New build. New gardener. Need advice please.

eagleidahoJuly 20, 2014

Hey! I'm building a home in eagle Idaho (basically boise Idaho). Supposedly its zone 6 but people that live here say to treat it like a zone 5. I'm a gardening novice and am hoping to have a front yard that looks respectable from the road but isn't too much maintenance. I'd like to use the back yard to experiment more with gardening as my skills improve. Up front I don't want anything too tall in front of the porch area because I've enjoyed sitting on my front porch in my current home and don't want it to feel like a cave. I'm thinking something simple like hosta or day lilies. Maybe some shrubs of sorts. I'm not sure. It's a west facing front yard so the hosta may burn. Anyway. Any suggestions would be great.

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Footprint of the home. The walkway is what the builder is suggesting.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:20PM
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Thinking something like this...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:21PM
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or this?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:22PM
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I know this isn't in concert with your vision, but you might find some useful ideas in it regardless. It's not about what plants you should use, but about general scheme.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 9:37PM
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I actually love the idea of it. I'm fond of the fact that the trees are more peripheral and the porch area has shorter foliage to keep it lighter and brighter. I also think my kids will like the easier transition from driveway to grass rather than having to stomp through a flower bed. I believe my hoa covenants require one evergreen tree in the front yard. It can be any kind. I could put it peripherally or replace one of the larger front trees you drew. Do you think one spot would be better than another? I'm leaning towards the one on the left because that neighbor has a side load garage that faces my home and it may be nice to partially obstruct it from view. Thanks Yardvaark and anyone else willing to make suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:41PM
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Usually evergreen trees and shrubs are placed out front so that in winter, your home still has greenery.
If you like the plan that was posted, simply put nice big conifers (trees with needles or sprays), where the trees are pictured in the pic above.
I personally LOVE Colorado Blue Spruce, and on the other side you could pick a nice dark green conifer or mabey even a holley.
Then plant dark green evergreens around the blue spruce, well, you get the picture.
Try to picture it, and visit a local nursery to see what they have available in the FALL, if you go with a conifer.
Exciting building a new home, I wish you luck.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:52PM
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My advice was handicapped by knowing nothing about your lot, but you can likely adapt ideas by pushing and pulling as necessary. Too, a single view can't show everything, there is room for additions as deemed necessary. If there is enough front-to-back depth to the front yard, you might also include street trees. (The drawing suggest them by showing a small portion of the underside of their canopies.) You could also include quarter-circle islands flanking the driveway with very small (12' - 15' ht.) multi-trunk "trees" in them and groundcover below. I would avoid enclosing the driveway & walk with plant beds as this usually (almost always!) results in a less well functioning, hemmed in feeling at some future point. You could substitute a large evergreen tree for one of the broad leaved trees shown. Usually, with that type of tree, people prefer its foliage growing all the way to the ground. But this requires a great deal of space at the ground so be sure to envision the tree in its full grown state when siting it in order to be certain that the lower limbs will have enough room to spread out. We see innumerable cases where, later in life, the tree must be limbed up because the room isn't there. If you need the tree positioned so as to provide screening, if the proper space isn't available, it's better to develop the screening by providing something else in addition to the tree.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:55AM
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if you enjoy sitting on the front porch, keep your view in mind -- not only the far view, but the near view; as in, make something pretty your eyes can rest on while you're sitting out there

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 12:58PM
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To get an idea of exactly how much space you'll need for your evergreen, I'd suggest driving around some neighborhoods where the houses are 20 - 50 years old to see what the evergreens look like.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 9:51PM
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Thanks guys!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:39PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

First of all, I'm not a landscaping pro or any type of expert, just a homeowner who likes maps and plans. So I'm wondering about the actual usable amount of space in your front yard.

I see a distance of 24'6" (maybe 24'8"?) from the front of the lot to the corner of the window on the right. Is the front property line the location of the curb?

Will there be a sidewalk along the street in front of the house? Will it be right along the street, or will there be a parking strip (grass area) between the street and sidewalk?

One of the lines in the front yard is labelled "ACHD easement." That's your county's Highway Division. It's 8' from the front property line, so it's 16'6" from the front of the house. My county doesn't allow trees -- or even tallish shrubs -- in the easement, so ask before you plant.

The other line -- 12' from the property line, so only 12' 6" from the corner of the window on the right -- is the utility easement. That's another area where planting large shrubs or trees might be restricted, if power lines/pipes are underground. And hopefully they won't put any unsightly boxes in front of the house.

But in any case, there may be significantly less space in front of the house where you're free to landscape as you wish, than you expect.

Boise's snowfall averages only 19" per year, but you might want to ask the neighbors how much of the street snow will be dumped in your yard.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:50AM
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