landscape experts challenge - i was told this was hopeless :(

bichonlover3(9)July 24, 2014

My son purchased his first home. I posted a plea for some ideas to fix up the curb appeal of this house. An architect told me that it was a 70's semi-contemporary house and that they were just too difficult to do anything with in terms of improving the exterior appeal. he particularly said he didn't like "all that brick". Be that as it may, this is my son's and his new wife's first home and they are so proud to be "homeowners" in their 20's. I find it hard to believe that with a good paint color, a new front door and some really nice landscaping this little house could not look appealing. Please dig deep in your creative minds. we really need some direction here. Thanks!!

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bichonlover3(9)

Here is another pic. Hopefully a little clearer.

This post was edited by bichonlover3 on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 0:32

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:30AM
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bichonlover3(9)

OOPS! That big tree to the right was removed by previous owners! This house also appears on Google maps and can be seen from all angles.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:34AM
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Fori is not pleased

Landscaping sure, it can use it, although it's not desperate yet. But that house has plenty of curb appeal. Is the garage in the brick section?

It's hard to tell the paint color or what's going on in the yard, but the house itself looks good...from here anyway. Embrace the triangles! They are great!!! That architect has no appreciation for cool.

You should also try the home decorating forum for paint colors. But you're gonna need more pictures!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:45AM
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yardvaark

Bichon, if you really want help you've got to submit better pictures. While the ones above give a clue to layout, because of the poor lighting almost no detail can be seen at the house. Since we now know that the lawn is open, stand right at the curb, opposite the front door. Hold the camera level for all shots. Aim the camera leftward (the left portion of house would be showing at the right side of the picture) and take the first shot. Do not move from that spot, but pivot the camera rightward and take a picture where the house is centered. (The shots must overlap slightly so we can know how the pictures fit together.) Again, pivot rightward and take another overlapping shot ... this time the right side of the house will appear at the left side of the picture. By taking these panning shots, it's possible to capture the entire front yard in a way that OTHERS CAN UNDERSTAND IT. Take the pictures at a time of day when the lighting is not harsh. Black shadows do not reveal information.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:40AM
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bichonlover3(9)

Thanks, folks, for the postings! I found the house on Google Maps and the house can be viewed from all angles! 1825 Denim Street Enid OK. Thanks, again for your help. I apologize for poor pics.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:04AM
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yardvaark

I'll return later but for now will mention just this. While most brick is attractive, there are some brick color combinations and patterns that are very unattractive. Most of these came about during the 1960s and 1970s. With such type of brick there is no question that it can appear IMMENSELY better painted. The texture shows through, which is nice, but the horrendous jumpy colors and patterns go away. With this house, since there is a decided lack of architectural details (windows) that add interest, there is a distinct need for strategic planting. All of these problems can be overcome and transform this house into something vastly more handsome (... and therefore, worth more $$$.)

Explore "painted brick houses" on Google Images to see that painted brick can be quite good looking. Also, there are paint company web sites I've seen, that through computer magic allow one to try out a new color on their house. I have not used them to report success or disappointing results (of the website) but it would be worth checking out.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 11:48AM
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violetwest

yes, you might try the Home Dec forum for painting suggestions.

As far as landscaping goes, I'm not sure that giant bush to the left of the driveway is doing the home any favors.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:46PM
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bichonlover3(9)

I agree 100%

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 4:28PM
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lazy_gardens

"An architect told me that it was a 70's semi-contemporary house and that they were just too difficult to do anything with in terms of improving the exterior appeal. "

the architect is just lacking in imagination ...

The quality of the advice depends heavily on the quality of the pictures we can discuss.

Take the pictures when the sun is behind you, shining on that side of the house.

My immediate thought is ... nice lines and I love the windows. But those giant green meatball shrubs have got to go. As does the heavy line of bushes closest to the camera.

It's main flaw is that it's just lawn and green bushes.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 10:26PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Lazy gardens, I agree with you 100% My thought is to clear just about everything out of there. You can hardly see the house! I am in California and the house is in OK so pics are a problem. However, I did find the house on Google Maps and it gives really bright clear pics of all sides of the house at 125 Denim Lane.
https://www.google.com/maps/@36.424618,-97.902023,3a,75y,160.07h,88.78t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sHjeuPI_5IxCnnKdyhO3JcA!2e0

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:03AM
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emmarene

I like this house and others in the neighborhood.
Was it a landscape architect who said it could not be improved?

One thing I would do is make that Photinia into a tree then decide if you need it.

Does the picket fence have a purpose? It is unsightly.

I know it gets hot there. Will they replace the shade tree?

The parts I like most are the interesting shaped windows, the brick and the roof line and I think the entry area could be nice but we can't see it.

Although I like the brick, painting it would not be a bad idea because I browsed the area and no one has done it so far. Their house would stand out.

It is true about the home decorating forum, they know a lot about paint colors.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:51PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Thank you for your post, Emmarene! The problem is I am in California and the house is in OK so pics are a problem.

However, I did find the house on Google Maps and it gives really bright clear pics of all sides of the house at 125 Denim Lane.

https://www.google.com/maps/@36.424618,-97.902023,3a,75y,160.07h,88.78t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sHjeuPI_5IxCnnKdyhO3JcA!2e0

If you go on the link above, you can turn the3 house all the way around, everything is clear and you can zoom in.

The tree was removed by the previous owners because it was gone before my son moved in :( He would have left it alone.

Is the Photinia, the shrub on the right?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:12PM
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bichonlover3(9)

The picket fence is to hide trash cans. It has to go!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:19PM
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yardvaark

Here's a few suggestions ....

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:14PM
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yardvaark

a few more ...

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:16PM
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bichonlover3(9)

I was thinking about pulling everything out including that bush in the entry area. It hides the door and getting rid of it should make the entry open up.
I was also thinking about some kind of hedge as foundation planting around the front and side and then something exotic in the flower beds beside the front door. Maybe even incorporate a pot there.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:46PM
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yardvaark

You're now making it sound as if you had the problems solved all along.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 7:54PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Nope, only thoughts. I need your opinions and ideas. I am truly no garden expert. :(
In your revisions, are the yellow areas replacement bushes?
I really like your idea about shade trees in the back.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:10PM
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lazy_gardens

OK ... finally got Google Maps working ...

They have a BIG yard between the street and the house, along the driveway, but all the landscaping is huddled next to the garage. the back yard is tiny, but you have the greenbelt view.

1 - Get rid of the mustache of greenery along the garage.

2 - The big green bush has turned a nice shade of orange ... whatever it is, it might be worth keeping. If that is the bush someone suggested trimming up into a tree, I agree.

3 - For increased "curb appeal", start landscaping AT THE CURB ...

Some small climate-appropriate trees (Crepe Myrtle is a good choice) in a small grove (3 to 5 trees) close to the street corner, but selected so they don't make a dangerous corner. You want trees that grow UP and out of the way.
(the green splotches)

Under them, put low-growing perennials and some annuals, preferable low-maintenance natives and similar plants, spreading along towards the greenbelt (the yellow splotches)

If needed, widen the drive where you normally drop passengers so they don't have to walk in snow or mud.

4 - Reclaim the front yard to make it usable ... between drive and neighbor (to the left of the driveway), I would install some sort of outdoor living area or vegetable gardens or something. Right now it's useless grass to mow. (the red area) If you can't outright fence it in, use benches, arbors and evergreens to make it psychologically private.

5 - Make the back yard into a big outdoor living area. Expand the deck, get rid of the grass, and add some shade arbors and vines.

If they will let you, plant trees for shade and privacy on the street side and a few on the rear.

TIP: If you use some of the same species as is already in the greenbelt, it "steals the view" and makes the back yard look bigger.

Consider making part of the rear fence (it looks like concrete block) see-through so something pretty in the greenbelt is visible, sort of framed by the fence. My sister's back yard was next to a golf course, so they installed an iron grill in their fence to frame a nice view of one of the trees. Being able to see beyond the fence makes the yard feel larger.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:50AM
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yardvaark

"... are the yellow areas replacement bushes?" It would be a hedge, like forsythia. Looks like there is a mishmash presently along that lot line. I have done a little more on one sketch and am resubmitting it.

The large shrub by the front door definitely should go away. There is not a good picture of that area to work from as it is too far away from the street.

Also, the tree forms I placed along the fence I would not call "shade" trees. They would be more like small flowering trees .... crape myrtle or what have you ... a way to extend screening height of the fence as well as add flowering and form interest. Shade trees would be the larger trees in the lawn.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 2:10PM
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bichonlover3(9)

HUGE improvement over what is there now! Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 3:10PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Closer pics of front door area.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:29PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Front right side facing the door

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:38PM
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bichonlover3(9)

FRONT HOUSE

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 8:40PM
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lazy_gardens

Front door area ... Make it into a more open entry courtyard

pic 1

Get rid of that sprouting thing! NOW!!!! it's either a sumac or a Tree of Heaven and they are invasive.

Get rid of the grassy stuff or move it, increase the paved area and install a nice bench for people to put packages on. Use plants in pots for summer and fall, nothing for winter to make snow and ice removal easier.

Pic 2 and 3

All those bushes go, especially that huge juniper.

1 - Make a short brick wall from house to drive, with an end column and a light on it. Plant something that can trail over the wall and flower, maybe a rose?

OR

2 - No wall, replace things in flower bed with a mix of medium evergreen and flowering perennials and shrubs, maybe some tall grasses, using the whole width of the bed for them. Have one tall skinny accent plant, even a crepe myrtle or small well-behaved tree, marking the door.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 9:27PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Hi lazygardens!

By making front into a courtyard, do you mean getting rid of the 2 flowerbeds?
Not sure where you mean to place tree to mark the door.
Suggestions for shrubs in big flower bed that could live in OK. I live in The California desert so I only know cacti and succulents lol

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:15PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Your kids bought their first house, and grandma sold it to them.... sort of. They need to get a clean slate. So much potential in this property. I'm sure they are on the design forum for the inside too.

I agree the Juniper needs to go.

You got a lot of good suggestions, and I hope they take action. Please follow up with the results.

Woohoo!!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 10:51PM
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yardvaark

Was able to get a closer shot of front than I first thought.

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 12:56

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:33AM
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bichonlover3(9)

I like that! Think I will get rid of fence and maybe repeat smaller version of walkway plantings around that corner.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:20AM
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lazy_gardens

I know nothing about what would grow in OK ... I'm in Phoenix.

What Yardvaark showed is great! But I would put some lighting on posts to mark where the entry takes off from the driveway.

If the "ground cover" were a mix of low-growing perennials and shrubs and evergreens you could have year-round interest.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:02PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Good idea about the lights! I am with you re plants as I am in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:48PM
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bichonlover3(9)

Yardvaark, can you help with types of plants and numbers of plants? I really like your plan and would like to follow through. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 1:54PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

It's a beautiful house. I don't see much wrong with the landscaping. Time for a new architect.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 2:04PM
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emmarene

There is an Oklahoma forum. You could get the plant recommendations there.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 7:00PM
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sc77

Long term I think the brick would look nicer painted a dark grey color to compliment the rest of the house. When looking at google maps from different angles, I struggled to figure out which way should be the front of your house. To fix this, it would be nice to create a hedge along the right side. This also hides the completely windows less (awkward) side of the house.

Grow a healthy lawn, add some type of nice flowering tree. White dogwood as an example. This tree would be larger, but I scaled down so you could see the hedge and the planting area against the house. I pulled this area out a bit and backed it off the "Patio" area a bit to create a better entrance.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:33PM
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bichonlover3(9)

SC77, nice! What would you do with the small flower bed to the left of the path. I also want to take down that wooden fence at the front of the house. Small flower bed there?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 10:54PM
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sc77

My opinion is that the bed to the left of the path is too small to be useful. I would extend the concrete there as as well, so you have a nice square patio in front of the house. I would then select a large, wooden, or other decorative plantings to go on the new patio.

You could also grow a vine up from a low square pot on a trellis or right up the side of the brick on the patio as well.

For the corner where the fence is, I would go with a small/med shrub. Something like 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:04AM
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yardvaark

"I really like your plan and would like to follow through." Well, it's not a plan, per se, yet, but merely an idea ... a suggestion. In order for it to become useful it must be converted into a plan (as would be needed with any pictorial suggestion.) But in order for that to happen, one must have the property measured and permanent installations (house/drive/walks/fences/trees, etc.) recorded in their accurate locations. Then, one fits the new material into the available spaces. Doing this is work and people get paid for it. Many people use this forum intending to save money and do it themselves. For a small residential project, it is not that difficult to lay out one's property, to scale, on graph paper and draw in all the elements. Any plan needs direction and the pictures I've given you (or that anyone has given you) could be the driving force behind the plan. It's a matter of deciding of what ideas accomplish what goals and then using them. It is up to the planner to determine location of plants and therefore, make sure that plants are spaced properly and with enough clearance from the house.

You inquired about what are the plants. I can't say what will be the best for the Oklahoma environment. I can only name the plant I know that represents the proper form and then you would need to determine if it grows there, or what the best substitute that does, would be. There are three small, multi-trunk trees I placed up against the house. Weeping yaupon Holly comes to mind for that. There are some multi-trunk trees (purple flowering in the picture) that I placed along the wood fence ... crape myrtle comes to mind for that. There is a groundcover bed along the front of the house and a mass of green Liriope, especially 'Big blue,' comes to mind for that. There are shade trees in the lawn. Of course, I love the male Ginkgoes ... and red maple cultivars ... and numerous other trees. I see many large shade trees growing at the neighboring properties so it shouldn't be difficult to do a little local research and come up with a good choice. I would pick a good one and then have a matched set rather than using different types of trees.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:48AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

Rancho Mirage? Wow! Moved from La Quinta last year to a micro-climate with a killer view in the foothills overlooking Hemet.

Oklahoma is a long way from you! You are doing a great job for your kids. Doesn't seem so impossible now, does it?

Suzi

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 11:36AM
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bichonlover3(9)

Yardvaark, I understand what you mean. Wrong choice of word!
desertdance, so we are neighbors! Here is a pic of the couple taken 2 months ago.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:38PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance

I foresee very cute grandchildren. Now we have to make the backyard kid friendly........ It doesn't end!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:15PM
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yardvaark

With a little cut and paste that picture might end up on someone's online dating profile!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:41PM
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bichonlover3(9)

No, it sure doesn't end! He has approx. 14 months left in this house. They will keep this house as rental property. They will then be off to somewhere else (hopefully San Diego) for the last couple of years of his Navy commitment. They plan to settle permanently in Texas.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:23PM
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