Curb apeal, expanding garden bed

nadine33May 3, 2014

So I was thinking of expanding my current garden bed around my mailbox, but I'm not sure how to shape it. Right now it is just a small semi circle. When the road curb was installed they destroyed a bunch of our grass next to this planting so I thought it might be a good time to expand. I'm just not sure the shape and style it should be. We have a straight walkway up to our front door and this planting would only be to 1 side of it, so I don't want it to look too lopsided. Attached are some pics. I guess I have to add one at a time. There is a tree on the other side sitting further back along with those ugly green utility boxes. Would you extend the planting to the driveway, and would you do a semi-circle, or a curvy edge?

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another pic

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:23PM
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other side

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:24PM
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install a strip of white stone with a retaining edge, it will be hard to maintain flowers right by the street.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 5:48PM
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Here's a pin board of wonderful ideas from Pinterest -- about gardens installed around mailboxes ..... might be some ideas here .....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- gardens around mailboxes

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:51PM
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I would add some impact to the bed, but probably would not expand it. I might even make it smaller and taller. What I would expand are the beds across the front of the house -- soften the lines by giving them some curves and bringing them at least part way down the walk closer to the street. The color and flow will bring your eye toward the house and the door -- be more welcoming. The color at the mailbox can match or compliment the rest of the plantings.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:10PM
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I agree with lascatx, but I also want to move the mailbox to about 2-3 ft to the right of the driveway and paint the box white.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:44AM
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It is so funny to see the different styles of landscaping done in various parts of the country. In SoCal, where land is at a premium, we use whatever lot we get fully. Front yards often get hardscape, raised beds, patios etc. with landscaping throughout.

In colder areas, in other parts of the country, where large lots are common, I usually see shrubs huddled up next to the building (as if they are cold, to my eye lol...well, maybe they are!) with large areas of grass, and maybe a few small beds of perennials. The only depth is maybe a lonely tree or two. All of that land just sitting there doing nothing! sigh

For full disclosure, I have been involved with my husband doing design and renovations throughout the country. [NV, OR, FL, MA, mainly, but occasional things and prospects in SC, GA, TN and others ] But this is commercial work for resorts, where they put in a lot of focal point beds, plants and trees--more along the full landscape style that is done here.

I'm just musing and dreaming, but oh, what I would do if I lived in your house, with that huge yard! :)

This post was edited by Gyr_Falcon on Sun, May 4, 14 at 2:51

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:50AM
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Thanks all.i will also be working on the foundation beds but was starting with the mailbox as you can see the mess to the left of the mailbox planting. Just figured expanding the bed would be a good fix for that area. Mailbox is staying put as its cemented in and I'm not digging that out. I'll start another post with closer pics of the foundation as there are some stepping stones that might impact how I expand them.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 6:29AM
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robo (z6a)

Do you like gardening? If you do, I could picture a curved bed at the front with borders on both sides of your walk, then an expanded kidney shaped bed around your tree with lots of tough perennials - looks sunny so depending on your zone, echinacea, lavander, catmint, ornamental grasses, shrubs....

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:01AM
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I would also do beds on both sides of the walkway. You could curve them out toward the street and incorporate the mailbox on the one side. For ease you could just do rows of hostas on both sides of the walk and then more plantings on the small beds on either side by the street.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:11AM
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I wouldn't plant straight across that curb on only the one side. It will only accentuate the imbalance. I'd dig out a half circle around the mailbox, not going to the sidewalk, and plant something about 8-12" tall, all the same, like an ornamental grass. I'd grow a vine up the lamp post.

Since the garage and driveway dominate the left side, you need something to balance out the "tall side". I'd make a larger bed around the tree, perhaps parallel to the sidewalk, and oblong/kidney shape. A mounded bed would have been really nice to give some relief to the flat lawn. Google mounded bed gardening. If you like this idea, you might consider doing this in the fall so you can replant the tree and shrubs. It's best to do this before the tree gets any bigger and the plants have to compete with its roots to get established. Center the tree as the focal point or move it to the back of the bed, closer to the house. I think the advantage to this plan is it concentrates your planting to just one bed as it sounds like you really don't want to maintain a lot of garden by planting both sides. It just switches the focus from the left side to the right, where the expanse of lawn needs to be broken up.

Add a few small evergreen shrubs and color for spring, summer, and fall. You might take some of the shrubs from your foundation and use them in that bed. I'd definitely move the gold shrub--it isn't a good color with the dark gray house. I think you need larger and fewer shrubs along the foundation as it looks a bit busy and not cohesive.

I'd remove the dwarf conifer near the garage and the one on the corner of the house. You need something large and with a less clipped structure to anchor that corner.

Fertilize your lawn and done!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:33AM
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How about a walkway from the driveway (basic peagravel-over-sand-damp-and-tamp with gray paver stones) to the lamp -- and then add pretty gray gravel (with a garden border strip) across the front on both sides with "pockets" of plantings and larger stones or rocks .....

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Ideas from Pinterest for mounded flower beds .....

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- mounded flower beds

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 12:17PM
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Agree with lascatx that the beds near the house are more important than the ones by the driveway or street.

Most important rule: don't buy any shrubbery that wants to grow taller than you want it to be.

I would put in a walkway between the driveway near the garage and the house, with low beds on either side - maybe even a low picket fence about four feet from the walkway on the street side.

The bed on the right side of the house would be better more filled in, less "dotty."

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Most large nurseries have a landscape design person that will help (for free or minimal fee) if you buy the plants from them. Might be worth looking into.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 2:54PM
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thanks all. Ill be bringing some pics to the local nursery and see if they have suggestions too. I like gardening but dont have a lot of time. Not sure I can afford to expand the beds a ton right now and plant all new big evergreen shrubs. I was originally thinking on a smaller scale but am open to work I can do over a few seasons...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 5:49PM
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Why not just clear the "garden bed" and put grass there? Why does that need to be a garden bed at all?? I prefer my garden beds to be closer to the the house and full of color, useful herbs and such. It's nice to put a garden out for the mail person but they only spend seconds there ;)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 11:15PM
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