Mother of All Hellstrips Part 2

jubilanteAugust 22, 2011

I've tried to take the advice and suggestions about how and what to do to tame the hellstrips and beyond!

I am attaching a draft of planting areas and enlarged patio. We are very uncertain of what to do with the patio area. Our tendency is to enlarge it so we can exit the driveway through the patio area and just use pots/planters to soften it. We aren't adverse to getting rid of it, but do want to keep water use down as it is a large corner lot with those 180' of hellstrip! A number of homes have a 4-5' wall across the front of the house. I want the front of our house to look welcoming, not like a fortress.

I took someone's idea of doing a line drawing to better see the shape of our house. It is attached too. I took to heart the layers or order of landscaping, and this is our attempt...plant varieties will come later.

Please offer any thoughts on what we've sketched up--not too invested at this point, so fire away!


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Strong start!

The diagram shows that you are considering new paving for the driveway. Is that blacktop or actual pavers? Are stained/stamped concrete driveways feasible in your area? If you choose the latter, you could incorporate that into the patio area as well.

I like the court yard effect you've achieved by expanding the front patio. You may want to carry it even further, deepening it so that your entrance from the driveway was at least 5' wide. It would also allow more room for the table and chairs without impinging on the traffic flow to the door. A cedar structure of four upright 8'x8' posts with strong rectilinear crossbeams on top (think bold statement rather than fussy) could also be used to define the area. It would visually reference the fence on the south-west side of your property.

Are those the dreaded fortress walls you've drawn on the street side of the patio? May I suggest instead a single planter "box", maybe 2 to 3' wide x 3' high x (length between garage corner to front door), maybe with the same stone facing that you have on your garage? You could either plant directly into it or conceal individual pots.

And I really like the design of your front walkway - linear and interesting at the same time. What stone are you thinking of there? I would balance the hardscape of that and the driveway on the left hand side of the yard with a few BIG boulders, like a triptych, on the far side closer to the cross street.

I assume that you will be transplanting the healthy bushes and tree that you currently have near the entry way. The curving beds look good, tying well into each other. Is that a corner bed right beside the sidewalk near the cross street?

The only thing left is a some kind of water feature. Hmmmm...

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 9:30PM
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The little 6-8 ft sq bed west of the front door seems to be in the way of diret traffic from the sidwalk to the front door. I could see that being annoying having to side step around and trampled by kids in short order. Also in the front patio, having recti-linear planting beds with a a curvi-linear one in the NE corner is throwing me off a bit.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 9:55PM
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Thanks for the suggestions!

Yes, we can go with any material for the driveway and patio. I tend to like concrete, spouse tends to like pavers. We've looked at stone for the patio, but not sure that is where I want to use a chunk of the budget.

When you suggest the cedar structure, adriennemb, do you mean to define the whole patio area, ie, instead of the dreaded, if low, wall across the front? And if I go with a large planter box, I'm trying to visualize what would be in it. The white roses were my "do it and forget it" answer a few years ago.

The current plants will be transplanted or given away as I hate tossing plants. The tea tree may be the exception...not real keen on it. The cannas have nine lives and get tossed here and there routinely. What you don't see in this picture are my peonies. Not too many folks have them here, and I am hoping I can move them.

Water feature? I've played with the idea of doing something against the garage wall. Perhaps a small wall mounted fountain?

Yes, the curved bed is near a "T" intersection. I think I might want to increase the planting areas and decrease lawn.

Isabella_ma, yeah, I agree with you about the path obstruction...out it goes! :) I'm thinking about the shape of any planting areas in the patio. I'm actually not sure I want any. Maybe just containers??

Thanks again for taking the time to share your thoughts, they are so welcome!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 9:11AM
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I like pavers too but oh my, so expensive. I agree with you that you can get the look for less with the concrete and spend the money you save on other fun stuff.

Yes, I was thinking of the cedar pergola over the whole patio - in essence, creating another room. Gives the illusion of privacy without the obstruction. It would also give you some vertical interest, especially if you wanted to use hanging baskets or subtle lighting.

And that large a planter box, I think you could almost treat it as a raised garden. Bahia would be the one to ask about plant selection in California.

How about a water wall on the patio instead of fountain?

So many decisions you have to make. Keep us posted...

    Bookmark   August 24, 2011 at 12:55PM
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