Bye-bye Big Bad Trees
After years of leaf raking, ankle-twisting on spiky seed balls, and therapy, we have decided to remove the three 22-year old liquidambars from the front lawn. When we first bought the house, the empty lawn begged for trees, and these were my ill-advised choice. While I've enjoyed watching them grow from little saplings to feeding stations for migratory birds, they now overpower the house and lawn, and could gain much more girth in the next several years. After a walk through the neighborhood to view similar, much older trees, the decision was easy. Time for a change.
With such a major change, we've decided to re-work the whole front; nothing is sacred. The house will not get any structural change, but everything else, including the concrete drive and brick entry are up for reorganization.
And that is my question: how to best reorganize the space?
-The front garden is not used for social activities.
-We use the driveway to park in, but it is not required -- a two car garage off the back alley houses our vehicles.
-The front garden has been a nice privacy buffer between sidewalk and living room windows. Over time, this has become too dense.
-The house to the right in the photos is a run-down rental with a weed-infested front yard with close to zero maintenance. We'd like to find a way to "'turn our back" on it.
-Front of house faces east. Lot measures 60 ft in width. Distance sidewalk to house is 25 ft. at most shallow point, stepping back to 45 ft. at driveway.
-Bricked entry measures about 20 ft. x 10 ft.
-Irrigation will be installed.
-We've never had a proper path to the door, and we'd like one.
-We are in coastal southern California, zone 10, but I am not really looking for a discussion of individual plants. General discussion of heights and other plant characteristics is fine. I have a bias toward subtropicals and am willing to consider xerics.
-No water features.
-We expect to hire a landscaper for installation of irrigation and hardscape at a minimum.
-Budget is "adequate", not generous. : )
I am not looking for anyone to "design my garden for free". I'm hoping for objective observations about how the space might be organized differently. (I have a tendency to get stuck on the current organization.)
A few photos: