Looking for landscaping ideas - clueless

makingitourhomeJuly 7, 2013

Good afternoon everyone,

Next spring, my husband and I are looking to tackle our largest house-related project to-date: we are having our crumbling, decrepit landing ripped out and having new stairs, a new path, and new landscaping put in. I am going to be totally up front about this: I do not have a green thumb! I really do not know much at all about plants, and so, I am coming here because frankly, I don't even know where to start!

What I can tell you about our home: We live in upstate NY. Our soil is high-clay, but the drainage seems decent as we get little-to-no flooding/pooling in the yard. Our house sits on top of a little hill, with another hill behind it. The front of the house, where the plants will go, faces southwest, and it gets FULL SUN (I put that in capitals, because there is literally almost no shade all day. Our front door, which will also be replaced during this project, gets very hot in the summer.)

I am looking for plants that are ideally:
- Easy to care for
- A mix of evergreen and blooms
- In keeping with a New England/Cape Cod feel (I am from MA and our house is a Cape Code style)
- Won't get too tall: these plants will be placed in front of our front windows

Some of the plants I like the look of (but aren't sure of how well they would work in our situation) are hostas, boxwoods, hydrangeas, and ornamental kale.

Thank you in advance for any and all advice/feedback. I really don't have a clue about this stuff :)

I am attaching a picture of our house in the hopes that it might give you a better idea of what might work visually

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With that extensive a project in mind, why don't you hire a design professional? Not only will they be able to easily tackle any hardscaping issues (landing, path and stairs) but they can bring to life what is essentially a very boring blank slate at this point in time. If you admittedly know nothing about plants and gardening, why go into this project with the potential of a lot of costly trail and error mistakes?

In many cases, a designer will prepare a full design for you to follow DIY at your convenience OR you can opt to hire all (or part) of the work out. You can be as hands-on - or off - as you wish :-)

I've linked you to the NY chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. This is one of the best referral services for landscape design professionals.

Here is a link that might be useful: APLD - NY

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Here are some suggestions as to how you might arrange plants. One suggestion I'm not showing but would make is to place two trees at the fore of the front yard along the street/sidewalk. These would help frame the view of the house, give it a more protected feel and help with the direct heat and light on the house.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 9:13AM
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I like Yards idea.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Yardvaark, that is beautiful! We might need to tweak it some (that tree on the side can't be there since the line to our septic runs on that side) but the shaping and layering looks really nice. Thank you for your hard work!

Gardengal - thanks! I ended up bookmarking one of the places, as he is in the same town as me, and charges only $150 for a 2 hour consultation. Might be worth the money, given this is such a large project.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2013 at 6:17AM
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