Should I forget about 'curb' appeal?

pokyhokyMay 26, 2011

Well, for one thing we don't have a curb - ha. We moved a few years ago from a house with a large lawn & gardens, and I knew what to do with the yard .... to "the country" where we have a couple acres and all native grasses, trees and plants. Most people here, including me, seem to have small gardens and containers (no grass) up near the house - we are all very careful about using water.

There's a small area bordered by red rocks at the street. Part of me feels like there should be something colorful and welcoming; or I wonder if I should take out the rocks and let it "go native." My husband thought about making it much larger, terracing back - of course, he's an excavator and likes to play on the tractor. It WOULD help in the winter when everything is gone. What do you think?

You can barely see the house through the trees right now.

From May 26, 2011

This is from the upper part of the circular drive.

From May 26, 2011

The ground slopes off behind the red rocks.

From May 26, 2011

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I think you've answered your own question :-) You have no curb, your home can't be easily seen from the street so why do you need curb appeal?

'Curb appeal' is a popular buzz phrase coined by the real estate industry describing a means of making a house on the market "pop" compared to its neighbors and be noticed by potential buyers as they drive by. It has little - if anything - to do with landscaping or garden design except very tangentially. Even the popular HGTV show by that name focuses on the home itself -- any landscaping is just an after thought and typically not treated with any degree of professionalism. Just fill it up with color - who cares!!

If you have no intention of putting your house on the market in the next year or so, then forget about curb appeal and make some decisions about what you want your garden/property do for you. If you want to class up the entry to the drive, do it. Can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. The point is, it's YOUR garden, your property, so the only ones you need to please are yourselves.

As an aside, there are some good books published for your area that outline some really great plants that will tolerate the vagaries and extremes of your climate. Look for The Undaunted Gardener by Lauren Springer Ogden. And it's got lots of great photos for inspiration as well.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 10:33PM
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For ideas to spot the entrance perhaps your DH might want to spend some time searching 'stone cairns'. can become an addictive hobby. I have constructed three in my landscape and several times a year we pull them apart and design anew. It is the challenge of creating open, balanced rock sculptures that we find interesting. If you are willing to work your way back to several years ago in Richard Shilling's Land Art Blog to the time when he was showcasing his creative cairns you will find some wonderful ideas. Can't be more specific than that in helping you locate them. Just keep paging back until you come to them.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:32AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Try searching Richard Shilling cairns in Google Images for a quick view of some of his cairns (and some inspired by his work).

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 11:58AM
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It looks beautiful to me already! Trying to improve on the beauty of the mountains of Colorado seems like something that could easily go wrong. If it were my property I'd probably add natives that would add diversity and food for wildlife and keep it as natural as possible.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 9:25AM
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I will check out The Undaunted Gardener .... I do well with pictures. ;)

The cairns are so interesting - we definitely have our share of rock here in Red Rock Valley. I can see why this would be so fun! I'm going to remove the old area with the rocks, and maybe toss out some wildflower seed. We have many varieties here, so it would add some color and be native as well.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:03PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

You have plenty of rocks. Why not do a rock outcropping? Then plant it with Sedums and other appropriate rock garden plants. Bulbs around the base with a groundcover. It would be minimal care and you wouldn't have to water it.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 7:51AM
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You need "curb appeal" ... it's also "entrance drive appeal". For a hidden house, you need to make the entrance easy to spot (for guests and emergency services) at all seasons.

Start the landscaping at the street and plan all the way to the house. Plan how the house will be revealed: will it be a contrast to the woodsy entrance or will the species and overall style be continuous along the drive.

First: Wildfire clean up to make the property defendable. Get rid of ladder fuel, etc. Your local fire department will have suggestions.

Second: Decide whether you want to conceal the house or not. Add or remove low-growing stuff accordingly. Prune lightly to control views.

Second: Consider adding some natives at the entrance and along the drive that will need little care but that will flower and provide wildlife with something.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:25AM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

I looked at your photo and also immediately thought of fire hazard issues and the need to thin/prune to reduce fuel loads. The idea of some contrasting native type plants at the entry to help people see it seems a good one to me. Silvery foliaged natives might be a good choice for contrast with all those greens, an some flowering natives as well. Given how dry much of the west can be, I'd focus on making it safer against wild fires as my first priority.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 4:23PM
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