Exterior help wanted please

kellienoelleApril 26, 2014

Hello all- tis the season to turn to exterior decorating! I'll add my pleas for ideas to the rest. We have been in our house for a year now, spent the first just seeing what we had (nothing) and observing sunlight patterns. Here is our little yard as is today. We are looking at completely redoing the beds in the front and expanding them quite a bit. The house is north facing so light is somewhat limited making it hard to grow grass. Our brick walkway also has some puddling issues due to that which wed like to improve. I have somewhat of a black thumb so hearty and low maintenance is a plus. My husband is also requesting evergreens. We will fill those urns with annuals for color and add some more pot so are looking at just the foundations plants for the time being. We live in Kansas City so get hot summers and cold winters.

Right now we are thinking dwarf spruces to either side of the front porch. Then a couple of yews on either side, move the boxwoods up. Maybe edge it all in monkey grass to help with the water run off. I'd love a tree of some sort but don't think we have enough room. That is our boring and basic plan, maybe you could do better?

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Here is a closer up pic. The house was a rehab in 2009, so I think the landscaping was an afterthought. Thus the jumble of non matching plants. We have boxwoods, one dead azalea, one live azalea , and a non thriving rose bush. I do like the tree

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:32PM
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What jumped out at me was the porch. I'd want to paint it to match the rest of the trim, leaving the lattice as it is.

You could replace the grass with a ground cover unless you use the lawn. I love pachysandra. Takes a couple of seasons to get going, but once it does, you don't have to do a thing. And it likes shade.

Plant some astilbe, a beautiful perennial which comes in beautiful colors and likes shade.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 4:52PM
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Funny you had mentioned the porch, that was a huge thing for me when we moved in. At one point I had asked GW about painting and the overall consensus was to leave as is. It's connected to a deck on the back side so that may have had some bearing as there is no logical breaking point. People didn't seem to think painting cedar was the best idea. I'll add a pic. This is from the listing photo. The tree sadly had to be removed as it was dying and leaning toward the house.

My husband is trying his darndest to grow grass. He won't go for a groundcover. Plus other than immediate front of the house, the yard gets quite a bit of sun.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:04PM
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Leave the deck as is, but the porch trim I'd paint white as it is really tied in with the trim on the house.

As for the grass, DH will have to do a lot of homework on what is bothering your grass, and then set about resolving the roots of the problem.

Do you have a pool out back? Is that why all the cement going right up to the deck?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:20PM
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btw you can always paint just the front facade of the porch so that the front of the house looks uniform, re: trim.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 5:21PM
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Let's see:

a)Raise the walls of the beds in the front of the house .... perhaps consider the stacking bricks for an easy wall -- add a drainage pipe to the ends of the downspouts ....

b)if you are re-setting the front walkway -- consider expanding it -- to include a walkway from the driveway right across the front beds and a small bricked circle around the tree .... add a good layer of gravel and then sand (damp-and-tamp) and then add red paver stones to create the new walkway .....

c)If the yard gets lots of sun -- consider adding herb beds ....always useful! :)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:02PM
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Pool....haha. You could fit our "backyard" into the average residential sized pool. No, our house was built in 1920 so no use for a garage at that time. A detached two car garage was added so the concrete is the driveway so you can park in the garage. To say it is tight would be an understatement. My husband wants me to get an SUV and I told him that he had best be prepared for me to run into the house trying to back it down the driveway then.

I couldn't agree with you more on the grass, but it's his "baby" so I let him be. Last summer I kept telling him it was cute how he was pretending he had a yard to mow every week when he went out with his mower and weed eater. He had our last yard, which was about 4 times bigger, looking great by the time we moved out so I guess I should have faith. He'd considered killing the lawn and re-seeding last fall but somehow thought it could be salvaged. It looks horrible so far but I guess he has a plan.

However, I think I would have more luck convincing him to paint the porch because I agree with you there. I had talked about it last year. I don't know how it would look just painting the front, but I guess we could always start there. I think we would also have to remove and replace the screens to do so so it may be a big job.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:11PM
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What popped out at me were mainly two things.

Does water flow down your sidewalk during a rain? It looks like it is lower than the yard on either side? If so, I would want to address that before doing anything else.

What are the two little shrubs at the end of the sidewalk and how big will they get? If something big, like a juniper, they'll completely cover the sidewalk when they grow up. It's fairly common to miscalculate how much room a grown plant is going to need when people put in small plants. They just look too far apart when little plants are spaced right. If those are going to stay that size, leave them, but if they are going to be six feet tall, check online and see if they don't need to be further away from the sidewalk.

I like your redbud tree though it's too bad they didn't put it further away from the front door, and a smaller but similar tree on the other side would look pretty too. Japanese maple if they grow where you are, or maybe a crap myrtle (intentional misspelling) though those can get pretty big too.

Your trim color and the side are just screaming for a border of low flowers. Creeping phlox, candytuft, ageratum, oxalis are some. Or even hosta if flowers are too much trouble.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:29PM
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Agree with painting all woodwork of deck except actual horizontal boards you walk in, white to match house trim. But I was one of the few "paint" votes when you posed the question the first time. Still think paint is the answer to that problem.

If your DH wants a lawn and is willing to put in the time and effort to have one, the deep green will certainly look great against your house color and white trim. Big mounds of petunias trailing down would be pretty in your urn planters out front.

I'd keep the redbud, it's beautiful. Put a nice row of boxwood or Indian Hawthorne bushes along the front of your house (not too close) in both directions extending out from the porch. The Hawthorn will have pinky white flowers in late spring and gorgeous dark blue berries in winter, it is the perfect shrub! Then in front of the shrubs I would plant a row of pretty hostas. Would select one wonderful big tree to plant on the left side (las you are looking at house) and plant in yard about two thirds of total distance to street. No matching trees on either side of porch.

Front planting beds: would clean up the edges along last little bit of walkway at bottom of steps by removing leaning bricks and using rocks instead. Would define outer (top) edge of planting bed with a short, decorative length of white picket fencing, taking down those topiaries and having a nice mix of perennials that make a good show in front of the fence sections.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 8:08PM
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You mentioned edging the flower beds in monkey grass -- great idea, but take it all the way down the walk to the front beds, too. This will make it all flow together and add an emphasis to the walkway without boxing it in.

Avoid using liriope spicata, as it will try to take over the lawn and flower beds. Instead, go with liriope muscari, which doesn't spread nearly so aggressively.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:14AM
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To those that mentioned the brick walkway, we are going to have somebody come and take a look. We had a good rain today so can see one portion that definitely puddles so needs to be raised a bit. The rest appears to be OK so I think having either grass or plants on either side will be enough to prevent the washout of mud that occurs with rain. GREAT idea on attaching walkway to the driveway. I don't know that we'll do the same brick, but maybe some pavers.

marti8a - The two shrubs at the end are just boxwoods I think? I don't believe that they will get much larger than they are now. I'll add in some annuals for color once the planting season arrives. I love Japanese maples. They do grow here but are a bit tempermental. Tons of varieties with several that stay quite petite, we looked at a few this weekend. Where would you put it? In front of the porch? Out in the yard? Around here I tend to see them as plantings around the house. I think I'll add some hostas under the tree, we also just put some phlox in another area so I'll see how that does. This year Ill probably focus on the foundation plants, use annuals, and add the pretties next year.

kswl (and the other in the paint the porch camp), would you paint the interior of it as well? Would you do all the small verticals or just the larger ones? Uggh, the thought of that undertaking makes me shudder a bit, but I was pretty gung ho on it last year because it bothered me from the start. Funny what you get used to once you live with it for a bit. Indian Hawthorn, I googled and it looks like it prefers a warmer climate so may have to stick with boxwoods. I'd love a tree though, our neighborhood is just full of gorgeous old trees. We just don't happen to have any except for that in front of the house and a huge oak on the other side of the sidewalk. I may have a struggle with the husband as he just really wants a nice lawn. Any suggestions on types?

Chibimimi - I had thought of doing the monkey grass all the way down. Many have their walks edged with plants of some sort and I like the look. Plus even with my black thumb, I have been able to grow liriope!

I need to find a good software to map all this out. I have been looking at home obsessively trying to figure what I want to do, but our house is so "petite" compared to many others around me so I have a much smaller canvas to work with.

Thanks for the suggestions, I wish I had a knack for gardening, but I just don't.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 10:05PM
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There are some beautiful hydrangea which grow in partial sun and shade. Wedding bouquet hydrangea is pretty and would look nice against your house.

I'd plant a tall grass in front of the porch, along the lattice.


    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:12AM
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Here is the link to that particular grass, which can handle shade. All you'd do is cut it back in late winter/early spring each year.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grass

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:38AM
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I'm going to go a little against the flow here, but I'm not sure I'd take on painting the porch. It seems like the addition of some taller plant material in front of the porch could camouflage the porch somewhat without drawing attention to it being unpainted.

I like kswl's suggestion of Indian Hawthorne (if you don't have to worry about deer) especially down in front of the porch, but I would not plant boxwood as they tend to turn into meatball shrubs over time. I'd try for some dwarf abelia, Encore azaleas (if they do well in your zone since they bloom more than once - pick one that has great dark green foliage; Autumn Coral is good), Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Sungold' (color and texture plus is evergreen), at least one 'Lo and Behold' butterfly bush (buddleia) for summer color, and then use variegated hosta in the forefront interspersed for more color.

I'd put a Japanese Maple on the far left corner by the porch. Orangeola and Tamukeyama are good small choices. I have both and I think you'd be pleased. Give them plenty of water the first year and keep mulched, especially during the hot summer and winter. You could continue the hosta in a semi-circle around the JM unless that area gets too much sun.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:18AM
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Paint the porch and deck (not floors, though!) You will love it and wonder why you didnt do it before. I don't know how to Photoshop pics, or I'd show you what it would look like.

Agree with the liriope down the walk. Love hydrangeas, really adore them (I have 7 that I treat like babies :)) but they look like hell in winter. I wouldn't put them in the front of my house. Crape Myrtle is a gorgeous tree that comes in various sizes. We have Natchez which gets quite big and the flower show in July-Aug is breathtaking. I love your house! What year was it built? Did you do the reno?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:58AM
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For this spring, I'd focus on making those front beds full and colorful and work on the foundation plants in the fall. I have clay, and the ground is drier and easier to dig in fall, and the shrubs get good fall and winter rain to get established.

I would widen the front beds into a larger arc. I think you can find something more substantial and beautiful than those dwarf conifers to anchor those beds, which will allow you to add bigger plants in the bed themselves and fill up that space.

I'd pull the foundation plants and plant a low, wide evergreen in front of the basement windows, one on each side. Looks like the shrubs there now are too close to the foundation, so bring the new shrubs out as far as possible. Look for white variegated or silver foliage in shrubs or perennials so it's not a black hole from the street. White would be so nice with your trim, house color, and brick. Gold, not so good.

I'd plant an evergreen or deciduous shrub with an airy structure in front of the porch to give you some privacy during the summer. I would want to see out but not want the whole neighborhood to see in. I'd also plant a slow-growing tall conifer on the right corner of your house to balance it with the left, IF you have room to pull the bed out there.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 12:05PM
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I like that grass Tib! Question for you, if you are familiar. That link claims four season interest? How is it in the winter? I cant imagine it staying leafy with a foot of snow and sub zero temps. My husband's one requirement is evergreen so if I propose a plant, I had best be able to back that up. I love grasses and they are so easy to grow so that could be a contender.

Outsideplaying - thank you for your specific plant recommendations! As a novice it is very helpful. I am in zone 7 so it doesn't appear that Indian Hawthorne is an option for me. Abelia and most azaleas are quite pretty, but will be deciduous here with our cold weather. The Chamaecyparis pisifera sure looks like a winner. Maybe I can just move the existing boxwoods in front? They actually are doing well so I would hate to not reuse them. Also looked at those JM and they are a perfect size. Thanks (and for the no-paint vote - I honestly don't know if I have painting in me this year)

nini804 - I know I would like the porch painted. Ugh, that is what makes me feel bad about being lazy. But boy what a project and one that requires ongoing maintenance! I may need to make it a project for next year. I think I've already run out of steam for this one....haha. Love hydrangeas, but I can't baby anything. As a matter of fact I don't have babies for that reason! The house is a 1920 colonial that we really love. We didn't rehab it ourselves, it was fully rehabbedd inf 2009,sold and then resold to us. We love it actually
may flowers - interesting thought about waiting. I had thought that the best time for shrubs was spring, but for trees was fall. Maybe we could dig out the beds, to expand them substantially and add a couple of filler plants in the meantime.Our focus for this year is on the beds around the house

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 10:56PM
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Kellie did not realize you are farther north. Boxwood does not have to turn I to a "meatball shrub" any more than any other. If you plant them closer together they form a nice hedge that stays thick of pruned and shaped properly. I don't know of a bush that doesn't require some maintenance--- if it existed, everyone would have it. Yew is a current evergreen favorite and can be trimmed to keep a tighter profile. We' ve pulled out miles of old, crusty juniper and have replaced it with yew.

As to the deck, yes I'd paint every bit of it, sorry, lol. We have painted decks and they are high maintenance but I do love the way they look.

I am in the tiny minority that just does not like Japanese maple, ugh. I Ike bigger trees like oaks or elms that grow big, give shade and drop leaves. To me the changing seasons are a story best told by a tree....something to look at, think about, admire, or long for every month of the year.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 12:12AM
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I don't know where you live so I cannot speak to your landscaping but your zone will dictate what will/will not do well. Consult a master gardener in your area for advice. Don't ever let anyone without the expertise for your own area tell you how to grow plants, what to grow, etc. GET PROFESSIONAL ADVICE from someone in your area and your master gardeners are professionals who work via the county agent and your tax dollars pay for your count agency, so let it work for you.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 1:58AM
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Kellie, I think when it comes to plants, you have to have a healthy perspective. For instance, to avoid the drab and ugly of plants in their dormancy in winter, people go for evergreens, like your husband. But evergreens provide no color or change or interest. They're a safe idea, but they're really not going to do anything for the landscaping. Of course you want a couple here and there, but not solely.

So, perspective on plants is that, yes, in winter, nature does its thing and they go into hibernation, like everyone and everything else on the planet. Grasses turn beige, hydrangeas dry up and turn beige, etc. The reward is the spring, summer and fall.

My feeling is, in winter, who cares what it looks like? No on is out, that is how it's supposed to be, and it's the cost of having beautiful color in the warmer months. In winter, the pretty is in the snow.

Grasses are great not only for their hardiness and their easy maintenance but also for their movement in wind, their screening property, etc. They offer a soft look, versus the harder evergreens. I think when it comes to gardening, one has to accept that everything has its season.

You're in Zone 6, right? The above grass's edge of viability is Zone 6, so it should work. You should definitely check out other grasses as well. Cut them back to about a foot after the last frost.

Winter, you're going from car to inside, as is everyone. I wouldn't care one whit what it looks like in winter.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:03AM
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Strongly second Patricia's advice to seek help from a professional. Landscaping is a big investment and often a permanent change to the earths surface. Even talented individuals with good ideas cannot come close to suggesting the type and size of plant material you actually need. My suggestion for another tree, for example, is predicated on balancing the tree on one side of the house (close in) with another on the other side, farther out. But....I cannot see what trees your neighbors have that might affect this idea, nor does it take into account your hisband's desires for a beautiful green yard--- and the right advice could help you achieve everything you want in an outdoor setting. I will say though, that digging up a narrow bed on either side of that straight walkway and planting mondo grass or liriope all the way alongside is about as 80s as it gets. If your bricks are not in a mortar bed, you could arrange them yourselves in a more irregular path that would add far more interest than the aforementioned plants. After all , they have been suggested to make the walkway look better, so why not just make the walkway look better?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Kellie, we were in St Louis, and we had several different ornamental grasses, and they did well. I'm not the gardener, my husband is, so I don't know what they were. Your local nursery should be able to help. In fact, I think I know someone who owns one of the tree nurseries in KC. I'll get contact infor for you if you'd like.
Pretty house.
Re the porch/deck - ours was painted, and the rails and spindles did ok, but the floor never every looked good. Weather in that area is not conducive to painted outdoor flooring.
For shrubs up near the house have you considered lilacs? They flower, do incredibly well as opposed to azaleas which IMO are a bear to keep alive in that climate, and after a few years they bear enough to have cut flowers in the house.

Tibbrix, I think it's funny that you assumed the backyard was concrete - of course you've figured out by now that it's snow. You must live where it never snows! ;-)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:08AM
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I agree…don't paint the floor of your porch. And if you do paint the trim, put the labor and $$ into doing it right the first time so that maintaining it is easier.

mlweaving, no, that is concrete. Kellienoelle explained that it is, and if you look at the bottom step, you can see it is concrete.

And oh, I live in New England, so I know snow!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 9:13AM
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Agree with Patricia. That's why I gave no specifics, but rather shapes and colors. Start at a good nursery, but not on a Saturday morning in May when everyone is shopping. I like nurseries with demonstration gardens so I can see the plants after they've been growing a few years and how they are combined. Know your soil and how your sun and shade conditions may change throughout the summer. I have an area in full shade now that will have full afternoon sun in August. Not many plants like those conditions!

I think you could use plantings instead of painting the porch. What I would avoid is a row of solid green foliage all the same height along your long foundation (including the porch). I would find an evergreen that covered the front decking, so about 3-4' tall, and then you could install a planter on the railing with trailing plants to screen for the summer and add color. A tall shrub on the corner of the porch would screen the side from the street. Viburnums are great shrubs with seasonal interest, and some are evergreen. I love the doublefiles, but they're deciduous.

Hakone grass is a beautiful, versatile grass that requires no care except for raking out the dead foliage in early spring. But four seasons, no way. The new growth emerges early--mine has been fully leafed out now in zone 8 for a month. It does well in sun and shade here, but I'm far north (Oregon). It would be very pretty on the edges of your urns because it has a spilling effect.

Clemson University advises planting shrubs in fall.

Here is a link that might be useful: planting shrubs

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:01AM
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No help-- just wanted to comment that your home is absolutely lovely!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:03AM
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Thank you so much for the ideas~ apparently I have some time to think it out since bushes are best planted in the fall! I should probably use that time to paint my porch, huh? But just the trim, I would absolutely never paint the floor. I'll need to take some photos to enlist help to find out what to paint considering I do not want to paint any of the deck. Or maybe I'll just continue to ignore it.

I'll try to enlist the help of the professionals. My sister in law is actually a master gardener so perhaps she would have some ideas. She also enjoys gardening, doesn't work outside the house, and probably has a knack for keeping things alive so hopefully she can dumb it down for me. In looking around there are alot of yews, pines, and boxwoods along the fronts of houses, either in a hedge formation or separate. I don't hate the look of any of them.

Tib - I am in zone 7. It gets cold here, but we typically don't get tons of snow. I do know that evergreen is a non-negotiable with my husband so there is no point discussing plants as the foundation plants in the front that are not with him.Regarding the who cares sentiment....he cares! I planted these dogwood bushes that dropped their leaves but had really cool red twigs throughout winter. I planted them in the backyard and they were thriving! Had pretty flowers in the summer, he still didn't like them. I can add in things that will add interest for the rest of the year but he wants at least that, and frankly he'll be taking care of the bushes, so I'll allow him that. I love the grasses, so will definitely add in some.

kwsl - I don't mind some maintenance (in the form of trimming) but don't want anything tempermental and difficult to grow. I don't have the knack so want something that will grow despite me. You bring up a very good point about the surroundings, I live in an older neighborhood and there are large trees all around. For example my little redbud tree looks puny comparatively. So don't mind something a bit smaller in the front of the house. Plus the yard is teeny tiny. Regarding the walkway it is mortared in and the yard isn't large enough to support it going any way other than straight.

Marji - another midwesterner who knows the pain of our weather! Lilacs are blooming now around here and very beautiful. I'd love the name of your tree nursery contact. We have a local place where the folks have been very helpful,but would love to hear of other options.

May -your advice is great. We've been one year here and left things alone to see how each season looked. I love the idea of the planter on the porch. I may not be good with perenials, but I love annuals in containers. They seem to withstand my lack of talent.

Anele - thanks! We love our little house! Somebody earlier asked about age and such and I didn't answer. It was built in 1920, then completely remodeled in 2009. As in to the studs and stripped of anything original. We didn't do it, but purchased it last year. So I never saw the house "as it was" but have heard stories from the neighbors. I was lamenting that the remodel felt too "new" and wished that maybe some of the old charm had been left. But apparently the house was close to being condemned. It was inhabited by a "hoarder", then sat vacant for several years while he was in a nursing home and lost to a family of raccoons. So basically nothing was salvageable.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:07PM
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Hi Kellie

Your house is adorable. Have you considered hosta as part of your landscape options? They are such a neat plant and require very little care. Lots of colors, variegated leaves….check out the hosta forum for some inspiration.

Good luck, landscaping can make such a difference in the appearance of a house but making the decisions can be difficult. Lucky you to have a master gardener in the family!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:57PM
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Your house is looking nice and also you have enough landscaping area in front of your house. As I suggesting you, you need to maintain the lawn then it looks better and improves the freshness of your home. You have the scope to plant the small tree with different color flower.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lanscaping

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:30AM
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Kellie, are,you in St. Louis?? We lived in Ladue in the early nineties...DH was in a training residency there. It's a lovely part of the country!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:46AM
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Just some thoughts

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:16AM
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You got rid of a red-twig dogwood? They are so neat and pretty against snow or a grey house. Deciduous shrubs have their place in the landscape, especially those with winter color and/or texture. Not that you should have a bed full of them, but a few don't hurt!

One consideration...If you plant now, and keep watered and mulched well during the summer and fall, your shrubs and plants would be ok, without waiting until fall to plant. The soil prep is key. And unless you wait until late fall, it can be very dry and hard to dig until late and the plant selections may not be as good.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 9:17AM
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Hi outside playing.....no no no, we got rid of the house where I planted the reg twig dogwood. I hope that they are still thriving there, I loved them. We had lived there for 8 years and had finally gotten the landscaping and yard looking great. We are still friends with our old neighbors and apparently the new owners style is a bit "different" (for example a camouflage tire hanging from a tree prominently in the front yard) so who knows what they have done. I was using that as an example of what my husband didn't like no matter how cool it was because it lost its leaves. I may try to sneak one in. I'll try to take a trip to the nursery to talk to the fine folks there and see if they recommend waiting.

Beverly - I love that mockup - thanks! I don't know if the perspective off the picture makes it look like there is more space. I don't know that there is enough for a bench, but we could do that little jut out midway down the path for....something. In my walking a neighbor has something similar lined with hedges. Maybe a bit more formal than I would prefer but it looks nice. Ill attach a pic from looking out the front door to see if it gives better perspective to how much space there is

kswl - I am in Brookside which is outside of Kansas City. I love Ladue, Brookside has a similar feel to me.

brooklynava - I hear ya! I hate our lawn, it looks horrible.This new pic probably shows how bad. The husband is working on it, it isn't going to be fixed overnight unfortunately, no matter how much I would like it to be.

justretired - I will definitely add in hostas. Probably around the base of that tree where it is shaded. They are one of my favorites, I love big hosta filled beds. And as a bonus they are very low maintenance!

Here is the look out the front. You can see that we do have a large oak by the street and perhaps get a feel for the other trees in the neighborhood. You can also see the area that needs to be fixed on our walkway. We had a big rain yesterday and this is what happens everytime it does.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:25AM
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Just one more pic of half of the screened porch since the project seems to have grown to cover that too. Would you paint all the posts? Everything but the floor? The ceiling and some trim are painted the same color as the house trim. You can kind of see that here. Sigh, big project.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:28AM
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I like Beverly's ideas, it gives you something to look at from inside. You have nice planting by the sidewalk, but you can't see it from the house! My neighbor had a couple of small spaces lined with hosta and filled with daffodils in the spring and sedum Autumn Joy the rest of the growing season, so pretty.

I think you could use a smaller flowering tree by the porch, for color and for summer privacy, and to balance the larger tree.

Lovely house in my favorite kind of neighborhood!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 10:44AM
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The dwarf conifers from that view make me giggle--sorry! How about potting them and putting them on your front porch? I think you need something taller than the urns because of the porch columns.

Has anyone in your neighborhood taken out the grass on the slope and used ground covers and plants suitable for slopes? Since your lot isn't very wide, it wouldn't be a huge undertaking (easy for someone who loves gardening to say!). In the old neighborhoods in Portland all the slopes are planted with mat-forming plants like aubretia and spring bulbs--so pretty in bloom.

Your house is too pretty to cover up like your neighbor did with the Japanese maple, so I'd restrict tall plantings to the corner of your porch and house.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:35PM
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I'd just paint the outside of the porch, the facade.

What a pretty neighborhood.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:44PM
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Really pretty neighborhood. Thanks for the clarification on the red-twig dogwood, btw.

I'd concentrate on the landscaping and drainage issues (and your DH's work on the grass) right now and still believe I'd save the painting for later after you've made the landscape decisions. It might surprise you once you've finished the other projects. I see what you mean about the mud across your walkway, and you may need some work around your front beds to keep dirt from washing into that area, plus the grass to hold to that slope. It's hard to tell exactly what is going on from the front-on photo.

I like what Beverly tried to do with the mock-up. It really shows what a little tweaking with a taller planting at the left corner and some filling in along the front of your house could do. Also like the idea of expanding some plantings along the end of the walkway by the sidewalk. (Agree with what May Flowers said about the dwarf conifers and about covering up the front with too-tall shrubs or JMs - taller things belong at the corners.)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Here's a pin board of great photos of paving-stone-and-gravel walkways .... might work well for extending the current front walkway to the driveway .....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- paving stone and gravel walkway

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Trying to demo a couple of concepts in the mock up.

1. everything is straight lines and rectangles and the yard could use some curves
2. guest who arrive on the driveway appear to have to walk back to the sidewalk at the street to get you your brickwalk to the front door. Connecting the brick walkway to the driveway seemed like an easy fix.
The curved paver area doesn't need to be big. Maybe it only holds a birdbath, but I'd suggest the exterior needs some relief from straight lines.

Or you might want to consider relocating the brick walkway to a curvy diagonal that runs from the driveway to the front door.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 8:33AM
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Thanks for the fantastic ideas you guys! You've given me lots to think about. I have been busy at work so was going to revisit this today, but had a new home project pop up unexpectedly (garage door) so the funds are going to have to be diverted for the time being. Sigh....

To sooth the pain, I am going to head out today to get annuals to fill my pots so will have to settle for a minimal facelift for now and maybe put this project off until the fall. Give time for the husband to grow us some grass in the meantime I suppose.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:06AM
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