Need ideas for landscaping & rearranging perennials

SnailLover(5a MI)April 25, 2014

I moved into this house last summer. As you can see, the yard has been neglected. I need some ideas on how to landscape the front. The road runs along the bottom of the pic and the left side is the driveway. Currently thereâÂÂs a hodgepodge of perennials (roses, lilies, ornamental grass, lavender, etc.) that run parallel to the road. I want to rearrange them in a more eye-pleasing way and add many more plants. Should I keep them running parallel to the road or place them along the driveway? What else would look good there? I thought about putting in a split-rail fence.

That ornamental tree by the driveway was cut down last fall because it was dying. I plan to replace it with another flowering tree. I could use ideas on that too.

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should have a design.add a porch if have budget.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:27AM
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The architecture that the landscape is supposed to be enhancing is not visible. Trim off the lower tree limbs so that the house shows and take another picture. Include the edge of the street so the depth of your yard can be gauged.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 7:23AM
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SnailLover(5a MI)

Here's a better photo. That strip of perennials just above the For Sale sign and is what I'm looking to rearrange. Unfortunately the resizing takes away from the detail. I'd like to bring them down closer to the road where there's more sun, and also open up the middle part of the yard more. I had some limbs trimmed last fall, but I didn't get carried away because I prefer the privacy of tree cover. It's a wooded area so I'm looking to keep that feel.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 12:35PM
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First thing you need to do is get rid of that large tree in the center of your yard. It's blocking the view of your nice house and that stunning birch tree. You are lucky to have a such a nice, mature specimen like that. I'd try and make that the focal point.

The island located in the center of the yard looks lost, it should be removed and new flowers should go along the driveway and maybe a island at the base of the driveway. Rather than a fence you might consider a short informal hedge of arborvitae. Long term a nice stone walkway would add some nice curb appeal as well.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:58PM
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I would start with the basics:
-How will you be using this area besides to give your home some seclusion and to add some curb appeal? Do you have any other goals for this area?
-Drive around your town and look at houses and yards. What appeals to you in terms of both style and individual plants? Talk to gardeners if they are outside or take photos and post on the name that plant forum to find out what plants appeal to you so that you can research them. Start a scrapbook of yards you like from on line photos or photos you have taken and look for what they have in common that you like. Get landscaping books out of the library and see what appeals to you from them.
-How much work do you want to do?
-The lawn on the slope toward the road looks rather sparse, so the soil there may well be a problem as it currently is. Before doing any moving or planting, get a soil test done. Do any needed soil improvement for what you want to grow or do a lot of research into what plants like the conditions of your current soil and climate before planting anything.

If you end up planting things closer to the road or driveway, remember to leave room for snow piles. Shrubs will not be happy with snow dumped on them or pushed against them, and many plants (both shrubs and perennials) don't react well to salt.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:19PM
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If you've got deer, I'd steer clear of arborvitae. You also don't want to block any sight lines.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:33PM
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littlebug5(z5 MO)

Holy cow! House? What house?

I agree with SC77 that the big tree smack dab in the center needs to go. Your birch is beautiful, but it's hidden. I understand the desire to keep a wooded feel, but your house is way too far in that direction.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:26PM
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"I need some ideas on how to landscape the front."

"That strip of perennials just above the For Sale sign and is what I'm looking to rearrange."

Those are two not-even-close objectives and the second statement pretty much negates the first. In order to help with the strip of perennials, one would need to have a list of materials and how many square feet of each and be able to see the available possible spaces. But I think that placing them adjacent to the drive and road is absolutely the wrong thing to do. It would be better to find places for these things that are connected to some already landscaped area, where the conditions are suitable for each plant.

Are you sure that keeping all that scrubby growth is an intentional goal? You are in danger of soon presenting an image to all who drive by that a medication dousing, house-bound elderly lives here.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:19AM
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IMO the tailored look for houses will be going out soon and a more ecologically pleasing appearance, with less large stretches of grassy areas, will be "in". With that in mind, I would like to congratulate you on your desire to keep as many of your trees as possible...but you may eventually want your trees to be a bit further from your house and make long-range plans accordingly by planting some others a bit further away. As trees get larger one begins to worry about them possibly falling on the house in hurricanes, and filling up gutters with leaves.

The nice thing about deciduous trees is that they provide shade in summer and then, when their leaves fall, allow sun to come through in the wintertime. They do not, however, provide as much wind protection, so you might want to pay attention to where the coldest wind comes from in the winter and shelter your home with a few evergreens in that direction--not too close to the house, though, especially if you are in an area vulnerable to forest fires.

The main health reason for not having things too green and shrubby right up to the house is to discourage mosquitoes and ticks from frequenting outside areas where you may want to sit out or visit with friends, or allow children to play.

I like the softening effect of the flowers you already have, and where you have them. I would be tempted to fill in the barren-looking "dip" in the middle of the large front lawn area with an island of interesting perennials, possibly with a pretty white bench in front of the existing flowers to admire them from, and eventually an attractive pathway around the island for interested guests to examine your garden more closely. You would probably need to add a good deal of humus in the form of rotting leaves, etc., and the lasagna method of making a bed might do to build up the soil in that area a bit. You may find that divisions from the flowers you already have would give you a good start on this.

There is no need to make your property look like a harsh rectangle if that is not to your taste, and you have the right to as much privacy as you wish. However, if you do not wish to keep the property long term, consult with a realtor regarding what is likely to "sell" in your area before investing too much in your plantings.

If I had it to do over, I would have chosen smaller trees to plant near to my house, and larger ones for further away.
I also would have planted even more flowering shrubs, but would have planted them much further from the house and foundation.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 3:13AM
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Ah, your house reminds me of the Brady Bunch house. It does look as if someone tried to make an island in the center of your yard. I am a plant collector and this looks like something I would do in desperation to continue buying plants once the foundation area was full. How far to the right does your property run? It looks like you have plenty of room. On the other hand moving the island is a waste of time since you will still not maintain your trees and your house is not visible.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 3:56PM
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