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Need help on front of house: paint, plants, beds or no beds......any ideas welcome!
hoffmanhaus
January 6, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We need some serious help for the front yard and curb appeal in general!
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Patti Bradfield
Had the same look (and rambler too). Dig up grass along sidewalk, if allowed, and plant trees and annuals (mega bark on a raised bed look adds to definition). Japanese maple coupled with an evergreen closer to the house on either side of the walk to your house, gives color all year.
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 10:54AM
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claudiann
It looks great as is. If you are looking for a project I would begin at the front of the sidewalk and curve out to include the light post in a bed. Could plant bright annuals in summer or hosta and boxwood for low maintenance . Maybe put a large stone or address plaque in it. If money is no object tear out your walk from street to house. Widen it out and add spaces at the street to make room for pots etc. replace wooden edging with something that matches your brick.
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 11:42AM
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kitasei
Yikes, I'd urge you not to do any of the enhancements suggested above. I think simplicity is the key here. It is already almost park-like. What is not park-like is the edging around the beds. If there is groundcover like pachysandra, ivy, vinca etc in those areas, there is no need any edging. They behave. Keep the shrubs low in front of the house. Expand the areas of groundcover - can also be low evergreen shrubs - around the tree trunks and the lamppost, not necessarily in circles but in curving sweeps. As things fill in it will be very simple but also lush. Perfect for the architecture and material of your house in my opinion. The only annuals I'd entertain would be right by the front door, in containers. Think PARK and go look at some good ones for ideas.
1 Like   January 6, 2013 at 11:54AM
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Mishi McCoy
beds help and can be easy - and they direct the eye to where YOU want. I would always think in curves, so a wide bed at the sidewalk curving to encircle the lamp post, then it can curve back to the walkway, or continue all the way to the entry. You don't say where you live, but think about perennials like Nandina that are green in the summer, and vibrant red/orange in the winter. Also varigated hostas with their green and white, with mondo grass as your dark green contrast, then filled in with summer flowering annuals. Vary the heights of the plants to add interest, but don't block the view with too high a plant unless it's lacy like a Japanese maple, or dogwood...mounded or raised beds also add interest because of height variations. And I would add low growing ground cover in front of the bushes in the bed on the left - perennials if possible, and again filled in during summer with impatiens, or geraniums...
I think you could also brighten the house itself with a brighter painted door, and consider lightening the shutters with a shade lighter than the siding?
3 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 11:54AM
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hoffmanhaus
This sounds great! The house is in Houston, so I think that it is zone 9? I definitely have a lack of education when it comes to plants. If you have suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I think that the Japanese Maple sounds interesting!
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 1:03PM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
I agree with the comment to make the front path wider if possible. It looks like it is only about two to three feet wide. A larger path and plants leading to the front door make an entrance inviting. I do not think a larger walk and plants will take away from the park like feeling of the garden. It is very important to know what climate zone you live in so that others can suggest the best plants for your area. How do you want the front to look? Do you like the simple parklike feel to the garden? Do you want more flowers? Do you like to garden? All of these are important questions before you decide to make changes to the garden.
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 2:33PM
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hoffmanhaus
To answer Pamela's question, I am not a gardener. I always think that I would like to be, but I am not great at gardening. That being said, I would like to see some flowers, but low maintenance is key. The hostas, mexican heather, foxtail ferns, aspidistra, coleus, and anything that does well in shade and part shade would all work well. We have a flower box in front of the living room window that we have had ferns and caladium plants in. I would like to bring in some smooth 3-4 inch river rock in to create borders to our beds. Some neighbors have done that and it looks great. Nothing formal.
1 Like   January 6, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
It sounds like you already have some great ideas. There are hundreds of pictures on Houzz for 'Front Entrance' gardens. I just added a few to my idea book. I am new to Houzz and am still learning how to move pictures around. Sorry to be such a slow learner. I would add some to this spot if I knew how. Give me a couple of days :-)
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 7:30PM
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hoffmanhaus
No worries, I am relatively new myself and haven't figured out the photo thing yet, either. Any thoughts that you have are appreciated.
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Diane Williford
Since you live in Houston, you should consider hiring a landscape architect to design a drought tolerant plan for your yard. Usually their fees are low, especially if you buy your plants through them and they can design you a garden that can be completed in stages over the years. It would give you a base plan to work off of. Your home is lovely but I think you need to lighten up the siding, add a colorful front door and put shutters on all of the windows across the front of the house. Think of the shutters, exterior lighting and your front door as the jewelry on the house.
2 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 8:03PM
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Arusha Drouin
maybe add some rocks - balance larger and smaller sizes, and place strategically. It will enhance the existing landscape. And remove that lamp post - install low light fitting instead.
0 Likes   January 6, 2013 at 8:04PM
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hoffmanhaus
diane, what colors do you suggest for siding and door. The door is actually a teal color. The siding is painted a golden brown color, but when I tried something lighter, it only accentuated the ugly shingle siding. Why the builder in 1954 didn't make the whole thing brick is a mystery to me.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 8:03AM
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hoffmanhaus
some kind of small tree might look good to camouflage that siding........suggestions??
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 8:06AM
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E2 Illumination Designs
I agree with Diane. Lightening the color of the siding and door would be an immediate impact. Remove the old edging and go to an English style (no edging) while building up the bed. A good plant option would also be Encore Azaleas. They would give you a great splash of color throughout the year. Great home.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 10:35AM
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hoffmanhaus
any color suggestions for siding and door are welcome!
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 10:38AM
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Diane Williford
Shingle siding installed in 1954 is most likely asbestos siding and I would not remove it. If it is asbestos, and is in good shape, just repaint it, possibly a deep creme or beige that has green undertones (which kills the pink that could occur with red brick up against it.) I would leave the door teal but paint the iron storm door the same teal color. From the photo, the shutters appear to have louvers and the horizontal louvers are working against the shingle siding. Consider replacing them with solid panel shutters. You could paint them black and do nice large black lights on either side of the front door (if the connection is there). Add some large teal flower pots to the front porch and the house should look great. I would still do the landscape plan which would boost the curb appeal to the max! If you don't like the teal door, you could also do a Williamsburg blue. Side note: I live in a town where many older homes have that old siding. On most the the homes here, it is asbestos siding. To remove it would require a Hazmat removal team and is expensive to do. I was a Realtor for many years and had many a home inspector tell me that the asbestos siding is best left in place and repainted, which seals the siding. On the plus side, the stuff lasts forever, if sealed properly. Don't be alarmed by it. It has probably been painted 10 or more times since 1954, so it ought to be good and sealed. In the Northeast, they often use cedar shingles. I don't know what type they use in Houston.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 12:44PM
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hoffmanhaus
They are cedar. I think that I should have included some pics that were closer. We don't have a storm door or shutters, but I can see why you would think that we have shutters. I'll take some closer photos and attach.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 2:07PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
Very nice brick rambler. It looks like a very classy house. You need to make the front door a bold color it is lost right now. The sidewalks need to be redone. as does the landscaping. It looks old and unkempt. The yard needs color in the plantings.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 2:22PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Love the natural look of the house but the landscape is dull and drab. I personally don't like a forest in front but I know that removing trees are expensive and this may not be something you want to do. If it were my home I'd remove all the major large trees in front and replace with a select few ornamental trees and shrubs. I think the trees detract from the lines of your home. and if your area is prone to strong winds or storms there is a danger of them damaging your home. The ideal landscape for Texas would be a drought-tolerant one using native grasses, succulents, annuals and perennials and gravel or stone instead of grass. Nevertheless, based on as is, I think the way to go would be a colorful woodland garden and I'm assuming the trees you have cast a lot of shade on the front yard. I've made a rough sketch of my idea for a natural looking garden with curb appeal. This is totally a DIY project - rent a machine to remove all the sod, bring in a truckload of new garden mix , get rid of the shrubs hugging the foundation and get recommendations from your local garden center on hardy plants for your sun/shade areas . Try to get some broadleaf evergreens that also bloom -rhododendrons, azaleas, or colorful hollies. If the area near the curb has more sun you can fill it with lower growing ornamental grasses and colorful annuals and perennials. Add a top layer of fine ground pine park as mulch when all the planting is completed to retain moisture and keep weeds to a minimum. Over time, try to fill as much area as possible with plants that spread so that weeding and mulching becomes unneccesary.
1 Like   January 7, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Diane Williford
I guess those "shutters" I see must be drapery or something. Sorry about the miscommunication. Since you don't have shutters I would add 2 or 3 shades lighter color to the front door and still paint or stain the shingle siding a beige that has a green based tint to it. It will lighten the whole front of the house. Your third color could be a creme (again, a green based tint) for all the trim and facsia boards. If the shingle siding is only on the front of the house, you could change it out for Hardie plank siding. It looks like there is not that much area to do. Hardie plank is a 50 year siding. As for the sidewalk, it needs to be wider. Older sidewalks were always more narrow. Common sense has now prevailed and builders are making them wider now. If the cement is not cracked, stain it and add stone or brick edging to each side of the sidewalk. Talk to the landscape guy about this. Cement work is very costly and if your current sidewalk is in good shape, I would work with what I had but embellish it.
0 Likes   January 7, 2013 at 6:23PM
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hoffmanhaus
Okay, I am loving all of this advice and input. So, thank you! I do know that it looks tired, so that is why I am absorbing all of the information that all of you are sharing with me. When Hurricane Ike hit, we lost some of the larger trees. We do know that we are tree heavy, but it is definitely hard to decide to remove mature trees. We have thought about removing some of the lower branches on the oaks and removing any trash trees in the yard. The idea of removing sod and bringing in dirt and ground pine bark is great. We did have color in two of the beds, but a freeze got all of them. We will replant when we decide how to go about doing all of this.
1 Like   January 7, 2013 at 7:47PM
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rinqreation
In the meanwhile you could plant some crocus in the lawn, in groups or spread. And some narcisses around the trees. They will only come up in spring (and gone after first mow) and give some colorful brightness to the 'tired look' most gardens have after winter. It will also enhance imagination and motivation.
0 Likes   February 13, 2013 at 1:14AM
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rinqreation
And I think the siding will look great in oxblood red, it will warm up the look. Use cream and a light mossgreen for windows and doors.
1 Like   February 13, 2013 at 1:16AM
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hoffmanhaus
I appreciate these suggestions so much. This all sounds very interesting and I'm looking into all of it! Any and all ideas are welcome!
0 Likes   February 13, 2013 at 6:26AM
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Susan Jacobs
I agree that the light post at the front is not doing you any favors (well, it's probably lighting your way in the dark, of course!) It seems too tall and skinny and out of balance with the house. I would remove it.
0 Likes   February 14, 2013 at 10:59PM
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kitasei
Don't remove the light post. Anchor it in a bed of groundcover and fatten it with a vine. Even a non evergreen like clematis would give it substance in winter.
1 Like   February 15, 2013 at 2:43AM
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ManLand LandMan
Power wash the curb!
0 Likes   February 15, 2013 at 3:31AM
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PRO
House of Rocks
I cant tell if the walkway to the front door is paved or not but a brown and orange natural flagstone would be applied directly over the top similar to this photo. Doesn't get much more unique than that!
1 Like   February 15, 2013 at 2:49PM
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hoffmanhaus
All of these suggestions are great!
0 Likes   February 15, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Mike Slater
I agree that the lamppost looks out of place and would be best removed. There are other pathway lighting options that are much better. I also agree that a wider walkway with brick or stone would be more inviting and a better fit with your brick exterior.

The question of whether to add more shrubs, perennials, and flowers or keep it more park-like (and easier to maintain) is really one of personal taste. Both options would work. At a minimum, a few more shrubs that either flower or add different colors would be a good addition to the existing beds in the front of the house.

You may also consider building a new bed that sweeps from the right of your door (as one faces it) in arc to the lower-right corner of the picture. It seems as if there are two discrete beds that could be joined and give you a big canvass on which to paint while also reducing the total amount of grass.

Lots of good advice on paint and color.

Post "after-pictures" and god luck.
0 Likes   February 15, 2013 at 6:18PM
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Lkristine
What a beautiful home!!!!!!! I would keep the exterior fairly neutral, widen the walkway to the front door, and add a few pops of color with large potted flowers near the front door.
0 Likes   February 15, 2013 at 7:35PM
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