Front entrance/yard landscaping ideas?

blessedfamily(5)April 19, 2010

Hello I am very new to the site but I was hoping someone could help me out with my landscaping--I would like to landscape the whole front of the house on both sides of the porch and also the side of the garage,I am not a big shrub person but would consider small ones possibly,the side of the garage I was looking for something that requires less work,small trees or something??My big issue is having the driveway come up to my entry way--just messes me up! Who wants to be my hero??..

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toronado3800 Zone 6 StLouis(6)

You have a couple tight spots for some real eye catchers there.

I'm a sucker for variegated yellow or red twig dogwoods. I'd say yellow branched in your case. Make sure you get dwarf ones.

Mine are the more standard non dwarf variety. They're planted at the edge of a damp spot in mostly full sun. Every year or two I severely cut them back to keep the twig color.

My vision is of them yellow twigs sticking up 36 inches or so all winter long getting folk's attention!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 12:40AM
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sunnyca_gw

Nice house but trash cans need to find another place, garage or side of house? No eye appeal there ~.~ !Behind the trash cans a trellis in front of brick with vine might help. Is that a railing to go up the steps. They have some black wrought iron ones that would look much nicer, it sort of sticks out there. I'm also concerned about the water draining right beside the steps, could you get an extension & get it to drain off little farther to the right. Don't want anyone getting wet shoes or slipping on water. Little trees would be nice but area doesn't look very wide so need to be sure root system isn't going to start upending your porch & cement drive. With the wrought iron could have it across the porch if you would like & railing would tie right in & have short piece on right of steps so could have railing on each side of steps. Across porch would be same height as top of railing that is fastened to porch,probably 36 in high! You could just have railings on each side of steps that would keep costs down. Looks like kids play out front a lot so if grandma is carrying 1 might be helpful to be able to hold 1 or the other railing, or if someone has broken arm or wrist or damaged foot nice to have a secure hold to get up the steps unto porch. I broke my wrist & foot falling from my ladder about 10 yrs ago,missed last 2 steps because I looked down,tried to stop myself with right wrist & foot must have hit the brick, blacked out for a time.I have a new appreciation of railings up long flights of stairs & short ones. Railing can keep older person, PG woman, etc. from falling. Little ones just walking can grab the bars on way up even tho they can't reach the top rail so they can get up & down steps without your help. So you just need to make a couple of small changes! Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 2:59AM
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blessedfamily(5)

Hi and thanks for all the ideas..Toronad03800 where are you thinking the dogwoods would look good?? They sound like something I could live with :) Sunnyca you have hit on many of the things I do not like about how my house was built,no place for my garbage cans and the railing! I could put them in the garage but then I have the really bad smell issue and I do not have a side of the garage to put them on..we moved here in 2006 and I have done most of the landscaping but I am not that great at plant placement. I am thinking I could get rid of the railing(that would make me happy) but I am thinking it is helpful to have for some.hmmmmm gotta think on that one. I love dwarf trees but I have no idea what would be ok to plant beside my house?? Thanks for the ideas so far!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 10:56AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Hi. Some miscellaneous comments:

If you paint the downspout by the front door beige to match the pillar it's in front of, it'll be less noticeable (the part below the pillar can be left brown or painted to match the bricks).

I don't think you need a porch railing. Black wrought-iron would look good with your brick, but since your trim is two other colors, black would needlessly complicate the color scheme.

On the side of the garage that faces the street, you have a large expanse of brick which cries out for some good-sized shrubs. It's the perfect place for large evergreens, preferably something that won't grow above the roof and doesn't have to be pruned. I'm not sure what's growing in the trellises, but they look deciduous. I don't understand why one was placed in front of the window. Anyway, you have plenty of other locations where they could be moved.

You're in zone 5B (I looked up your zip code); unfortunately I have no idea what shrubs would be appropriate there. However, the Missouri Botanical Garden is in that zone, so you might enjoy looking through their Plantfinder:
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/serviceplantfinder.shtml
This page lets you search by height, amount of sun, and other characteristics:
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Search.asp
[If you choose too many characteristics, you may not get any results. Just omit a few fields and search again.]

To get an idea of how shrubs in various places would change the look of the house, you can cut pieces of green paper to different sizes and shapes and place them on a photo.

For a higher-tech version, open a copy of a photo in Paint and draw in the shrubs (Paint is one of the free programs in Windows, so look in "Accessories" in "Programs").

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 3:26PM
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blessedfamily(5)

I am thinking evergreens would look good but I have no idea what kind or where to place them..as for the trellis by the window..yeah I put it there because I have no idea what I am doing :) It has a clematis growing up it. Thanks for the links, I will be checking them out for sure!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2010 at 4:54PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Selection of evergreens depends mostly on what you have available, if you are going to buy locally.
Otherwise you can mail order but you have to do a heck of a lot of research to figure out what to order
and where to get it.

So for plant selection, your best bet is to visit your local nurseries and look around, buy what you like,
and then arrange it to please you when you get home. You can always leave space for more shopping
trips later in the season as nurseries get new stock all spring and summer, sometimes also in fall.

If you don't like just shrubs, of course you can augment them with perennials, but I do agree a shrub
presence is called for beside the garage. Perhaps you'll come to enjoy and appreciate shrubs once they
are in the right places.

As for your front door, I think your layout is very cool, very convenient and frankly more attractive than seeing
the garage door from the street. The little garden beds the driveway leaves you can be filled with a better
selection of plants and would be quite attractive.

Because the porch is dark I suspect it will be most pleasant if you keep the plants in front of it low, and
having perennials there will give you something to watch change over the seasons as you come and go.
What you do to the right of the door depends on how much work you want: The least work is extending
the grass all the way in, or you can have garden all the way along the house. There I also think what matters
most is what you want to see when you come home or hang out in the yard. Deciduous shrubs will only work
if you prune them as you would with coloured twig dogwoods, as most will lean out from the house toward
the light. Evergreen plants do this less (and conifers least of all) but I don't see that you need a lot of bulk
there, so a perennial garden wouldn't be the worst thing there either.

You probably get snow in winter and have to clear the driveway so a garden alongside it that goes dormant
might not be the worst thing at all.

KarinL

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:30AM
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blessedfamily(5)

KarinL, thanks for all your suggestions/help..I really love perennial's so I am thinking I might extend the bed on the right side and put in more but I am having a hard time planning that because I like curves and the driveway is straight..I love gardening but I can not vision anything :) I think I will just have to plant/move like always he he..thanks again!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 5:18PM
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hilltop_gw

Would you consider sacrificing part of the landscape area to the right of the garage walk in door as a pad to put the garbage cans and then have some privacy screen, hideaway screen or a four panel screen to conceal the garbage cans? An area between garage pad & porch.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 8:52AM
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blessedfamily(5)

Hilltop..that is a great idea! I would have never thought to do that but I will run that by my husband..I love this forum :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 10:04AM
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