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Sidesplit house difficult to add curb appeal...cuz side faces front yard...
dswells
February 7, 2013 in Design Dilemma
The front of our house is the side of our house. My husband cut down all the bushes that were against the walls, now it is bare. I don't know what to do. Any ideas? or sketches would be sooooo welcome. you have no idea. Imagine the bushes gone against the house, the bricks are yellowed, and cannot be cleaned. I've tried.
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dswells
This is the after pic. ugh
February 7, 2013 at 3:38am   
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carole
it is a shame he was so quick to get rid of it all!!but you can replant and you are right the house needs softening around the edges with scrubs and plants!!!you could have a look at www.oldhousephotogallery.com/Garden,they have tips for every style good luck!!
February 7, 2013 at 4:22am     
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charleee
Don't you love it when they check with us first? Well, I would look into tall and colorful plants, like agapantha. They will eventually grow into a nice bush. You could even plant them in large terra cotta planters to add some more interest.
February 7, 2013 at 4:35am     
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handymam
Well the bushes were dated and making the house look old. You should be glad your husband got rid of them for you! He did the grunt work, and now you get all the fun! You can plant dwarf varieties of evergreen for winter structure and widen the bed to add perennials and annuals and bulbs. I think the spruce tree will become a problem when it gets bigger as it will hide you house.

You may want to consider painting the trim a color instead of black for a pop. I know someone else will suggest painting the brick, though personally, I wouldn't.
February 7, 2013 at 5:02am     
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olldroo
dswells - although the side of your home faces the road, it is not unattractive and I love your rustic fence. I have never heard of bushes being dated, but if they were too close to the house it is probably as well your hubby attacked them, they were high maintenance plants also, so it is just a matter of replanting something softer further away from the house to allow for circulation and prevent any damp. In time sunlight may fade the yellowing.

Do you know much about gardening at all? Firstly, I would suggest you check out your local area for what plants grow well or seek advice from your local gardening centre. I would also check the plants you have near your fence, it looks like you may need to prune them to keep them from getting 'leggy' and unattractive. It looks like you might have lavender there?? That definitely needs cutting back each year.

I don't think your spruce tree will be a problem, it is far enough away from the house not to cause issues and personally I think partial screening with a tree like that adds an air of mystery. It will also give you privacy in your front room without needing to keep drapes closed. As it grows though it may affect your grass, and you may need to either create a garden around it or remove lower branches to allow light to get to the grass. I don't know much about spruce trees, but some trees are heavy feeders and will kill off grass growing near them.
February 7, 2013 at 6:04am     
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handymam
olldroo, what I meant by dated...Foundation plantings done 20 or 30 years ago were different than what is being offered today. Carving evergreen into shapes, balls or squared off is a little less modern unless one is going for a sculpted look for a very formal house. As this is a smaller almost cottage look, I think the plants are overgrown. I agree with you that planting them further out will help as they grow and they will not have the need to be trimmed as much and can grow more naturally. And therefore, give a softer look as carole suggested.
February 7, 2013 at 6:15am     
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olldroo
Get you handymam, you had me thinking that as we have trends in furnishings so we have trends in plants. I think commonsence has prevailed with the shrub carving or topiary, you either go for more informal or hire a gardener full time. Planting them further out will allow for air and light to get to the house too to prevent damp, mould or discolouration of the bricks. I even hate shrubs grown right in front of windows, you need space to access them to clean.
February 7, 2013 at 6:34am     
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charleee
Japanese Boxwoods, I think they're called? Agh!!!! Horrible and dated!
February 7, 2013 at 6:35am     
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solichin
You just need a little change of color on the walls, and the addition of patio decor with modern design.
Please visit http://inhomeinterior.com
February 7, 2013 at 6:46am   
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handymam
olldroo, you know, I think there ARE trends in plants, but I think they are to be avoided, because like house furnishings, they become dated also. At least with house furnishings, people will update them. But when it comes to plants in the yard, they don't.
February 7, 2013 at 6:47am     
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charleee
What do you mean house furnishings become dated, as I open my vertical vinyl blinds this morning???? hehehe
February 7, 2013 at 6:49am     
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handymam
LOL
February 7, 2013 at 6:49am   
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PRO
nFORMAL design
Trends in plants do exist and some of them are wonderful...eventually, some will be "classic" just like the hedges. Personally, I'd hire a good landscape architect to pick out local varieties and things that will compliment and soften...not stick out. Trendy can be good, but a lot of us take trendy as being a "fad". Polo shirts and button down shirts were trendy in the 80s, but now, they are just classic pieces of clothing...never usually a WOW factor, but usually not going to draw negative attention either.

Sometimes going home is better than going BIG!
February 7, 2013 at 6:56am     
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hfhyr
The plantings around your house were too close and too large, so it's a good thing he got rid of them. You need some colour, but first you need to decide if you want to do shrubs or perennials. Try some native plants and grasses, they are low maintenance and can give you year round interest. Also Hydrangeas are amazing and give interest all winter, Black Lace Elders are also amazing. Also Miss Kim Lilacs are very nice and fragrant close to the house and they don't get too big. They you can under plant with Hostas, coreopsis, Red Hot Poker, lupins, coral bells, etc...if that sounds like too much, just concentrate on a couple of specimen plants and keep it simple.
February 7, 2013 at 10:13am     
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PRO
Julianne Jeffries, Interior Design
I am the one that will tell you to paint the brick the same white that you have the house - part of your frustration stems from the asymentrical angles created by the varying sized windows. Painting the brink would an illusion of symmetry. I would go for a beautiful rustic red for the trim and shutter colors. You could consider painting the window trims black if you like that color, it can really makes a statement, although I think I would keep yours white to not draw so much attention to the side of the house. I also live in a home that's side faces the driveway coming up from the street. I have the luxury of a gorgeous Poinciana tree (turns flaming orange in the spring/early summer) and a lake in front, though, so you don't really notice that you are coming in on the side of the house. That being said, what you can take away from my home is the idea of planting a gorgeous flowering tree that works in your part of the country. If you are in the north, perhaps a dogwood or cherry blossom? I think I'd steer clear of another evergreen in your yard. I do like the one that you have in the center, but I would take out the noise around it. There is something to be said for simplicity. Plant some pretty flowers at the base of your fence after you remove the rest of those plants around the evergreen and get rid of that bird-bath looking thing I see in the middle. Make sure that you edge your beds properly and keep mulch in the beds ... a little mulch goes a LONG way in the name of curb appeal. You might want to consider adding some raised beds in front of the house... I would build them out in a gorgeous rustic stone to compliment your fence. Creating tiered beds is a simple way to spice up any home lacking curb appeal. You can add some curved raised beds to soften the angles and even throw in a few containers for an interesting focal point (maybe a container that is a water feature would look pretty). I would put the flowering tree to the right in the picture, inside of the bed and the container/water feature to the left near the driveway. You can add some wildflowers if you like that look (I think I saw some discussion about that), but I would not add that many... if you are selling the home, this looks "weedy" and buyers see wildflowers and complicated beds as a maintenance nightmare. Don't be discouraged... your house is not ugly. I do agree with the comment about hiring a landscape architect if you are not well versed in this subject. It is well worth the money when you have an issue like this! Good luck!!
February 7, 2013 at 7:23pm     
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dswells
Wow, thanks to all of you taking the time to help me in this dilema. I will for sure post a pic, once we complete the curb appeal task. I shall take all suggestions into consideration for sure. I'll start with a landscape architect. Yes, the fence garden is overgrown, I shall do something about that too. I love the raised stone garden idea, I had thought about doing that. The cost of stone is enormous though. Much thanks.
February 7, 2013 at 8:33pm     
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olldroo
I don't think it is so much trends in plants as trends in landscaping and therefore the plants used - eg the box plants especially, or even the pine screen on dswells's boundary, become overused and are then associated with the landscape design or the era of that design, rather than the plants themselves. Here lilly pillies trended for use as hedging for minimalist gardens which generally means they are constantly pruned. Already the popularity of the garden design using them is fading but these shrubs have beautiful blossoms that the native birds love so the odd two I have in my garden can grow freely and I enjoy the shrub for what it is and not just another hedge plant.
February 8, 2013 at 3:15am     
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handymam
olldroo, I agree. I think it comes down to the same thing whether we say the trend is the plants used or the landscaping. It can still end up being a trend.
February 8, 2013 at 4:29am     
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olldroo
I just hate thinking of a living thing as a "trend".
February 8, 2013 at 4:35am   
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handymam
Well, even plants can have their 15 minutes of fame!
February 8, 2013 at 4:36am     
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victorianbungalowranch
Garden trends don't change nearly as much or as quickly as home design trends, but they are definitely there.

I actually think trimmed shrubbery had its heyday in the post WWII period and was pretty much out of style by the 70s or 80s, which returned more to the naturalistic and cottage garden look, with an undercurrent of modern/minimalist, native species/natural. But there is plenty of the old stuff still around.

Most people tend to plant bushes too close to the house because they look so puny when you first get them. Add a few decades, and they are too big, too close and trap moisture.

It can be fun to recreate or add an element of old landscapes to fit the age of your house. The Victorians created carpet patterns, accented with statuary or urns, and did not use foundation planting. They also was fond of using vines to screen porches. The Arts and Crafts era brought in cottage gardens, foundation planting and hollyhocks and hydrangeas. The post-war period brought clipped hedges in a row and shrubbery accenting corners, and big lawns. Now we go for the more natural, or low-maintenance look.

Oops, another old post!
February 8, 2014 at 2:35pm     
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handymam
Wow victorianbungalowranch, exactly a year ago was the last post! And it was by me, lol!
Darn "related threads!"
February 8, 2014 at 5:24pm   
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olldroo
We really got into the 'trend' thing didn't we. Wonder how dswells is going with it all? Some update photos would be nice although with the weather you guys are having, probably best to wait till spring.
February 8, 2014 at 6:46pm     
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olldroo
How are you holding up in your weather handy?
February 8, 2014 at 7:00pm     
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handymam
Just waiting for spring! Too much snow and ice and school closings and delays. And I heard maybe more is on the way ! :/
February 8, 2014 at 7:53pm   
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jpp221
I think your house is lovely. I would replant, either the same species of plants or something else you like, but much further away from the house. Then, plant some very small shrubs near the house. You want to leave people on the road looking at the shrubs, and just wondering what house might be back there. Think of a hidden cottage that can only be glimpsed from the road.
February 8, 2014 at 8:00pm     
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olldroo
We are not seeing or hearing nice things at all Handy, both in the US and the UK, hope it doesn't get any worse for you.
February 8, 2014 at 8:21pm     
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handymam
Thanks roo! So, is it fall there or summer?
February 8, 2014 at 8:26pm   
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olldroo
VERY summer - half the country has 40+ temps.
February 8, 2014 at 9:24pm     
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handymam
I am dreaming of gardening projects today while the snow falls again, lol. Enjoy your summer while it is upon you roo!
February 9, 2014 at 7:09am     
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