brick ranch house in zone 6b desparately needs TLC!
We bought our 1960's era brick ranch house as a fixer because we liked its simple design and potential. It turns out that we've had to spend most of our time and resources on rehabilitating the inside. However, we are getting to the point that we can't stand the current exterior. We are in need of advice for making our little house more attractive from the outside. Although we hope to be able to invest more in the front yard landscaping in a few years, we do need a solution for the near term.
Although pretty much everything needs work, we are focused on addressing the following as high priority: 1) adding some depth and height to the front bed; varying the plantings and possibly adding a tree or shrub in between the windows; 2) de-uglifying the front porch without replacing it; 3) figuring out if we can address the awkward entrance that leads straight from the driveway.
Some strong preferences - we would like to keep the lawn as undivided as possible as our small kids and their neighborhood friends enjoy playing in it. Given budget constraints, hardscaping is probably not an option, and we will need to DIY as much as possible. Also, is a trellis a good option to consider instead of a tree to bring in some height?
On a side note, the side yard adjacent to the left side of the house is also blank and open for ideas. The right side yard (and most of the front lawn) is unfortunately riddled with bamboo shoots and stalks from the next door neighbor. We have to mow and trim religiously for now - having a bamboo barrier installed would probably take up our entire landscaping budget. Thanks for any help!