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Need help with curb appeal.
dortheaseybold
January 26, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We just built this house and are struggling with what to do with the front. We found this cool slab of granite in the process and made it a monolith/sun dial that needs something more, but not sure what. Thanks!
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PRO
Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
This is a very nice home. I think once you have a good landscaping plan and start to work on it you will see a tremendous difference.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:14AM
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apennameandthata
To be honest, it doen't look like a sundial...

I'm just saying, it reminded me of something else.

Others might think so too, but would be too polite to say.

Now truth or dare: do you really think "sundial" when you see it? Is that the only thing you think? Could it be anything else? Hmm?
11 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:20AM
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dortheaseybold
See, that's why I need help, lol.
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 5:36AM
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dortheaseybold
What about adding a fence element somewhere, with the granite becoming part of a gate effect?
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:37AM
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astraea
I agree with Deborah Butler .. landscape PLAN. Don't start adding bits & pieces; the whole space needs to be coordinated!
6 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:42AM
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dortheaseybold
Doodling ideas....
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:47AM
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PRO
lisa faley
When doing your landscape plan be sure to plant similar plants for cohesiveness. Do not mod-podge it. with all types of plants...Keep balance and soften lines with curves.! Use dwarf in the reds, mid size conifers, mid size cranberry trees Pick shrubs that give you something in all the seasons...from flowers to beautiful leaf color to berries...be sure you get the biggest bang with each plant. I would agree, i am not a fan of the sundial...maybe in your back or side gardens.
4 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:49AM
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dortheaseybold
Great thoughts. My husband will kill me if I tell him to move that granite, it would involve a crane!
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:00AM
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lauraingalls
Landscaping. Fence whill be ok, but with nice plants arround and without that dead tree it should be perfect. I would suggest getting rid if the barabda at the porch. Painted white would be too notorious and in wood tone is out of place. Finally paint the garage doors in other color. Old red o even whit or the same color of the house. That green is also out of nowhere. For the rest, its a beautiful house. Congratulations
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:00AM
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dortheaseybold
Really need to try and incorporate it somehow if at all possible. We don't have a view from that side of the house, the road is right there. so smaller trees would work, fencing to create more of a front garden maybe??
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:01AM
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astraea
This is the downside of buying something "cool" (and LARGE), without having a plan for it first!
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 6:12AM
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aniluap2
You have a blank slate and can do anything you want. I would suggest getting some magazines that have pictures of various styles of gardens so that you can hone in on what you like. It is a very personal choice like art. Do you want low maintainence, all season interest, xeric garden, lots of flowers ? These preferences will play into your design. The monolith sundial is out of place on bare dirt but will look terrific tucked next to some greenery in just the right spot. You may want to reflect the colonial feel of your home with a winding brick or stone path to your house and a white Pickett fence,as shown above, with arbor over the front gate with climbing roses and clematis intertwined over it. Or you may prefer a more contempory feel with a more linear path of bluestone and with conifers, grasses and evergreen shrubs for a more sedate look. In my garden I concentrate on the 5F's ( Flowers, Fragrance,Foliage,Fruit and Form) and texture such as bark and leaf interest. Put in the plant material first before buying the accessories unless its just something you cant live without .Find your style and then dive in.
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 6:17AM
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PRO
A. Slawter Architecture
The sun dial is an interesting architectural element to work with. Your yard was graded out very flat. Perhaps you can have your builder create some interest with low burms givng the earth some shape. Have you considered hiring a Landscape Architect?
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 6:21AM
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dortheaseybold
Aniluap2 thanks so much. Great input.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:22AM
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dortheaseybold
It's a lake house, so a little bit of funky fun landscaping is more in order than a classic suburban look. Will consider architect if can find one in our area.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:25AM
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olldcan
Sooooo, my two sons one 23 and the other 18 just took a look at your picture and burst out with laughter. No disrespect but Is your sundial a joke or are you failing to see the obvious.
Thanks for the chuckle.

@apennameandthata lets take a hall pass, on this one.
8 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:33AM
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PRO
Pamela Tripas
Based on the photo, it doesn't look as if you get direct sunlight which is necessary for a sundial. If you love the slab of granite, I would tip it over and use it as some sort of seating?
4 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:51AM
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calikym
I honestly thought the sundial piece was the base of a completely cropped tree. Your house is so beautiful but the sundial definitely does not belong there. :( your hubby had good intentions but it doesn't come across as a sun dial at all.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 7:07AM
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judianna20
Sooner, rather than later :>), tip it over on its side and design around it. It looks as if there maybe an indentation for a little water feature.

3 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 7:39AM
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dortheaseybold
Olddcan you guys are a riot and oh yes you are not the first to notice that....
Tipping it over seems the best solution. Lol
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 7:52AM
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PRO
Pamela Bateman Garden Design
OK. Just because everyone else says get rid of the sundial idea I am going to try to work with it! Google ' how to make a garden sundial' and then click images. There are lots of ideas for sundials. You have made the bold step of making your garden your own so go with it. A circle of head size granite rocks around the upright granite will show that there is a reason for this unique garden. I would also add pebbles at the base of the upright granite that extends to the circle of stones. Creeping plants to grow into the area like the picture Judyg shows would be nice. Then add lots of other celestial items to the garden. Sun and moon sculptures. Wind chimes. Maybe a circle of grass around the sundial garden and then other landscape plants around the garden. I always want people to add their own touch to a garden and now you have! Don't give up keep going! And keep sending pictures because this is going to be a fun garden to follow. :-)
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 8:05AM
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olldcan
Before tipping it over, maybe Trojan or Viagra would like a picture of it. I can think of a few little ad jingles for it but fearing Emily, I will refrain from sharing them.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 8:08AM
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Pamela Bateman Garden Design
The more I think about this garden the more I like it! Anyone can recreate a garden out of a magazine but it is difficult to come up with a truly unique garden. Look up aeolian harp in wikipedia and also google it. A wind harp would be a great addition to your garden. You can have these unique sculptures and features in your garden and still have trees, shrubs and flowers. The markers around the upright granite could mark not the hours but birthdays and anniversaries. For example on a family birthday or anniversary mark with a rock the direction of the shadow at noon that the upright granite makes. You will then have a record of the date in the garden! I am not sure if I explained it well but the circle of rocks around the upright granite should be out several feet. So first there is the upright granite then pebbles covering the ground several feet out and then the head size rocks. This is just one idea. I am sure you will come up with something that will look great.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 10:41AM
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lesliemahler
What about making some changes to the porch? It recedes to nothing right now. You could 1) remove the brown wood and replace with a beefed up, white pillar at the roof corner. Then add something like bluestone to the cement surface. Or, 2) Paint all the posts and rails white to match your trim and beef up the posts while you are at it. It is such a lovely house and a upgraded entrance would be very welcoming!
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 11:12AM
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victorianbungalowranch
I think the white trim is too contrasty for the dark green of the house. An antique white would be better, but probably can't be changed now.

You could add a couple of round boulders at the base to complete the effect....or maybe some button mums.
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 11:23AM
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dortheaseybold
I love the Houzz community and everyone's input. My Houzz files helped me make many decisions on the interior of this new house. Thanks everyone!
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 12:05PM
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marewalker7
I agree one color theme plants would work. Maybe line the front of the lawn straight across with low lying red flowers and line each side symmetrically up the walkway with the same color.. A low lying spot light on granite rocks with greenery would look nice.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 12:32PM
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dortheaseybold


Here is lake side of house btw
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 12:55PM
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PRO
Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Why not make the granite piece a focal point as a sculpture ? If you could find a local sculpturer and have them add a piece like this I think it would be very cool :


I like Pamela's ideas about adding whimsical art pieces to balance the granite . I think that a naturalistic landscape with ornamental grasses, sedum, low growing evergreens and some ornamental trees using pebbles and stones throughout would give you the relaxed look you want. Large slabs of stone for a path to the front entrance would be nice as well. Planting low-growing ornamental grasses such as blue fescue in groups makes a great accent and using groups of colorful sedum toward the front works great as well .
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 1:44PM
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Erik Johnson
Not sure about the neighborhood, but if there are other fences you might incorporate the Hubbys..sundial as part of the entry, add some ivy to cover it and let it flow around an arch or entry..
A professional landscape plan would go a long way, if you are on a lake and can pump water or irrigate with lake water all the better put it in it will be money well spent unless you live in the Northwest, Nice home...
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 1:54PM
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PRO
Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Here's a gorgeous landscape you might consider :
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 2:16PM
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lindahaden
Hate to digress, but is this Hardy siding in the Iron Grey?
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 2:26PM
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putter2
Agree about the sundial....looks 'masculine', ahem. I can see a stone wall along the road with a cutting garden along the inside. A few river birches in the front yard, an evergreen in the right corner.....or a Japanese maple. Fill in the foundation with a mix of some evergreen, and flowering shrubs. And hopefully, you're planning on painting your garage to match the house, and the front porch railings white......very nice lake house.....
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 2:48PM
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olldroo
Like your "masculine" putter, and I think adding rocks around it would only increase the masculine aspect.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 3:37PM
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mmilos
Hire a landscape designer or architect familiar with your local climate. It will be the best investment you make to finish off your beautiful home properly.
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 3:50PM
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dortheaseybold
It's Mountain Sage by James Hardy siding.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:29PM
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lindahaden
O thank you very much. Breaking ground in March thought we wanted Iron Grey, but now have to look at Mountain Sage. It is beautiful!
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 5:51PM
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marewalker7
I think Mountain Sage sounds really pretty.
0 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 6:19PM
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ccwatters
Just wanted to tell you your house is beautiful, and the lake side of it is absolutely gorgeous!
Only comment I have about the 'sundial' is maybe let your husband know what other people see when they look at it...it may be news to him and he might suddenly feel inclined to do whatever it takes to change it. Your "landscaping" should enhance the beauty of your house, not steal away from it. It is, however, quite the conversation piece ;)
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 7:27PM
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carbary
I like the sun mono lift dial. Just a few ideas to surround it with low ever greens
1 Like   January 26, 2013 at 8:44PM
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carbary
Few more
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 8:48PM
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zindor
Ok, so mine may not be the popular opinion, but I love the monolith! If I recall correctly, the Greeks often placed a stone phallus at the entrance of a home, so you are following a very ancient tradition. Don't let anyone talk you out of it, if you and your husband like it! I also agree with the advice of aniluap2 in that you should determine your preferences before you start planting. I could recommend that you plant lots of daffodils and red daylilies around your large stones, but those are MY favorite flowers and may not be YOURS. Sadly, I also agree that the paint on the garage door does not seem to complement the house, but if you love it, keep it! Your house is beautiful! If you created this kind of style in building, you can create something lovely in the grounds around it. Don't spend too much time questioning what everyone else likes, when it is clear that your taste is already successful.
2 Likes   January 26, 2013 at 9:18PM
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dortheaseybold
FYI all, this photo was taken before house was finished. The garage doors match the dark green of the house. I like th wooden finish on the porch, but I see you point about how it recedes. I think with some big pink hydrangeas along the porch rail and some proper accessories the wood will work, but if not, I'll paint it! Definitely going to try and make the granite work. Will keep you all posted!
2 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 5:42AM
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njmomma
I would add a bird bath to the front of the granite, it would no longer be a sun dial. I would look for a bird bath that was designed just so, that the granite looked like it was a part of the bird bath. Make it a statement piece in your yard and landscape design around that.

Right now, it just does't look flattering, even with plants and rocks around it, from the road it will look like it just doesn't belong.

Another thought, is to add a bench near it, off set it. Some patio tiles around the bench and granite with a bird bath, sort of a front sitting patio incorporated into the landscape.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:18AM
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aniluap2
Everyone has an opinion on art but it still comes down to personal preference. The sundial could be very interesting with the right things planted to complement it. The human body has long been considered a thing of beauty and an inspiration for sculpture. Even if the sundial looks phallic, who cares? What does everyone have against a phallus? I didn't see it that way, it looked like a monolith to me and I think it will look like a thing of beauty once the garden is complete. Go with your instinct. Everyone will have an opinion but yours is all that counts. You obviously did a wonderful job with the house and I am confident that the same will hold true on the landscape. Just saying....
3 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 7:06AM
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zindor
You are absolutely going in the right direction! Hydrangeas could grow large enough against the house to anchor it in the yard. My preference would be blue or lavender hydrangeas to complement the house color, but if you love pink, go for it! Since you clearly like stone, I do agree that a stone bench could look very inviting to the right of the stone pillar and would create more balance, but don't put it too close and diminish the impact of your vertical focus point. With the right plantings near it, that pillar could be one of your favorite parts of your landscape.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 7:14AM
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zindor
Hydrangeas in this color?
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 7:27AM
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aniluap2
I am a horticulturist so just I just want to put it out there that the color of the macrophylla hydrangeas,that you see in the photo above, is dependent on the PH of the soil. If it's acid you will get blue flowers and alkaline soils will give you pink. You can buy kits to test soil or send them too your state's agricultural extension to have it tested. Depending on the results you can use sulphur the make it more blue or lime to make them pink. Neutral soil will give you white flowers. There are some varieties of hydrangeas that are not dependent on PH but those varieties are generally white with some hybrids being pink.
1 Like   January 27, 2013 at 7:44AM
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Jean Tuck
Id like to see shrubs that are all year long, flowery, and that are kept trimmed to no more than about 28 inches high, that would never block architecture of porch rails which adds nice look on its own.Boxwood roses if they thrive in your area might be nice but petunies that at front wood make a nice accent to shrubs if they didnt have color in the shrub for your area. All along property ege of course near house could be seasonal or come up on their own every year bout not to high, not to spoil wel groomed look.if thats a tall rock in centre , i would probably locate out centred from sode porch probably to grow a flowered climbing plnt kept tightly groomed surrounded by low lying white flowered plants. would love to see finished pictures, sure to be pretty whatever you decide.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 8:11AM
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carbary
If you throw a few pennies in the whole before you plant hydrangea you get the most amazing blue blooms. The pennies give the soil copper. Making the blooms blue.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 8:28AM
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calikym
How about 2 boulders at the base? :D
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 8:47AM
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PRO
Urban Oasis
You could add some smaller basalt columns to the one existing and then it would no longer seem phallic. You already have some there. I would also add a nice wide pathway to the porch and front door, then a low fence set back a few feet from the road so that you can soften it with plants in front. The key is a lot of plants to soften the house. In all honesty though, considering how much you have invested in your beautiful house, it's a good idea to get help from a professional landscape designer to create a plan and implement it for you. And being a landscape designer in Southern California, I'm all for drought tolerant and low maintenance. Consider using plants native to your area. They look great and thrive in your climate.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 9:56AM
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marewalker7
It would be a costly disappointment if you don't do more research on planting all with hydrangeas. Maybe planting rotating two different types of plants in the same color.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 10:32AM
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marewalker7
Thanks for the hint.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 10:35AM
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ccwatters
Just a thought, and I am not that savvy with plants, but I was told that deer will eat hydrangeas. I wanted to put them along my cottage as I am in the exact same situation as you---sans sundial and gorgeous lakeforont---with a blank canvas for landscaping around a newly built cottage in West Michigan.
I LOVE hydrangeas, but I may end up going with roses all around as they are very "cottagey" and there is a variety called "Knockout Rose" that is apparently very easy to care for and blooms continually all summer/early fall. Look beautiful up against a house like yours, and so charming along a white fence.

Holly is also beautiful. It is less cottagey, but remains green all year long. I have them in front of my house and they are stunning in the winter with the dark green foilage / red berries peeking through the snow. My house is in SE Michigan, not sure what zone your house is in....just more food for thought.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 11:18AM
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aniluap2
Sorry to disappoint you but deer eat roses...thorns and all . The buds are candy to them!
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 1:01PM
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zindor
What is your planting zone, soil type and what amount of light does this yard receive? You might receive more helpful answers if we had that information. For instance, I'm in a coastal zone 8 with acidic, sandy soil which drains quickly (I've lived so long with the acidic soil that I forget others don't have it!), so long leaf pines, azaleas and camellias are very happy in my yard. Azaleas and camellias also like partial shade, which they get under those long leaf pines. So, what's your situation?
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 1:23PM
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rocoad
And do you have deer? I am an expert on them as I have a small herd go through my garden every day! They eat both hydrangeas and roses, as well as most other plants!
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 1:54PM
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ccwatters
Goodto know! I'm glad I brought it up, as i said, I'm not that savvy when it comes to plants. It's interesting though, my neighbors roses aren't bothered at all by the deer. It will definitely pay to seek the advice from local experts.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Liz Slaybaugh
I suggest you determine if you want low, medium or high maintenance. Then have a landscaper draw up a plan which you can use. The amount of light and water are important to know before planting.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 3:54PM
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dortheaseybold
The house is in Maine, cold angers, muggy summers! We have grown hydrangeas and holly.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 5:04PM
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dortheaseybold
Have not had a problem with deer before, but have even them in our area.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 5:08PM
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rocoad
I live in the Pacific Northwest, so clear across the country from you! The deer here are not white tailed, which I believe you have. Our deer are not shy at all and spend their day on my front lawn, even with me out there! Their diets seem to be regional, so I suggest you talk to your neighbors.
Your house is lovely and yes, I too saw the granite column as a giant phallus, but I think once it has been incorporated into the landscape it will be fine. I'm not sure about it being a sundial because that means the plantings around it will need to be kept low, which I don't think is the best way to incorporate it into the landscape. Maybe consider it as sculpture instead?
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:00PM
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Lauri Anderson
I would like to see a fence or hedge street side to enclose the front yard. Begin a winding walkway starting in between the first 2 boulders and lead to a tiered planter around the tall statue with the walkway encircling the statue and then becoming one path that winds to the front porch. You could have part of that path split and lead to the side of the driveway. Incorporate the 3rd boulder into a huge planter.
0 Likes   January 27, 2013 at 6:31PM
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victorianbungalowranch
Besides landscaping, I think adding some hefty columns and painting the railings on the porch to match your other trim and the garage would really help. If it is pressure-treated wood, you should let it weather for about a year first, then prime and paint. As it is now, it looks like you ran out of money and it fades into the rest of the house rather than standing out as a feature to match the nice siding and window casing.
0 Likes   February 4, 2013 at 6:52AM
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rocoad
I totally agree with painting the porch to match your trim!
0 Likes   February 4, 2013 at 6:23PM
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