Landscaping Suggestions? Zone 9 (Northern CA)

kelli614September 2, 2013
We are willing to do a total overhaul of our yard(S) to increase drive-up appeal in the front and general interest in the back, but don't even know where to begin!

We're quite traditional and want something that softens and makes our home inviting.I prefer whites and layers of greens to give dimension with a deliberate, seasonal "pop" of color in planters.

What would you do with these spaces?
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John Montgomery Landscape Architects
Hi there! You certainly have a beautiful setting to start from, with those big, mature trees and your traditional California ranch-style house. It sounds like you just want to add to the curb-appeal of your front yard, so let’s start there: upgrading the materials of your driveway and walkway will instantly set your home apart from the rest of the neighborhood. You could do a paver driveway in complementary colors to your home. An entry arbor close to the street and separate walkway would draw visitors up to your front door. In a project I designed for a similar California ranch house, we used bluestone paving with a brick trim (see photo of patio with outdoor cook center). This is a beautiful combination of materials that would unite your landscape and your home. I live and work in Northern California myself, and we are lucky to have such a wide and varied plant palette to work with that can help shape your landscape and accent certain views. I won’t begin to name all of the possible plant choices you have to work with, so hiring a landscape architect (or experienced designer) who really knows plants is money well-spent.

Shaping your backyard landscape all starts with how you and your family want to use the space that you have. Do you want a patio and outdoor kitchen (like the photo) for entertaining, a pool for cooling off, or a large lawn for playing? It is best to start with well thought out plan. An experienced landscape architect is the key to creating your master plan. A good designer or architect will listen carefully to your needs, as well as your wish list. They will be able to bring all of your ideas into a master plan that flows and follows the natural beauty of your site, while incorporating your personal style. When designing for my clients, I am also careful to design plans within each client’s budget. There is no use having a beautiful plan if your budget doesn't allow you to build it!

I hope I’ve given you some good ideas to start brainstorming the possibilities for your landscape. Good luck with your project!
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by kelli614    September 3, 2013 at 5:50PM
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kelli614
Thank you, John, for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully. I love the combination of bluestone with brick and would never have thought to pair the two!
1 Like    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:25PM
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Pebble Stone Coatings
Another great idea to give your home a little extra curb appeal before changing the landscape is Pebble Stone surfacing. Pebble Stone Coatings uses an all natural product to give you a look that fit both you and your home. With a variety of colors and designs, you can even create a custom pattern or design. For more ideas and information visit us at www.pebblestonecoatings.com !
1 Like    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 10:04PM
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tsudhonimh
In front ... widen the walkway so it's at least as wide as the front door, and make a small entry patio there.
4 Likes    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 4:09AM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
We can provide you with a concept drawing in 2D for you to visualize but should always get a landscape designer in your area to install and make recommendations.
1 Like    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 8:00AM
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rosecafe
Great setting, love the back drop of trees. But....way too much open driveway presently, it's big enough for a central island garden or Fountain enclosed by a circular driveway, done in appropriate paving, just refresh your shrubbery, adding some color, mow the grass. Done.
2 Likes    Bookmark   Thanked by kelli614    October 4, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Red Berm
I would suggest you look up images of classical landscapes. You mentioned green and white and these colors often go with clean linear designs. I've done projects here in southern ca where mounding shrubs and white flowers were the only plants to a landscape so it's not an unusual request. Think about different rooms in the landscape and try to create. ... Maybe a night blooming garden... A boxwood knot garden... A spring blooming garden. Then blend together with signature plants. A landscape designer in ur area should be able to help.
    Bookmark   Thanked by kelli614    May 14, 2014 at 8:52PM
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LB Interiors
sheshore ......... I'm sorry to hear you feel that way about Everything Beautiful or any other poster who shows their work. It is entirely appropriate by Houzz rules. One of the reasons that Professionals and Store Fronts have joined Houzz is to promote their business to acquire new clients. It is a business to make money.

Those of us who are pros and have products to sell on this site, have four reasons for being on Houzz.
1. To acquire new clients or sell products and service for our business.
2. We all have a passion for our business.
3. We love to help people.
4. It's fun.

The pro advice is for the main purpose of finding contacts. We all have a passion for our work, which is why we give some free advice. It is also a way to prove ourselves in our business and let others see our capabilities.

In this dilemma the poster was wanting Landscaping help. That is exactly what Everything Beautiful is all about. I also recommend solutions for exterior as well as Interior Design. This poster is not inappropriate.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:00PM
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sstarr93
LB, Tony (Mr. Everything) has been here before and was gone for a while. Now he's back. He tends to go well beyond what other soliciting posters do. Wait and watch.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:06PM
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LB Interiors
Mr Tony has some great skills, but it takes a lot of time and effort. It's a lot of work that is greatly appreciated by many here on Houzz. Sometimes we need the visuals to help us in our decisions. I think he would be great for further and specific details for your project. His renderings are very nice.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:11PM
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sstarr93
I do the same thing (visualize with 3D software), but I don't hawk it. I think that's what people react to.
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:13PM
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LB Interiors
It's hard to spend a lot of time, even tho we love what we do. It's not making us any money. If we're okay with that, then it becomes a pastime and lots of fun.
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:15PM
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LB Interiors
Not understanding you 'sstarr'. Pros are basically here to promote themselves and hope to get new clients. If they are not promoting, they are here to give great advice and have fun.
1 Like    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:17PM
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sstarr93
I agree, LB. However, heavy-handed sales efforts offend many.
I have been doing 3D viz (gratis) on Houzz for quite a while, and enjoy it. I also refer posters to certain Pros when it seems appropriate.
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
I have contacted houzz reguarding your concerns and have been assured that its ok to promote my services on houzzz. We are all in business to grow our business. What you failed to mention is the large amount of houzzers I have helped with great pleasure and at no cost. For your in formation I am a disable American veteran confined to a wheel chair now 80% of the time, that is why I left for a while, due to many surgeries .Being confined is new to me so I find providing renderings relaxing . I sincerely apologize if I have offended anyone not my intention.
3 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:28PM
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LB Interiors
In addition, the pros above... John Montgomery Landscape Architects as well as Pebble Stone Coatings are appropriate in their posts.
    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:31PM
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LB Interiors
Thanks sstarr, that's good. Maybe it's the way something is said or the approach. I think we need to understand the poster may be well meaning. Sharing ideas and opinions about the dilemma is the purpose. That's what I thought Houzz is supposed to be about.

If one does not like a comment, they do not have to 'like' or need to comment negatively. Negativity only creates problems. This is supposed to be a fun and helpful site. There is no need to put anyone down.
    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:38PM
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Everything Beautiful Home Designs LLC
I through this would be a place I could find peace from my PTSD but I see not, conflict is the last thing I need .
    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:42PM
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LB Interiors
Okay Everything... Positive personality here... Just take a deep breath. Slowly exhale and brush any negativity off your shoulders.

I've received negativity also ..... several times. That's what I do. There are many commenters that look forward to your ideas.

It's a lot of work to post your renderings. I try with very simple drawings and that's not as easy as it appears either.

I for one, appreciate the free time and truly understand that rendering, architects, floor planning, landscapers, kitchen and bath designers, artists, interior designers and all those (excuse for missing anyone) that are in the design fields ... the process is not simple.
    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:54PM
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bgfuqua
I appreciate hearing from the pros. there are a rare few that drive me nuts. the party with the wheeled bench puts the same speech on - even if it is not the right solution to the persons request..
2 Likes    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 7:07PM
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Monica Perrone Landscape Architecture
kelli614: John Montgomery responded beautifully and appropriately to your initial inquiry. I agree with him completely. You need a competent, caring Landscape Architect who can help you to capitalize on the positive aspects of your property and help with editing. The designer should listen to you and be able to substantiate their recommendations, leaning heavily on a sound, bias-free design process in order to downplay constraints. Working with a design professional should add value to your home and garden spaces, reduce costly mistakes, and permit you to proceed with confidence. Working with a Landscape Architect will not necessarily make the built project more expensive. The response should be very specific to you and all of the conditions. Photos are great, but it is difficult to make recommendations without a detailed interview and site visit due to the multitude of variables. Plus, more needs to be learned about your priorities and preferences.
    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 10:35AM
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