Landscaping Help needed

skielyOctober 27, 2010


I just bought my first house and I'm working on updating the landscaping for the front of the house. So far, I have cut down a 70ft Maple, and ripped out some overgrown hedges in the front of the house, and I'm working on removing a row of boxwoods and have planted a few of them in the front of the house where the hedges used to be. Everything I have done really opens up the house, but I need ideas for some plants/flowers/shrubs to add in the front with the boxwoods. I believe that's a burning bush on the right side of the house. Any suggestions or ideas would be greatly appreciated for this first time homebuyer.

We just cut down the tree last week, so disregard the lawn/warzone. But as you can see, it was mostly dirt/roots anyways.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

only lawn is open.Maybe you like add a patio?

Here is a link that might be useful: other ideas

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Skiely--is that tree near your chimney on your property? If so, I might suggest you have it removed as well. Even if you have no fireplace or never use it, the tree is a great way for animals to get down your chimney and nest, or get into your attic. If you only remove the lower and middle limbs, the tree might look odd. Also, it's roots might bother your foundation when its bigger.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am rather shocked that you cut down a 70 ft maple. sorry to flame you so, but shrubs and hedges are one thing, but a full grow tree. Never.

Just plant grass and be done with it. It should grow fine now the tree is gone.

Yankee Dog

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 1:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have to disagree about the 70 foot Maple being cut down. The yard of the house is far too small for a tree that size. Even a major limb of a tree that size could have killed a person or wrecked the roof, assuming it was in the front yard where the ground is torn up. HUD recs now are that no tree be planted hear a dwelling any closer than the tree will get in height.

Blame the person who planted it there improperly.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Now that the deed is done, I'd go to grass. Relatively small yard area with a house that does have a backdrop of trees.

And Yankee, in defense, OP didn't indicate why the tree was taken out - damaged, diseased, half dead, rotting away, dropping limbs? Valid reasons all. So would not wanting to be on a ladder scooping leaves and seed wings out of the gutters. Hardly a sacrilege.

One might like the looks of a lawn without stuff in it - without even a small ornamental or a planting pocket in the corner of the drive and sidewalk to interfere with sight lines. From the mailbox on the house, there's no need for any angst on how to ring a streetside box with something cheerful - yet would never attract bees. LOL

I'd let the boxwood under the windows grow into eachother a bit - with some top trimming to keep them from overtaking the large window on the right. If you're planning on extending the foundation beds out a little more from the house you could add a few things to flesh it out. I like the smaller varieties of ground hugging yews since over the years of my gardening, I've never had foundation plantings that mixed colorful blooming things into the shrubbery and evergreens. It's just what I'm used to.

But if that's not your cup of tea, a trip to a good nursery will show you what's available and appropriate to your area. If you need blooms and color, use next season to experiment with annuals - they're inexpensive, readily available and bloom all season long, as opposed to flowering shrubs and perennials.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

Yankeedog, it sounds like you have no clue. People who have attitudes like that - and I used to, much to my embarrassment - have likely (a) never lived up close and personal with a large tree, and (b) are able bodied and probably young if they have. And/or (c) do not own property, thus have no concept of responsibility for it, and that of others. Or here's another one: don't have kids, or have never had to put them to bed in the windshadow of a huge tree, that would crush the house if it fell, on a stormy winter night.

There are four issues with large trees: danger, debris, canopy, and roots. Any one of these can cost a person thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours of backbreaking labour per year, and serious personal and property injury. I appreciate all the tons of oxygen and CO2 going into and out of the tree, but the thing is, important as that is, no one ever came and helped me in the fifteen years I spent pruning or clean ing up after the huge trees we've had removed from our property, or asked to pitch in to help pay for a thousand dollars worth of major tree-work per year. Didn't help rout out the sewer every year either. And the brain injury wards are full, Yankee Dog, full, of people whose last act was cleaning their eaves of the debris from their own or a neighbour's large tree. Your reply speaks not of reverence for trees, but of ignorance and in favour of the degradation and dehumanization of your fellow human being. So honestly, and in the friendliest possible spirit, up yours.

Where they are cohabitating with other life forms or property, trees can and do get too big, and then they have to go otherwise they become very destructive. To speak in favour of their retention is to speak in favour of destruction of something else. There are some places where trees can be left to grow as big as they want until they fall down, and there should be big trees in all those places. But right above some poor homeowner's head and on top of their life is not the right place, and it is not your prerogative to dictate that they should have to have one there.

If you love big trees, go live under one and take the burden of its care on yourself.

I'll post an actual answer to this query later, right now I have some leaves to rake.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 7:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

A friend of my mother's is a widow because a tree fell on their house. It happens.

mto the tree-killer
(proud of removing 2 rotting silver maples in front of my house and 2 black locusts which were leaning toward neighbors' properties)

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 11:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

OK, so let's move on to the issue of landscaping.

It actually sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do, which is good because a forum can't really help without knowing a lot more about how you want to use the property and what kind of gardening you want to do. However, I'm not clear from your description whether you are taking out the hedge and putting plants at the foundation or vice versa. I'm not enamoured of foundation planting in general and here, combined with the low overhang on the one side, it could block up the house again pretty quickly. What the forum could help with would be general plant characteristics to look for - but again, I'm not quite clear on where you're heading.

Whatever your idea, you really need a good local nursery or two rather than a forum of people all over the continent (or world), It's all very well for others to give you plant ideas, but if they're not in stock at your local nursery you'd have to either go hunting for them or the advice is wasted.

Plant shopping is a sort of separate but necessary skill set from landscaping or gardening. The thing to know is that your nurseries stock different plants at different times of the year. So any time you go, you'll find in stock the plants that look good right then. That's why it's useful to shop throughout the season.

If there's stuff you are desperate to have, of course you can mail order it.

From a design point of view, I can't tell if that's a sidewalk off to the right, but to my eye the yard needs a sidewalk going to the public one, and it's a nice design feature - you now have lots of room to do a nice curvy one, for instance. It can anchor or counterbalance any other beds you want to do, or be bordered with something nice.


    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 12:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As a non-credentialed mere long time dealing with a big yard person, I get a bit of an itch when thread replies hint that the front yard is expected to be anything other than putting a home's best face foreward. It's what others see; where you or your mail arrives; where you drive up to your garage/carport unless you've got an alley or enough space for a side load. It's not usually the space to recreate, to have your lawn chairs, picnic table, and badminton net.

The front yard is a public space; the back or side yards the private space for a patio, terraces, water feature, gazebo, or pergola. There is where you create your areas "to do things" with a specific purpose.

When anyone's asked what do they want to do with it, the knee jerk reply is to have it look good; nestle the house into its surroundings or give it a presence it doesn't currently have.

Foundation planting is the fall back to the familiar whether you've got a bad looking foundation or not. It's what you "need" when not looking at your property with the detatched eye of the landscape designer who might find looking at expanses of bare siding more attractive than an arrangement of flowering shrubs and evergreens.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 4:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for everyone's comments. Karin, I think you are right, I am heading to a nursery today to look around a bit and see what I like and ask thier professional opinion for whats right for me. I will also be seeding today and hope for some nice grass come spring.

In regards to cutting down the tree, everyone has their opinions, trust me, I have a crazy lady on our street who is pissed! But...the canopy of this tree was too much, my entire yard was nothing but dirt and there were roots the size of my leg stretched out over the front yard. It was a great tree, just not right for my little yard.

Thanks again for all the advice!

    Bookmark   October 31, 2010 at 11:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't have anything to add except I really like your house & the backdrop of trees around it. When the grass comes up you will get better idea if you should do anything more or not. Enjoy your new home!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 1:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
karinl(BC Z8)

Duluth, point taken. But "use" can be more generic than you suggest. For example, as an avid plant collector, I need space to grow my plants, so that's a use. If this were my yard, therefore, I would need beds, beds, and more beds. Plus, I need a place to sit in my front yard because when I am out there working, people inevitably stop to chat, and then I need to sit down - standing for long periods is out for me.

Plus, not everyone has what they need in the back yard, and maybe the backyard isn't a nice place for some reason. So one must make allowances for quirky uses. For example, my neighbour stripped paint off a piece of furniture in her front yard last summer. Why? Maybe it was too hot in the back while it's shady in the front. So whatever your hobbies are, your front yard is fair game for a space to do them.

Meet-and-greet, unload groceries, run the dog...

By the way, Skiely, what about another tree in the front yard? Even with all the trees in the back, f the front yard is sunny it might be quite welcome as the years go by.


    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 1:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Counterpoint taken. I should know better than to dismiss anything out of hand, but I don't suppose your neighbor made a deliberate furniture stripping area an original landscape design element. Varied mixed use often happens as an accommodation.

But in this thread what we know from the OP is the large tree is gone and grass is in the offing. Overgrown shrubbery at the foundation was ripped out and partially replaced with boxwood transplanted from the front sidewalk area. So other than suggestions for fillers, we're not privy to the vision beyond that it seems to include the comfy and familiar foundation planting.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dear 'IDEASSHARE' - I'm interested in commissioning you for a landscaping design job. Please contact me.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:08PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Privacy Trees For Zone 5 (US)
We live in zone 5 on approx a 1 acre lot. Our neighbors...
Front yard in SC
Hi- I've been lurking around the landscape design forum...
Landscape design assistance
Hello, Our home is in Connecticut (Zone 6A) and we've...
scary house help
Trying to help someone with this- yipes. I'm thinking...
Help with frontyard design changes
Hi, I’m in the process of replacing turf in my front...
Sponsored Products
Earth's Tapestry Glass Coat Canvas
Ballard Designs
Oct-Avian Bird House
Grandin Road
Jaipur Hacienda Fiesta 3'6" x 5'6" Ensign Blue Rug
$158.00 | PlushRugs
Kichler Lighting 15381BKT Textured Black Landscape Accent Light
Littman Bros Lighting
Four-Framing Picture Frame
$14.99 | Dot & Bo
DPR30-HOOD Line Voltage PAR30 Landscape Directional Spot Light with Hood
LBC Lighting
15815BE Beach Kichler LED Side Mount Landscape Path Light
Central Park South Glasscape
Artisan Crafted Home
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™