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Need landscaping inspiration: red brick ranch

February 3, 2013
Please help! We moved into this house two years ago; have been spending all of our free time and $$$ on the interior. This year we get to tackle the exterior and hope to give the house some desperately needed curb appeal and an overall friendlier presentation to the neighborhood.

First some dimensions: the distance between the curb and the nearest part of the house (garage) is 80 feet. The slate patio shown in front of the front and mud room doors is 7 ft wide x 22 ft long. The area that is currently occupied by overgrown hedges is 22 ft deep by 37 ft long. We are in central NJ, zone 6b.

The main problems to address (in my opinion - feel free to add your own!) are: (1) planning a landscape that draws your eye to the front door - currently is quite hidden by the bushes; (2) soften the large span of brick on the far right side of the house; (3) remove the edges and replant; possibly including a seating area; (4) improve the view from the kitchen window - noting that once the large hedges are removed from current landscape, the blacktop will be visible from the ktchen window [this is the 3-panel window between front and mudroom doors]; (5) avoid feeding the deer! it is not uncommon to find a half dozen deer strolling through the front yard, and (6) minimize appearance of the driveway from the street.

In addition to new plantings, we expect to have budget to replace the slate patio, garage door and soffet/gutters. Thoughts on colors and materials would be most helpful. Sadly, do not expect to have budget to replace the driveway with a more attractive material. The playset will be removed.

One last thought - though the house has some mid-century modern elements and strong horizontal lines, we are favoring more of a natural landscape plan to keep consistent with the overall lot which is heavily wooded behind the house.

The photos are: (1) view from the street; (2) close-up of slate patio; (3) close-up of hedges; and (4) view from the kitchen window.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my long post!
Comments (3)
  • PRO
    The Virtual Designer- Kitchens & Bathrooms
    Hello- I am really busy at the moment but would love to give a few suggestions so will bookmark your dilemma and get back when I have the time. But I would like to vote for removing the hedge there in front of your house.
  • PRO
    The Virtual Designer- Kitchens & Bathrooms
    Hello again- Since you have such a large front yard, you could possibly create a circular driveway eventually. But the basic rules for working with a ranch style home on a relatively flat block of land is to use mass plantings of low spreading plants starting from plants that are virtually ground covers such as Blue Rug juniper and plant them in broad swathes and then as you move closer to the house, gradually use shrubs that are higher, but I'd suggest you keeps plants to a maximum of 1 metre or about 36". You can keep the plants clipped to this height. Place some contrast in foliage colors and use some interesting textures and forms such as New Zealand flax or similar.
    Good luck.
  • eileenemison
    Thanks so much for your ideas. Hadn't thought of a circular driveway -- that could look very nice someday. I see your point about starting with ground cover and gradually increasing the height of the plantings. I think that might help draw the eye up to the house as well. Just googled New Zealand flax -- very beautiful, can definitely see including these in our landscaping plans. Thanks again!!

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