Front Yard Landscaping

chase1June 24, 2010

Hi all,

Hoping for a little feedback/suggestions. We just purchased our first place finally have most of the indoor tasks accomplished. The front landscaping was really overgrown and kind of a hodge-podge of plants. I have already tore out a few of them but now kind of wondering what the heck I'm going to do next. I'm thinking of possibly some hostas and my better half wants a hydrangea in there somewhere. I have no idea where/how to place everything. Any help/ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am in SE Michigan and the house faces the South. Thanks in advance!

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Sorry for the huge pictures!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 8:48PM
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I'm also not sure if I'm just going to edge the beds or possibly get some boulders, pre-cast cement retaining wall blocks or something else? I don't know what would look best with our brick/vinyl siding, etc. Just want to be pleased with what we do the first time.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:41PM
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Not a comment on what to do for the landscaping, but what's going on around the base of that tree to the left? In the second picture, it almost looks like it's still in its nursery container.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 12:11PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

The picture size is not so much the issue, but we don't need that many of them. But having them, I also wonder if there's landscape fabric under your mulch, in which case your soil underneath may be a bit starved - the mulch won't be replenishing the soil at all.

I think you've made some good decisions so far. These recessed-entry houses are difficult - they almost always have planting beds around the entry, but plants make the entry look closed in. You've opened it up nicely. The brick helps make it look welcoming, and I have to throw in that the use of brick at the front of the garage really makes that a nicer facade than most houses of this type have. It makes the garage front a much less formidable object to overcome in the landscape design.

Before focussing further on plantings, you might consider whether there are other things you can do to make the entry more open-feeling, if that is indeed an objective. For example, painting the door a lighter colour, or maybe extending the step from garage wall to pillar, and maybe eventually widening the walk. We've had a number of homes similar to this posted, and in one case an owner had a pot right next to the step to preclude people falling off it because it was unexpectedly so much narrower than the porch would suggest. (search around the forum for the words "recessed entry" or "welcoming entry" and you might find some old threads).

Although builders always put foundation beds around these entries, you're not obligated to do your planting there. Think about your own objectives for how the place feels from the porch, from the sidewalk, from the street, and see if moving the beds and plant mass altogether might be an option, before you get too caught up in what should be in the beds as they are. Think about the whole yard as your canvas rather than just the foundation bed.

Oh, and about being happy with it first time? I think you always will be, but don't let that stop you from making changes or improvements over time.


PS - is that an Aztek? I'm one of those rare creatures that loves them!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 1:29PM
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Thanks for the replies!

As for the base of the tree, it had a bunch of growths coming off of it for some reason?

There was indeed landscaping fabric underneath it all that I have already torn out.

Karin - Thanks for all the suggesitons and other things to take into consideration! And yes, that is an Aztek! It is actually a company vehicle that I was less than thrilled about initially, but it has been an excellent vehicle! Mine has 165k and some co-workers have over 200k!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 4:26PM
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I think chase 1 you will do an excellent job of gardening around your home
Sound ideas you mentioned
Nice little house it is as well.

Enjoy the experience and the years of gardening in your first home.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:07AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

As for the base of the tree, it had a bunch of growths coming off of it for some reason?

Some trees are prone to suckering: new stems ("suckers") grow out of the lower trunk, or even from roots multiple feet from the trunk. Sometimes this is a big pain to deal with. [And if the tree has been grafted -- a more desirable top (generally having better flowers or fruit) wedded to a hardier or dwarfing rootstock -- the suckers from the rootstock will not be the same as the main part of the tree.]

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:18AM
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Well, I didn't have a ton of luck searching "recessed entry" and "welcoming entry." I will keep snooping around online but hoping to make some progress this week since I'm on vacation. Thinking about possibly moving landscaping into an "island" in the front to get it away from the crowded porch/front door.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:03PM
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I would move the daylilies that are between the garage and the sidewalk. Look how they are blocking the way, and it's going to get worse.

Widen the sidewalk and the step up to the porch to make it easier to enter and easier to clear in the winter. (I like big entry areas)

Add a railing to the porch.

And extend some flowers down the drive - make sure they don't get in the way of the snow removal. That's a good place for things that die back to the ground in winter, like maybe hostas?

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 7:21AM
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lorrainebecker(z6 CT)

That hydrangea that your husband wants - I would put it to the side of your porch. In the full frontal view of your home it looked to me like something behind the tree and to the side there would be a good idea.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2010 at 10:02AM
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