Instead, compensate for the falling grade by using a larger shrub at the low end and lesser height shrubs as the grade rises. In the area around the porch and farther left, you could get away with a single type of plant. (Any hedge that is part of a foundation planting should be trimmed level, not parallel to the grade ... so as to make the house appear stable.) Some color are around the entrance could help cheer up the overall scene.

You really need to learn the proper way to trim shrubs as it will make an astounding difference. In order to keep the lower foliage, shrubs must be trimmed wider at the bottom then they are at the top. Of course, select varieties that can stand the existing light conditions as well.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Add a porch.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yardvaark, I figured there wouldn't be anything worth saving. I'm happy to see the idea you sketched out really helps me visualize how to compensate for the grade issue. I never really put much thought into trimming the shrubs but your advice totally makes sense!

designoline6..I would love to add a porch but its not really in the budget right now.

I hope to get started on this project soon and will post some updates!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Last weekend, I finally got around to removing all of the existing shrubbery. Due to bad weather in my area, I have only been able to replant the area to left of the steps. I ended up going with a row of wintergreen boxwoods. I hope they will eventually form a hedge. I plan on planting larger boxwoods on the other side of the steps to compensate for the change in grade. Now I am stuck on what I could add in front of the boxwoods. The boxwoods are supposed to reach approx. 4' tall. I would prefer something that blooms white, blue or purple. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 11:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First I would widen the bed and pull the boxwood away from the house. In order to get the height you need, they're going to occupy width and as it is, they will be crammed into the house. Place their centers at least 3' away. 3.5' is not too much. A day will come when you admit being glad you moved them.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 3:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Yaardvark is right. Shrubs too close to the house will make window washing a huge chore. Thankfully, your home is brick, so no need to paint it!

But anything close to the house with roots can destroy the integrity of the foundation, so farther away is better.

I know you would like some color Penny, but it is hard for someone in zone 9b to make plant suggestions. Maybe if you post this question in the forum dedicated to your particular state, you could get some great suggestions. Also visit a local nursery. Not Home Depot. Just a mom and pop place where they actually know what lives and grows in your area.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I guess I took the wrong advice when I chose the distance to plant the boxwoods. I am fairly certain I placed them 2.5' away from the foundation. I will be moving them to avoid future problems. What is the correct spacing between each shrub (I planted them 4' apart) to ensure I achieve a proper hedge?

Also, what is the minimum distance from the foundation to place common boxwood that could get 8-10' tall? I have plans to use these on the other side of the house.

Thanks for the advice. I certainly have a lot to learn...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 1:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Those plants CANNOT be 2.5' from the foundation wall! 2.5' would be the minimum distance from wall they should be. Better would be 3'. Even 3.5' would not be too far. Use a measuring device.

"... what is the minimum distance from the foundation to place common boxwood that could get 8-10' tall?" How tall AND WIDE do you intend for them to become? (The wider they are, the farther from the wall they should be.)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 3:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I measured yesterday and I did place them 3' away from the foundation wall. I should have posted a better photo because they look a whole lot closer to the wall than they really are. I plan on leaving them in place.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 3:47PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Privacy Trees For Zone 5 (US)
We live in zone 5 on approx a 1 acre lot. Our neighbors...
Help with small retaining wall
I am starting to landscape my yard and am having trouble...
light green leaf tree
Looking for a bright green leaf small/medium sized...
Landscaping ideas - Need help with suggestions of plants please
We would like to seek help in filling our concrete...
tall hedge or tress for privacy screen.
I have posted this before in older forums. Not able...
Sponsored Products
Locking Hex Rug 8' x 11' - RED
$379.00 | Horchow
KOHLER Toilet Tanks Cimarron 1.28 GPF Toilet Tank Only with AquaPiston Flushing
Home Depot
Mercy Rug 4' x 6'
$1,499.00 | Horchow
Calhoun Leather Corner Sectional (3 piece) - Brighton Lemon Grass Yellow
Joybird Furniture
Delta Victorian T17T255-CZ Tempassure 17T Series Shower Trim Set Multicolor - DT
$454.27 | Hayneedle
Wolf Sleep Accents Renewal 10-inch Twin-size Mattress
Baker Wall Clock
ORE International Lamps 65 in. 3-Light White Adjustable Floor Lamp 3031FW
$77.98 | Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™