I need ideas for the front yard

wigardenerwannabe(Z5 WI)June 30, 2010

I am in a situation in which I need to replace the upper 1/3 of the driveway and the walkway from the driveway to the front step due to grading issues causing water in my basement. As I was talking to the cement contractor, he indicated that the roots of the evergreens there are massive and contribute to upheaval of the sidewalk concrete, so he thought they should be removed. He said they might get killed with concrete work anyways. I got a bid for a replacement of the existing sidewalk. I am on a limited budget, so that is also a factor. I started thinking that perhaps I should put a curved sidewalk in that would go around the existing plantings, and reconfigure them somehow. And then I got stuck envisioning what to do. These are photos and is anyone has any ideas that might help me visualize alternative ideas, while keeping in a budget I'd love to hear them. I'm not opposed to doing plantings myself. I don't really use the front yard...just would like it to look welcoming. Thanks so much.

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I can't open any your photos,why?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 9:50PM
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wigardenerwannabe(Z5 WI)

I don't know why you can't view the photos...I went in and changed the designation in webshots to 'public' to see if that does the trick. I have walked the neighborhood looking for some inspiration, as you can well imagine there are plenty of homes in the same or similar styles. It seems that many of these homes extended the porch across under the bay window (or their variation of a front window). Many added railings then to enclose this narrow porch. That doesn't thrill me to be honest, as I don't think I'd ever use it, and I'm not crazy about the looks of it. I guess my question would be, if I removed all the existing plantings beside the walkway, and I curved the walkway, would I simply plant a few smaller shrubs along the inside curve...and would the area under the overhang just be left empty? The only thing I've found that grows there are impatients. I'm hoping someone might have some ideas that might help me form a vision of where to go with this. J

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 11:11PM
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I would:

1 - Remove that entire wall of overgrown shrubbery. They were cute once, but they are way too tall for the house and location.

2 - Have the contractor make a nice, wide entry area for you

3 - then decide what to do that takes the new walk and the big tree into account.

Sometimes a backhoe is the best landscaping tool.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 7:00AM
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If you want to keep the shrubbery for privacy, maybe remove some lawn and plant lower plants in front of the evergreens, to "soften" the wall o' green. Or "thin the herd".. that big one right beside the door is a good candidate for... ahem... relocation. A lower planting there would make your entry way more inviting.

I'm not a huge fan of evergreen foundation plantings.. you could try some deciduous stuff with contrasting foliage in front/around the shrubs. Many are very cheap as younglings.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 9:15AM
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At a minimum I'd trim the shrubs to make the front of your home more welcoming. Trim them even more than I did, but you get the idea (I don't have photoshop so my drawing is rather crude). A new curved concrete or paver sidewalk would make it more inviting.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 10:43AM
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wigardenerwannabe(Z5 WI)

Thanks so much for your feedback. I have had the same thoughts as you are all sharing. The yard looks totally overgrown as you had noted. I trimmed back all the front shrubs yesterday, but it still only looks marginally better. Of course I'm a little scared off, as I've heard the root systems on the evergreens are monstrous, so I may need to hire this out. Hilltop, thanks for the mockup. It is similar to what I'm thinking and gives me an idea of what it might look like. If I put down a red brick walkway to tie it into the house brick, would that look awkward with a cement step since I'd prefer not to have to replace that?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 11:16AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

You can mix materials just fine, especially if you have brick elsewhere in your environment and if you choose the right material for the job it will look right.

The root systems on the evergreens need not be the big burden you are thinking. You can just cut those shrubs off at the trunk and most probably won't re-sprout from the base - the odd one might, then you just keep cutting off any new growth and it will eventually die. I can't tell if you have any real bad suckering shrubs in there; those you may have to chase the roots with a shovel for a bit. But mostly you can just leave the roots to rot for a while before taking on the sidewalk; it may take some time to think about what walk you want. Maybe the entry will already look good without all that shrubbery.

I'd be more concerned about the roots of the tree. I can't really tell how much room you've got, but the new sidewalk you have in mind will almost undoubtedly interfere with those roots. That's not good for the tree, nor, in the long run, for the sidewalk.

I would do the shrub removal first and then look at what you've got. Update this thread with new pictures at that stage if you want more input.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2010 at 11:40AM
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