I need help with my walkout basement landscaping. I cannot describe exactly what I don't like about it. I do know that it is not very inviting. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks.
If the grade slopes at a building face, it offers a look of instability. If you could use plantings to compensate for that slope you can create a stable "look." One way is by using a clipped hedge that covers the foundation walls. You could also create the same general effect in loose, casual plantings if you select plants with proper heights and shapes that would interface similarly as does the hedge. Or you could do it with vines on wires or sprawling plants, like roses, on a trellis(es). Part of the reason of why you would choose one solution over the other depends on the level of maintenance you're interested in committing to.
The space lacks purpose. Part of the reason it doesn't look good is because there seems to be no "destination" other than the door itself. There's no real patio or a place to do something. Adding some type of outdoor "floor" would, at least, make it look like the space has purpose. Even using lawn as the floor would be better than trying to make do with the undersized slab. Certainly, don't plant shrubs that separate the slab from the lawn... unless to DON'T want the entrance to look inviting.
A full or partial arbor covering the "patio" area would help define the space. It could provide shade and an opportunity to grow flowering vines.
Presently, only tired looking mulch is what connects and unifies the plantings. Why not change that to a nice looking groundcover that grows less than 12" tall? It would be like looking at nice upholstery on a pieces of furniture vs. looking at the stuffing underneath.
Improving the condition of the grass would much improve the whole picture.
When the river birch (if that's what it is) gets some size on it, the picture will also improve.