Creating depth and draw attention to house

frida999(7)May 13, 2012

I wish I knew how to upload pics, but I haven't figured that out yet so I'll do my best to describe my situation.

I have a two story house with a front porch in an urban area. The house is about 40 feet from the street. The front door is off-center as is the walkway to the door. There are driveways on each side of the house and on the side of the house with the door there's about 15' of space of open area to the next driveway.

I want to make sure that my house isn't overpowered by my garden.

1. I'm not sure how to draw my beds. I'm going to use sweeping curves not hard lines. Would it be better to have beds more perpendicular or horizontal in relation to house? I was thinking about having them against house then curve along the walkway to front door toward the street and then get a little bigger at sidewalk?

Should I extend bed through that side area and have bed parallel to house? Seems like depth is important, but as house is two story and so close to street, do I need to pay special attention to height to create the illusion of depth?

2. My house is a taupe color with yellow trim. I want to use the right colors in my garden as well. I was thinking primarily purples, silver/grays, variegated yellow/greens, and a bit of yellow. Would that work? I don't want people to look at my house and just see garden, but both garden and house.

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yardvaark

Good pictures will help a lot. Tips:

use good lighting; no strong shadows.
post a decent size... not too small.
show the context... not too close up; include surroundings.
clarify with additional shots that explain areas better.

To post, first upload photos to a photo hosting site. (Flickr, TinyPic, PhotoBucket, ImageShack are examples.) After uploading picture, look for the link "share". Then look for a link to "obtain html code". There may be various choices so don't select code for "thumbnail" size. (It might take a little experimentation depending on what's offered to you.) Copy the code and then paste it directly into the message you are creating here. If you used the correct code, it will show up when you preview the message.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:33AM
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frida999(7)

That was easy. Thanks Yardvaark. I've played with that before and was unsuccessful. I don't have any other pics right now and I'm out of town so I'll post some more Mon or Tues.

On the left side, the fence is parallel with front wall of house. It goes out maybe 4 or 5 feet and then jogs back about 6. We have a rain collection system there. That little area would be great for a little "outdoor room" but we already have the front porch. The red fence is not necessary.

There will be a small path from walkway around the side to the gate entrance to the backyard.

Here is a link that might be useful: House pics

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 12:01PM
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frida999(7)

Here's a schematic outline. The walkway is wider than on the design, probably 4 or 5 feet. I'm not sure the distance between house and sidewalk or house and street.

Here is a link that might be useful: schematic outline

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 12:25PM
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yardvaark

Now that I see you have Flickr, let me make it even easier...

By yardvaark at 2012-04-14

I explored bed line possibilities on your front yard a bit and quickly came to the conclusion that once all possible beds are subtracted from grass lawn, there's barely any lawn left... not enough to bother with dragging a mower out. This looks like a prime candidate for grass-free planting... in which case the idea of bed-lines, proper, would not so much apply. A lawn substitute (low) could ease maintenance) while still giving a manicured look.

Do not care for the corral around the pecan tree. Seems of another environment... too ranch-like.

Trees need some limbing up. I can use Pecan for an example of lower branches disfiguring upper branches.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 8:40PM
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designoline6(Z6)

You could soft some color contrast and hard straight line to improve the curb appeal.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 9:49PM
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frida999(7)

Yardvaark - I think you're right about there not being space for lawn. It's mostly a mixture of weeds right now anyway. I was trying to design something with beds and my mind has become focused in that direction, so adjusting my ideas to having a front landscape that doesn't have that distinct delineation of bed and lawn is a mental transition for me. My boyfriend wanted the lawn so our landscape doesn't become a garden and so unconventional. He also doesn't want tons of maintenance. Lots of times gardens become so messy and I definitely want structure. I want it to look like a front yard.

When I get home to my house I'll take some more pictures and maybe you could show me about the limbs on this tree.

Can you give me any more tips?

designonline: thanks for the mock-up. I'm still confused about what I want, but I'll definitely keep this so I can see if I can incorporate your ideas.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:44AM
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yardvaark

"My boyfriend wanted the lawn so our landscape doesn't become a garden and so unconventional. He also doesn't want tons of maintenance."

I view "landscape" as a specialized sub-category of "garden" that has a functional, problem-solving orientation. In doing this it is partially an architectural extension and has a focus on linking to the larger surroundings. "Gardens" that fall outside of the "landscape" category may have any focus imposed by their creator, including pure whim. They may be focused on fitting in plants as a collector would organize space for their curiosities. This is not to say that they can't do a good job of organizing and displaying that space within the confines or their objectives, but that their objectives may well fall outside of a focus on function. Often, they are personal botanical gardens. In practical terms to contrast the two styles, a "landscape" would likely appear to be more simple whereas a "garden" may appear more complex. Obviously, since there is the potential for a vast, "grey area" between the extremes, it is possible to create a garden than may fall so close to the middle that its critics can't precisely ascertain to which orientation it leans more. My definition doesn't presuppose a judgement of quality. I'm simply noting a difference between the landscape gardens and non-landscape gardens. Though no one has on this forum has ever "vocalized" agreement with me when the subject comes up, I still see a difference and don't see "gardening" as exactly the same as "landscaping." That said, I believe you are saying that you want landscaping for this front yard. (Hopefully, this does not cause a discussion that derails the purpose of your thread.) Though thirty different landscape architects would produce thirty different solutions for your yard, chances are extremely high that they would treat pedestrian circulation in virtually the same basic way. But the details of how that manifests may have innumerable variations that are acceptable.

It is not a requirement of landscaping that there be a "lawn" consisting of grass. It's only a requirement that things work well (including maintenance) and look good.

Don't forget to post your nice size photos directly into the thread to kick off your discussion.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:53AM
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frida999(7)

I'm a total newbie and I was intrigued by your thoughts on landscape design. I think of design as being a composition and a garden being a collection of plants. You're right that a landscape takes into account the architectural surroundings. The linking to the surroundings is an integral part and something that I may not have been thinking of. I've been driving around the neighborhood looking at each house thinking they have a garden, not a landscape. But after thinking about your post, I can see those gardens have a purpose linking the houses to the outside. So that would lean towards landscaping.

So when you are looking at the surroundings of a place to landscape. What would you ask yourself? Here's what comes to my mind:

1. The environment we live in.
Texas. Drought area. We are planning to xeriscape.

2. Our neighborhood.
Older homes. Funky. Allows more freedom, but we ourselves want order. I'm thinking this lends itself to fewer plants repeated in the garden?

3. Our home.
Craftsman style. You can see the architecture. I'm not really sure what this would mean other than its two-story, small lot, and the colors (which will be changing)

4. Maintenance needs
Lowish - Medium. We would prefer to do most of our work in the backyard.

My boyfriend is a painter and it's been a lot of fun to discuss artwork since I have been studying more and more about landscape design. The elements of good design are found in most artwork that I enjoy. And those pieces that don't "adhere" to those elements are also very interesting to discuss and analyze as well. To me, a landscape is a thoughtful composition. For me, studying the "principles" is the way an artist studies the use of color or line or whatever else. Eventually an artist progresses in their learning to use those elements to create a composition. An artist is able to thoughtfully choose whether to break these "rules" or not. I was a teacher for years so I enjoy the analysis of progression of learning. And, of course, this progression is not linear for anybody.

I'll post more pics today.

I would love to hear anybody's thoughts!!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 11:25AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I'm linking below to a recent thread in which depth happens to have been mentioned in a comment toward the end that Bahia made about Woody's garden photos. Actually he said it looks larger with the plants but I think the principle will be applicable. It would be that things to look at on the way to the house create an impression of depth, whereas one flat composition might not do so.

I think it is important to have space between (we call it "negative space" around here sometimes) to fully realize the impression of depth.

I have a similar house/garden to yours, though the house is a modest Victorian, and I live in a neighbourhood of same - most people "garden up" their yards in one way or another. And I don't find I like the ones that are just gardened from curb to foundation; the yard looks too amorphous, among other things. I thought it was structure that was lacking, but Bahia's comment made me think that maybe the eye simply takes the average garden bed as one element, so if the whole yard is one bed, the eye just skips over it to the next element: the house (as it would skip over a lawn). And in Woody's garden in winter, the eye doesn't find anything to rest on (this is Woody's choice, by the way, and meets her objectives).

But to put together your objectives of lowish maintenance and depth, and to learn from Woody's garden, that would suggest a series of mowable areas divided by beds, specimen plants, or other focal point items. I have open space that is mulched or paving stone, and it's minute, but it does create an illusion of more.

And if you have winter, it might be best to have some items be evergreen.

Another option is probably to make some strong lines in the landscape en route to the house and perpendicular to the yard, eg a series of little boxwoods along the walkway.

Karin L

Here is a link that might be useful: Recent thread

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 1:15PM
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frida999(7)

This is text from a website about art which is what I think landscape design is. However we get to use beautiful plants as our paint. I always thought I was the artistic type, just couldn't find my medium. LOL

In reference to Woody's photos
This is about negative space.
Apart from the main subject of focus or point of interest, what you do not capture is as important as what you do capture.

Would this statement indicate height of Plants to create negative space? And then the plants around, leading up to the arbor? For ex. in photos of the links you provided, the arbor is the focal point by its height, and in some seasons by the green and height, and flowers at another time?

Elemental Contrast: The main subject or the point of interest is contrasted against the negative space in your frame. Negative space, by it�s very presence, highlights the positive space and can create interesting effects.

Again shown by the height, as well as the hard structure, with negative space around?

Balance in Composition: is absolutely critical. Balance is the key element which tells the viewer�s eye that the photo is pleasing. And what balances positive space is negative space. Hence, including it as a core part of your composition is vital.

Balance of specimens or hardscapes, trees, even your house. And if you wanted to spend hours and hours (at least for me) looking at balance throughout the seasons. It doesn't have to be the same balance every season and that balance could be created by colors as well.

Clutter-free Composition: is vital for the viewer�s eye. When there is only a single point of interest in a photograph, the eye can easily find the resting place.
Clutter-free is important to me in the front yard (and I think this is what my boyfriend is worried about).

Depth in Artistic Appeal: Having a well balanced photograph with the right amount & placement of negative space adds depth in the artistic appeal of it.
This is a bit of what I'm struggling with as I want varying heights throughout landscape but not the messy look. I'm hoping to intersperse ornamental grasses into the mix to accomplish this.

I have a few photos of other yards I would love to show, but I copied from the internet into Word.doc and I don't have the links anymore. I tried to import to iphoto to no avail. Tried to save them in different formats to import. Nothing worked.

Its great to chat on this forum with everyone as I don't know anyone else interested in this project. I'm thoroughly enjoying it. And thanks for all your responses.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 2:41PM
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yardvaark

"I have a few photos of other yards I would love to show, but I copied from the internet into Word.doc"

Try this: copy them individually to the clipboard and then paste them either one at a time or a couple (depending on their size) onto a blank MS PAINT page. If pasting more than one at a time, you'll need to start with a large background and then drag the second (and subsequent photos) to their respective positions after each is pasted. After they're in place, be sure to shrink the background to a size that fits the pictures. (If you leave it large, you'll end up with little pictures on a big white background.) Save and upload.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2012 at 3:09PM
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frida999(7)

The first few images are landscapes I really like or portions I like.

I love the creeping rosemary in this one.

These are my house.

These are images of the awkward side yard.

Its funny. I became a gardener because I love flowers but the landscapes I've become drawn to don't have any flowers in them. I am really liking the different textures and grasses, greens, burgundies, and I love that blue-gray color.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 11:35AM
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yardvaark

The photo I'm waiting for is one good wide shot square on of the front which includes from the curb back. At a size somewhere in the 500 x 800 ball park. (The ones you've posted are a little small.)

Also, still waiting for reply about the "corral" fence and trees needing limbed up.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:05PM
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frida999(7)

Lots of shadows but here is wide view house and you can see our driveway to the right and the neighbor's on the left. I can take another later if that would be better.


The corral fence is coming down.
I agree the pecan tree need trimming.

the pecan tree

What do you think about the crepe myrtle?

crepe myrtle

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 1:57PM
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yardvaark

Agree that the new front-and-center photo is killed by shadow. No rush. Happy to wait for one with good lighting. Bright overcast is best for photos if any of that shows up. Your inspiration photos have nice plants, but as a whole strike me as slightly "busier" than I'd have guessed that you're after based solely on your prior comments. Not a lot. Just a little.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 5:34PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I'm finding it hard to believe you can't offer any help at this point. The OP has already posted a dozen or more photos.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:13PM
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yardvaark

Is that supposed to be a joke...??

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 7:44PM
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frida999(7)

Yardvaark - I do appreciate your help. The sun's blazing here already this am so too many shadows. The conversation around the house is that we will be keeping that grass. There was a misunderstanding about that and I thought we were going to take it out. So, I more or less, know what I want in the front yard now and I'm going to sketch up a plan and post it next week for feedback. Please respond when you see the post.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:32AM
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yardvaark

10-4. (that's "OK"... for those who don't know radio talk.)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2012 at 10:47AM
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