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front yard landscaping ideas needed

Posted by Annicade PA` (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 8, 14 at 1:07

this weekend, we started to landscape our own yard since all landscapers are crazy busy this time of year. we put down a stone walkway and started an area that needs some help. I got three holly bushes and some coneflowers and a few other perennials. I am just a beginner and slowing learning how to keep plants/trees alive :) any thoughts on what to put where/move... and to add to other area in front of porch. It is very claylike soil. we live about 400 feet from road and have on a slight hill. hence not a big flat front yard. Pittsburgh PA area


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: front yard landscaping ideas needed

sorry will try to upload pics tomorrow. it isn't uploading. ugg


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RE: front yard landscaping ideas needed

Without any photos, grouping things is good, and repetition is also good. So whatever you plant in one area, it's nice to repeat some of it in another to create continuity. Good luck with your project!!


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Part not done


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Walk we did with front part started.


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Another view


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Side view


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Edit

This post was edited by Annicade on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 12:10


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RE: front yard landscaping ideas needed

I hate to say it, but you should have visited the forum before you sited the walk. It is much too close to the house. Why? Because it forces you to place plants too close to the house and doesn't allow room for their growth ... or for them to achieve a size that is in scale with the house. As the plants grow, they will seem pinched.

On to the left side ... what is it that you wish to cover up with planting? Seems like it should be minimal. The most I can see there is something 18" ht. at the base of each column and some VERY low groundcover to connect it all up.


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Thanks. The reason it is so close is because the yard slopes there...all, the room we had to work with.


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The point of this message is not "chewing out" but educating, as others read these threads.

I can see in the picture there begins a MODEST SLOPE. If the walk has been placed farther away from the house as it should have been, the soil excavated from the walk building would have been used to build up the soil at the outside of the walk. If it wasn't enough, then additional soil could have been brought in. It wouldn't have taken much.)Proper landscaping is about fixing problems wherever they are fixable. Certainly, here it would have been possible.


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I Was looking to do a bigger area on the non landscaped side since that area sits back in versus the other side that sticks out 4 ft from house/garage...hence we didn't have the room to make a bigger area with slope in yard. We sit about 500 ft from road up a hill that isn't traveled much..any ideas what would go good with my mistake?


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I Was looking to do a bigger area on the non landscaped side since that area sits back in versus the other side that sticks out 4 ft from house/garage...hence we didn't have the room to make a bigger area with slope in yard. We sit about 500 ft from road up a hill that isn't traveled much..any ideas what would go good with my mistake?


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You haven't yet answered my question ("what do you want to cover up?") or responded to the suggestions. If you just want someone to name some plants that will grow there, that's not landscaping. It's gardening and oblivious to the house's existence.


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I can take constructive criticism..hence why I am here...the stones arent mortared yet..my husbandwill love this..yet if I move the stone out...I worry about people stepping off and being on the slope... and having not an inch of leg room there. I was looking to cover up the front area of the porch with landcaping...why I am in the landscaping section...which seem to go hand in hand. I am new to this obviously and was reaching out for ideas even with my mistakes.


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It sounds like you want a mixed bed for the left side. Holly should go beyond the porch. What have you planted on the right side? Only something small should grow there.


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Uuuuugh. I am NOT saying to move the stone/sidewalk NOW! I only said you should have come here BEFORE you installed. I'm anticipating that in a few years, you will start thinking that you need a new, real walk because this one is a pain to actually walk on and maintain. When you create the new one, you will think back to what that guy (me) said and, by then, agree that the plants need much more room and it would be good to move the walk farther out and build up the grade so there's no problem using the walk.

"I was looking to cover up the front area of the porch with landscaping..." You wish to cover up as much as in this picture? (I'm not suggesting. Just asking.)...


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thanks. no no.. not cover up the whole front porch.(chuckling) I am thinking of a larger area to place maybe a little tree at the corner of the porch...weeping willow/cherry with some maybe of the same patio pavers to surround the area with I Have no idea what... I am no gardener and not sure what plants landscapers use frequently, was thinking of maybe a few boulders.... . truly, I have no clue....I know what you mean about the size of the of the other area and know that you are 110% right.. we are just learning... I already have my husband redigging out stones that I don't the placement of. Most people come in through the garage door which around the house...hence but I wanted a temporary walk for a few years...we would never have to shovel it....love it for now. so much better than what it was. Thanks for all your help and suggestions!


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I don't think you understand my question. I'm NOT asking WHAT (whether trees, boulders, shrubs, etc) any of the covering objects should be. I'm asking only about HOW MUCH of the structure shown below do you NOT want to be seen from the street because you'll be placing some things in front of it? Something to think about might be, what are the least important parts of the structure that when covered, won't be missed or seem "wasted"?

This post was edited by Yardvaark on Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 2:53


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Let's start all over.

So what are you trying to accomplish? I'm rather surprised that nobody has shown up to tell you that the house is attractive enough that it doesn't need disguising plantings. Particularly in front of the porch, where you want to put them. The garage could possibly use some sort of traditional foundation planting, but there isn't enough room.

Some possible options for goals are:
Make the house more attractive from the street
Make the house more attractive from somewhere on the driveway
Make a garden that looks nice from somewhere in the house
Have somewhere accessible to plop plants in the ground while you learn about them
Other things I haven't thought of

These aren't mutually exclusive, but depending on which one(s) are most important, the planning will change.

And the idea that the walk had to put on an existing flat surface is contrary to practically everything I know about Pittsburgh. Its very existence is probably enough to give flatlanders heart attacks.


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RE: front yard landscaping ideas needed

  • Posted by lalala 6b (Metro Boston) (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 11, 14 at 12:09

Annicade, your house is lovely and I really like the porch columns.

Reading between the lines it seems like you want something to
-soften the transition between porch and yard
-"anchor" the house in the landscape
-make the house more attractive from the street

Does that sound right? Unfortunately I'm not a landscaping expert so I am not sure what plants to suggest, but I thought I could help with the communication issue. :-)


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"I'm rather surprised that nobody has shown up to tell you that the house is attractive enough that it doesn't need disguising plantings. Particularly in front of the porch, where you want to put them." I've been working on it since my first post, but even after asking the question twice, I can't get it answered.


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I am for sure plant/ landscaping 101..maybe even 001. I would like to compliment the front that doesn't cover the porch but put something there maybe in threes of the three sections of railings.not sure of what, height.. I love my front porch and I don't want to cover it or hide it. I don't want any big bushes but any ideas of what would compliment that area well..if it was your home, what would you do with that area...ideas. sorry that I didn't understand the question/idea.
Thank you lalala and mad gallica for the compliments and responses. Emmarene, I, planted soft touch holly on the garage side with coneflowers. I was wanting to keep, them rounded and on the smaller size. Thank you as well yardvaark for all your time. I am wanting to etch the area with the same pavers..not sure what size..obviously I will go a lot bigger than the other area. If only I could've had a landscaper in the spring come and do it. They are hard to book this time of year! It would've saved me a lot of headache and grief. I thought this would be a good place to get some good ideas. I drive around looking at landscaping and I can't find anything I love. I want simple, easy to maintain, but has taste, uniformity. What would go good in front of it without hiding my railings or porch. Sorry if I wasn't or still not getting the question.


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Ann,
I would get the hardscape done first for now.
You want another walkway tht goes around the side of the house to the back yard, I would get that done first.
Then, if you have it done by this fall, end of October, I would go to a nursery and see what evergreens you like that won't get too big.
You can buy them little, they don't cost as much and will grow in as you finish the rest of the yard next year.
Hardscape it first. That is the bones.
I would choose different evergreens for the front that grow really slow, and don't get big. You can check out evergreen nusery dot com online too, to get a feel for what you like.
Fill it in next year with perenials too, that is the fun part.
Your home is beautiful!
Take it slow, you will change your mind but that is alright.
Change is good.


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Annicade ... are you good looking? If you're thinking, "why yes, I'm pretty good looking ... good enough to bag a husband!!" ... if that's the case, why would you want to cover that pretty face with a paper bag so the general public couldn't see it?? Of course, your wouldn't!!! You'd want to put on lipstick, eye-liner, make your face even prettier, pop on some club clothes and go out and show the self off! What is different about the face of your house? The question I first asked you is "How much of the face of your house (porch) do you want to cover up?" The answer I am waiting for is "Damn little because it's so fine looking." People become obsessed about adding objects (plants) to the yard, but forget entirely about what potentially negative effects those objects can have. Covering up something that is already beautiful is not a positive achievement! So there's not much point in talking about shrubs, trees, flowers and boulders until we know if we want to use them sparingly ... or to obscure as much as possible. (You half way answered the question in your last post, but didn't seem to have any awareness of it.)

For your information, LANDSCAPE DESIGN is the process of thinking through --- envisioning -- what a landscape could become. Landscape designers are the people who do it. LANDSCAPERS are the people who install and maintain the vision that the landscape designers have concocted. While many people expect a landscapER to design a project, there is no telling if his vision will be good or horrible. Home builders generally use landscapERS to design landscapes for new homes and they are generally substandard. But the average home-buyer isn't savvy enough (or cares enough) to know that all the planting will need ripping out and re-doing in relatively short order, or that it is totally lame to look at now.


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Thank you butterfly. Patience.. i need. Thanks for the ideas and plan. I have been researching some but I will check out that site.
Yard, what can I say, I loved that post..i get it.thank you. I love my house. It has been two years since we built our home...I didnt want to have it landscaped right away and have any old joe plant things just to place things. (Probably why I dontlike a lot of the landcaped yards in community homes.) I wanted to live here and feel area of the home to know what I want. We live in the middle of nowhere...just the usual passerby...maybe 20 cars a day go past..we live up an old dirt gravel road..a big hill in the front..not much would notice the landscape but those who visit. We have had a lot of projects since moving in, planting A lOT of grass, a back steep hillside sore that finally grew but a few areas slid through the polar vortex winter.... but a beautiful area..our home...all while having 3 year old twins and working to live the dream .I want to get a tree to plant soon to remember that tree of when we move in and the kids were young. I want them to be surrounded by extra little touches of things growing and remember the weeping willow tree or those damn soft touch holly bushes that needed ripped out. I want something up front rather than just grass. Most of the landcape designers/ers I met work alone and do both. Tried to contact others that probably would just be lanscapers putting them in with no real design or love into it. My brother in law is a architectural/ landcape designer traveling all over the world designing buildings and landcape, he was to draw us up some stuff but got too busy.
So my question, what would you do with the front porch area without covering the beauty of it...something that will compliment the texture of the house, to add just a little extra love to the front.?


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Your house is beautiful and it sounds like it's in a beautiful setting too. It might be useful to show some pictures from further back and from the porch looking out so we can see the setting. If it was my house, from what you've shown so far I would plant nothing at all in front of that porch! I'd have all the plantings at a reasonable distance out from it, and also to the side so you have things to look at - and not to look through. Similarly, I'd have the path - a nice smooth one, not random stones - along the wall and put the plantings on the outside against/on the slope where you have more room to site the plants at a sufficient distance that they won't encroach on the path to the point of making access difficult. I'd keep the plantings fairly low and simple so the feeling is neither claustrophobic or 'busy'.

You've mentioned a weeping willow several times... While they are pretty, keep that well away from the house (roots that seek water; soft wood that breaks easily....) Put it somewhere where you can see it but aren't at risk from its negatives.


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an example of arranging that doesn't cover up ...

As woody mentioned, it would be good to see a photo from farther back.


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Thank you woodyoak, for all the ideas. Yardvaark, that is beautiful..is that a walkway through there. Are those ferns in front of stone piers. I love the purple. I am going to, post pictures as requested. I, had to wait til, this morning to get my phone camera..it has a setting for low res. Pics to post on here. What is that purple bush you drew? I love it. Thank you so, much for taking the time for me. I appreciate it truly!


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coming down road.... that's a creek bank at the bottom


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front of house from road


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another


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The plants aren't specific, but suggestion of forms to place in certain locations. I don't think those are ferns at the base of the piers ... something that takes sun and doesn't spread out of control. The walk is an idea. I'm showing where one could cut through if that's what would work out best because of the slope. I can't really tell the layout of the slope from the picture. Per the purplish bush, decide first if you'd rather use shrubs or perennials. Explore locally what grows that is similar to it and appeals to you. It could be dwarf pygmy barberry or Heuchera ... and they are radically different from one another. It could be other things. Don't be locked into taking the picture too literally.


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Now that I see the big view, it looks like you have plenty of room for some majestic shade trees bordering that wide open lawn. Seeing all that room makes me think the peninsula bed I drew could stand to enlarge toward the left so there is plenty of room for a flowering tree without cramping up on the house. Place the tree in the right place, then create the bed to fit.


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The first thing that came to mind with those pictures is - where is your septic field located? (because that will determine where you cannot plant trees or anything that would damage/clog the system....) As I see it, you have two separate zones to deal with - the larger scale picture of harmonizing the big empty space with the mature forested background; and the more intimate scale of the areas immediately surrounding the house. Because the larger scale is crying out for trees and larger shrubs, and because those things take longer to get to a size where they have a good impact, it would be a good idea to plan that area soon so you'll be ready to work when suitable planting conditions return in the fall. In the short term, for the close-to-the-house intimate areas I'd focus on getting the path functional and attractive, and use pots of ornamental plants to satisfy the desire for pretty things by the house until you can work out a plan that integrates the intimate spaces with the larger overall space. A big project you have there :-) but a very beautiful site and house to motivate you!


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"Because the larger scale is crying out [screaming!] for trees and larger shrubs, and because those things take longer to get to a size where they have a good impact, it would be a good idea to plan that area soon..."ASAP!!


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Thank you. now where to place them and what to plant...did I say we were going to put an inground swimming pool, next year around the area of the playset....more towards the hillside... Woody, we actually have city water and sewage..pipes off the garage side..we needed a creek crossing for that. Guys, I have a hard time with choices, placement, arrangement....and add that I, mess up everything...as you didn't know that already. ..HELP!! I will be planting a lifetime tree arrangement here and am clueless. So since I need it ASAP, suggestions and areas! I need specifics. .anyone travelling to PA anytime soon!


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And ps. I keep reading and re-reading your posts taking it all...thank you from, the bottom of my heart with helping me.


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"Guys, I have a hard time with choices, placement, arrangement....and add that I, mess up everything..."

Landscape design is the thinking-through process in which a piece of land is transformed into something highly desirable by art and engineering. In many cases, a homeowner prefers to skip hiring a professional to perform this thinking-through process, surmising that they can rely on their own gut "instincts," installer's knowledge and free advice. Sometimes this works, depending on how savvy the homeowner is about the process and discriminating in their goals. Sometimes, it's a crap shoot and the end result does not work toward enhancing value or maximizing the amount of satisfaction an owner can realize from their property. Many times I have seen things built or plants planted that I was certain devalued the property. Sometimes substantially. Since your property is sizable, has a great beginning and there is more to come, I would strongly urge you to seek out professional, competent advice for those areas in which you feel less sure about. It may be that having a master plan developed is sufficient. (A master plan shows general ideas, how things fit and work together, major element shapes and locations, plant types, etc.; it does not call out specific material on which a contractor would bid, nor does it create a "shopping list" for the homeowner.) A few hundred dollars spent on a master plan may save you thousands on errors later on. If needed later, construction plans for hardscape elements or a planting plan may be developed. I'm sure that before you built your house you had drawings which showed all the elements. So when it was actually built, those building it weren't standing abound with 2 x 4's in their hands wondering what on earth to do with them. They proceeded according to the plans and this saved not only a tremendous amount of time (and therefore $) but it saved the end result from being fraught with unsolvable problems. If there is development to come outdoors, it would be just as reasonable to presume that planning (meaning the creation of actual paper plans) will be very useful in controlling the expenditure and the quality of the end result.


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Thanks yardvaark! It is so difficult finding someone in this area...i know that I am no where savvy to achieve this on my own. I wish I could find someone. Maybe when a lot of summer work is done...they will be able to be reached..or my brother in law.. thanks again for all the input, suggestions, comparisons, and reasoning. A lot to achieve and plan out!


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I think one of the best ways to find a designer is when you see a landscape you like and think it's well done, find out who designed it and contact them. You will not need to hover over such a person making sure they are doing good work. You will only need to tell them your goals and constraints. Surely, there must be some good landscaping in a town near you.


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Well I contacted three businesses..meeting next week. Will keep you posted. Thanks again all!


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Your house is beautiful! I'd like to add a suggestion, and that's to post whatever plan(s) you're given here for comments. I wish I'd been able to do that many years ago when we had this house built then landscaped!

We had a landscaper draw a plan for us. We'd seen his work, he'd done a house for us before (but we only lived there two years), and other friends and family had used him and loved him. THE PROBLEM? Ha - back then I knew even less about landscape design than I do now.

So yes, it looked nice and we were happy. But now, many years later, I'm "making lemonade" because I can see how poorly placed the trees were, and they've grown a ton, which emphasizes the poor placement. I don't feel like spending thousands to start over, so I've done an inexpensive update that I had fun with, but it's definitely not what it could and should be.

Last year when someone I know spent big $$ to have someone redo their whole yard. I was so excited because their house is about the same age as mine and they were doing what I'd like to do if dropping that kind of money wasn't an issue for me. They found him through friends, loved his work, etc.

They're happy, and their guy used great plant material. But he really didn't deal with a site issue they have, used tons of wavy bed lines rather than gently curves, poorly sited various shrubs, and a few other things that wouldn't pass muster on this site.


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As is the case for all those building on larger properties, the time to begin landscape planning is at the very beginning of the process; a consultation with a pro which plans where to site the house, which natural features/vegetation to save and a terrain study looking for possible expensive problems as land is disturbed.

Here we have a beautiful home in need of a pro who will work with the owner joining the house structure to the surrounds. This is not a case of diddly little gardens. Rather, it is careful placement of some hardscaping and a few significant trees.
Suggestion is to listen for the pro who talks about this type of planning.



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First off your home is beautiful!! I think you need to be thinking about that in-ground pool you are going to put in, they need to dig it out so you don't want to go planting beds & shrubs & trees just to dig them back out so take a garden hose & map out where it is going to be-use the hose laying on ground in shape of swimming pool, then a 2nd hose a few feet out from where the pool will be as you have to have a space around the pool, you don't want that whole area too close to the back hill which might send a lot of water & dirt, etc into that area. Also are you having the pool fenced in, much safer all around if you do, neighbor kid isn't as likely to drown if he can't see water or get gate open. So pool, edging area & fencing placement all needs to be figured out 1st. Then you will want to be placing trees & shrubs where they aren't dropping leaves, flowers & twigs in the pool. Also you need to figure out how large these things will be if it gets really hot you might want some shade during hot part of day-but off at a distance Along with that you may need to plan the walkway at back of house. If pool will be used constantly that has to be thought out, probably cement walkway to house to change or will there be a pool house, bathroom trips, need to figure out how that will work as kids will drip through the house so I'd be getting some graph paper & figuring out where all the stuff you are having will be, patio in back or on that side? You can plan trees in front yard but even that needs to be where pool can't be seen or so pool can be seen depending on your preferences. Fall is good for planning trees & shrubs at least that is when my son planted back that way. So once you have the pool area mapped out then present it to this forum so they might be able to give you ideas for putting plants but if I were you I would be getting that BIL out to your house for steaks on the BBQ & pinning him down on what you've drawn & see what his opinion is, if you have put in some work planning & laying it out then he will know you are serious & more likely to help you. I have 4 younger brothers. a suggestion often gets bypassed but hand 1 a screwdriver & ask if they can screw something to the wall & might ask what else needs to be done.(things I can't figure out how to do or require more strength like changing outdoor faucet.) Hope it works.


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We have a lot of clay soil here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, too. It is a nightmare to plant in because it requires so much soil preparation. You might want to consider an alternative cover.

Here is a link that might be useful: Front Yard Landscaping Ideas Online


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