Front of house landscaping

10 years ago


I have been lurking for a long time now and after seeing so many helpful suggestions with outstanding results in the after photos I decided to post my dilema. I am hoping your suggestions will help me make a decision.

We finished building our house and had acrylic stucco completed this spring. Flower beds have been started with plantings and sod will be layed down infront of the flower beds up to the retaining wall (brown barkman bricks) that will be lining the circle drive and flow downward to complete where ever you see black dirt right now. The walking path to the door is a whole other issue that I will mention later. The steps will be finished so they are solid and stained a espresso color. The door is going to be painted an espresso color in high gloss too!

So first problem area is the big space between the bay window and the small window on the left. I planted a honey suckle to climb the wall, but just don't know what to use because of the HUGE blank space.

1st option: link a few of the arched trellis with posts in between them (as seen in one of the photos)

2nd option: have a wrought iron trellis made to fill the space

3rd option: shorter trellis on the bottom and some garden wall art above! As the vines climb I would add additional trellis as it gets bigger and remove the wall art. i really like dragonflys

Next thing is the was originally planned to go straight up, but that seems too stuffy. It is off center from the entry point to the circle drive. Any suggestions on the direction I should take. I would normally go out and line it all with bricks, realign and do over and over until I thought it was right. That is until I realized there is such a thing as Photoshop (and I must say SquirrelHeaven you AMAZE me!) I am hoping someone can provide some ideas that are suitable for the house and surroundings. We put down the limestone for now so that we don't have to have visitors mucking through the clay when it rains.

Last problem area is the right side flower bed. We originally were supposed to have a garage extend 10 feet off the corner when building. Plans changed cause of the price they were going to charge us. The whole house looks unbalanced now including the flower bed. I put the 2 plants in the center of the windows but that just doesn't look right. I just can't seem to figure out what I've done wrong here. Lots of the plants I used are new and will fill out within the next few years on both sides. There are native ferns planted along the foundation wall. House faces East.

Any and all suggestions will very helpful. I tried forever to post the pictures with it .... please help me figure this out...I am so frustrated. I opened an account but can't them from there to here. (sigh!)

Comments (48)

  • mclarke

    Ummm.... did you say you had photos?

  • graywings123

    Where did you open an account - Photobucket?

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    If you cut the beds out deeper, you could put some smaller plants in front of the big ones there now. You need to find out if the shrubs can be pruned way back, hire gardeners for this if you don't feel confident. Once the sizeof the shrubs has been improved, you can maybe keep up with the maintenance. Mulch the beds, it will look more polished. Your house looks grey/blue, it can be nice to find plants that mirror that colour, blues, greys, and those that complement blue like yellows and oranges. Remember to plant things en masse and stick to just a few plant types. If you like to garden, flower beds along the path could be nice for extra colour and will make the walk up to door a nicer width. Painting the front door a different colour might be nice, or just put in a new one.
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    HI -- I would not plant in that little area . I would fill in that area in to the end of the house using patio brick pavers or more concrete . Then have a 6 foot high panel of decorative screen fence at the end and this will make a court yard affect . Then for plants , they could be in large pots /planters with perennials and annuals for your zone . If this idea isn't what you like then fill in the whole area with day lilies and ground cover suited to your growing zone .
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    Since all the lines of your home are straight and square you should do curved beds. Also add a flag stone walk way from the road to the front door. Again, make it a little winding or curved and not straight. Anchor the ends with taller trees or shrubs. I like holly because it's evergreen. Porch swing!
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  • pmartin


    I opened a photobucket account and put the pictures there. I was trying to post them within the email, with no luck I might add. I went to bed with a headache and very frustrated. I thought the dilema I was dealing with caused me frustration...I didn't think anything could top that. I tried reposting the message and then I couldn't figure out how to delete one. I managed to link photobucket to the pictures in the one of the messages but would still prefer to have the photos right in message. Any help? or can I get help deleting one of the posts so there aren't two threads going on it?

  • dilly_dally

    You can't delete your posts. You don't have to start another thread though. Just put the photos here in this thread.

    Don't use the email code in PhotoBucket. Use the one that says HTML. It should show up.

  • My3dogs ME zone 5A

    If you are set up like I am, when you see your pics in Photobucket, you have 4 options below each pic.

    Left click on top of the code in the yellow box to the right of HTML CODE.

    Then right click there, and you'll get a drop down, with COPY in it. Select COPY.
    Then come back here, go into your post below your text, and right click.

    Select PASTE and the 'code' for the picture will must appear.

    You must PREVIEW MESSAGE the post to see the actual photo. You can put links to pics one after the others here in your post once you master it.

  • lynninnewmexico

    1) While still on your GW page, where you've started a post, you can minimize that page (if you like) while you open up a new internet link and go to your Photo Bucket site.
    2) Move your cursor over the photo that you'd like to use.
    3) A box will appear under that pic. LEFT click on the one that says HTML Code. The box will turn blue, highlighting the code there.
    4) Now Right click on that code; a box will drop down. LEFT click on "Copy". Your picture is now copied.
    5) Open your GW page and move the cursor to where you'd like to insert your photo. The best place is usually on the line directly under the last word of your post, not next to it. RIGHT click your mouse and a box will drop down. LEFT click the "Paste" option and your photo's code will appear. Don't worry, it may be a very long code, but only the pic will appear in your post.
    6) If you'd like to check and see if your photo has appeared where and how you want it, just go to the bottom of the page under the message box where you've been writing and click on the "Preview Message" box. Your post will appear. You can still make changes or even delete the pic if you like at this stage.
    7) You can still add more pics, by following the above directions
    8)) To publish your post and pic or pics, just click on the "Submit Message" box.
    Good luck!

  • pmartin

    Yay....thanks for your help. I have finally got it. OMG, that was so simple and to think I was almost in tears trying to get it to work.

    Front of house
    this is the bare spot I'm trying to decide upon:

    this is the side that isn't balanced, what's wrong with it?

    Whatever dirt and clay showing beyond the flower bed edges is going to be sod. The little circle in the center of the driveway is going to be enlarged and be home to a fountain with small shrubs and perrienals. Limestone or granite boulders (reddish tones) will outline the circle in the center.

  • graywings123

    The house does not look unbalanced left to right, possibly because of the bay window jutting out and the bright white door grabbing your attention. You have a whole lot of brown going on there, I'm not so sure I would add to it with the espresso colored stairs and door. Change out the white and the bare wood, but consider something that will contrast more than espresso and focus the eye on the entrance.

    I would like to see the right flower bed be much bigger in front of the windows. What about bowing it out starting at the railing? That would allow layers of plants shorter in front, taller in back.

    The tree on the left is planted too close to the house. Save yourself some grief and move it now while you still can - away from the house and more to the right so that it is in front of the house.

    Is that a sheltie or a collie?

  • pmartin

    Thanks for your response Graywings. The right side is the depth it is cause I left room just in case I decided to put a small informal sitting area with bistro set. I envisioned it coming off the walkway.

    The tree is approx 19 feet from the house. The recommended spacing on most resources i read was 12-15ft for that particular tree. Do you still think it's too close?

    The dog in the picture is our beloved Scotch collie Pixie.

    We are definetely painting out the door. Any recommendations on the color you'd paint it? Our window and door frames are a new "vinyl" material, modern technology and can't be painted so they'll remain white.

    thanks again.

  • pmartin

    I know my message is long winded with too many questions but does anyone else have any suggestions?

  • readerlearner

    Sorry, I don't have any ideas for your yard, but you might cross post this in Landscape Design also.

  • cliff_and_joann

    Put a weeping cherry between the bay window and the window on the left of the bay. Plant lots of evergreens
    so that you have greens and textures year round. Go to your local nursery with a photo of the front and ask for suggestions. taller in the back and smaller rock garden type plants for the front. I prefer less flowers in the front, the back yard is another story, load it with flowers.I don't like trellises in the front.
    Also work in a Japanese red maple in the front on the right side. Plants a few more trees in the front as well and wind your path.

    I have a pic of my front if I can find it, I'll post it later. It's all very green and it has a winding path leading to the house.
    What planting zone are you in? I'm in zone 7.

  • angeldog

    First thing I would do is plant a substantial tree on either corner of the house. It needs framing. The plants that are in ground now look too small. I like CliffandJoann's suggestions of a weeping cherry to the left of the bay do need something there to compliment the blank wall. And I also agree, a trellis might not look great in the front. I would concentrate on the front, the entrance, the circle drive. If it's too expensive right now, then work on planting just the basics...the side trees, the cherry, and some soft evergreen shrubs to "clothe" the foundation. Use the smaller plants you already have as accents in front of the base shrubs. I dont know what area you're in either, but it looks colder than mine! (coastal texas)... so I'm not good at giving advice on other area plantings. I do love Japanese Maples and their red leaves would look great in front of the browns of the house. Planting grass and making the driveway look more established and outlined will also sharpen the look.

    Another cost savings...for now, leave the door white since the trim is mostly white, but paint the steps and railings white too. It looks a little unfinished. I wish I could photoshop, but cant. Hopefully squirrelheaven will see your thread and help you out....very talented!!!!

  • dawnbc

    I clicked on your name to find out you live in Canada .... do you know your gardening zone? That will really help with any planting suggestions.

    I'd plant something large and possibly evergreen to the left of your bay window to fill in that large space. I'd also like to see some evergreen shrubs around your foundation, but nothing in front of your windows.

    If you can pick up any of Lois Hole's gardening books they'd be a big help to you. I have several including Tree & Shrubs. They're geared to the Canadian gardener and most of her selections are hardy to zone 2 or 3.

    Always best to plant your big stuff first and then work down. So trees first, then shrubs and finally perennials.

    I had someone from my local gardening centre come out and help with the garden. They do complete plans and are much cheaper than a landscaper. I paid $50/hour and it was worth every penny.

  • Oakley

    Love your house! Right now is the time to enlarge the flowerbeds on both sides of the porch, even if you don't have anything to put in them right now. You can always add a sitting area outside the bed. For now you can buy some inexpensive edging and place it in the dirt since the dirt is perfect to work with at the moment. One of the biggest regrets when people build homes is they didn't make their flowerbeds larger.

    I also think the door needs to stay white, along with the steps.

    I wouldn't worry about what to grow at the moment, but use the Winter time to plan.

    I think a trellis is a great idea for a vine, but don't let it get on the house.

  • cliff_and_joann

    Here is a view of the front from my bay window in the breakfast room. The bed on the left has a Japanese Red maple and birds nest shrubs, The bird nest shrubs spread and stay low. I also have vinca vine in all my beds in the front. Vinca vine is invase and spreads like crazy, however, it shares space well with other plants and is a wonderful ground cover. It is both light and medium green. It is a semi evergreen in our zone and fills in in early spring. I love it cause it completly covers the ground and there is absolutely no weeding to be done.
    Around the other trees is hosta with just some impatience. Very little flowers in the front.
    The blue thing hanging on the right is a bird feeder.
    Note the winding path.
    As I said, IMHO the front should be neat, without a lot of flower beds which needs lots of attention, especially in the fall and early winter, flower beds tend to get straggily (is that a word?

  • hoosiergirl

    I only have a minute (and don't know if anyone else has mentioned this), but I just wanted to say that I'd add risers to your stairs. That will make your entryway a little less informal. Very pretty house!

  • pmartin

    Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I posted a response yesterday with additonal pictures but I must of forgot to hit the submit button (sigh).

    I chuckled about the zone comment...I am Canada, zone 3. BRRRRRRRRRR....from November till Arpil we have snow and COLD weather. I have lots of time to DREAM about what my projects will be when it does finally turn nice the following spring. We moved onto our acreage (20 acreas), in Dec 2007. We've managed to plant 2100 bareroot trees throughout the bare land and about 130 5-8 foot trees in our "yardsite" and as borders. We are basically in an open field and entirely exposed to the elements of rain, gusting strong north west winds and snow. Our shelterbelt can't grow fast enough.

    Around here the nurseries have already depleted most of their stock for the year and are preparing for the cold weather. I was originally thinking about putting various size cedars in front, but with our cold winters they never seem to survive, turn brown with winter kill and have to be pulled. I hate the low growing spreading junipers cause they smell terrible.

    Instead of those I chose shrubs, grasses, ferns and hostas since it faces east. I planted some Japanese burberry, wiegla, new Zealand flax grass, hydrageas & ninebark this year. All the plants were just planted this year so they are very young and small. The new zealand flax was sold at a box store here as a zone 3 periennal but they aren't and I don't expect to see them come spring.

    left side:

    right side:

    To the right side of our house the large area of "grass" our plan is going to be same height as in the front and then have a gradual slope to the tip where the circle entrance is. On that "island" will be various trees planted that are in the burgundy family. The retaining wall around our circle drive is going to be 4 bricks high directly infront of the house (25 ft on each side and taper off at the ends into the grassed area.

    From inside the house:

    Coming down our driveway:

    The steps are definetely going to be filled in with backs and either stained or painted. I am not fond of white and in time the door and steps will be a color. Just question what now since I had picked espresso, guess to be safe. Over the weekend we added a full glass storm door to the front.

    If I were to make a meandering curved walkway, which direction would you make the curve? Our initial plan was straight up, but that's boring and too formal, next option was an hourglass shaped path with the majority of it being much narrower than the 7 feet the stairs are. Using the same color brick, we were going to make steps. Making the retaining wall and having a plan for the pathway is our next step. any other suggestions?

    SquirrelHeaven, with the updated photos I have included I hope you can help me "see" what I am thinking and include what others have suggested.

  • Oakley

    C&J, why don't you think lots of flowers in front of the house wouldn't be a good ideal? I have two huge one's on each side of the sidewalk which have turned into "show stoppers" when people come over. It is a lot of work, but mostly in the Spring when I plant. I don't do many perennials because they're not a surefire thing to come up again.

    And since the OP lives in the country with a lot of fields nearby, having a large flower garden in the front of the house will really make it beautiful.

    Sorry to hijack this thread, but C&J, I thought you lived in the country! lol. Don't you have those beautiful water gardens in the back?

  • pmartin

    I should've also mentioned that by mid Jan, you won't see any sight of plantings for winter interest because of the snow drifts and actual amount of snow that we actually get. More than likely the snow will go up so high the tree in the front will be covered about 1/2 way up. I'm more concerened what it will look like in summer and fall. I really enjoy periennals with great foilage and flowers so that will always be part of the plan.

    Looking at the pictures my first thought is what some of you might be thinking "what a mess", "where to begin", and "there's no hope". There doesn't seem to be light at the end of the tunnel with the amount of work its taken so far but surely someday it will be a show stopper like oakleyok mentioned.

  • organic_rach

    Your home is beautiful. I would love huge flower gardens in front and on the sides...and along the driveway. Then, maybe your path can follow the same curve as the flowerbeds to give you continuity. Lauren Springer has co-authored a couple of good landscaping books. She suggests using native plants and lots of pre-planning. She had good ideas about how to incorporate paths, shrubs and perennials into the plan. I just happened upon her book in a bookstore one winter and have used a lot of her ideas. Tons of great pics.

    Once your plants begin to grow, I think you will wish you had larger front gardens and might want to add even more plants to create sweeping colors. You could bring all the gardens out another 2 or 3 feet at least. Perennials are my choice too, and really saves a lot of work in the end IF you choose plants meant for your soil and zone. I find that the bigbox stores push the zone one up to what works for me. I live outside of the town a little and must be enough cooler that my zone 5 plants die in a year or two. So, I refuse to buy anything not marked with a zone 2, 3 or 4 and works for my clay soil and I find a lot more satisfactory plants at the local greenhouses. Rachel

  • pmartin

    Thanks Rachel. I designed our home down to the last detail inside and want the landscaping to be just that way too! I will definitely be looking into those books you recommended.

    Beneath the top soil that we had brought in is very heavy clay too. I've added lots of clay buster and turkey trot to help fix it. I am pretty knowledgable about periennals for my zone and notice that happening alot in our box stores too. The good thing with them is they let you return them for a refund if they die.

    I am just stuck cause I envisioned it one way and can't seem to see it any other way. i tried my hand at photoshop, what a joke. I even bought a program "Professional Home Design Suite Platinum" and failed at that too.

  • carriem25

    pmartin - I live in central Alberta so zone three, cold winters and heavy clay are all things I am intimately aquainted with, LOL.

    I have several barberries growing successfully outside of my home. They have lovely burgundy foliage. I wanted a small, tidy tree in front of my house and went with a weeping caragana. Cinqefoil/potentilla is also a very hardy shrub. Traditionally native potentilla has yellow flowers, but they are also available in peaches and pinks and will bloom for a good part of the summer.

    I used to have a honeysuckle at my old house, but never got it to grow more than a few feet in a season. Virgina creeper, hops or clematis (with a little patience) are all good vine choices as well. I think a nice arbour would visually fill the space next to the bay window (and there are some nice ones on sale at Canadian tire - see link - I like the tulip one on sale for $119.99) as well as give a good structure for your climbers.

    Good luck with your landscaping. We've been on our acreage for 5 years and there is still plenty of landscaping to be done. It is an ongoing project!


    Here is a link that might be useful: Arbours

  • kjmama

    Just my opinion, I think you need a small ornamental or flowering tree. It seems to me to be too big for just a vine, it would detract from the door with the design of the trellis, not compliment it. I have no idea what grows up there. I'm pretty sure crepe myrtles don't, but that is kind of what I'm thinking would be pretty.

    I'm thinking tree to fill the wall space, but the trunk leaves the bottom open to show of the plants you have there now.

    Pretty house

  • pmartin

    Maybe I can plant an ornamental apple tree in that bare spot, on the left, that doesn't get very big but would have a nice show in the spring and then look good all summer. ummm...maybe onto something there. My intial thought was that a tree would add additonal "weight" to an already heavy side. While the other side looks bare.

    Carrie: I did think of using an arbor on the right hand corner and make a path through there since the silly dogs are stomping through it anyway and killing the plants....errrrrrrr! What do you thing of that idea?

  • cliff_and_joann

    Oakeydokey, I like a neat and trim landscape in the front.
    I think I said just a few flowers on the edge of beds on the front. I like evergreens and different colors and textures in the garden.

    Yes, we have water gardens and an abundance of flowers, both annuals and perennials. My hubby is a gardening nut and has flowers coming up from early spring to late fall.
    The other reason I keep the flowers to a minimum in the front is because we spend all our time in our backyard retreat and don't want to have a lot of maintenance in the front. For us all the drama is in the back of the moon!
    That doesn't mean I don't appreciate others that have a lot of flowers in the front yard.

    Pmartin, the shape of your beds is excellent.

  • Oakley

    P, next summer all your hard work will pay off. This is my first summer with a new flower bed, and they're pretty big, and they are finally blossoming the way I want, with a few that didn't like our summer heat. lol.

    I can't wait to see pictures of the yard next year!

  • pmartin

    I really like the shape of the beds to and already considered having to bring them out more like one posted. I would just shift everything and put in more of the same thing and maybe some annuals to fill the space. It will cut down on grass. Just looked out there and noticed LOTS of little green "uninvited" guests showing up. Any recommendations on what I should use over the topsoil: mulch in a darker brown or just leave it topsoil and rake out the little things.

    Now that I look at the beds, it is funny how I ended each flower bed by the stairs by curving it inward. I guess with the Hydrageas there I thought it would be pointless to plant anything beneath cause they'll not be seen. Now I'm rethinking that too!

    Pathway.... any options on how it might look best? I really like the meandering curved as posted above so it isn't so formal but which side would I start and how loose should the curve be? Can't start the retaining wall till I work out this.

  • organic_rach

    I like the idea of a smaller tree on the left of the bay window, also. Or, you could put a climbing rose or clematis on a trellis next to the house and put a deciduous tree out a little further for shade in the summer.

    I really like the shape of your gardens too. Maybe you could lay out hoses to figure out the shape of your path and how wide you want to make it. then just stand back and look at it and see if it fits with the shape of the gardens.

    I like the idea of an arbor of the right.

    You are smart to put in lots of mulch with the clay. It helps so much. I used to tell myself that I would return perennials to HD that didn't make it, but alas, I couldn't find the receipt or I couldn't even find the poor plant to dig it up...and then the effort of replanting. Gardening has been easier since I quit hoping for a zone 5 perennial or shrub to miraculously live more than 1 or 2 years. Check out the High Country Gardens website. They tell you which are good for clay soil, their zones are correctly listed for the plants and they tell you if the plants are deer resistant. I do appreciate all the info for their plants.

    Here's a link to the books I mentioned in an earlier post. I have "Passionate Gardening for Challenging Climates" and "Plant Driven Design". Passionate Gardening covers more the clay soil and lower zones. A lot of the authors' suggestions for flowers, shrubs and trees are in the Latin name, so just a head's up on that. You can look them up on the internet though, if you aren't sure. Rob Proctor's writing is very informative plus he can be very funny.

    A sculpted garden out front closer to the road might be really fun, too. Kind of oblong with some of the same curves you are using for the other gardens.

    so fun!

    Here is a link that might be useful: books

  • tinam61

    Well I AM going to hijack (and then I'll answer the OP) LOL!!

    Joann - your front yard is GORGEOUS! So lush and green. I was wondering if you might share some more pics of your front landscaping? I so agree with you about the landscaping. Our front landscaping is more shrubs, greenery, etc. I do have some flowering shrubs out there (azalea)and some vines that bloom, but the majority is different shrub type plants. People often don't think about the different colors and textures in shrubs and small trees used in landscaping. We have shades of red, green and *blue*. Anyone who knows me knows I love my flowers and have tons of them - but like you - more in the back. We have a sunroom and a large outdoor area, also an arbor back there and we spend many hours in that area. So, that's where all the *pretties* are. Where we enjoy them. One thing I do out front is lots of pots, I particularly love a mixture in a pot. Container gardening. We also sometimes use window boxes out there.

    I have to disagree with one point, pmartin - and that was the one made about periennels. If you will study up on your area and climate, etc. and choose your periennels with care, you will be thankful you did. Periennels will give you more for your money and many will multiply (again saving you some money or you can share). So once you get your areas established, you're not out there every year planting away. Of course I sometimes change things and dig something up, replace it, etc. but basically out front, I have very little work now that the plants have been in a few years. Plus, your beds will have plant material year round. They'll look nice even in the winter. I mentioned adding in some pots and vertical (vines, etc.) plantings.
    I also supplement my shrubs with flowering bulbs for the spring.

    Don't rush in to anything, do your homework, PLAN what you want to do, and I promise, it will pay off. You have a GREAT start there. Plus, what you have there is new and still small - those things are going to grow and fill in and in a couple of years - you won't believe the changes.


  • pmartin

    Tina: I am completely confused about your 2nd paragraph response and can't find my post that reflects the information. I have been an avid gardener for 10+ years. All of my plants and shrubs in the front are periennals. The beds were planted a month ago so I will be very excited to see them flourish in the years to come.

    My questions and issues are more related to the framework since I have never lived on an acreage and started with 20 acres of bare land. I usually had the driveway and paths already carved in for me so this is all new to me.

    Rachel: I will look into those books for sure, what's one more book to sit and flip through on a rainy day. I have done the hose thing over and over and can't "see" it. I am just frustrated.

    I think I've realized is that I don't want to block the house I love so much from the inside or out. So trees infront of the house that will eventually block this view is out of the question.

    The more I talk with you guys the more I realize that my vision can change to be something completely different than what I first thought.

  • tinam61

    So sorry pmartin - my second paragraph refers to a comment Oakley made regarding periennels - not you!


  • pmartin

    Thanks tina, I thought I was loosing my mind.

  • nanjean68

    When we moved into our new home I employed a landscape architect (by the hour) to put in his two cents. Best $200 I ever spent.

    You have a lot of brown going on there. How about a blue/grey door? One thing I did learn from the architect was that if I put a tree on one side, put another on the other side. Plant in threes. Three hostas, etc. Never have a straight line for planting in front of your home. Make large curves and build up the dirt inside. In Michigan we mulched everything. In Texas we do the same.

    I don't see any roof vents or a chimney just a honkin' satellite (like we have). Here in the states you don't see too many windows on the basement level of new homes. City codes sometimes specify that your foundation must be covered in brick.

  • pmartin

    Funny that you mention that stupid satelite dish...I have been bugging my husband to move it down and out of site. We also get wicked wind storms and surprises me that it is still up there. Roof vents are on the other side of roof, thankfully cause I think there are 4.

    We have a deck attached to the back of the house that spans 40ft with two sets of garden doors. It was pointless to have windows back there cause the deck wouldn't allow for any natural light to come through. By code here in Canada, basement bedrooms must have windows in order to be considered bedrooms for resale. My basement has 10 foot ceilings so it goes pretty far into the ground. We considered putting on brick, but the builder talked us out of it for 2 reason: cost and once planting grow taller, nobody would see it anyway. We put on acrylic stucco which was very expensive.

    There will be many other trees down that right wing once it is leveled and planted with sod. It is just at the baby step. Please stop this rain...6 days and counting.

  • pmartin

    Does anyone know if there is a tutorial I can pull off the web or buy for photoshop to help me edit my pictures? I tried but was pathetic and the other program I bought isn't user friendly.

    I can't seem to find anything when I do a search.

  • mjlb

    I, too, would encourage you to post your question on landscape design forum.

    You mentioned not wanting to block view from, or of, the house. For that reason, you might want to relocate the circular drive (which would sometimes block view with cars). You could shift the circular drive to the right, combining it with the main driveway to the garage. Of course, I'm guessing in your cold climate, the intent was to shorten the walk to the front door in the winter.

  • mjlb

    I see you did post on landscape design! Their comments about evergreens and deciduous trees with interesting branching forms sounds right on to me.

  • pmartin

    I am not particularly fond of spruce/pine trees because they don't allow a nice lawn underneath, but I guess I will have to reconsider and 'just live with them'

    I greatly appreciate all the posters who have responded to my question with their ideas and opinions. I am definetely considering them.

    I was really hoping to get more ideas but I guess either my situation is beyond help or my post is just not as interesting as others that are posted.

  • squirrelheaven

    p, I see my name and that you've asked for some ps help. I'm a little overwhelmed by the thread, actually. I clipped your posts but it seems you've actually changed your mind on a few things? I see you've already got a vision with quite a few plans and plantings in place, so I don't want to step on that, iykwim. Can you give a quick synopsis of where things stand and tell me what you want to see or are looking for?

  • Sheeisback_GW

    I'm not good with this landscaping stuff. Our house currently doesn't have any but I just wanted to say...

    ..."my situation is beyond help or my post is just not as interesting as others that are posted."

    Nothing's beyong help here! :) And there are 40 responses to this thread. Some people don't get that many. It depends what all is going on. There's a lot of stuff happening in this one and of course because it's a big deal/larger project. Just wanted to say try not to get frustrated or offended by lack of response at times.

    Plus, Super Squirrel came to the rescue!!

  • squirrelheaven

    Not many phone booths around these parts. Ok, where is she???

  • pmartin

    I have to agree my original post was intended to be about that bare spot, but soon found myself rambling on about all the decisions I had to make which was quite confusing to me, never mind all of you trying to decipher it. I am use to planning for a city lot so adjusting on a bigger scale had turned out to be very difficult. This is what I have to work with:

    The main decision that needs to be figured out is the retaining wall and location of the walkway. I was set on a brick retaining wall because that seemed like the obvious choice and everyone seems to be using them. But I've broaden my thinking to consider a second option which suits the acreage feel more and is easier on the pocketbook:

    2) making a entry off the circle drive as pictured below (replacing the ugly lamps of course) and having a row of cotoneaster shrubs lining the circle drive (i already have 30 2-3 foot plants waiting to find their home!)

    This line of shrubs could run into the Colorado blue spruce trees that I'm considering planting on both sides and offer opportunity down the road to expand the flowerbeds to bring it all together:
    *right hand side "boulevard" planting blue spruce with a few Chokecherry trees
    *left hand side planting blue spruce beyond the flowerbed to fill that space and enclose the yard site more

    2nd decision:
    I purchased a cedar and placed in in that bare spot I had originally posted about to see what it would look like. I like the green it adds, but is this the right choice? There is only 1 tree there now. I think there should be at least 1 if not 2 more. Would they look okay there? Positoning? As they grew I would keep them trimmed below the gutters in various heights. Have opportunity to buy these for 12.99 right now on clearnace (reg $70+) As I mentioned earlier these usually don't do well and I see them dying off fairly often from winter kill, but at that price, I'm willing to give them a try.


    I hope this approach with baby steps helps both you and me :0)

  • squirrelheaven

    That's a beautiful inspiration pic. Baby steps is about where my mind is recently!

  • pmartin

    I'm back again with more photos of option #2: try to envision the walkway to be 4 feet wide with a soft curve from the stacking bricks and flare out to the base of the steps. The rest of the top soil will be grass. Anything that is black or grey right now in the background will be grass. I forgot but I have 40+ of those cotonesters in the holding garden so I would have enough to implement the idea.

    From a distance:

    A veiw a little closer up:

    Looking from the front door out:

    Looking from the bay window out:

    What do you think of this option? or is it back to option #1 with stacking brick?

  • squirrelheaven

    Here are some low-growing cottoneasters. That could be really nice. I added a couple of the light boulders to brighten and liven things up a bit, and to complete the ends. Lighter gray walk that contrasts with your brick. The offset curved walk looks really nice -- as you can see! I wouldn't make it too narrow. If it's on the wider side, one can still walk rather straight to the door, without having to wind.



  • pmartin

    Oh my ..... my blood is rushing and I'm squealing with delight!

    SquirrelHeaven, it looks great! With those changes it adds so much to the front. I am loving it and glad I broke away from my initial idea of the bricks. I especially love how you "finished" the hedge along the circle drive with the boulders and the lights on the pillars. The look is very appealing to me.

    We have oodles and oodles of big and smaller boulders after digging our basement so this would be the perfect opportunity to use them. My husband offered a suggestion to use various size rocks (limestone or red granite?) as a retaining wall on the edge of "boulevard" months back. I was never fond of the idea but now I may be able to incorporate the two without it looking hokey. Would adding the spruce trees and the few other purple foilage ones on the right frame the house as suggested by some on this site?

    I always thought the left side was "heavier" than the right side because of the "color weight" of the burgandy build out and b/c it was a bay window. Now I am looking at it thinking I was wrong. With that Spruce there it seems to anchor the house so much better. I am seriously considering pulling the current tree that I have there (always have a place to put it :0) and replacing it with a Colorado Blue. I might even be able to get one at a good price while their clearing them out at the nurseries. Does anyone have any comment on the cedar placement in the center bare wall? yay or ney?

    The little patch of green in the center of circle drive will be planted with various sized shrubs, maybe some cedars and a large but low cement water fountain, boulders strategically placed in and around. I'm wondering if the guests vision would be blocked by the center plantings to see the walkway if it is on that side? In the inspiration photo it had a step up? Do you think we should try and landscape so it has a gradual slope up? All the dirt behind the hedge will be grass.

    oh boy...things are really looking up this morning!

  • squirrelheaven

    Yes, it really looks great. You need some color to perk the rich brown up, too. Actually, does this shot of your house look darker than real life? I notice in some of the previous shots that it looks much lighter and grayer. I think you're on a good track with this.

    Could you please shoot me an email.

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