Help with adding curb appeal

jennycm76(5)June 17, 2013

We have a 1960 boring ranch home. As much as I'd love to structurally alter it to add interest, it's not currently in the cards. I love the cottage look. I'm also interested in using a lot of edibles. The part I mostly need assistance with is the design. Next to the driveway there was a tree removed. I'd like to create a strawberry bed there. We just purchased flagstone to make a patio under the pine tree on corner. I have obsessed and made lots of plans on paper, but I just can't make a decision, and my doodles really don't help all that much!
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yardvaark

What's your guess on how many square feet the patio will be and how will it be used? Will falling needles and upheaving paving be a concern? If curb appeal is the primary goal, will "lots of edibles" cause a conflict? Why would a strawberry bed go necessarily where a tree was removed? Is that where you need a "groundcover"? (I don't think we can see that place in your picture.) If you're looking for suggestions for curb appeal, seems like you'd want to add a picture that shows the right half of the house (from same camera position.)

It is not necessary to "structurally" alter a house in order to add great deal of interest to its structure. Adding details--wood brackets, trim and mouldings--could make a big difference. The posts at the front porch are painted dark to correlate (as if camouflaged) with the body color of the house. Painting them light, as if part of the trim package, would help with adding interest. Likewise with the gutter.

In general, "street" trees and small trees that break the roof line, would help with the overall feeling of the house seeming "protected."

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 11:37PM
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jennycm76(5)

Thank you for response. The strawberries need to be in front for sun purposes. I like the idea of not camouflaging the posts. I would like to paint the shutter and garage door just need to choose a color. I attached an additional picture. I think the tree will be ok with the patio, the roots are not above ground and its been around a long time;) do you think if I made a short retainer wall and created a round raised bed for the strawberries it would look ok? I will go out and do some measuring and post a closer pic of patio area.
Thanks for your help. I'm open to anything really. I personally would love to have a path going to road and lots of plants through the entire front, but kids still need some yard to play in. Our back yard is very narrow and goes into a creek, which is a whole different project in itself!!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:40PM
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jennycm76(5)

From the tree to the middle of windows is 16 ft . From corner of house to faucet is 16 ft. I'm thinking 12-13ft deep. The barrel thing is around our well so that must stay. I like curvy. I'm thinking perhaps gravel from sidewalk to patio, just can't envision what to do to make it flow together. We could always eventually carry patio around to the other side. The fort is getting taken away.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 4:59PM
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jennycm76(5)

Another view

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 5:02PM
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yardvaark

"... if I made a short retainer wall and created a round raised bed for the strawberries it would look ok?" Chances are better that a raised bed--a "thing"--set out in the yard would add clutter to the scene, unless it was high quality and well integrated as part of a larger theme. Since strawberries would act as a groundcover, you would need to put them where you NEED a groundcover AND sun. Not just where sun happens to be.

If you centered a small tree in the blank space between the windows, it would help justify swinging a walk/path away from the house, allowing room for plantings. A singular arc would look cleaner, neater and more sophisticated than a wavy, wiggily pathway.

Don't know what shape or size you're thinking of for your patio at the tree, but a 3/4 circle, staying at the outside of the tree, would correlate to the tree and allow for some planting between patio and house.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 10:48PM
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jennycm76(5)

I like that, I had envisioned more kidney shape but I like what you have. How do you get the texture along the porch? What about the shutters, should they be like a taupe color from the stone? In my mind I had a circular bed near the hosta by sidewalk, kind of Katy corner from strawberry bed. Your idea eases a need for transitional material as well. Thanks for the drawing, how do you do that?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:20PM
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yardvaark

"How do you get the texture along the porch?"by sloppily drawing in some lines to represent wood trim.

Taupe color--like stone--is a pretty safe bet to try since it goes with any other color. With paint, always try a small sample and view in real life conditions before committing.

Instead of thinking of a separate bed here and a separate bed there, I'd think of an overall bed or bed system (as much as possible) that incorporates plantings into a nice geometry. There could be a separate island, if that works out. A "circular bed" sounds too much like a piece of jewelry one would pin on a lapel.

The drawing is MS Paint. Copy the picture, paste it in and have at it. But it does not work well unless you have a touchscreen and stylus to draw with.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 11:53PM
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katob Z6ish, NE Pa

You have a nice house... but I might be biased since ours look similar..... I think your stone front might be exactly the same as what we first had!
Some starting points might be painting the garage and shutters (like you already mentioned). Right now they have the look of white trim that over the years has yellowed, and I feel like it ages the whole house.
Do you ever use the area under the pine (spruce) tree? If not, I would put a couple chairs out there as a sitting area first and see if you actually make use of them before committing to a patio. Your porch seating looks nice and that might be enough of a seating area already.
Have you considered using the flagstone for a small entryway patio outside the front door? I feel like with the low wide ranch a low wide open patio might connect it to the landscape. Keep it close to the house and you shouldn't lose much play area. You could accent it with a couple pots and planters with annuals or random vegetables.
I'd use the strawberries as a groundcover in a bed around the lampost.
.... not to go on too much ;) but your hose access might be annoying if you put a bunch of plantings up by the house... you may want to keep this area somewhat open and skip the standard foundation plantings (which I suspect you ripped out when you moved in).
It's almost July so keep an eye on big box store nursery areas, they typically start their clearances around now and it's a great time to get a couple blueberry bushes for cheap (they're a great front-yard edible) Sage, chives, parsely, rosemary (prob not hardy for you) are also attractive whether you use them or not. A couple zucchini wouldn't look much worse than a hosta and a few seeds in the ground now would still produce this summer...... just some edible ideas for a front garden

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 8:11AM
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