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Curb appeal/landscaping help!
pilot099
January 19, 2013 in Design Dilemma
It was a beautiful day today! We decided to spend it pulling out the 2.5 ft. High Hedge that used to run along our front 3 windows. 3 new windows (identical to these) go in this week. I'd love ideas on how best to add some curb appeal w landscaping. Currently behind me, we just have a big grassy yard that runs out to the curb behind where i'm standing. Our grass is dormant Too. Thanks so much in advance.
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ginale
Smart move! We did the same thing last spring and I drove around for months looking for landscaping that I liked. I finally got the help of a landscaper who chose a mix of evergreens and perennials in the colors I liked and that would be hearty in our area. Post some photos after you landscape. Good luck!
3 Likes   January 19, 2013 at 6:48PM
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Stone & Land, LLC
If you had a little wider shot and you told us where your from it might help with some plant selection. To the right, does that sidewalk run right next to a garage? I'd hate to just give you the same idea to paste some plants right up against the house again. Is there a budget or desire to do a mini patio or court yard out here with a seat wall, little recirculating water feature? You could even make it a circle or semi cirlcle shaped space or on the 45. Maybe two little patio trees like Pee Gee Hydrangeas on a standard could frame the space. A little outdoor room to look out onto from the nice big windows.
5 Likes   January 19, 2013 at 7:59PM
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Tres McKinney Design
I am an interior designer but always stress that interior and exterior design need to be harmonious for an overall successful project. I am also as passionate about gardens as I am about interiors. I will defer to all those talented landscape designers on Houzz to comment but I do have some advice on the house's exterior detailing. I recommend that you paint all the trim and the spaces between the two front windows a deep smokey taupe which would compliment the brick beautifully. The white spaces between the windows chops up the windows and is distracting. You can paint the front door a contrasting color or more traditional dark green to make more of a focal point. DIY garden projects can be disastrous if you do not do your homework. Your best bet is to consult with a garden or landscape designer in your region to help you develop a garden design whether you implement it all at once or over time.
You will save money in the long run by avoiding expensive mistakes and plantings that do not thrive.
Look at garden magazines, books and websites. Explore neighborhoods in your area to find designs and plantings that resonate with you and then bring these ideas to your garden or landscape designer to help you navigate and edit your ideas.
11 Likes   January 19, 2013 at 8:37PM
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yvonnecmartin
I'd second the suggestion that you hire a landscape architect for a consultation. You can add the plants and hardscape over time as you have the resources.
4 Likes   January 19, 2013 at 9:10PM
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ajacksonbird
I had a similar problem last summer and found that driving around other neighborhoods and checking out other designs and plant selections helped a lot! I took a photo of the plants and areas I liked and the nice people at the plant nursery helped me find all that I needed. It looks great and I'm sure, in time, yours will too!
3 Likes   January 19, 2013 at 9:36PM
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creative standards
easy fix. Matching conifers such as juniperous smarg either side of the windows, curve the garden in front of each conifer and plant annuals with a colour scheme, not random colours, and plant a japanese box hedge to grow 18 inches between the conifers and in front of that plant festuca. Beautiful and easy care.
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 1:09AM
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cohoek
Hi, I think the first question must be, do you like to garden, or do you want low maintenance? Do you have a back garden for socializing? First figure out your needs, and wants. If you love flowers you could get some climbers next to the windows.. Do you want a small flowering or fruit tree to look at out of the window? This all will be a problem in Arizona but in New York its a possibility. Buy some books on the subject. Its so much fun if you like to garden, and remember gardening is a process!
3 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 1:30AM
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benniebonita
Get to know your soil first
Ie much rubble, enough drainage, spend more on soil then less on plants with these holes do soil tests drainage test where it's facing ie south, to time sun on garden + + + = plants that live : )
4 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 2:19AM
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pilot099
All great ideas and suggestions, thank you so much! I've attached a few more pictures of our front to give you a broader feel of the front. The front door had been red and we just replaced it. It's white now (new) but I'd like to go red again. I love the idea of painting the house/trim taupe. Do u have a specific color in mind? Between the window is actually this current house color although it might have looked white. The new windows going in this coming week will be white. I'd like some what lower maintenance only for the sheer purpose that we may turn it into a rental in 2-3 years. Although i don't want to compromise beautiful for low maintenance either. We are in Oklahoma. I'm not in love with the seating idea in front. We're on a lake so the back yard is great but am willing to entertain anything! I'd be willing to paint the house and have thoughts of adding pretty lighting on either side of the garage door and then the landscaping in front. I love the stacked slate look for a border as well. I have driven around but struggle with the vision if the front isn't just like ours. Thank you all so much!
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 6:15AM
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radee
We just had a landscape architect do plans for our home. We are new to the area so as to not make the mistakes of planting in a new zone and having a lot of failures we chose to go this route. No regrets.

Looking at your home (very pretty by the way) I see a lot of straight lines and think a curve or two would be welcomed. Starting at the side of your home and curving to the driveway. This gives you lots of room for different plants and lighting. I'm not a fan of edging the driveway because the driveway doesn't look wide enough to get out of the car and not step into a flower bed. While you do curves also do "bumps" whether thru rocks or taller mounds. This gives the appearance of some texture and not all straight. Hope this helps the creative juices.
3 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 6:33AM
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pilot099
Benniebonita- didn't even think about that, thank you. The house face's north/South with the front facing south where these pictures are all of. Cohoek-I don't mind gardening but would have to say that I love great curb appeal more to where if I have to garden more then low maintenance but less then over the top, I'm ok with that. I do like flowers but would like to have maybe 70%-shrubs and greenery and 30%-flowers. A flowering tree that didn't get too big could be beautiful. My living room is behind these blinds and I always have the blinds open and enjoy looking out. Creative standards-thank you! I will look all those up to get a visual. Stone & Land, LLC- were you thinking Pee Wee Hydrangeas on either side of the window? I'll attach a "before" pic. It's awful so beware! LOL!
1 Like   January 20, 2013 at 6:34AM
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pilot099
BEFORE!
1 Like   January 20, 2013 at 6:35AM
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cohoek
Hi again, after seeing the whole view of your house I would recommend you try to emphasize the verticle lines of the building. I always see a house as a face, your house frowns a bit I would say. About that tree, you could do a selfpollinating fruit tree, it flowers beautifully, and you get fruit. A plum you could keep small. I have one and I sometimes make plumjam if there are enough after the birds get them...You might want to try 2 big pots next to your big window, you'll have to water them but you'd probably have to water plants too because its under the eaves. If you want to do more I'd would make a big border over the width of your livingroom with all kinds of perrenials, but you might lose everything with the new tenants. I liked your idea of stacked slate, does ik come from the neighborhood? You could put a spring flowering schrub to the right of the window and a summer one to the left.
1 Like   January 20, 2013 at 8:36AM
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STUDIO MB
First I would add shutters to flank both sides of the window..
4 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 11:04AM
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STUDIO MB
Then I would do a bed of fine pebbles
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 11:06AM
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STUDIO MB
Then on either side of the window on center I would have these two planter boxes with a boxwood shaped to be around 3 feet tall
3 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 11:06AM
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STUDIO MB
The center would be perennial landscaping
6 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 11:16AM
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Tres McKinney Design
Thank you for posting another picture of the whole front of the house. A red front door would be inviting. I would also paint the garage door a smokey gray along with all the other trim I previously recommended. This will make the garage door blend with the rest of the house and not take center stage. Lanterns on each side of the large window or on each side of the garage would be attractive.
I would plant in the ground under the picture window but the boxwood in the planters Maria recommends would look great sitting on the concrete on each side of the garage door. Go for as large a planter as fits. The scale of the planter and boxwood is key next to a wide garage door. planters would help break up the expanse of concrete.
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 11:38AM
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druesig
Very straight lines...the walkway is very straight. Lines need to be softened a little. Use your garden hose to make the kind of curves you think you might like under your window. You can easily move the hose further from the house as needed before you do any digging. A spring flowering tree in the yard would add lots of color. (Don't know your area so can't suggest anything.) The boxwood in a ball shape planted in planters next to the garage would also add some softness. I dont' think you would lose too much of your front sidewalk. And please paint the front door a joyous, inviting color!!!
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 12:41PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Since you're in Oklahoma and you may turn the house into a rental you need a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant garden. Get rid of the lawn ( you can rent a sod remover ) and bring in a foot of rock garden soil . Plant a mixture of low-growing evergreens ( Japanese Rock garden juniper is lovely and very drought tolerant ), yucca, succulents such as sedums, etc., tall and low growing ornamental grasses, and hardy perennials. Top with pebbles as mulch and place decorative stones sporadically in the lower garden near the curb. Plant low-growing ornamental grasses such as blue fescue, etc in groups of 6 for a nice effect. Look up xeriscapes or rock gardens for great examples. This kind of garden looks good in all seasons, is low-maintenance and low-water . Here's a rough sketch of my idea.
5 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Stone & Land, LLC
Yes thanks for the picture pilot099. You have a lot more room on the entry walk than I thought. You almost have that courtyard feeling already with the wide front walk. You could have a nice semi private area at least to set a chair or two in the front and talk with a neighbor. I did a little concept with the PeeGee Hydrangea on a standard. You could also just do a simple arc from the corner of the walk back to near the corner of the house on the left, then fill with low growing plant material. I think a nice evergreen groundcover like English Ivy might be nice under the window area. Anyway enjoy and I'm sure a local designer can develop your plan further and have some better plant selection.
5 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 2:26PM
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
take advantage of the opt, to do something interesting. the curve is a great idea. one can use the water hose to layout and play with ideas......use the water hose as line indicating the new bed. As it is flexible it will be easy to rearrange and come up with a shape that is pleasing....
2 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 3:20PM
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GARY FINLEY, ASID
be careful to not plant too close to the house. consider th size the bush/shrub will grow to, and leave space accordingly from the house to the center of the plant
3 Likes   January 20, 2013 at 3:21PM
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destime
Create a curvy bed starting behind the corner of your house, round it wide around the corner, go back closer to the house under the window, then round outwards again around the corner created by the house and sidewalk, and then create a curve out and back in to meet the corner of your sidewalk that sticks out into your lawn. Plant something that would soften the corner of your house, like a crepe myrtle or Texas Mountain Laurel. Don't plant it in front of your house, bring it out away from the corner. Plant a group of something low and maybe flowering under the windows, something a little taller again (but different) in the corner that would be in front of the brick portion of your home, then a variety of some things that would be low along the sidewalk. Create the bed with metal edging or just remove the grass. Yes, use a water hose to plan the shape. One of the tricks is to use different textures and different shades of green. Dark small leaves, some spiked leaves like African Iris, large yellow-green leaves like variegated ginger, gray-green Lamb's Ear, etc. Vary the heights, (let the 2 plants in the corners be the tallest) plant in groups of 3, 5, or more to create a mass, and avoid rows usually. Don't use too many different plants. Keep it simple and organized, but interesting.

You can usually find great help at the local nurseries, (not big-box stores). They will probably have lists of landscape designers, or maybe even on staff, that can help you at a reasonable hourly rate. And they can help you determine which type of plants to use for your area and placement in your yard.
Study some of the beautiful planted beds on Houzz, have fun, and good luck!
2 Likes   January 21, 2013 at 12:11AM
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pilot099
You all are amazing! Phenomenal ideas from each and everyone of you. I plan to take an idea or two from each of you. The garden hose is an excellent idea and we were playing with that yesterday. I love the rounded idea of having it come out and down in the front to meet with the entry where it meets the drive way. Love the sketches, being so visual I very much appreciate you taking the time. Love the topiaries and xeriscape landscaping was in my original plans. Our street is dark and one of the things we've always said, was we wanted to add more light. So lights behind the garage and windows is now in the plans too. Thanks again to all of you so much! It may be a few months and some much warmer days before we get this done but I will be sure to post the final product for you all to see.
3 Likes   January 21, 2013 at 5:47AM
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Shona Duncan
I don't know where you live so I'm not sure that you would want shading at the front, if so then you could try putting a porch in the front with a bull-nosed curve and reproduction cast aluminium pre-painted columns, with a cast aluminium freeze along the top and matching balustrade. Since I live in a high crime country (Australia) the verandah will have to be closed in for security and there are a lot of reproduction products on the market to make the house look like the other houses on the street but more secure and pretty. I also prefer wooden windows because of their thermal properties and looks, double glazing is important. I am going to pave the entire front yard in brick over concrete for off street parking.
0 Likes   January 21, 2013 at 2:09PM
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druesig
If you have a university in the area, maybe there is a student who would offer up some ideas for you as part of a horticulture degree. Good luck and 'get dirty'!!!!
1 Like   January 21, 2013 at 4:08PM
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nevadan
Your house is unfortunately very low to the ground. Your windows are low., Therefore, your plant material must be kept low. You will be using evergreens that have a low spreading habit.
0 Likes   January 21, 2013 at 5:10PM
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studio | FORMA
I am not really a garden expert but looking at your homes facade I would opt for planting the front yard closest to the street instead of right up against the house and lawn turf in between the plantings and the house. I think this would create a feeling of privacy, a private front yard.
6 Likes   January 22, 2013 at 4:35PM
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ekjohnson65
You're getting some really nice ideas. Might consider a different trim color. My guess is the majority of your neighbors have the same color you now have. I had a house in Wichita with very similar brick. I trimmed it in SW Brainstorm Bronze. It blended very nicely and softened the entire look. As a matter of fact I'm getting ready to use it as an all over color on my Prairie Village, KS MCM house.
2 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 7:56AM
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bjowen
great ideas from everyone! I love the house, very " neutral ". I would remove the lawn and stagger
3 trellises across the yard 1/3 of the way to the street. In front I would create berms and plant hardy evergreens and other low maint. evergreen shrubs. Behind I would put in a simple patio with plants
around the edges, softening the trellis. If you look up Japanese gardens, you'll get an idea of what it might look like. What a wonderful blank canvas! good luck!
1 Like   January 23, 2013 at 12:04PM
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designgirl178
My questions would be do you want green all year? Do you like to trim shrubs a lot? If the answers are not necessarily and no respectively, I would go with some short decorative grasses or hydrangeas, maybe some hostas--those would need dividing every 3-4 years to share with friends; If you want some depth you could add a short fence about 4-5 feet in front of your house on that side with perennial plantings in front for color and some shrubs or a couple decorative miniature trees behind for a baseline. Good luck.
2 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 1:18PM
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jukesgrrl
If it were my home, I'd first paint the front door an eye-attracting color, as Tres McKinney suggested, while painting the garage door and the trim around the windows a color that would harmonize with the brick rather than compete with it. I don't care for matching front and garage doors because the home entrance should be emphasized, and the larger auto entrance de-emphasized. Then I'd add window boxes painted in the same color as the door to draw attention to the lovely windows and allow me to have seasonal flowers at the front of the house. At the right side (by the security sign) of the window, I'd plant something low that would come forward and wrap around the edge of hard corner of the front porch/landing pad/whatever you call it. Perhaps a planting of nandinas, which would give you a variety of color all year. On the left side of the window, I'd put something evergreen and low-maintenance, but vertical, which will balance the wider planting to the right side and also mask the hose and soften the corner of the house. Please don't add shutters! I don't appreciate the use of non-functioning shutters at any time, but particularly on a modern house because they are a very traditional element.
2 Likes   January 23, 2013 at 6:18PM
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pilot099
These ideas are amazing! Studio FORMA- I just love the along the side of the road planting idea. My concern on that is that my neighbor's grass and our grass are like a big field. They put in an "island" if you will between us that's kind of a lima bean shaped on the vertical. It's landscaped but the top and bottom of our grass just blend together. That's something I don't for see us changing. We like them and they're elderly. So back to running something along the street's edge, it would just have to cut off once it met there lawn? Jukesgrrl- I love that 2 two color idea. ekjohnson65- LUV that brainstorm bronze color. I bet that's what Tres McKinney Design meant with the suggestion of going with a "smokey grey". Yes, I'd say the neighborhood has about 3-4 different bricks. We're not terribly far from Wichita so I'm sure it's all the same brick. LOL! Jukesgrrl- when you say go with a pop near the front door, is that just a lighter color on the same sw brainstorm bronze palette that ekjohnson65 suggested or are you talking about say a red at the entry? Painting the front door red is #1 on the list. I just want to clarify that. Are you talking a light taupe on the color palette w a red front door and then the garage door and between the windows the smokey grey? Yes, I agree on the shutters, the house actually had shutters and we pulled them off about a year ago. What a difference it has made. Just a clearer, more straight lined look. Thanks again all, I'm so appreciate for your time and ideas. Thanks!
1 Like   January 24, 2013 at 6:12AM
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ekjohnson65
I agree with the "pop" of color for the front door. Such a simple change if you don't find the right color the first time. Also agree with not adding shutters. The house has a nice modern look and shutters take it the wrong direction. And a soft color can make the garage door part of the house rather than the focal point. Some people are afraid of painting garage doors. They seem to think they need to remain the manufactured color when in fact they take a paint job really well.
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 6:16AM
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ekjohnson65
YesTulsa and Wichita are pretty close and the more I look at your brick it probably did come from the same brick yard! I painted my door the Brainstorm Bronze first and it was kind of boring. So I painted it a really bright, true orange. Loved it. Red is always a good front door and the family of color I mentioned goes with EVERYTHING! I'm using sort of a Robin's Egg blue on my new house. Saying that just to pass on that the BB family does indeed go with just about everything. I'd do everything i.e. between windows, garage, etc in the neutral color. Very excited to see what you decide on! You must share as your project advances! This has been fun and I have certainly gotten some great landscaping ideas too!
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 8:27AM
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pilot099
Ekjohnson I picked up the SW brainstorm bronze paint chip today and wanted to share it up close against the brick w you. What do you think? I wanted to share to that around our front door is siding also. So if I went with the BB it would be grey up there as well? Then the red door? What do you think? Or should i use a softer lighter color for that small area on this color chip by the front door and then the BB for the garage door, trim and area between the windows? SW brainstorm bronze is the 2nd color in from the far right.
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 11:23AM
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ekjohnson65
I love it! Makes me miss my Wichita house! I'd use it everywhere and then the red door. Snap, crackle and pop! You'll be the envy of the neighborhood! And again it has to be the same brick! If I can find a picture of Wichita I'll attach it.
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 11:33AM
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ekjohnson65
This isn't a very good picture but might give you an idea.
2 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Tres McKinney Design
I can' tell the names of the colors from your posted image but I think the second and third up from the bottom of the chip would look best. I would go with the darker of the two. ekjohnson65's image is a great illustration of how successful and sophisticated a color like this would look with your brick. It will really update the look of your house. Stick with the darker paint color on all including the garage doors. Don't paint the garage door grids in a different shade.
1 Like   January 24, 2013 at 4:33PM
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pilot099
The color we're looking at is the one that you can't read the color name on the chip. It's the second from the right. Gotcha on no two tone garage door. I haven't even thought about that idea. Thanks ekjohnson65 for posting the Wichita house pic, it's gorgeous and looks just like my neighborhood. Thanks Tres McKinney for confirming! I'm ready now if only it wasn't a high of 23 today here. I'll post on my progress once we make some.
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 6:31PM
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Tres McKinney Design
Can't wait to see the after pictures!
0 Likes   January 24, 2013 at 7:40PM
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benniebonita
: ) sorry for not saying zones : ( hope pic makes up for it ( :
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 6:20AM
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ekjohnson65
I'm confused about why the dark color was substituted on my house but it is TOTALLY the wrong vibe! Defeats the purpose of softness and garage door blending with the brick. Too harsh.
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 6:54AM
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bjowen
has anyone suggested a skylight for the entryway?
0 Likes   January 28, 2013 at 8:33AM
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The Color People
I think you are getting great input on your landscaping but your curb appeal needs other work as well.
Right now your house says, " Two cars live here!" Your garage takes up half the front facade and is the major feature of the the house. You need to minimize it and move the focus to the front door where the human beings come. I would select a darker tan that is a few value steps lighter than the brick but blends with the brick. A note here- in choosing colors to blend with brick you have to pick a color that goes with the whole thing. If you try to match one color from the brick even if it is the predominate brick color all the other colors in the brick will pop our. Sample some colors and stand across the street to
see which one works best.

Next use a bright color on the front door to command attention to the entrance. Make sure the ceiling is painted a very light color to reflect light back into the entry vestibule. A sky light would be good for light but it would become an unwelcome protuberance on the roof.

This is where you landscaping can help out. Some eye-catching planting on the right side of the house will also take your eye away from the huge garage door.
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 11:16AM
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nana25
Check out www. blushirt .com for landscape inspiration.
1 Like   January 28, 2013 at 3:02PM
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ruthieq
talk to your local Master Gardener office for a list of native plants..native plants are usually the best for low water requirements. and drought tolerant. they do best as they were there for hundreds of years before people..Most MG's are very knowledgeable about your area and have LOTS of info and handouts.. you might check the MGwebsite on you computer..native plants don't have as many pests as hybrid plants do.and please NO pestacides or insectacides.. or fertilizer native plants don't like them.
1 Like   January 29, 2013 at 12:28AM
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