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Design help

Posted by malibujason79 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 20:58

Looking for help/advice on starting my landscape project. I have a good idea of the plants and shrubs which I plan on using but design or shape of the bedding has me stumped. Attached are a couple pictures of what I have to work with along with a sketch of the area. I don't want to have the area just straight across, rather have shape to it. A japanese maple or a magnolia will be on the right corner of the house, so I need to leave room for it. Please give me your input or advise. Thanks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic1


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Design help

Another pic

Here is a link that might be useful: pic2


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Area Sketch

Sketch of the area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Area sketch


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RE: Design help

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 21:18

I'm so glad to hear you don't want the bed straight across. That would be boring.

A few questions:
-Which direction does the house face? East? North? Southwest?
-What is your climate like? I'm guessing you don't actually live in Malibu.
-Is the objective to frame a nice view for those sitting on the chairs? Other objectives?
-About the magnolia -- what kind? Where I live the common Magnolia grandiflora get humongous, quite a contrasting choice to the diminutive Japanese maple.

It would be helpful to see a complete street view of the house, with a little bit of the neighbor's houses showing, too. Context can be useful. For example, your second photo shows detail and nearly zero context.


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Reply

Catkim, thank you for the reply, I will do my best to answer your questions.

Looking out the front door of the house I'm looking west.

I live in Ohio, cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

My objective is curb appeal. As nice as the porch is, we back up to the wood and enjoy sitting out back more.

I honestly don't rember what kind of magnolia I had at our old house. I will attach another picture of my old house so you can get an idea of my taste and see the shrubs I used. It was my first attempt and I was pleased with the results. It seems harder to design a smaller area (current house)over a large area (old house).

I will take more pictures tomorrow, weather permitting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old House


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RE: Design help

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 18, 12 at 22:51

Thanks Jason. Your sketch is instructive in that it reveals you have mentally limited your planting area to what is sketched. For example, you do not show where the sidewalk goes, how it meets the driveway. Expand your sketch and expand your available planting area, and expand the beauty of your garden.

Your photo also demonstrates the tendency for people to use plants to hug up against the house as though they expect a soccer team to use the lawn area. While your previous garden used shrubs of different color, if you were to translate that to a black and white photo, it would be difficult to differentiate one plant from another; meatballs, all. I'm not trying to be critical, just suggesting different ways to view your garden and what could make it more interesting.

I will not offer a design. Others here who are more skilled and more familiar with your growing conditions will use your answers to give you suggestions appropriate to your location.


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RE: Design help

It's better if you can imbed your photos directly in the thread. To do that on image shack, go to your images...

1. Click on the " i " in the little circle by the picture you want to imbed (#1)

2. Click on the HTML code for the full size picture (#2) It will turn blue. Don't accidentally get the code for the thumbnail size!

Use control and c key to copy the code. Use the control and v key to paste the code directly into your message here. It will show up in preview.

Alternatively, the HTML code for the picture will be available when you first upload the picture to ImageShack. Look below "share your image."


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RE: Pictures

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By malibujason79 at 2012-03-18

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By malibujason79 at 2012-03-18

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By malibujason79 at 2012-03-18

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
By malibujason79 at 2012-03-18


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RE: Design help

Thanks for pasting the photos here. It's better.

Of the various schemes available, here's a couple of possible bed layouts that might get your thinking started. The one on the R. allows the Jap. Maple or Magnolia (I presume you mean saucer or star Mag.) to be placed further away from house which might be a better arrangement in the long run.

I would not pinch plants tight up against the house... as in a 3' deep bed(which is what looks like is being prepared.) That's not enough room for most shrubs to grow or to make the scheme interesting. I would also not put tall plants in front of the porch area... 18" ht. at most. Consider widening the walk about 18" more than it is now... and eliminating one step in the process, if possible. It would make for a better entrance.

Though I can't see what's at back or sides of photo, I'm guessing there are no street trees or such. Consider some and possibly a small flowering tree off the garage corner or sidewall. The lack of trees at your old house make the yard look unfinished to me.


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RE: Design help 3

Yardvaark, thanks for taking the time to do a couple layouts for me, much appreciated. If you look at the picture I took looking from the side yard you might be able to see a black garden hose laided out in the shape of your left layout. I was tring to come up with away to break up or add shape to the long straight line but no luck. Is there enough area to give that straight line some shape and still look good?


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RE: Design help

As you have that black hose laid out it is much too tight up against the house. No plants will stay confined to that space. And Jap Maple or Magnolia has much greater spread than you're allowing for. Also, it looks like you take the hose straight to the walk. Why not curve to the porch as I show? (I'm matching the post, leaving 18" clearance.) Look how the shrub overhangs your drive at the old house. Hopefully, you would not have any plants at the walk creating a similar situation. Leave some room for the entrance. It is too skinny already.


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RE: Design help 4

After doing more measuring I don't think your picture on the right will work Yardaark. From the edge of my house to the property is only about 7'. I would really hate to put a tree that close to the property line. If the stepping stones were removed and the tree was brought in a little closer to the house, can I still keep that bed shape? I'm tring to keep the bedding about 5', is that area still to small?


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RE: Design help

"I'm trying to keep the bedding about 5'" I don't understand what that means. 5' of what... from what... where?

I'm showing you ideas not to tell you that they work, but so that you can explore to see if they, or something like them, will work.

The house next door looks an easy 20' from yours. Are you sure you don't have 10' to the property line? It's very typical. As a guide, you should figure to plant the center of a tree about 5' forward and 5' right (min.) of the house corner. And allow foundation shrubs 5 feet of width to expand horizontally. Based on that, adjust your bed for the site conditions.


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RE: Design help

When you start with - and forgive me here, Jason, because I'm sure you didn't design your house - a godawfully designed entrance, it is really hard to come up with a scheme that will give it curb appeal.

Yardvaark is right that if you put a little effort into redesigning it - maybe by widening the walkway, maybe be putting a bit of a landing pad or focal point... your eventual planting will look better.

The other problem here is designing a section of the yard devoid of the whole context. Catkim pointed out above that you seem to be thinking of this area in isolation from the yard as a whole. Maybe that's because you know what to do with the rest of the yard, or maybe it's because you haven't thought about it as being anything other than lawn. Read her comments again - she said this more artistically than I can.

The foundation of your house does bear softening and concealment. But that doesn't mean you must squish plantings up against it. You might find that from the street, your house would in fact be more attractively framed by plantings placed nearer the street, as they would grow to conceal the foundation from that perspective. The near view (from your sidewalk or front door) might be mitigated by cleaning up the foundation itself and distracting the eye from it by putting an extravagant grouping of plants at the property line, where Yard has shown the tree in his second sketch. The plantings can sweep over to under the window, but need not extend to the porch, where they will have a closing-in effect on the front door.

Trees are almost always best placed further away from the house than closer to it, but you haven't shown at all what other options you have for tree placement. Hence your suggestion of putting one near the house was accommodated.

What matters is not just where the property line is, but also what is across it. Obviously if it is your neighbour's house wall, you're not going to plant a tree hard up against it. But if it is a section of bare lawn, you have a bit of leeway, especially if that happens to be a west wall of your neighbour's where they might benefit from the shade of a tree to keep their house cool. The world is a better place if we are all a little interdependent and connected!

Karin L


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