mtnrdredux_gw

Landscaping plans

mtnrdredux_gw
last month
last modified: last month

Like most older homes in New England, our home (c 1900) is close to the road, with virtually all of our acreage behind the home. Also, our home has been added onto in both directions and so it sprawls quite a bit laterally, parallel to the street The street is a quiet 2 lane street, bordered by a stone wall, mature trees and plantings, so even though the frontage is narrow, it is still private and relatively attractive. We have a 2 car garage at one end, and that is closest to our kitchen, so that is the driveway and parking we use. It is pea gravel and cobblestone.

For guests, there is a second gated entrance at the other end of the house, where there is a large pea gravel parking area and another 2 car garage with a semicircular cobblestone apron. None of these facts described so far will be changing.

The current issue is how to get guests from the guest parking area to our front door. Because the frontage is narrow, you cannot see the door when you get out of your car. Currently, I actually have signs leading people to the front door, routing them under a trellis walkway and then hugging the building(s) and leading to the front door. I have always felt this was sub-optimal, but was at a loss as to how to address it without a huge overhaul and without disrupting hardscape and landscape elements that i like.

So, for us and for resale, I want to address this awkwardness. I have asked a landscape designer to give me 2 plans. (one shows a pool btw, but that is not really germane, she just put it in there). Which do you prefer?

Below are three images showing this area of our property: before, Option 1 and Option 2. LMK which you prefer. TIA

Comments (48)

  • localeater
    last month

    Mtn - Pictures did not load

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked localeater
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    I know , sorry! Tech issues RN. BRB

  • Related Discussions

    Need help on landscaping !

    Q

    Comments (31)
    @sstar93. You have made a beautiful plan! May I suggest that you consider a Universal Design ramped entry? If you are planning to Age-in-Place, it will be more economical to plan and build now than re-plan and build again later. Universal Design makes it easy for everyone, regardless of physical size or limitations to use the space. Go to Houzz Ideabooks and enter Universal Design into the search box.
    ...See More

    Exterior palette options for our mid-century ranch ...

    Q

    Comments (5)
    I like your shingles. Since the tan and sage house both seemed to use the same shingle color, it seems like that selection is complete. I like both the sage and the tan. Since you are experimenting with colors on a computer screen, it might be worthwhile to investigate an intermediate color. Would it be possible to test SW6149 Relaxed Khaki in your image? It seems like some people like high contrast, some people like low contrast. For your house, I prefer the harmonious lower contrast look.
    ...See More

    Got a landscaping plan, just need a little advice....

    Q

    Comments (1)
    A tree would help add characters to the yard and it would take years for it to cause any issues with overgrowing.
    ...See More

    Landscaping plan

    Q

    Comments (1)
    You should hire a landscape architect. They'll make sure you spend money on the smartest choices for your environmental conditions and the way you want to use the space. If you just want to add some color you'll have a lot of variety with annuals. Try dianthus or zinnia for cut flowers. You could also consider aloe and rosemary, which are useful and heat/sun tolerant. You can also find a number of grasses with attractive plumes that make for good cut flowers like gamagrass.
    ...See More
  • Oakley
    last month

    Same thing here when we built onto the house and bought another acre. All the land is on the side and back of the house. Less to mow. :)

    Without seeing the pictures I'd stick with what you have. Maybe freshen the area up a bit?

    Trust me, future owners won't care if your path to the front door isn't optimal. If it's pleasing to the eye and functional, that's all you need.

    If a friend drops by, where to they park?

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Oakley
  • nini804
    last month

    I think Mtn is concerned that it ISN’T functional...the parking for guests does not give an easy visual or direct path to the front door.


    Can‘t wait to see the landscaping porn, er, plans! 😂

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked nini804
  • 2katz4me
    last month

    Looking forward to seeing the pics if you can make it work.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked 2katz4me
  • Peppapoodle
    last month

    I can’t wait to see! I’ve saved pics of your posts w clematis as inspiration!


    I’ve had issues posting today- even w just 2 pictures 😩

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Peppapoodle
  • Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
    last month

    I definitely had issues posting one single picture today. Looking forward to seeing them!

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Bumblebeez SC Zone 7
  • maire_cate
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Cattle Chute? Just kidding of course, without photos it's hard to make relevant suggestions. You said that there is a parking area for guests and a gated entrance, Is the walkway defined or more pea gravel? Is it possible to install a low decorative fence from the parking area to the gated entrance without re-doing the existing landscaping? You mentioned that you have directional signs, you could hang one of those old fashioned black and white hands with the finger pointing the way.

    I couldn't post any photos yesterday - but this afternoon I could.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked maire_cate
  • robo (z6a)
    last month

    Not sure it totally works but you can try resizing the photo...when I post from mobile I change “actual size” at bottom to “large.”

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked robo (z6a)
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Cattle Chute? Just kidding of course

    Not really : ) . I live on a farm and we use many of Temple Grandin's principles for moving livestock (in our case, beef cattle and sheep), a lot of which comes down to basic behavioral principles (like fight or flight), so it applies to humans as well lol. But that's also what good architects/landscape architects do too.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Sorry I've been MIA! Busy few days. I will give it another try. In the meantime, replying to those who have posted.


    Becky, yes. People will go the shortest, easiest route. But you can also funnel them as you'd like with signals about where one enters, which path is primary or secondary, or even planting ground cover instead of just grass where you don't want them tempted to walk.


    Maire -

    the walkway is stone....


    a low decorative fence from the parking area to the gated entrance --- yes, this is similar to one of the plans.


    You mentioned that you have directional signs, you could hand one of those old fashioned black and white hands with the finger pointing the way. A sign is sort of a fail in my book (even cute ones), I want to redesign it so it's intuitive. I have signs now and people always ask if my house used to be an inn.


    Oakley,

    I think it could be both more functional and more pleasing.


    It is impossible to prove if this will matter for resale. I think it will, and others with local knowledge of competing property agree. If it were just for me, I might do something far more dramatic and expensive. I am trying to do things that make sense whether we stay or sell. It's just a judgment call, but i'm definite about doing it


    Where guests arrive/park depends on how many there are, who they are, what they might be carrying, what the weather is, if they are dropping off a kid or staying, if they are workmen or delivery, and in the case of guests --- where in the house or property we will be entertaining. So, it varies. But other than a car or 2, they park in the guest parking, and sometimes even then.



  • whatsayyou18
    last month

    I'll be following with interest as we have a similar situation and the only solution I can come up with is signs which seems a bit off-putting to me.

  • Kswl 2
    last month

    I lIke plan 2. It clearly marks the entrance to the home entrance. The courtyard seems almost a stopping place, and therefore almost an impediment to the entrance.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Kswl 2
  • localeater
    last month

    I don’t get the point of the courtyard either, it seems like it would add confusion. You think it’s not a long walk because of the courtyard, then it ends. Do you ask yourself, hmmm was there some other path from the drive? Are you more likely to take that first turnoff to the pool house?

    Plan 1, on the other hand, seems to do a better job of discouraging people to turn toward the pool house. It and the trellised path to the garden are more hidden. I like that. Also plan 1 makes the pool turn off less grand.

    Do you have to have a turn off to the pool house? I think that is for people leaving not going to the pool. Couldn’t they leave and return to the parking area via the trellis ? My logic may be faulty though. I am assuming people who don’t know your house and therefore could get lost will never go directly to pool area, they will always go to front door.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked localeater
  • OutsidePlaying
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I like Plan 2. It is less fussy, and more direct without distractions. I don’t see the point of the courtyard either. Nothing wrong with some additional small landscaping, as long as it doesn’t eventually overpower the intended path. Having similar plants on one side or the other along the whole path could suggest the path itself.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked OutsidePlaying
  • nini804
    last month

    There are things I like about both...but I think ultimately Plan 2 accomplishes what you are trying to do better. Plus that stone half-moon is darling. Comparing both plans to the original I can see why you want to do this project...current path really is hugged up close to the house. Now it will seem more like a proper entry sidewalk.

    Any photographs of the view from the street?

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked nini804
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Hi Nini, a view of what part(s) from the street?

  • blfenton
    last month

    Plan 2. It shows you where the walkway begins and is just less fussy.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked blfenton
  • jojoco
    last month

    I also like Plan 2. I'm a sucker for a New England gate. I am wondering if you could achieve the same goal with the just the installation of elegant path lighting? Is this more a night vs. day issue? These path lights could give visual directions.



    Project Creep Lighting

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked jojoco
  • Mimou-GW
    last month

    I prefer plan 1.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Mimou-GW
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    FWIW, this is the type of gate we would add in Plan 2 (just the bottom half.) It would be left open 99% of the time, since you've already entered by gate w/ your vehicle. So it is more .....ceremonial that anything else. Just before the gate would be a half moon stone landing (at grade), flanked by planting beds and with 2 path lights.



    In either plan, the rest of the path would be gently lit by gentle pools of light from above (hung on trees, buildings, etc).

    I was favoring Plan 1 as were my DDs, but to be honest, i think it was because, when she rolled it out we loved the pink and green watercolor! It made me think of Lily Pulitzer. Plus that one had the pool, which is not really part of the plan but I think swayed us just the same. OTOH, our house has soooooo many clowns, inside and out, and this courtyard contrivance would be one more. So I get that!

    I think the concept of using a courtyard to break up a walk must be Landscape Architecture 101, because I found an old plan I had forgotten. Ten years ago we hired a LA to fix this same problem, as well as improve the short, inelegant owners' entrance. As is often the case, landscaping comes last and we were in no mood to spend the 150k-plus that landscape/hardscape plan entailed, after a year long remodel at 2x the original budget (let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories and all that). But I dug out his LA plan, and it also has a courtyard in almost the same area!

    I will try to post it just fyi but it is NOT an option we will consider as we have already reworked the owners' entry in a much more modest fashion.

  • bpath
    last month

    You say that the front door is not visible from the parking pad. That’s fine. But, it should emerge into view pretty soon along the walkway. To that end, can the walkway start closer to the parking pad or garage, and kind of arc along a tad closer the wall and plantings? The path can then approach the door from whatever angle you like, the side as the proposed plans show, or from an angle, or more head-on.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked bpath
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    I agree bpath. The walkway starts as soon as the pea gravel driveway/parking ends. The issue of the exact arc, to seem natural and yet bring the door into view, will have to be finalized on site, since there are existing mature trees, topography changes, and a leach field, etc. The final approach will be as head on as possible given a massive tree in the way.

  • bpath
    last month

    I think what I meant was, can the path start closer to the road, to one‘s left as one approaches the house, but to the right of the garage’s cobblestone demilune.

    Where the darker green is, is that a little woodland of mature trees? Are there a lot? Is it lawn beneath, or is it tall plantings? I guess you’d need to mark what you don’t want to or can’t remove.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked bpath
  • just_terrilynn
    last month
    last modified: last month

    At first I didn’t get or see the point in the court yard plan so preferred the other. However, the more I think about it I like it best. You might need a sort of yellow brick road for the other plan just so that the pedestrian knows that there really is something at the end.



    Now I can’t get the follow the yellow brick road chant out of my head.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked just_terrilynn
  • lyfia
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I'm more a function over form person (although I really appreciate form as well my first thought is always function.) Just want to explain where my thoughts are coming from. I do think whichever one you choose you should make sure that the path to the door is a wide path that preferably 2 people can walk side by side all the way to the front door and do so comfortably. 4ft width would facilitate that and also be very clear where the main path is vs. any other paths. Because the walk is longer I'm suggesting the walking side by side because guests can then walk together with whomever they came with and converse without having to try to converse by turning around etc. It just seems much more welcoming to allow that. I like either the courtyard or the gate, but functionality wise a wide path with the gate would be a clear indication to me that this is where I need to go. Width tends to make people see it more as a main area and without signs width is a good way to indicate go here.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked lyfia
  • suero
    last month

    Will guests where the stone path starts in plan 2 be able to see the front door, or does a big tree block the view? If,as bpath suggests, the path starts near the tree line, it appears that your guests would be able to see the front door when they start on the stone path.



    mtnrdredux_gw thanked suero
  • Oakley
    last month

    I'm the type that easily gets confused & end up in the pool house. What about a straight line from parking area to the door instead of weaving in and out? A plain as day sidewalk of some sort could be between the house and yard/courtyard. IMO, the simpler the better. I like the idea of a wider sidewalk for side by side walking.

  • robo (z6a)
    last month

    You know I have to say I like the previous expensive plan with the round courtyard. Because it seems more like a transition space and less like a stopping space (the fruit trees kinda crowd up the first courtyard). But in looking at the last plan I can see the courtyard appeal.

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Bpath,

    Aha I see what you mean... instead of centering the new gate in Plan 2, shift it left toward the street, so that the path shifts left and you see the front door sooner. However, as you guessed, I don't want to disturb the existing vegetation line (shown as a darker green line in plan 1 and 2). It includes very mature hardwood as well as lower bushes and groundcover.


    This photo is taken from the vantage point one would have if they were standing on the stone patio, pool house on the right and guest parking on the left. Straight ahead is the street. not really visible between the vegetation and a low stone wall which come to think of it has fencing too. If you look closely you actually see my neighbor's taupe fence across the street. Funny how the strip of grass looks so narrow in this photo, it's probably 40 or 50 feet.


    Suero, there is a very large tree blocking your view so no I don't think you could see it even if shifted. People will still have to take it on faith, LOL.


    Lyfia, Honestly that never would have occurred to me, but my LA told me the main path should allow two people to walk side by side, I think she suggested ~52" wide. So, yes, your point is totally correct.The secondary path is narrow, and simply placed on grass rather than set in crushed stone.


    Jterri, thanks for the earworm! It appeals to me, too, but again I think it was the pink! LOL. I'm also a sucker for symmetry and that really delivers on that front. But as you can see, my house is very hodge podgey and certainly not symmetrical or formal in anyway and so IDK!

  • lyfia
    last month
    last modified: last month

    52" is even better and if the large path can be seen then that is the path people will gravitate to no matter if it has the gate or courtyard as long as it is the widest path of all visible paths by much more than any other path.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last month

    Plan 2 and I agree with bpath about the visibility of the front door.

    Becky, yes. People will go the shortest, easiest route. But you can also funnel them as you'd like with signals about where one enters, which path is primary or secondary, or even planting ground cover instead of just grass where you don't want them tempted to walk.

    Yes, the funneling is a very important aspect with the livestock -- the cattle run gradually narrows. You also can't distract them with too much, either sights or sound, or they stop moving (or even worse, turn around and head back).

    And the problem with animals that are overly tame (without a flight zone) is that it's much easier to lead them than it is to herd them, which means offering a treat or using a halter. In people terms, the treat is the front door : ) .

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Maybe we could leave breadcrumbs....

  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    It is a long and confusing walk.

    I like the gateway as in plan 2. I would minimize the meandering as it's far enough as it is and doesn't need to be longer. (Especially in inclement weather.) Rather, I would focus on a consistency of what's beneath one's feet (yellow brick road concept) with lighting along the way so that it looks most purposefully like a path that leads somewhere as opposed to a path that's meant to take you on a stroll through the gardens. What you do on the sides or overhead (wisteria arbor along the way?) or "pullouts" with benches is fine. But the path itself should be deliberate.

    Not yellow brick, but common brick would be in keeping...

    or large stone slabs...

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked Annie Deighnaugh
  • Annie Deighnaugh
    last month

    I like this brick herringbone and the definition of the stone wall on the side...

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    LOL JT.


    Annie the middle one is divine! I love herringbone, too (been thinking of herringbone marble for a BA floor i have to replace). Thx for the pics; and the confirmation that it really should be done!

  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Update, construction starts tomorrow! Going w Plan 2, with a few adjustments to reduce the secondary paths (some needed for workmen to access systems) and add more beds.


    DH says he will buy me a pink tree to put anywhere I want, LOL. Or maybe I should just get myself something from Lily Pulitzer.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last month

    Great news. That "ceremonial" gate photo you posted is lovely, mtnrd, can't wait to see your take on it.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • bpath
    last month

    But you ARE adding a zipline, aren’t you?

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked bpath
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Yes, over the pond!

  • l pinkmountain
    last month

    In general, I don't like trees close to the house but YMMV. It's a beautiful look but a lot of leaves to deal with and maintenance. Thoughts about keeping walk clear during winter and where will the snow go as far as how it will affect the beds later on in the year to have snow piled around them. Just some futzy stuff but food for thought. I have to really watch what I put on my walkways because there are garden beds around them and salt to keep walks clear has bad effects, as does constant snow cover . . .

  • OutsidePlaying
    last month

    Nice! I too am loving that gate and can’t wait to see the finished product. Oh yeah, and the zip line! (Snicker) More fun than a pool probably.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked OutsidePlaying
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Thankfully, I pink, our gardener of many years will over see the project; he also does our snow removal. Not sure what you mean about trees close to the house?? We aren't adding trees.

  • l pinkmountain
    last month

    I can't see the plans anymore, but I thought one of them called for four small flowering trees to be planted . . . I have to spend a lot of time on my tree maintenance in the yard, so that's why I mentioned it. But if you have a gardener, then no big deal, that's what he gets paid for.

    mtnrdredux_gw thanked l pinkmountain
  • mtnrdredux_gw
    Original Author
    last month

    Oh yes, it did, but it was not near the house. True, we have someone do the work, but I still agree one should be mindful and decide knowing that one option might entail more work than another.


  • l pinkmountain
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Just for example of some of the issues, I have an allee of small trees along my driveway. 9 months out of the year they provide a lovely view and softening of the big driveway's impact on the landscape. However, in the winter, when we snow blow the driveway, these small trees get hit by the flying snow an there is no other alternative place to shoot the snow . . . and that's not good for them. Some are more sensitive to that onslaught than others and some years are much worse than others. We try as much as we can to avoid shooting the snow at the trees, but that makes snow blowing the driveway more cumbersome. I could cover the trees with protective burlap walls/snow fences, as
    they do in some other situations along roads, but then I would have a
    driveway lined with big burlap blobs during the winter, which is already
    bleak enough . . .

    Same with my small garden along the walkway into the house, any salt or products I put to keep that walkway clear in the winter will affect the soil in the garden and hence the plants. Particularly if the salt builds up and then all melts at once which is what often happens--salt shock.

    Not saying don't plant the trees or don't treat the walkways, or put up the snow fences . . . just consider 12 months of the year. Too many landscape plans are made in the summer and broken in the winter . . . Or made when it's not raining and broken during a long rainy spell. Start with worst case scenario . . . Either way, it's going to be fabulous. These are just some futzy little comments, not even sure if they add much to the discussion but having done the maintenance of gardens for dozens of years, they are the kinds of issues I futz over . . .

  • localeater
    last month

    How exciting that you are starting this week.