1950 red brick ranch with dead dirt yard--please help!
After 4 years totally gutting and expanding the interior, we have scraped together a bit of money and energy for the exterior. But after buying half a dozen landscaping books, consulting with 2 designers, and logging in hours online and with magazines, I am stumped.
The house clearly needs curb appeal, as well as hard- and land-scaping. The current design I have is quite costly and while it would be a vast improvement, it doesn't scream out at me. We have 2 small kids and 2 f/t jobs so our DIY abilities are limited. Also, we kill houseplants so we need sturdy plantings.
These are my wants:
- I would love for the feel of the house/yard to be more craftsman-y/Sunset magazine-y.
- I would love to have some features that would encourage actually using the front yard -- we're pretty far set back into the property line, but possibly thinking of low hedges for a courtyard type thing?
- some kind of feature to de-emphasize the low long architecture--possibly an arbor? but that takes us into more cottage territory than craftsman.
This is what I've decided:
- I'm planning on painting the brick a warm neutral color (sorry brick purists but there are 3 colors of brick around the house and they're all ugly), with a pop of color in the front door -- aubergine, maybe!
- widen the sidewalk with pavers
- gravel the curved driveway (there are tree roots that would be compromised with concrete)
- possibly add wood shutters and window box at the left gable -- but this also goes in the cottage direction
- I've removed azaleas, which I detest, and will remove these camellias. I love Japanese maples and saw a Sunset ranch with a row of them that teased the eye upward, but I think they are pricey?
- We would like to have some veg. planting beds in the backyard, but since the front is south facing I am open to seeing ideas of front-yard edible gardens.
- Fruit trees would be nice--we love Mediterranean gardens and fruits like avocado, lemons, fig, etc., but what would be pretty hardy and quick to bear fruit?
If you have *any* suggestions, even for other sites to peruse, I would be so grateful! Thank you!
(I can't figure out how to post a picture here, but imagine a long, low red brick ranch with gables at both ends, dirt yard, scrawny camellias :))