Help with front yard design

jules8(7A)September 4, 2012

I have an end unit town house with typical five foot shrub beds along both sides of the front yard and circular beds around three maple trees. I plan on extending the beds that are along the house sides out to incorporate the tree beds. I also plan to remove most, if not all of the existing plants and replace them with shrubs that will look the same year round. The shrubs currently block the basement windows and I want the replacements further away from the house and separated to look more refined and classy.

I have attached photos with my future beds outlined in red.

The front door side of the house faces north and gets little sun and the left side of the house faces east, but is fairly shaded and receives about 3 hours of sun.

I want low-maintenance shrub beds and do not plan on using annuals or any type of flowers at all. Most of the current shrubs are azaleas and they aren't really my favorite. There are three shrubs that I think are boxwoods that I may keep. Two of them frame the door and the other is on the corner of the house. But they are 20 years old and look pretty scrawny. I cut them back fairly hard a few years ago and they just don't seem to fill in fully.

Can anyone help with a critique on my bed design and the following questions?

1. What is your opinion of such large beds in a small yard?

2. Should I keep the current boxwoods? If so, should I add one on each end of the house sides to balance out the beds?

3. The right side of bed on the front-door side (at the fence) is lower. Should I add something the will have more height? (or another boxwood as noted in #2)

4. The design in the photo for the front-door side cuts the beds at an angle up to the front stoop. Should I do this or bring the beds horizontally across much farther down the front walk from the stoop? The grass does not grow well next to the front walk. Maybe I should just extend the beds there also? But I was afraid that the beds would really be too large with that addition.

5. Do you have any shrub suggestions for the Northern Virginia area? The soil is dry clay and I will not water much after the shrubs are established.

I plan on making a design plan and visiting the local nursery for their help on shrub selection. But I wanted to check in with the experts here before it did that. Any help would be most appreciated.

I will post a second message with a photo of the other side of the house

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This is the other side of my house.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:58AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Jules, 2nd photo didn't post.

FYI, Rosie

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Jules, I wonder if I could indulge you in taking a hypothetical look at the two trees. Instead of the trees that are there now, we're going to switch them out for new, high-tech, no-trim, trunk-less trees that float in the air. The tree canopy works like a window shade and stays at whatever height you want once the crew sets it. It can be raised or lowered and then stays permanently with no further bother. The first setting is included free in the price of the tree. The other unique feature of the trees are that instead of growing at the top, they grow at the bottom and each year the canopy will work its way a little closer to the ground. For a couple hundred bucks, the crew will come back out and re-set it wherever you want. No trimming ever! The first picture shows where the canopies are now. In the second picture I pulled them down a little to see how that would look and wonder if you think it's an improvement as far as making the house look better. Pull it down farther... or raise it?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Just wanted to throw this in. Did you check with the complex first? Some townhouse complexes have rules as to what can be done to the house exterior and landscape.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:02PM
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Jules, the thread might not go in the exact manner and order you imagined, but unless you participate, it's not likely anyone else will either. I had more suggestions for you, but won't offer until I know you're still in the game.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 10:40AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

If the objective is to bring more light in the basement windows, why not reverse your red triangles so their bases are at the street and they point toward the house? This leaves the area around the house totally clear (with lawn or ground cover or paving stones) and from the street it will still look as if you have foundation planting.

Karin L

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 2:05PM
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karinl, your idea is very interesting. I will have to consider it.
TomNorthJersey, thanks for your input re the HOA rules. My plans should comply.
Yardvaark, I don't understand your hypothetical and didn't want to piss you off or waste your time, so I opted to ignore it.

I did visit the local nursery and found that they have a landscape architect that can help me.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:40PM
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Jules, saying didn't understand it would not have distressed me.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 1:45PM
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whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

How about something like this? It would be a son of mow the grass with that shape. You could always use the plants to create that look or shape you drew out.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 5:08PM
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help with flower beds ! how would white rocks and topiaries look with this house?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 1:43AM
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rosiew(8 GA)

camry, suggest you start a new post for your place.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Jules- I like your idea, but I would start with the side bed. If you like the result (and it's not too much to maintain) then you can move on to the front beds.

While I don't have any plant recommendations, I think the local nurseries are a good place to get more information. Best of luck on your project and please post some pictures when you're done :)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:07PM
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