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need help making my sorry house look better despite my limitation

Posted by Marinewifenc none (My Page) on
Sun, May 5, 13 at 4:38

I need some help with the front yard.
First ill list the problems / limitations we have
1) We rent, so I can't do anything major to include removing the boxwoods or the privet which I hate.
2) both gardens have thick thick landscape fabric down which is a major problem for us trying to plant in there, the soil under the fabric is sand and clay. I WAS going to pull up the fabric but realized the root systems in there are massive preventing a lot of planting anyways.

We are in zone 8 (not positive, some sites say 7b, some say 8a, some 8b) but coastal NC south eastern, very south.

Things i would like to do
1) if possible address the sitting situation. No where to sit out front and I often like to. We have extra patio furniture (wicker set with 4 chairs, loveseat and coffee table, and i could spare 2 chairs or the loveseat for the front if there were a place to put it that didn't look rediculous). I'd also be willing to buy a cast iron set which is more compact, but again lack of space on where to put it. It won't fit on the porch (if you can call it that)

2) garden shape i would like to maybe widen it and make it more curved, maybe by a foot, which would allow me to plant a border of sorts in the newly cut area. I don't know how it would look.

I personally hate the scalloped edging, I don't know what others think of it, i am willing to hear opinions on whether or not to remove it from the front garden and go with no edge and just trench it. but the edging along the patio slabs on that garden needs to stay because it is preventing washout.

Trim size on those boxwoods, the privet, and the other bush (i think it's a dogwood but I don't know)

I have also considered carrying that front garden around to the fence at the side, but i don't know what to plant there. it is weed haven. sheet mulching and grass clippings and then laying down some mulch and putting potted plants would be easiest for me as the soil is most likely not suitable. That side is south facing full sun all day.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

Here is a picture I pulled up off google maps as well. with a question regarding the wood fence in the right corner. Is there a point to these fences? It was here so we haven't touched it as i am not sure it's purpose.

We have since planted daylilies in that area.

what do you think of a rose hedge across the back from post to post. this area gets full sun, the soil is sand, the grass hardly grows but the daylilies have taken to it fine and i do have shrub roses that i need a spot for. They're red, and just small and were originally purchased to go along the side where the weed problem is, but then i realized if i needed to take them 30 inches from the wall it interferes with traffic in and out of the gate to the back.

any and all suggestions are welcome.

to note, the front garden lining the patio pavers gets full sun mostly, closest to the house there is an area that gets shade and is getting hostas.

the garden infront of the house along where teh windows are gets mostly shade until that corner, and i wanted to put potted hostas in there, and possibly line coleus in, or caladiums. wasn't sure how tall caladiums get.

I have also considered an urn in place of the small square planter on the walkway.


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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

Is the reason for wanting a seating area on the front of the house because its the shadier (east) side of an evening?
Just wondering. Since you put that down as a main goal, it seems important.
I vaguely remember someone posting a thread here all about a very tiny (but adequate) paved patio she built from ... I think ... old bricks or brick pavers. I can't remember why it needed to be in her front and I want to say that it might have been along her driveway? It was years ago, but it also became important for her to choose some plant material that then helped to give this little seating area a sense of enclosure.
I remember that she was limited on funds, got friends to help, worked hard to do it well, and had a pleasing result ...

That's sort of beside the point, but your desire for seating seems important ... Sounds like you enjoy gardening and would like to have a pleasant place to relax at the end of a long, hot summer day.


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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

I think the front faces west, shady in the mornings. I like to sit out during storms they always come in from the front, and also if we are doing anything out front, the bbq is out front. Then I think I just complicated things by requiring a sheltered seating area. I sit out during every storm, but since my husband doesn't share my interest in storms or the garden maybe a simple rocking chair on the porch would be enough. There is enough room for that. The owners had an Adirondack chair there before we got here, just one of those plastic ones but it was ugly so I moved it.

I also find my backyard boring to look at, if you can tell by the pictures we are surrounded by trees, but my dogs play out back often so I haven't been able to plant anything. This year I did plant some cannas which are dog safe and possibly will make me enjoy my back deck a little more.


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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

One thing that jumps out to me as "wrong" is that the house still looks like it is part of a new subdivision (save for the tall trees in the back yard.) The front yard is tree-less and therefore the house does not look comfortably "nestled in" or established. It looks just stuck on top of the earth. I think you could kill two birds with one stone by developing a sort of courtyard-ish creation which included some patio space for seating, or however you wish to use it, and a semblance of privacy (without obscuring) by using some small tree style plants at boundary of the space. You get a little shade and courtyard perimeter definition out of the deal.

Yes, get that corner marker out of there. There are much better ways to define the corner of a property if one so needs.


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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

Removing elements like the edging or the corner marker might anger your landlord. I'd ask first.

Why don't you just put your seating area on the lawn?
I know people might gasp in horror, but that can really look lovely. If you live in a very wet area that probably won't work, though.
You could also try that temporary decking they sell at places like Ikea.


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RE: need help making my sorry house look better despite my limita

I'm with burntplants! That temporary decking placed over the lawn would be very nice. I think it's made from rubber or something.

Best thing is, since you rent, you can take it with you when you go. It's not permanent!

We did a brick patio in front at one house, and it was pretty easy. Sitting out there made it easy to watch the kids play, but they are gone now, so it's not as important.


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