Please help me landscape my small front yard?

gardenbug(8b)September 10, 2010

I have a manufactured home and need some 'fresh ideas' on how to landscape my front yard. So far, I have a maple and 4 rhodies. I want to make some sort of bed for the rhodies where I can add some other perennials but I need help with some sort of design/layout. I plan to move the rhododendrons this fall anyway because I don't like how I planted them.

The property line for my lawn ends right at the rhododendrons. My neighbors pad extends 5ft from his driveway onto my lawn. I know weird but that's how it is. I sort of drew a white line down the side to show you where my property ends. Please help?

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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...I forgot to mention that my house faces north. I'm wondering If I should move the Maple?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:16AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I'm curious as to what you don't like about how you planted the rhododendrons. In a way, the row quite nicely compliments the formal approach you've taken with the symmetrical pots and the centered maple, softens the foundation without crowding it, and edges your property. Was there something else you wanted to achieve with respect to the whole area that abuts your neighbour?

I almost think I'd be inclined to make a whole new bed for perennials. Where to put it would depend a bit on how you want to view it - just as you come and go, or out the window, for instance. Or, you could even do something along the long side of the house, but your neighbour would see it the most, and have to mow beside it.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 1:45PM
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I guess mostly I thought the rhodies looked too spotty in a row. I thought it might look better if I group them in a curved bed somehow and added more perennials. The one rhodie that is near the road took a bit of a beating from the snow plow last year. So I thought I'd move it up closer to the house.

Right now, I'm not sure what I just looking for some different ideas. I'm thinking of putting something down the other side by my driveway. I even thought of having my hubby build me a stone flower bed below the window but I'm stalling until I can come up with a plan. I like a formal design.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:40PM
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I like curve,stone,formal too.some ideas,you select.

Here is a link that might be useful: if need other ideas

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 5:01PM
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ideasshare - Thank you for doing all this hard work. I'm thinking though, that I'd still like to keep my rhododendrons and perhaps not as many plants as shown in the above image. I also love my cement urns, so I would like to still be able to see them. Maybe, I should plant something other than dwarf boxwoods in them?

The far right side of my lawn belongs to my neighbor so I can't plant anything within 5ft of the edge of the neighbors driveway. However, I do like your idea of incorporating a couple of large rocks after I get it finished. I really want to keep it all rather 'simple' without looking busy. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this layout. ps. The link didn't work for me.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 5:32PM
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Don't worry about Ideashare. She just loads up pictures with thoroughly unsuitable plants in the wrong sizes.

>I guess mostly I thought the rhodies looked too spotty in a row.

They'll fill out and look lovely in time.

The cement urns aren't appropriate to the scale of the home, and their size isn't appropriate to their shape, either. If you really love them, though, you should move them away from the foundation area.

A simple, geometrical shape would work best there. Make a half-ellipse of grass, with the rest as a big, wide flowerbed. Honestly, because of the privacy issues of that set up, I'd make the bed surround a full circle of grass, and that way get screening from the street, too (with arborvitae or something similar). Put the urns more toward the front of the bed and have tall things in the back. If I kept the maple, it would be by the street, but honestly, a maple isn't something I'd ever want to plant under unless it's a Japanese and not a Norway maple.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 10:57PM
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reyesuela - Thankyou for your suggestions.

I get that the urns are sort of small for the front of the house, and I never even noticed that before. Not a problem for me to move these someplace else.

Make a half-ellipse of grass? Okay, run that by me again please? Where should I do this? Do you mean on my neighbors side where the rhodies are? or in front of my house? Would the straight line of the ellipse run parallel to his driveway? I'm not quite sure what you mean by making the bed surround a full circle of grass? Can you please explain this to me again? I had to look up arborvitae because I didn't know what that was. It's a tree. lol (I like that idea)
I'm having some difficulty trying to get a visual in my head. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 1:24PM
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I was googling garden beds and came across this layout and wondered it it would work? Take a peek.

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Bed Layout

    Bookmark   September 11, 2010 at 1:33PM
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>Make a half-ellipse of grass?

What I'd do is make the open side toward your driveway. The rhodies would be at the back of the "edge" if it. I hope that makes sense! This ellipse would define the beds, which would be the rest of the yard. It's a "formal" detail that actually works well in informal spaces, too, to organize it visually and give it a rhythm.

Then, on the right side (facing the rhodies, so toward the road), you can plant a row of Green Giant arborvitae right by the road. These are inexpensive even large, very attractive, very upright, and long-lived. This will give you a year-round screen from the road. With your bay window right up on the road, that will be very welcome!

Then, on the left side (so under the bay window), you can start with something nice and tall under the bay window to fill that space vertically. One of my new favorites is loropetalum. You'll probably have to get it online, but it's a fast grower for shade, and I've found it for $10 a 4" pot, which isn't bad. (I'm a thrifty gardener!)

The rest of the space and be filled with a mixture of shade-loving plants. Because it's your main gardening space, I'd lean toward evergreen plants and long-bloomers and leave space for summer and winter (since you're in 8b!) annuals. You'll likely want to maximize your space-for-punch.

You might put the urns in either side of your front door, if there's room. I'd recommend something more vertical, such as a sky pencil holly. You can underplant them, until they get too big, with seasonal annuals. In 8b, they'll do fine over the winter in pots!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 3:41PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

I wonder if an "oval" of grass would help in this case??? I just looked up the definition of an ellipse on mathworld and my eyes are still spinning :-)

I think Reyesuela makes a couple of good points. The first, regarding the grass shape, is that when you make your beds, you should pay attention to the shape of grass you are creating, not so much the shape of the bed - the bed shape will be more or less immaterial once you get it filled, while the grass shape will always show up.

And actually, since you like formal, I might almost play with a rectangle of grass under the window surrounded by straight beds on three sides, obviously not going right to the road to avoid the snow plow - or putting low, tough plants like the most vigorous hostas on the road edge.

The second, if I understand correctly, is to create a space within your front yard where you can be, or to enclose your house, rather than making it a sort of frame for your house to be simply looked at. I strongly agree that, especially when you have a small amount of space, what matters most is how you want to feel when you are in it or in the house looking out. Depending on the feel of your street, you may want to be visible; I don't know.

What complicates this approach is what you say about the snow plow... you might be best off to make the front edge grass, along with the edges of the driveway where your car door needs to open.

I would not not not do a standard foundation bed under the window. So predictable. I think a pretty patch of grass, tidy beds - not necessarily symmetrical plantings, but formal is good - there is really something about that row of Rhodies that just looks right. You could remove sod under them, joining their little patches into a long straight bed, underplant them a bit if you widen the bed.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:59PM
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reyesuela and Karen, thanks so much for all your really helpful suggestions. I never thought about what the lawn shape would look like after cutting out a bed. Thank you for pointing that out to me. My front lawn is already long and narrow. What did you both think of the curvy bed I showed you. I put in a link so you could see it.

I don't really need much privacy from the street. All the homes here are pretty much open. Maybe something low (like boxwood? Maybe in an L-shape? I just want to make it so it doesn't look so bare. I like the idea of making a bed for the rhodies and maybe underplanting with low growing azaleas and other perennials. What do you think of the Maple Tree where it is now? Should I move it?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 5:09PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Right, I forgot to specifically say I don't like the bed shape you linked to because it's too busy for the small space you've got, and I don't like the lawn shape it leaves. I don't mind Bob's suggestion, and I don't mind the urns and maple being left where they are.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 11:54PM
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Wow, this is gorgeous. Thank you Bob for doing this. I love the boulder accents too. Now, if I could just figure out the names of all these shrubs you've placed, I would go shopping tomorrow. Anyone have suggestions? lol

I especially love the tree too. I'm a real maple lover. I was thinking of an upright maple like bloodgood or would that be too many maples on the lawn?

I keep looking at what you've done. The more I look, the more I love it. Thank you, thank you.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 12:57AM
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I like Bob's suggestion too. Good idea to create two beds that leave a circular grass shape inside them with the maple somewhere in center. What I would do though is to plant the beds in a bit more formal way(some evergreen shrubs perhaps and creating a somewhat more symmetrical, controlled impression), Bob's suggestion looks great but is imo too natural-looking(with the rocks especially) for a more formal front yard(that's just my personal taste, of course, going with Bob's design would look nice as well).

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 6:11PM
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