Ideas for front of house

mindle72(5-6)May 18, 2010

This is the year for landscaping the front of the house. While I love to do the work, the planning gets me stressed out. I would like to plan something that has lots of color throughout the spring, summer and fall, is on the lower side of neediness and looks professional so that I can brag I did it myself. lol...

The tree to the left in the picture used to be beautiful but we have over cut it and it's now dead so it will be coming out. The large in the middle of the windows is a burning bush that has gotten very large. We had another mulberry bush (where the hose is) to the right of the burning but it was on our main drain and had to be pulled. I was told to not put anything there that was large. I really like my hosta in front of the porch and will put some annuals in between them.

I am in Ohio zone 6 but right on the edge of 5 and my house faces the west so it gets all the hot afternoon sun. I would also like to replace my trees in the front yard as our flowering locus were taken out by an ice storm so if you have any ideas for trees to shade that would be great too!

This was my project last spring

Finally - I think this is a forever and ever hydrangea. You agree??? I'm dissapointed that it's still so small. I planted it last spring.

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Starting exercise: Find a minimum of 5 "must have" beautiful landscapes. Pictures in magazines, landscape books, local or regional gardens, the internet, your neighborhood.

Don't quit until you find at least 5 examples of landscapes that send you over the moon. Don't limit what you are allowed to love just yet by saying things like, "I love that but it'll never work in my situation."

The goal here is to figure out what you love. So get your 5 examples, and then sit down with them and try to figure out what the common denominators are. Lush, packed-in plants? Clean, spare look? Little nooks and crannies, arbors, vines, vertical lines? Do particular flowers or colors show up in all or nearly all of your examples? Fountains, water feature, blooms blooming all over the bloomin' place?

Not at all sure what the exercise achieves, but it sure sounds like fun. No, seriously, getting a vision of what you want moves you toward getting clearer about what you can create. Obviously, not everything in a picture will work, flowers don't bloom all the time, certain features may not make sense in a front yard, but you'll be much clearer I think about what you want your landscape to look like ...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 10:57PM
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Thanks Wellspring. That's a great idea! I really appreciate the help!!

Any thoughts on the burning bush?? Should it stay or you think it's too large??? I'm on the fence with it. Hubby would like to take it out. I would also like to add something to the street project from last year but not sure what at the moment. Anything jump out at you or anyone???

    Bookmark   May 19, 2010 at 8:15AM
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I'm new to this site, so this is a late response ....

The burning bush and the red bush (barberry?) look so happy, but they are both somewhat overgrown. How about doing a serious pruning as an initial step and then see what you think? I'm not a big fan of "shaped" shrubs, but I like more of an light, airy look -- so I would suggest trimming them with hand pruners, just cutting back individual branches rather than creating a perfectly round shape. It would take some time but would be so rewarding.

I live in a neighborhood of 25-year-old homes, and I have been amazed at how much difference landscape updates make -- they actually make the home look new again! The updates I have seen always include more open space, more mulch visible, and fewer well-placed plantings.

If this were my house, I would detach that garden hose and lay it out around the house in a softly curved shape. Once you're happy with the shape, remove all the grass from within that area and lay down some great mulch, like what you have at your street planting. With your existing but newly shaped, happy shrubs as a basis, you should be able to get some ideas of what to plug into your new garden area. Take your time filling this in. I'd look for plants that have a free form to add some softness. If you select plants that will look right when fully grown, they'll look small at first, but I suspect you'll still love your new look.

Your hostas look great. If this is the right exposure for them, one idea would be to add more hostas, since they come in so many different colors, sizes and varieties.

As for the area where your hose is where you aren't supposed to plant anything, how about a very large pot filled with colorful annuals, including some that would gracefully trail out of the pot? You could place the pot so that it would obscure the view of your hose.

If you've already done something, I'd love to see your updates photos to see your new look.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 11:54AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Let me begin by saying I have a strong bias against foundation planting for most situations including ranch houses, so I am a firm vote for yanking those ginormous shrubs. The most I would want to see at the foundation of this house, if anything, would be some low mounding shrubs, spiced up with perennials like you already have. If you want anything taller, I'd suggest you plant it well away from the house.

If you want some trees, go to your local nursery and see what they have. People on other parts of the continent can make suggestions until they're blue, but if your local nursery doesn't carry it, what's the point? You can mail order, but you usually get small specimens.

Your hydrangea will grow, eventually - have faith!

Your little project by the hydro pole probably makes sense insofar as removing the need to mow around those cables, and you can probably fit in a few more plants if you like them but if that is the end of a lane or something you will want to keep it low as it is. But what that bed suggests is that you are limiting yourself to planting "at" something... I think your house and yard would benefit more from an island bed placed somewhere between house and curb if you want more plantings. Alternately, specimen shrubs placed in the lawn are kind of fun because they can really shine on their own. My problem is I can't see limiting myself to so few plants. So where you fall on the plant-aholic spectrum will matter here. Landscapes aren't really done for houses, but for the people in them. Ten owners of ten identical houses will likely each landscape them differently!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:18PM
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