Ideas with yard design..

dnsourceSeptember 12, 2012

We posted on the home forum asking for some help on curb appeal. I think I need some help on my landscaping layout and choice of plants. We are located in South Florida

Some ideas given from the home forum:

Remove the free standing and attached concrete planters

*as you can see its not a comfortable walk path

View from my front door

These need to go, the grasshoppers love these

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    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:59AM
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It's nice to have the panoramas to see what's there, but I think it's difficult to make a comment based on your photos as they are highly distorted. It would be better if you can take a normal focal length photo... just back up to fit the image into the frame. If it doesn't fit easily, take a couple of photos in panning fashion. I don't understand your comment about the walk path being not comfortable. Please be a little more specific. Also, are grasshoppers evil? We have them, too, but I've never thought a plant should be kicked out of the yard because of grasshoppers. We have huge, beautifully colored grasshoppers... so big and fat they can hardly move!

I think it's a little drastic to say that large, built-in planters "should go." There is a cost attached to that. It might be better if what was planted in them helped the planters make sense. Right now, it doesn't look like that's what's happening.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:37AM
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Sorry those were cell phone pictures. The pathway from the driveway to the front door is about 3ft wide. As for the grasshoppers, they love to munch on that plant around summer time. Honestly I dont like those plants.. Here are some better pictures

check out the damage

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 12:34PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

I wouldn't remove the raised boxes. They are integral to your architectual facade.
In regards the path, I would remove it and replace it with a wider path of segmented concrete square and rectangle pads.

The planting could use an update.

I would suggest a consultation with a local landscape designer who can walk the site with you and get a true feeling for the site and your budget.

You will find some great ideas by looking at local landscape designer Raymond Jungles web site. a google search will help.

The two 'christmas trees' at the front are definitely out of context for the architecture, but you probably already knew that.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Thanks for the help. I have had two landscapers come out and I really wasn't feeling their ideas. I see the designs you guys come up with here and they don't compare.

Where can I find similar stones but maybe in a different colorway to match the house contemporary feel I'm going for?

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 2:07PM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

The stone that I see most commonly used in Florida is an oolithic limestone.
Try googling quarries or the names of landscape supply yards in your area.

Besides using stone, you could use colored concrete.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 4:40PM
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karin_mt(4 MT)

I agree the concrete boxes work well with the house and it would be a shame to take them out. But they could use a friendlier combination of plants in them, especially the one at the front entrance (less prickly, more colorful, more overflowing).

A couple of ideas in the take-or-leave category:

- The whole home presents a lot of hard edges. If you wish to soften this a bit without compromising too much, you could plant the area at the base of the concrete planters. The hard white plane meeting the ground is a very strong (perhaps too strong?) visual, especially at the front entrance.

- The entryway patio could benefit from some containers planted with interesting textures or colors - again to make things more welcoming.

- The shrubs could be left unclipped to grow a little more naturally and less pom-pom like? These present another hard edge.

That said there are a lot of elements I really like. The front entrance patio with the grey tile/stone is nice. I actually like the concrete sidewalk, but I adore the idea of cut stone or concrete too. I also like the layered look of the foundation plantings.

The limestone Deviant mentioned is "oolitic" (no h). Sorry. I can't just let flagrant geologic typos go uncorrected. ;) Oolitic limestone is a super cool rock (believe it or not I will say that about most rocks). When you look at it up close it looks like it's made out of tiny beads. In general limestones are easy to work with and using something locally appropriate would add some curb appeal for sure.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 9:15PM
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The new pictures help a lot.

It looks like you could use the assistance of a designer to re-work and fine tune the overall yard.

I understand trying to take advantage of an overhang in case of rain. But pinching the walk up against the building give it a utilitarian the mall entrance for the employees: confined dark hallways with unfinished drywall, everything grey and dimly lit, pipes & conduits... that sort of feel. I know your walk area looks better than that, but the feel seems similar. Being that it is confined against the house and behind the foundation planting, it seems claustrophibic... especially in light of your having an otherwise spacious yard. What a contrast! If the walk must remain where it is, it could be reworked into something more permanent looking and configured in such a way that makes it more interesting and less confined. The foundation planting could be limited to an island--where you have the palms--so that the walk does not seem confined. A pergola could make the main entrance more obvious. There seems to be a need to add some color pizazz, too.

If the built-in planters were not there already, I would not be recommending that you add them. Neither do I think you should remove them because of the expense and bother. Instead, they could be dealt with in a better way. For one thing, they don't look good being nearly empty. They would look less sarcophagus-like if trailing, blooming plants were heaping over the sides like an overflowing bubble-bath.

If a plant is seriously unhappy and showing it, that justification enough to find something that will be happier. The mass shrub island probably could probably use some re-shaping. One end of it seems to encroach too much into the front view, but that may be camera angle. The trees could use some limbing up, but are not too bad. Over at the garage corner, the green dome (Ligustrum?) being allowed to remain in the shrub form seems like it would be uninviting in regard to using the walk in front of the house. I'd seriously consider changing it into a tree. It would look better, be more useful and easier to maintain as a tree.

The way the hedge is being used as a boudary for the driveway space makes it seem all too confining, like part of a detention facilty that is trying to "look residential".

You'll need to take my photo suggestions with a big grain of salt as I can't take the time to make a nice looking Bougainvillea for the arbor and the colors are a big garish and need better coordination. I'm trying to make it so that you can see things. In real life, you can imagine colors that suit your taste are possible. It's the general concepts I'm trying to show. The small pair of trees could be tropical Hibiscus. There are some nice ones, especially in pink. Some nice yellows, too.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Ardvar, I like the plants in the planters and how you added life to the right side of the house with the little island in front of the Window. The only thing I didn't like was the pergola, it takes away from the houses clean lines and contemporary type feel.

What plants are those around the palm on the right by the sidewalk?

Also I what plants are these:
-plants in the planters
-plants on each side of the single Window on the right

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 7:11AM
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The reason for the arbor is because I think your real entrance lacks clarity and obviousness. I would consider the arbor to be only a general concept at this point, even though I'm trying to show it in some concrete (though faulted) terms. A person would need to explore other configurations and styles and know if you had a budget and desire to do something about the entrance.

As far as what the plants are... well, they aren't. I'm only trying to convey shape arrangement and form. They are whatever works best and is available in your locale. This is where someone with design ability would apply their knowledge to coordinate plant choices. I could make recommendations here and there, but you really need to coordinate all the plants into a comprehensive front yard landscape. You may be able to get help in that regard from your local garden center. Or maybe someone more knowledgeable about zone 10 plants than I will chime in. Or you could x-post on the Florida gardening forum.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2012 at 11:18AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

dnsource, agree you should nix pergola idea.

I have a question for you. Do you prefer the very neatly pruned shrubbery that you now have. If you do not, many more posters may make suggestions.

As you know, you have a great looking house. Looking forward to seeing how you plant the concrete planters.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:08AM
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In spite of rejection of the idea, I'm showing the arbor idea reworked in a more compatible (to the architectural lines of the house) manner. Not to "force it" but to show that ideas can be refined toward a specific goal, if the goal is identified.

Regarding plants, trailing Lantana and Rhoeo spathacea may be useful to you. I've seen both used effectively as groundcovers. Muehlenbeckia axillaris (creeping wire vine) is a nice, mat-forming trailing plant that looks good (tidy... not rangy) spilling out of a planter. It could be used effectively with other plants, too.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 11:18AM
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deviant-deziner(Oh zone)

To my eye this house has strong contemporary line and style and the new landscaping should speak the same language: strong , bold architectural planting.
A fluffy , pedestrian, non descript, rinse , lather , repeat design does this house a disservice.

This architecture would respond favorably to strong bold rectilinear bed layout with an equally imaginative , dramatic and striking plantscape.

A palatte of Bromeliads, Cycads, Alocasias, Heliconias and other architectually distinctive plants a la Roberto Burle Marx and Raymond Jungles would make this an artistic living sculptural modernist tableau

why go blah when you can go bold.

Here is a link that might be useful: raymond jungles

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 12:47AM
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Burle Marx? Go for it.

You gotta love an opportunist with ulterior motives.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 6:16AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

deviant, so glad you shared link to Raymond Jungles. Brilliant work.

Suggest all of you treat yourselves to examining his website. Check out some of the pdf's of articles. Wish I could get a translation of the one from Russia. WOW!

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 7:00AM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

rosiew - what do you need translated from Russian? I can help.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 1:42PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

jollyrd, wow, wonderful offer. I'm linking below what I believe is an article from an Architectural Digest Russian edition. It may just be a write-up about his genius in Florida. I'd love to be able to understand at least the captioning under the most dramatic could decide which those are! I waited a long time, hoping the translation option would come on, but no. Would like to know the date of the publication also. So thank you, thank you!

Anything you can translate will be appreciated by me and a lot of others.

Rosie, Sugar Hill, GA
p.s. the huge panels of painted steel is a stunning example of garden art.

Here is a link that might be useful: Raymond Jungles/Russia/Architectural Digest

    Bookmark   September 20, 2012 at 2:03PM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

My Pleasure.

In case you did not notice - the last page of the link - page 248 - provides a summary of the article�s text. Other points made in the article:
He meets with his clients in his office, where a sea breath is used instead of air conditioner, and a slab of local stone is used instead of a carpet. He draws by hand. He visited Burle Marx in Brazil a lot of times.
Developer of the 1111 Lincoln Rd says, "RJ has a talent to create emotionally-filled spaces."
RJ�s works have changed the taste of Americans - they now like natural looking landscapes instead of clean cut lawns.
Terrence Reily - "behind the crazy jungles are deep ideas, precise calculations and ecological thought."
Main idea of RJ - mini eco system, its beauty is in its being whole and natural. When the garden is an internally connected system, it is easy to maintain. Follow the rule of the jungle - you and I are of the same blood."

I don�t see a date stamp anywhere on the print, but based on the website listed earlier - it was May 2012. As for the picture�s captions:

Page 52 - picture of RJ in the garden of his office in Miami downtown
Page next - top left and middle left - the plan and gazebo in the Brazilian garden which RJ started in 2010 in Naples, FL. Area space is 7 hectare (17 acres). The design is a tribute to RJ�s teacher - Brazilian Roberto Burle Marx.

Bottom left - garden project for the hotel Saholu in Florida - one of the current works.

Bottom right - square in front of a complex at 1111 Lincoln Rd in Miami; at nights they have disco/dance parties here.

Page next next -
Top - landscape project at the yacht club in Costa-Esmeralda. This brought RJ to a truly international level.

Middle Left side - garden of residential home in Miami Beach in 2012. RJ designed not only the landscape but also small shapes and sculptures in the garden.

Middle center - penthouse terrace garden for collector Ella Fontanals-Sisneros, Florida, 2008.

Bottom - garden in the residential house in Key West - experiment with historical style. The contractors bought the 1940s mansion and wanted a garden to correspond to the house. RJ studied the plants from that time and got the job done right.

Page 58 -
Top - Hotel Casa Morada garden, Florida, 2004. This is an example of creating an effective landscape complex in a limited space (0.5 hectare - 1.2 acre) and with limited budget. Also this is a tribute to Brazilian Luis Barragan, another of RJ�s favorites. The colors and shapes of sculptures and the walls are completely "Barragan"-style.

Bottom right - Terrence Riley�s home garden, Miami 2011, and the plan of work. House was built based on a non-realized (non executed?) drafts of Ludwick Mis van der Roz. RJ as always caught the correct style.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:11PM
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jollyrd(Richmond VA)

or, silly blind me - hotel Saholu in Florida - should be Saxony hotel

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I'm not in your zone so I can't really help with plant types, but I'm an interior designer so I have some ideas for more curb appeal, not all of them plants.
First, definitely do not ditch the containers. They add quite a bit of interest. Your doorway is a little lost. I would put something very, very colourful in them to draw your attention to the door. Move your house number to the space on the front of the house to the right of the planter that's in front of the door. Make the numbers very large to fill the space between the corner and the window(which would be on the left of the window) Widen the pathway to at least 4 ft. Look at breaking up the direction on the way. Change the direction of the lathway as you go, but using very large concrete squares. Have some concrete squares to the sides of the path, but mixed with squares of plantings, each square a different type of plant, like a Mondrian painting. Make sure you put something about 3 ft high in front of the house where those little Christmas trees are now. It should be one big bed. I hope I've explained well enough. Oh, BYW, if you don't like those plants rip them out! No one should have to live with a plant they hate just because it's already there.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 7:17AM
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OK, I know I'm late chimimg in...
And I HATE disagreeing with Yardavaark, since most of the reason I lurk on this forum is to read his posts.
And I'm not a landscape designer. But am an art historian--and let me tell you, dnsource, you house is FABULOUS!

Yank the plants you don't like, but leave the planters. Built-in planters are an architectural detail that is common in your style of house. Yours in particular are high-end and well-executed. They say "swanky." Yanking them out and replacing them with curved beds lined with decorative concrete blocks would say "gas station." (These beds look good in front of McMansions, but commercial in front of architecture with clean lines.)

Your service walkway doesn't say "mall" to me--but that's because I feel it's appropriate for the architecture. From the interior, it would visually expand the space & I find it very clever, actually.

Flower covered arches did not belong in the front yard during this time period--they were put in the back. Why cover up your beautiful house? there are much easier ways to draw attention to the front door!

I love deviant-deziner's suggestion for your front walk, and like dianne0712's suggestions, with one tweak: I suggest you make the shrub border in front of the planters only 1.5-2 ft high. I also think you should get rid of the xmas trees and the pointy plant in the planter next to the front door. Add trailing vines to all the planters if you want a softer look.

For house numbers, look for ones in "mid-century modern" style. Look in the back of the magazine "Atomic Ranch" for dealers. You house is very "in" right now.

Definitely a large pot in a bright color(pink or blue or whatever you like!) would draw the eye up the walkway, and paint your front door--if you don't like aqua, how about red?

(I'm going to try to post a picture with deviant-deziner's and dianne0712's suggestions as well as my own--although I'm horribly embarrassed by my photo-editing skills!)

Here is a link that might be useful: Atomic Ranch

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 12:37PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

jollrd, I must have clicked 'quit receiving posts' so missed your answer to me. Thanks so much - a wealth of information about RJ. Will study the article with new understanding.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 2:12PM
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I want to show you some LED lighted large concrete Planters ;)

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 8:53AM
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