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Help me Fix

Posted by marquest z5 PA (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 4, 11 at 16:31

I moved in 2 yrs ago. I transplanted all my plants from my old house and plopped them in the front of the house. Now I have to move them because it looks like a jungle and does not matach the style of the house.

There is excessive amounts of daylilies, spring bulbs, summer bulbs etc. I am thinking I want more of a formal bush only area for this style of house. I have 4 acres so I have plenty of room to use all the front plantings on the side and the back.

The area is 20' long and 15' deep.

Before my mad dash of transplanting from one house to another.

may 2010

House after cleaning

FRONT HOUSE

Now

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Help me Fix

Are you asking for suggestions for a more formal planting plan beside the driveway and the front walkway only?
Very fetching house, by the way. Are those real slate tiles on the roof?


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RE: Help me Fix

Thank you adriennemb and yes it is a real slate roof. I had to have about 100 tiles replaced but it was worth the price because they said I had 100 years left on the roof. LOL

I am OK with the side driveway bed I was trying to get a view so people can see the walkway to the front door and front of the house landscape.

I am looking for suggestions of a design to make it formal. I think this style of house less is more.

I also have the problem of the electrical service box on the front of the house so I need to hide that issue. Correction the size is 26' long and 10' deep I do have the space that I could add about 4-5 more feet to the depth if it would look better.

What I have planted that you probably cannot see because of the junky set up I have now is....

2 Dark green Pyramidal Yew (Planted on either side of the front entrance walkway)
Blue star Juniper
Golden Barberry
Purple Sandcherry
Gold threadbranch cypress
2 Filifera Threadbranch cypress
Golden Barberry
Rose Glow Barberry

I am not married to these plants and since the entire property needs to be landscape I can dig them out and put them in another area.

I impuled purchased a couple of plants this week and could use them in this area if appropriate.

In pots now are
2 dark green Yews
Picea 'azul Fat Albert Spruce

If anybody is thinking move the electrical box. tried and the electric co will not accomodate me at this tyime because the position of the house and the pole on the street. The house its far from the street. See below...


DRIVEWAY TO HOUSE


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RE: Help me Fix

Yes, I agree that the formal approach is probably best for your attractive home, something with clean strong lines and four season interest to complement the 1930's english style architecture. A cottage garden, while fun and whimsical, would not be appropriate here.

I also agree that it is a shame that the electrical lines and box could not be buried or moved somewhere less conspicuous. Have you thought of growing ivy up that wall?

It would be of benefit now to move everything out of the front beds and from under the pines and put them, along with your recent purchases into a reserve garden until you come up with a plan. It helps sometimes to start with a clean slate, so to speak...

Once the plantings were removed, I would be tempted to pull the bed away from the house and bring it all the way up to the curving walkway. That would make the bed appear as deep as the foyer is tall, a pleasing ratio. The border could be of low hedging like boxwood or a stone wall similar to what is on the driveway. You might want to look into widening the walkway too.

In the larger scheme of things, I would also be tempted to differentiate the formal house gardens from the rest of the property. There is a pronounced slope on the right side of the house. What do you think of terracing there to create that division?

I like the direction that you're taking with an emphasis on evergreens. I'm posting a couple of pictures here as inspiration. What makes these gardens so befitting are that they are designed with primarily non-deciduous shrubs and small trees.


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RE: Help me Fix

I will be the contrary one again :-) I love the house and don't see it with a formal landscape at all. The house, while large, has a very relaxed and comfortable feel to me and I'd go with a landscape that has the same feel.

Your 'My Page' info says you travel a lot and your OP says the property is 4 acres... Do you have any help with the garden? The close-up view of the bed along the house shows it in severe need of edging and tidying up... :-) Ditto with the view down the driveway, particulaly on the left side. So I think the place to start is with a thorough clean out/clean up of all the beds, putting in place a crisp edge between the lawn and that front bed along the house - a trench edge would probably be best. Then rearrage/edit the plantings you have. It looks like some things near the front door may grow up to block the sight-line (and perhaps passage...?) to the door. Those could be moved elsewhere, either to a part of the bed where the wall behind them is blank, or move them elsewhere in the garden.

The placement of the utility meters is unfortunate. Do you know if the meters are read manually or does the meter-reader person have an electronic gizmo to read them? (i.e. do they need to have access close enough to see the meter to read it or do they only need to be able to point the reading gizmo at them?) I'd be inclined to plant a variegated shrub next to them on the right where there is space for one. The white on the leaves would distract your eyes from the light color of the meters. The meter on the left would still be fairly exposed. Is there enought light there to grow a tall Russian Sage? The tall silvery foliage and blue flower spikes might work as a reasonable screen for that one.

It looks like you have a lot of shade there. That would limit you a bit in plant choices. I think the bed along the driveway that you can see in the picture that shows the curved walkway to the door, needs some big plants with a lot of presence to make an impact. A Japanese maple and Persicaria polymorpha come to mind. A dark JM would pick up on the other dark-leaved stuff visible in that bed and add good fall color. Persicaria polymorpha does well for me in both sun and shade and adds height and striking white flowers to the summer garden and then disappears for the winter - which would be useful if snow from cleaning the driveway covers that bed in winter.


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RE: Help me Fix

Mar, yes, it's a very lovely and charming home. It has stature.

It would be the homeowner's responsibility for the conduit on the side of house, not electric co. The box is not the problem it's that bizarre run of conduit. Completely unorthodox. 'Twer' mine, I'd be putting it underground. Of course, any move of it wouldn't be cheap. So understandable why you might just want to hide it best you can.

You're saying you have a postage-stamp-sized spot to re-landscape, but I'm not getting a clear definition of exactly where it is in the pictures. Are you talking about "foundation" planting at the house (which is larger than the stated size)?

The fifth picture from top creates the suspicion of rainwater running toward the house. You're certain that this is not the case?

Based on what you have, it looks like you are using gardening as your primary landscaping method. Saying that you "want more of a formal bush only area for this style of house" makes me think you would like to gravitate toward landscaping (which is much more powerful visually and much easier to maintain) instead. Myself, I would not use the word "formal" vs. "informal." "Formal" leads me to be thinking of symmetry, clipped hedges, topiary, a staff of gardeners (high maintenance) and all things Versailles-ish. Could I suggest "clean," "organized," and "charming," instead? There's no reason such cannot have stature.

At the risk of sounding preachy, I would ask you to revisit the photo of garden (by drive) which you are "OK with..." Like the other garden areas, I would ask, "Is this supporting the overall view of the home in a positive way? Does it make a strong visual statement that adds beauty to the picture?" In my mind the answer is "No" on both counts. It's a hodge-podge that seems unaware that a lovely home is in its vicinity. All of this is telling me that you need to stop thinking about plants (and don't buy any more...on impulse especially) and think about the overall organization of the area. On its fundamental level, landscaping is organization of space and the objects and elements within it with distinct goals in mind. By trying to gloss over this and get directly to decorating your house with plants, you will end up with something that MIGHT have good features to it, but you might also end up selling yourself vastly short of what it could be. Right now it's 97% gardening and a 3% stab at landscaping. I suggest you try for 90-95% landscaping which might include 5-10% garden. (There's no reason the perennials can't be used in an organized way.)

While this might be the front of the house, it LOOKS for all the world like the back the conduit and lack of sheltering and beauty at the front door. I'm convinced that I'll be entering a utility room and then a kitchen with one of those nice big old fireplaces where a pig is roasting on a spit. But at the door there's nothing that says "grand welcome." The house looks so fine, but the door area looks like where "the help" come in. It is screaming out for some sense of "arrival."

I'm not saying any of these things to be harsh or offensive and I certainly hope you don't take it that way. I'm trying to get you to see potential. Even if it takes a long time to reach, a plan would help you get there without losing your way.


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RE: Help me Fix

Again Thank you both for the compliment. To me it is one big mess but when I saw the house I thought it had good bones and I can bring it back to its glory.

woodyoak, when I first drove past the house I thought it was a shady area to but it is not. I do not know why maybe because it sits back from the very mature trees. But the entire property is full blazing sun all day. There is not one area that you get less than 5 hours of sun.

I have a guy that does the lawn only. I do all my own work unless I need some heavy lifiting. When I come home on the weekends it is my therapy to get in the garden from early morning and until the bugs chase me in at night. I have gone without food all day working outside.

Because the property was negelected by seniors that had not did anything for many years there is not a corner of the 4 acres that does not need help. I started on the side you said that needs fixed you should have seen the poison ivy, english ivy etc that was there before I started the clean up. That is going to be a long on going project for a long time.

I took the pics before the lawn was mowed and edging was done it has been in the 90s so things are not what they normally are when the edging and grass cutting has been done.

I do thank you for your input. I can use all the help and suggestions I can get. LOL

adriennemb, you read my mind about the walkway. I have been stacking up red bricks to widen. I am thinking of going two-three bricks wide on each side of the walkway.

If it will help this is the link to my photobucket album there are a few more pics winter and other issue I have been working on...

Here is a link that might be useful: photobucket pics


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RE: Help me Fix

First, I'd put a perennial garden in the backyard, and move everything there. This is where those impulse purchases go, and where the idea is to have fun.

Second, tell everybody where the front door is. Where is the front door?

Third, I'd see how much it would cost to redo the electricity so the conduit has a straight shot from the house connection, to the meter, to the box inside. Compare how intrusive the electrical conduit is to the glaring white downspouts.

Now comes the landscaping. Given the design busyness of the house, I'd keep things quite simple near there. Groundcovers, massed grasses type things, and put in a shrub border along the trees. Big rhododendrons would be very tempting.


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RE: Help me Fix

Yardviser if I was sensitive I would never have posted for suggestions. I take all advice and use it where it is possible.

I did know the electric was going to be a point of discussion. I will repeat it is where it is. I paid in excess of 10 thou to have the house re-wired after much research, getting bids etc. Where the wire comes into the home is my responsibility but the location where it comes into the home is the electric co my area that is the end of that discussion. As stated it was one of the first issue I checked and the electrician tried a couple of tricks he knew to get them to move the box. All the tricks did not work. I tried local gov. it did not work. Logistic and Topography it is not possible at this time. Maybe sometime in the future the township will go to underground. OK so I am working around that issue. I am trying to do it with landscape.

As far as the front door as I said there is a lot of work needed to bring the house to the beauty it can be. Right now I am working on the landscape. The grounds around the house will not change. Addition to the building and other structures will happen. These issue I have gone over to the Old house forum to keep within the era of the house. I think there is nothing uglier than taking a old house and slapping the new structures of today. It's like these new McMansions on a spit of a piece of land with fake brick. LOL

At this time the only issues as you stated is work on that front entrance with some sort of era appropriate structure. That will only be in the area where the walkway is so the land will not change. Formal landscape is what I am looking for it is what I see as era appropriate and for the style of the house. I have never mentioned easy. Not what I am looking to create. If I cannot keep it clipped I will hire the help. But FORMAL is what I want.

Water is not running to the house I guess pics can be confusing. Does this view help? This is the walk to the front door as you can see the land in front and how it is situated.
WALK TO FRONT DOOR

Any more suggestions for landscape? Thank you all for your help.


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RE: Help me Fix

I love your beautiful house! A lovely structure and ample space to consider. Whatever you decide, do it because you like and will enjoy it, looking at it, living with it, not because a bunch of folks on a forum said you should. Here's my 2 cents' worth. Have fun!

I have been stacking up red bricks to widen. I am thinking of going two-three bricks wide on each side of the walkway. How about using those bricks as a border along the front bed? Maybe even another walkway there, inviting you and your guests a designated place to step as they admire your efforts.

I'm not sure that area is currently deep enough into the yard to be able to put any kind of shrubs in any arrangement besides a straight line. Straight across the house is not the most interesting. Might you like the look of it if it mimicked the curve of the walkway? I think that would help the yard point to the front door and give you enough room to put a few taller things that aren't so close to your windows that they block your views and light. I also liked the idea to expand the bed to include that whole area between the house and walkway.

Imagine (whatever) plants with a lot of space around them so they look tidy. A few of those really tall, skinny evergreens. The current 'tiny scruffy skyline' detracts attention from the house and I couldn't imagine a planting in the current space that wouldn't look similar, although more formal would certainly be possible by simply removing all of the smaller plants. How about a birdbath? There's something formalish about them, to me, and with 6 windows, you have ample opportunities to view it. The birdbath also begs the general question,"Do you want to take wildlife into consideration?" If so, you can ask "what will this plant have to offer?" in that regard as you consider new plants and their placement.

Don't forget to spend at least as much time imagining what it will look like from inside each window, as you do considering what looks like from the split-second (can't tell from the pics?) view from the road (which is unfortunate!!), or the view as you pull in the drive, or walk from the car to the door.


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RE: Help me Fix

Thank you purpleinopp. Most people do not know there is a house down here. You can get a quick glance of the house in one spot if you are looking. There are lots of mature evergreen trees lining the front of the property and it sits back from the street.

I will post pics after I remove all the perennials and get the bushes planted.

Landscaping can make or break the look of a home. I knew what it looks like now was wrong. The comments posted confirmed what I thought. If they cannot see where the front door is I guess it is such a mess they cannot see the winding walkway to the front door. LOL


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RE: Help me Fix

At this time the only issues as you stated is work on that front entrance with some sort of era appropriate structure. That will only be in the area where the walkway is so the land will not change.

I believe it would be best to design the basic landscaping with the change to the front entrance in mind -- including whether you will be moving the front door, adding paving in front of the entrance, and/or changing the curve of the walkway. So maybe this is not a good time to landscape in the area around the front door.

Here's what I was thinking of for a more noticeable front entrance. (Pretend it looks more like it's curved. Pretend it's the same reds as the rest of the house. Pretend the proportions and shadows are better. Pretend a Real Architect nestled it into that corner so it looks like part of the original house. And pretend there's a much larger paved area in front of the turret.)
Photobucket

This is the sort of round turret that is called a pepperpot. It would occupy the area in front of the existing main door. Only one story.

If matching bricks are not available, you could use stone. Or Tudor post and beam with stucco.

If the pointed roof is too difficult structurally, a crenelated roof might better hide any problems with how the old and new roofs interact.

Where the wire comes into the home is my responsibility but the location where it comes into the home is the electric co my area that is the end of that discussion

Not quite sure what that means, but I suggest you plant evergreen shrubs to hide the lower electrical stuff.

To make the upper conduit less noticeable, you could try painting it the colors of the bricks. Use 3 or 4 colors for the bricks (the lighter orange-red, black, and one or two colors of the darker red). You might be able to leave the metal of the conduit bare between the bricks, or it might be better to paint those areas to match the mortar. I'm not suggesting you do this yourself....

When you say you want a formal look, I hope you're not intending to prune all the shrubs into meatballs, gumdrops, and cylinders. I don't think your house is formal enough to handle that sort of shrubbery.


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missing' Real Architect is a drainage nightmare on it's roof.it don't pretend it's the same SIZE and color of reds bricks.it doesn't look like part of the original house.these mean:we can't finish so small round turret.poor photoshop.


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RE: Help me Fix

Lost another GW account, ide/ideas/design/share? (By the way, today's only the tenth: several days too early to be sharing "ides.")

Hey, it's my first attempt: we've all got to start somewhere. I don't have Yardviser's fancy software or your neon palette; if I'd taken the time to darken the bricks and shade it all by hand in MS Paint, it would have taken months. This was just to give marquest an idea of how I saw an addition to the house, and I think it does that. Since I'm not trying to sell anything, it's okay for my picture to look like an amateur put it together.

The Victorians loved to put little turrets on their houses: there are ways to deal with the roof drainage issue. (Yes, I could have added "Pretend there's a downspout to the left of the turret," but the post was already too long.) Expand your Western architectural horizons: search "Victorian turret" or "pepperpot turret house" in Google Images and you'll see examples. Maybe you'll fall in love with them as so many have.


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Thank you missingtheobvious for taking the time to give me a visual idea. That was very nice of you. I like the design.

"When you say you want a formal look, I hope you're not intending to prune all the shrubs into meatballs, gumdrops, and cylinders. I don't think your house is formal enough to handle that sort of shrubbery."

Ooops!! LOL Yes that was what I was thinking of because all the old tudors I saw was real structure and manicured type landscape.


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RE: Help me Fix

Sorry, marquest: I am not a fan of geometric pruning. My feeling is that as the house isn't symmetrical but has a "just growed," added-onto look, the shrubs shouldn't be uptight or pruned into submission. Just a nice natural shape -- with the gardener helping make it look natural!

[My father is an engineer and does feel the need to prune everything into symmetry. I do understand that some people's brains work that way.]


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I think you might be mistaking a need for structure and neatly defined spaces with a need for formal plants. And also, as MTO has just elicited, mistaking one form of formal plant as the sum total of the style.

I actually think that if you take the idea to its extreme, that a topiary garden (quirky spirals and poodles and tiers, not necessarily ducks or something) might be uniquely charming with this house. And if a Japanese maple, then maybe one clipped resolutely into a table top.

But you might like to look into the conifers forum for some ideas about plants that have natural structure and a formal manner.

In the thread below there is a link to a garden design that shows (in my opinion) how the shapes on the ground are as important as the shapes of the plants in lending an air of formality. That is where I think I would start in your case. With an aerial plan view of the whole yard to scribble shapes on, and a plan for how you are going to define (edge) the beds.

There is room for exuberant perennials (although they certainly do look their worst at this time of year, don't they), in a formal design if they are put into defined spaces. Again the extreme form of this idea is the boxwood parterre kind of knot garden thing. That is another thing that I could see working with your house.

By the way, the electrical box doesn't bother me at all. I didn't even notice it, I guess because it's a necessity we all live with.

Karin L

Here is a link that might be useful: Bungalow link later in thread


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RE: Help me Fix

Like Mto, I see a need to beef up the sense of "arriving at destination" at the front entrance. I offer a slightly different take on it, thinking that it could be done with structures primarily detached from the main structure. (These offerings are schemes, concepts ideas...not details and plans. Innumerable details are obviously left in the air. Do I have to say it's for thinking purposes, no other?) An idea I don't show is doing virtually the same, but without any overhead structure: focusing on paving and "punctuation" of some kind at its corners...or low seat wall or some such. There are umpteen possibilities here. From expensive to affordable. It all depends on owners taste, budget and desires. Where the house is "cleaned" of plants is so I could see for myself how that appears.

[Mto, my "fancy" software is equivalent to taking out a paintbrush and a canvas. There's no magic, just half my picture already drawn and no messy paint clean-up. Therefore, faster and easier. I don't have the benefit of Photoshop as so many people keep suggesting. I'm not trying to draw a photo, just an idea. Since pictures are free I don't go to the ends of the earth fixing and redoing. I think they work for making a simple point. I think other designers use some type of graphic to convey their ideas. Why the "horrification" by some of using digital means...I'm stumped. (And that's a rhetorical question...not a reason to hijack this thread, too.)]
marquest
marquest2
marquest1


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RE: Help me Fix

I know they're concepts, and I'm taking them as such, but the add-on pergolas smack of back door. I'm thinking this house needs heft to pull off any clearer notion that this is a front door.

Maybe there's a way to landscape in this notion if a bricks and mortar solution isn't in the cards.

That being said, to me, the turret comes closer... raise the turret so the peak matches the main peak level, then you could elevate the front door to accommodate a brick porch. No need for a roof on the porch, just a few stairs (like three) and a landing pad carried around the turret to meet the main block of the house.

Definitely not an architect; my field was English and I didn't graduate summa. In the eternal search for beauty everyone with a plot of ground embarks on, I have a lot of tolerances. I am not wild, however, about tree rings, pot ghettos, and yard art including - but not limited to - lawn jockeys with the appropriate overpaint, gnomes, fairies, bowling balls that look like bumblebees, and any three tiered seahorse non-working fountain-cum-birdbath. (Insert large smiley of choice here)


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I'm a bit late to this one but this looks like the back of the house to me and I am not sure if any amount of landscaping will change this. An architectural change might help, something like that turret only square not round might do it. I prefer the bare look to the hay field but perhaps some serious specimens might pull it together. I would also remove the under brush at the entrance and the pile of stones because this is an area that could be a lot crisper.


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RE: Help me Fix

karinl: Topiary doesn't count as pruning: it's Whimsy -- always a good thing.

Yardviser: I believe I saw a reference on another thread to your software having a feature where it will automatically recreate any color you click on. Where I come from (humble MS Paint), that's fancy!

marquest: another advantage of naturalistic-looking shrubs is that they greatly save on pruning time.


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Mto, sure MyPaint will reproduce any color, but not brick, stone, plants, etc. Cannot move elements around. It only paints color.

Even though house looks like back, I don't think that's necessarily bad. It's giving me a French country farmhouse vibe.


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Even though house looks like back, I don't think that's necessarily bad. It's giving me a French country farmhouse vibe.

So how do the French farmers emphasize the location of the door?

===

Yardviser, I would have loved to have been able to click on some of the colors in the path and change the Pencil or the Fill tool to those same colors automatically. But I definitely need Paint's Cut and Paste abilities. [Last fall I Cut and Pasted a brick pattern until I had a diagram of the entire facade of my house.... Even I am not crazy enough to draw every single brick with the mouse ... at least I think I'm not....]


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"Even though house looks like back, I don't think that's necessarily bad." I wasn't being judgmental only offering an opinion, it is what it is.


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Inktognito, I can understand why you think it is the back of the house. I travel a lot and architecture is one of my interest. Your thoughts are probably....

-Garage on the front of the house. (this is something that you see a lot in my region)

-Electrical wire on the front. (In this area we do not have underground wire)

-Messy front planting (my reason for this post)
Thank you for your observation, I felt they were said as helpful.

Karin, I get the same comment you expressed from people when I bring up the subject. Again a regional thing. Almost everyone in the area have wires somewhere on the front of their house and it just does not bother them. LOL

As far as this door issue. I have never had any visitors say they could not find the front door.

The thoughts I have gotten from home design forums are to leave the front door alone and do something with the peak where the electric wire is located. It is an English Tudor home and the front door is never the focal point.

Once you drive down the driveway the only options you have is to use the walkway. The blue stone walkway will lead you to the front door. Unless you are an animal and start walking on the 100' or more grass areas or toward the woods you will get to the front door. LOL As they said in The Wizard of Oz "Follow the Yellow Brick Road"

Purpleinopp had a good suggestion about planting the entire grass area in front of the house.

If you look at this pic I get what the home design people were talking about and how I can incorporate purpleinopp's idea.

Photobucket

Thank you all for the suggestions. I am not sensitive and welcome all comments, suggestions so bring them on all are appreciated. I feel if you did not care you would not take the time to respond. So I appreciate all responses.


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Another inspiration photo for the expanded front bed, this time contained by boxwood but with fewer conifers. Semi-formal front garden


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I like the way they made a green fence and fence posts. That is different.

Thank you.


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My Mom's property was similarly laid out, and the suggestions I made for you came from the experience with her house, only the existing sidewalk there goes from the front door straight to the street. Great for getting the mail, and that's about its' only function. She had another sidewalk installed that actually goes from the top of the driveway to meet the original sidewalk, right in front of the front door. Most of the area between the 2 sidewalks is now a planting bed, and we used the last of the old bricks stored in the crawl space to make a curved border separating the new bed from the lawn - the only non-straight-line hardscape element in the whole front yard. It's looks correctly proportioned with the house now and size of the property and I think you could achieve the same sense of proportion. I'll try to snap a pic in the next few days so you can see what I meant about sparse planting looking tidy, although the particular plants wouldn't work your climate or sunny space.

Most people do not know there is a house down here. You can get a quick glance of the house in one spot if you are looking. I would love that much privacy!

As far as this door issue. I have never had any visitors say they could not find the front door. I think this comes from a combination of your comment, "Addition to the building and other structures will happen." and a couple of comments about the front door. MTO's turret is really cool, IMO.

The thoughts I have gotten from home design forums are to leave the front door alone and do something with the peak where the electric wire is located. It is an English Tudor home and the front door is never the focal point. (It would be with a turret! LOL!) The suggestion to complete any structural changes - wherever they might occur - before starting to landscape anywhere in the area a good one. You wouldn't want equipment or workers trampling around your hard work!

You've probably already thought of this or done it but just wanted to mention "call before you dig" just in case. I take pics of the markings when I have it done, write notes/measurements on it, so however-many-years-later when I start some new project, I don't have to try to remember or call (and wait) again.


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I mean this in all seriousness, do you think adding five brick chimneys is the way to go never mind adding shingles and faux woodwork? Building a new house just the way you want it would only be marginally more expensive.

With an interest in architecture I surprised you didn't research French Farm House as yardviser suggested I also think you should look at the stuff Edwin Lutyens did together with Miss Jekyll. If you are even considering spending serious money on chimneys extensive hardscaping would be a better choice in my opinion (yes I have one of those too.)


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purpleinopp your mom's property sounds beautiful. Please post the pics when you have the time. Yes I love the privacy it is what I love the most about the property.

incognito, I said....

"The thoughts I have gotten from home design forums are to leave the front door alone and do something with the peak where the electric wire is located. It is an English Tudor home and the front door is never the focal point."

Not add chimneys. Where do you see that suggestion? I understand you have an opinion. Thank you. I appreciate your suggestions.


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I missed the subtlety of that sentence as you missed my attempt at humour, the internet does have its limitations eh? (It is said that opinions are like axxholes, everyone has one)


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Hello -
the door you're using now does look like a back door; but is there an opportunity for a new door where you now have that small horizontal window under a little overhang? That spot looks more logical for an entrance (unless, of course, it's a bathroom window or something...)
What about a circle pathway - kinda like this:


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RE: Help me Fix

Hee, your screen name "inkognito" has the same number of syllables as the words "non sequitor".
And some of the wry connections you make are like the adult version of Find Waldo - it's there, ya just have to look for it :)


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RE: Help me Fix

And I was playing the Willem Tell overture when I wrote that too just to help you out: come away come away to Switzerland Tonto!


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RE: Help me Fix

inkognito that is funny. I am glad you cleared that up. I thought you were saying I did not recognize you had a suggestion. LOL You are so right the limitations of the internet. Face to face conversation to see, facial expression and voice inflection missing the comments can be easily misunderstood.

timbu, thank you for the pic.


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RE: Help me Fix

Sorry I took forever to follow-through with these pics, which I finally took on Friday. My Mom likes more "junk" than I do, and I don't like pots of more than 1 color. The aspect I wanted to share with you is the spacing. Compared to the size of the mulched area, there are relatively few plants, so it looks tidy. It's surprising there is anything still alive after the drought this summer. There are things she would do if she had more money (like remove/redo the shrub line along the house) but this is what we have done without spending money on anything but plants. I think a house and yard as large as yours needs a huge garden area to look proportionate/balanced.

1 2 3 4


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RE: Help me Fix

When I look at your pictures, to me it is not a matter of not being ABLE to find the front door...it is that the front door has no presence. It needs a sense of destination. It blends into the rest of the facade and nothing around it draws the eye to the front door.


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RE: Help me Fix

  • Posted by catkim San Diego 10/24 (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 27, 11 at 11:17

I find no fault with your front door, and as your 4th photo shows, the path clearly leads directly to it. I would want more roof over it, though. I would take that white-trimmed 40-degree vertical peaked roof over the highest window and repeat a slightly scaled down version over the door with just enough of a shallow brick wall to the left of the door to support it. Done.

While I have never been a fan of clipped bushes, a straight, neat, low hedge would look so much better along the front of the house. If you want poofy plantings, place them away from the house, on the far side of the front path, and a distance from the path as well. To my eye the pleasantly jumbled architecture is best complemented by tidy simplicity in the garden. Just my 2 cents.


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RE: Help me Fix

purpleinopp, thank you for remembering to post the pics. They were right on time. My Mom past last week so I have not been around.

You and your Mom did a good job. I can see where you were taking me to the front planting idea. I would like to set up a seating area like that also on the right side of the property where the Rhododendrums are in my pic above. I miss the front porch I had at the other house. There is no sitting for at least an acre. When you have that much space I think you need a resting spot. LOL

catkim, thank you for the suggestions. I think the door issue is as I said before....is a regional thing. I do not see it as a big issue. I am use to seeing this type of architect so it never hit me as such of a issue as I see so many has expressed. When I visited your area I noticed our architect is very similar so you do not see a front door issue either.


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