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New house help!
loriyreed
January 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
What would you do to spruce up the front?
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loriyreed
Also the driveway is on the left, leading to the 3 car garage, there is one tree in the while yard
January 7, 2013 at 11:30am   
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yvonnecmartin
Hire a landscape architect to generate plans that you can execute over time.
January 7, 2013 at 11:31am     
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houssaon
There are two things I would do, if this house were mine. First, change the paint to a warmer and lighter color so that the cornerstones are not so prominent. Look at Shaker Beige HC-45 by Benjamin Moore, Monroe Bisque HC-26 Paint, and Grant Beige HC-83. I would paint the front door black, or a very deep chocolate brown.

The second thing I would do is landscape. Since the windows are close to the ground I would not plant in fort of them, but rather frame them. Add a progression of plants including ornamental trees away from the foundation. Since you have a deep front lawn, I would play up that fearture with planting along the street. I would also plant two trees, such as oak or maple in the expansive lawn area.
January 7, 2013 at 1:02pm     
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abbshel
I agree with hiring a landscape architect for your home. It's a large home and needs a lot of landscaping to soften it and make it more welcoming.
In the meantime some beautiful tall pots on either side of the front door with greenery and flowers would greatly help.
Also, change out your way too small sidelights flanking your front door.
I like the prominence of your cornerstones but do feel the appropriate trees and shrubs will help detract a little from them so they seem more of a distinguishing feature rather than the first thing you notice.
I am picturing a tall shrub between the cornerstone wall to the right and the window, and then bringing a bed out from that point all the way along under the window and up to the sidewalk I see.
That's just a thought for that particular area.
January 7, 2013 at 1:13pm     
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PRO
By Design EK
I disagree with houssaon on the color suggestions but I like the landscaping suggestions. I would add some contrast, everything is brown. Paint the house grey is my first thought, not light but a rich grey. If this is not your style than i like houssans bisque or a warm gold. I think you need a porch! This will be a big job as it would need to be a two story portico. I think this would add a lot to your facade if you can put this in the plan for improvements at some point. Also I agree with changing the porch lights to something much grander. Black would be my preference whether you want to go simpler or more modern. If you could add some planters in the corners on the left side of the photo I think this would help that part of the house have more interest.
January 7, 2013 at 1:53pm     
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PRO
Interiors International, Inc.
I agree with North Bay Homes LLC that house looks great in the gray tones.
January 7, 2013 at 1:56pm   
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Jayme H.
A good landscape job will do wonders here. For a quick fix I would put a color on the front door & also some sort of pots/planters (which could match newly painted door color), with plants for a topiary-like look (something with vertical height)-on each side of front door...then trim up any scraggly stuff around the foundation...Also two nice lights on sides of front doors that are larger and interesting. Then stand back and look and consider bigger jobs such as repainting, etc. You could also try another planter in the area where there is a gap on the front of the house, towards the right side. I would look for substantially sized containers, shopping at a professional garden and landscaping center. Take a pic of house and bring it with.
January 7, 2013 at 2:26pm     
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loriyreed
Thank you all for the suggestions thus far. It's the first home we have owned in several years and we are really excited to make it ours.
Any thoughts on topiary trees next to the front door? Yes no?
It's house suicide lol?
Right now we will be cleaning the exterior and getting rid of the junk that is currently dead. I have no idea what is planted underground currently.
Can anyone suggest a landscaping program that is free or low cost?
We really want to do the work ourselves. Professional landscapers are really not in the budget
January 7, 2013 at 3:04pm     
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Jayme H.
Entrance ideas
January 7, 2013 at 3:17pm     
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Jayme H.
ideas: you can pick the brains of the landscape architects at landscaping/gardening centers as many places have them on staff...that's FREE!
January 7, 2013 at 3:18pm     
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decoenthusiaste
The contrast of outlines around windows, doors and quoins are really too much. Would try a bit of a tone down there. Sometimes landscape courses are taught at local universities or community colleges and you can learn a lot, make contacts and perhaps find other students to help you with your own project - offer your place for a class project.
January 7, 2013 at 3:25pm   
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houssaon
Also, Better Homes and Gardens (http://www.bhg.com) has plans online, lots of great articles and a free online landscape planner: http://www.bhg.com/gardening/design/nature-lovers/welcome-to-plan-a-garden/

I think landscaping is the best way to add charm and interest. Make sure you allow enough room for the plants to mature. Keep all plants edges about a foot away from the foundation. Again, figure that based on its size at maturity.
January 7, 2013 at 3:47pm     
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loriyreed
Is our house Mediterranean or French Chateu?
I'm really at a loss on this one.
Any help?
January 7, 2013 at 4:08pm   
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Elizabeth Bishop
Get a job at the local nursery! Not only do you earn $ to pay for your landscaping, and get discounts, you learn about trees and shrubs, bedding and perennial plants, and you make friends in the profession who can help you out...with a plan, or creativity. I'd taken a landscaping class in the evening, through the community, he gave us the rules and took us to the local nursery where I picked up a grid, and per square foot put into the grid, my home shape, existing trees, patios, sidewalks and fences. I had done all the measuring. I took it to my friend, a landscape designer, and I gave him $100. The are landscape designers, and landscape architects, the more highly trained. You can really see a difference when you hire a professional.

Or, you can pick up some landscaping books at the library, or look at people's yards and implement what you like into your yard. The key is to do your homework, then, before you start planting, make sure that you have a plan. Improving your soil is a must if you want your landscaping to flourish.

My suggestion for you is to enlarge the presence of your pathway (widen it) leading to the front door, make it grand and inviting. Have large pots on either side of the door packed with tall, med, colorful flowers, with coleus, vinca, sweet potato vines, with interesting textures, and vines cascading to the ground. Paint your door to give it color to make it pop. Enlarge the lighting at the door. Place tall conifers at the corners of your home, plant large trees. Under the windows and along the walk plant bedding plants for color. Add boxwoods (hedged) along your pathway, or lavender if you want scent or color (they may get ragged after a few years). Start with the small stuff. Make sure your beds have good soil, and are well defined..... have fun creating! Start with the pots and beds, then go to the more expensive trees as you can afford it..... If you're North or East facing, go with shade annuals (begonia's, impatience) or perennials (hosts, etc), if your south or west facing (petunia's, geraniums) go with sun annuals. Grasses are way fun, if you want it to be water wise...
January 7, 2013 at 4:37pm     
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apennameandthata
The house does not pop but the colours of the house all match and muted colours can look good outside a house. So, even thought the house might look dull, I would not go to the expense of repainting the house or even the trim.

I would get rid of the little bushes up next to the house, but put in some pot plants to emphasise the entrance and paint the front door. I'm not sure what colour would be more bold and still match the front of your house. The underlying hue of the house might be purlple (where the colour would live on the colour wheel) but that might be the photo/monitor playing tricks on me); if it was, I would paint it plumb or maroon. Houzz has stacks of segments entitled "When to paint your door ", so look there!!

Too, learn, research and do your own garden design as best as you can, before you hire a landscape architect. You will get better value for money and a better garden. Whatever you do, don't start on the garden (beyond some big potplants) before you do an overall plan!!

I like your house, congrats, and have a happy life there. In saying that, the photo does not suggest that people live there. It looks deserted. I don't think that brighter paint will help. I think that cheaper stuff will help. I would save paint money and buy a garden fence. A garden fence hints at small people who need to be kept safe.
January 7, 2013 at 4:56pm     
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wmpj
You can try your local extension office to speak with a Master Gardener for low cost/cheap help.
January 7, 2013 at 4:57pm     
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loriyreed
All excellent ideas! Thank you all so much. @apennameanthata, the house was lived in until about a month ago. Long story short, a man lived there that is retired his wife and children moved up north and were waiting for the house to sell before he moved up north to be with them. He basically didnt care anymore lol He was ready to move.
Thank you again for all of the suggestions. I will be posting interior pics in the future asking for help with decorating ideas :-)
January 7, 2013 at 7:06pm     
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Aja Mazin
Contact your local county agricultural extension office or college and request information on what plants and trees grow best in your area.

They will send you tons of brochures on xeriscape landscaping.
January 7, 2013 at 7:19pm   
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
I like some of the landscape suggestions that @houssaon and @abbshel gave. I'm a landscape architect and I'd be happy to give some suggestions but real advice and a plan won't be "cheap". You often get what you pay for. But for a couple of hundred bucks you'll get something to start with and work off of and not make a couple of hundred dollars of mistakes that detract from your home's appearance and end up tearing out later.
If you’re really in a budget crunch, I would just start by making it clean and maintained along the foundation with a maintenance strip of fresh mulch in the spring. If you can afford get it 2.5' wide, then you'll have space to do foundation plantings later. Pots and topiary might seem a little lonely and small next to the skinny sidewalk and expansive facade. Upgrading/upsizing the light fixtures would help with scale and importance of the front and perceived value of the house.
Next, from your master plan, you'll want to add the big trees and not smashed up against the house. Best bang for the buck. A $500 larger tree has more visual impact and will add scale to the house than 20 small shrubs at $25. If you have a design, you'll know where to put them so they won't have to be moved when you put in a gracious walkway and patio/courtyard to guide your guest up to front door. Again I'd do most of the plantings NOT against the foundation but on the other side of the sidewalk or courtyard, play up how large the yard is and don't velcro everything to the foundation. Give yourself some sort of outdoor room and nice plantings to look out onto from the inside of the house, where you'll be most of the time. You're not going to be sitting on the curb in your car looking at the foundation of your house.
You'll probably want to hire a fertilizer & weed control service after some of these improvements are made. It'll give you a good jump and refreshing the lawn the first year you do it, but you can save a little money by doing the grass cutting yourself. See if they can do an aeration and overseed in the spring or fall. The new grass filling in will really help freshen it up. Good Luck. If you live near Chicago, give me a call.
January 7, 2013 at 7:33pm     
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loriyreed
Thank you! We live in North Fl outside of Jacksonville lol
January 7, 2013 at 8:14pm     
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Aja Mazin
loriyreed,

I live outside Tampa.

Definitely give the county agricultural extension office or college a call.

Xeriscape provides sustainable landscaping and preserves our precious water.
Lawn is kept to a minimum.

Geeez, how did we survive before there were " landscape architects"?

You don't have to be in a "budget crunch" to exercise common sense and work in harmony with our environment!!!

Your home is gorgeous!

No need to paint.
January 7, 2013 at 9:09pm     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
That's funny! But you notice I didn't give a lot of specific plants because I couldn't glean many clues about your location from the picture or your comments except the previous owner moved back up north (I was assuming a Midwesterner moving back to Canada). I'm not familiar with your local plant or the sun exposure/ orientation of the house but I assume that you'll probably get some quicker results due to the longer growing season. Even more reason to plan ahead and not have something taking over the house in a year or two that you have to whack and hack back. Think multi function and shapes, like maybe a columnar flowering tree that breaks up a stretch of blank wall. If it’s the west side maybe it provides a little extra shade to that wall or maybe you'll want it to have edible fruit. Have fun!
January 7, 2013 at 9:18pm   
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Stone & Land, LLC
Thanks Aja, you're absolutely right, we can survive without "landscape architects" and lots of other useless things in our modern society. We are quite blessed in our country to have the luxury of asking for advice about our 3500 s.f. house on our laptop computers or IPads, but still feel like we have cut back because "Professional landscapers are really not in the budget". Just trying to help out.
January 7, 2013 at 9:40pm     
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Elizabeth Bishop
Your home is neither Mediterranean or French Chateau....
January 7, 2013 at 10:01pm     
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Aja Mazin
Stone & Land, LLC,

I took the homeowner at her word:

"Can anyone suggest a landscaping program that is free or low cost?
We really want to do the work ourselves. Professional landscapers are really not in the budget."

Xeriscape landscaping provides many benefits to both the home owner and our environment.

Water conservation, soil Improvement and low-maintenance iare just 3 of the benefits of xeriscape
landscaping.
http://eartheasy.com/grow_xeriscape.htm

Land management is essential and a sustainable lawn and garden should be the concern of every homeowner.
January 7, 2013 at 10:10pm     
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houssaon
Please Aja, someone is taking the time to offer opinions really doesn't deserve to be slighted by you.
January 7, 2013 at 11:14pm     
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Darzy
For years we lived with a boring front yard because it wasn't in the budget to hire a landscaper. Then, we got a few bids. After considering the labor, cost of plants, sod, trees, etc it really wasn't that much more to hire the professionals to do it and get the professional look. Trust me. You will LOVE your house so much more with curb appeal. Get a loan, borrow from Mom, but get your front landscaping done. Everytime you drive up you will say "I love this house". : )
January 7, 2013 at 11:39pm     
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Darzy
P.S. We found a guy who was advertising for the first time and was building a portfolio and was 1/3 of the other bids. Try that!
January 7, 2013 at 11:50pm     
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Aja Mazin
houssaon ,

Thank you, but no need to apologize.

I did not feel slighted.
January 8, 2013 at 2:07am     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Your so clever Ms. Mazin. I was wrong to slight you. If it was MY house, I'd have permaculture aspects with a chicken coop, and aquaculture pond out front with a fence made of plastic pink flamingo's (the flamingos don't need much watering). I think that'd be pretty fun. I'd bet I could write a cool article about it too and post it on Houzz and see how many people "like" it. Sincerely, your beautiful and again my apologies if I offended you with my comments.
January 8, 2013 at 5:06am     
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Jayme H.
Well, on that note, I now feel able to mention what really is needed? Yard gnomes...come in lots of colors and are easy to move around also inexpensive and desirable to so many people....just kidding! Hope everyone smiles and has a good day. And good luck to the original poster who has a lovely home.
January 8, 2013 at 5:45am     
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apennameandthata
Two thoughts: please post after photos. That's the payment around here. And second, please post a wide angle shot. It might make your house look better already.
January 8, 2013 at 6:07am     
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Jamie Evans
Check at your local nursery to see if someone will draw up a plan for you. Our local plant store will schedule an appointment to view pictures of your lawn/house, and then recommend things to add/remove and where to place them, all for free! It is up to us to do the labor, but it was worth it to get a professional opinion.
January 8, 2013 at 6:35am     
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Jayme H.
Nicely landscaped
January 8, 2013 at 7:19am     
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Jayme H.
Different angle
January 8, 2013 at 7:34am     
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Elizabeth Bishop
Living in Florida brings on whole new landscaping from what I mentioned earlier. I'm speaking from the intermountain west.... You asked about architecture earlier, which I didn't fully address. Your home is an attempt at a modern version of "a take" on Georgian architecture. The things that link you to a Georgian is the boxy 2 story, the keystones, and the symmetry of the windows and central front door, plus the hip roof. The true Georgian has 2 chimneys on each end, 2 1/2 -3 stories, a hipped roof, with captains walk, dormers in roof, dental trim, usually brick, and symmetrical windows (5-6 across) with small panes, central doorway with ornate moldings. ( for picture see the Mount Pleasant home in Philadelphia) So, with that in mind, enjoy your project!
January 8, 2013 at 7:39am     
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PRO
Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design
Speaking as a proffessional I would invest in commisioning a designer, this property & the immediate frontage has fabulous potential to be a reception space to the house. I would work with a classical & formal concept to work with the essence of the house. One could create quite a presence & framework within this garden. Including a larger scale pathway , substantial planting areas adjacent to the property & also framing the pathway ( either side ) . Sections of evergreen formal structure such as boxwood ( not twee slim box hedges ) but generous sections & allocated space. Possibly other evergreen form ( not certain on your climate ) & teamed with sections, panels of softer perennial planting. These could be in simple drifts using a limited palette.

good luck ,
January 8, 2013 at 7:54am     
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Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design
If proffessional landscapers are not in the budget , at least allocate some budget for a design or a concept design ... at least then you would have a Blue-print / master plan which you yourselves if you need to can impliment over time. I really feel you loose the potential here if you tried to `Design` it yourselves. It just has too much long term potential.
Dont forget once you have a master plan or concept plan laid oud on paper you can then take your time & stage all the works.
January 8, 2013 at 8:47am     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Ms. Copely-Smith, be careful, don't give too much advise. People can survive without "landscape architects" don't ya know ;).
January 8, 2013 at 9:17am     
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Laara Copley-Smith Garden & Landscape Design
Stone & Land, LLC well I was wondering if they may decide to hire You !
Not sure where you are located yet closer than I
They may survive yet they will not get the same result working with proffessionals
January 8, 2013 at 9:51am     
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houssaon
One more note on the subject of the value of landscape architects. I wonder what Central Park and New York City would be like with out Frederick Law Olmsted, a pioneer landscape architect.

I've both landscaped my own property (digging the holes, planting, mulching, trimming, etc.) and brought in professional help for specific jobs over the past 30 years. I've never regretted the money I spent on professional services. Once I had someone out and they pointed out the a small shrub that I had planted next to the house would grow really tall. It was about two feet at that time. I moved myself and now about 15 years later it has to be over 20 feet tall and a beauty.

What you invest in landscaping goes beyond money, it is time. When plants are are not properly sited, they infringe on the home and have to be moved or removed all togther. So all the years it took to reach a certain point of maturity has been wasted.

That doesn't mean that any landscaping company that comes along will do a good job - some only provide labor and no expertise.

On the other hand, Landscape Architects have had enough passion for their work to have gone to school to learn the trade. In the United States, Landscape Architecture is regulated by individual state governments. For a landscape architect, obtaining licensure requires advanced education and work experience, plus passage of the national examination. Several states require passage of a state exam as well. In the U.S. licensing is overseen both at the state level, and nationally by the Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards (CLARB).
January 8, 2013 at 10:38am     
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Classic Designs by Brook
I built one similar. Change front door to an oversized iron door and add large sconce lighting on sides. Also putting in a circle drive will give balance to the lot and home.
January 8, 2013 at 11:02am     
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Aja Mazin
houssaon

The next time I buy land for a public park, I will certainly call a landscape architect.

I highly recommend the book "Gardens Are For People" by Thomas Dolliver Church.

The majority of Church’s work was residential.

As I previously stated, urban planning and land management are essential and a sustainable lawn and garden should be the goal of every homeowner.
January 8, 2013 at 11:07am     
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Aja Mazin
Classic Designs by Brook,

Absolutely awesome!
January 8, 2013 at 11:10am     
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Stone & Land, LLC
You're absolutely right Aja, Thomas Church was a great and influential "landscape architect".
January 8, 2013 at 11:30am     
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Jayme H.
loriyreed, did you want help with just up near the house at this time, or were u looking for a large scale project? My comments were in response to an, up & near the home itself, budget easy and quick-fix. I feel that there are ways to spruce up the front of the home quickly, easily and very economically without taking on a huge, large scale yard project. But I do believe in planning for that while doing smaller projects.
January 8, 2013 at 11:35am   
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Stone & Land, LLC
@Classic Designs by Brook. I agree with Ms. Mazin. Very nice. I'll defer to her on how to do that type a job on a budget, without professionals and incorporating xeriscape since it is residential and not a park.
January 8, 2013 at 12:16pm     
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Jayme H.
Close to the home landscaping can be achieved for a decent price..I realize these homes are a bit different than the one in question.
January 8, 2013 at 12:20pm     
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Aja Mazin
Jayme Hobbs,

I think this is an example of a smaller home that is in harmony with the environment.

No healthy trees over 6" in diameter were removed from the lot and the house was situated to benefit from
the canopy of the oak trees.

January 8, 2013 at 12:34pm     
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Jayme H.
Aja,
I think they r going to have a beautiful place once it's figured out for sure. I like your pic of the nice landscaping in front of your first home... I think they can definately do some smaller scale things up front for a good price, and go from there as they wish to do. Always nice to see and hear your good ideas Aja!
January 8, 2013 at 1:26pm     
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loriyreed
Wow!! I did not expect so many comments and such great input from all of you. We truly appreciate it. I have printed out all the comments up to now so I can keep them and use them.
Right now the plan is to clean it up and plant trees, look into ornamental plants/trees for the sidewalk. We will look into what grows well in our area as this is the first house we have owned in Florida.
I just love all of the input and will post after pictures for you all to enjoy!!
Thank you again!!!
January 8, 2013 at 1:35pm     
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Jayme H.
Can't wait to see your progress Loriyreed!!
January 8, 2013 at 1:42pm     
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PRO
Stone & Land, LLC
Ms. Mazin, you're absolutely right, your first house is in harmony with the environment. I'm assuming that your house is a perfect example of xeriscape and @loriyreed will learn a lot from this picture.
January 8, 2013 at 1:43pm   
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Aja Mazin
..
January 12, 2013 at 8:33pm   
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