Need advice on how to design/landscape my front yard *pic of my yard included*

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Peachyness, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Mar 28, 2010

    [​IMG]

    So, we bought this house a year ago. We are basically done redoing/remodeling the inside of the house and I am ready to move on to the outside. My backyard is fine. It has a pool, plenty of trees, bushes, etc. It's my front yard that's, well, sad. It's just a boring flat plot of grass. Any ideas on how to design it?

    I plan on sketching out the land and designing bushes and tress that I want to go on there. But, it'd be nice to get your input.

    It does get a lot of light, so full sun plants will work.

    Oh, we live in CA.

    Right now, I want to plant:
    1) 'Nanho Blue' butterfly bush
    2) a peach tree
    3) blue hibiscus

    So, any ideas???? PLEEEEASE.

    BTW, the other side of my yard is the same, but I couldn't show it because it has our house number and I was too lazy to figure out how to remove the number and all.
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't know much about plants, but...

    To the right of the main picture window, I am certainly seeing something...either a design element on the house, a fountain or structure of some sort. I think a low bench beneath the inset window would be pretty and functional.

    Okay, that's probably not helpful, but it's all I have at the moment.

    (Oh, I may be crazy, but I love seeing where we all live...it makes you all seem more real! :))
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Mar 28, 2010

    No clue but I'm trying to do the same with our yard. haha
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Heh, thanks JustMe. I thought about a fountaint, but I have no idea on how they work, waterwise.

    I did so some sketching and started coming up with some ideas.

    I have:
    Peach Tree
    Butterfly bush on the right on the house
    two cape mellow plants on the left side, in front of the first window-patio area
    sweet-pea shrub underneath the second window
    I'm thinking of doing an 'Alice du Pont' mandevilla going up the first pole, but I don't know yet if I like that idea
    And, since the very far right side of the house is so shady, I'm thinking of an 'Alaska' evergreen azalea (two of them?)
    and in front Bear's breeches

    Whew! Still planning though. Maybe a fountain in the shady area??
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I am SO NOT The one to be answering this question. I have a black thumb and basically kill any plant with which I come into contact. In fact, I'm still amazed that the kids have survived.

    So I think I would take the picture, along with the other half, to a garden center on a quiet weekday mornng and ask for advice.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    *smacks forehead* Of course. Why didn't I think of that? :)
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    Mar 28, 2010

    I despise yard work yet did all the landscaping at my house. There are all kinds of possibilities I see for your yard. But the best advice you have received is to take that picture to several nurseries and get their recommendations. Plan on doing the work yourself and save money.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    How about digging a bed along the cement pad (window at center) and extending under other window? You could put some low shrubs there as well as a few flowering plants (are those window boxes under the window at left?)
     
  10. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I am also a horrible gardener; I've all but given up. When we landscaped our yard about 10 years ago (it's time for a change!) we went to a couple of local garden centres. There was a minimal charge for them to come up with a plan (I think it was $50) which was refundable if we bought plants from them.
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    I would def. do something to block that fence.
     
  12. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Clay pots full of flowers and trailing vines go a long way if you put them along the side walk or under your windows. It might be a place to start.

    Maybe some tulips or daylillies would look nice along the walk too.
     
  13. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    I'd plant some river birch trees, the bark is beautiful and they grow fast. Check your area to see if they'll thrive there. I'd also put out some hostas around the tree after lining it with bark. I love flowers, pansies are blooming in my front yard right now, and jonquils are in the back yard. We have saw tooth and river oaks in the back yard along with a huge wisteria bush which will be jumping out of the ground soon with blooms. I have pink hyacinths blooming around the saw tooth oak. I'll come help you plant some things!
     
  14. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    About three years ago we decided to totally demolish the front, messy, grassy yard and start again. We don't have a back yard (rental house) so I wanted it to be a beautiful, usable area. We wanted a water-wise garden that didn't require a lot of water. I think this is very important in California. With the slave labor of my 3 teenage boys we took out 6 inches of dirt, put in weed cloth, sand and then slate (grayish to match local rocks). To give it life we put in a couple of pocket gardens, colorful clay pots of plants, a small pond, a pergola, fire pit and seating. We did most of the work in the 2 week spring break. I LOVE it! I was also a black thumb and I still kill loads of things but it is so worth it! I was sitting there this morning in the shade of the wisteria, watching hummingbirds, smelling the flowers, de-stressing and taking joy from the whole thing. It is small but my happy place.

    I strongly suggest drought tolerant plants which can spread and get rid of most of the grass. I love my Mexican Sage and the hummingbirds do too. Pride of Madera grows to provide some privacy and spectacular purple flowers. Kalanoche has many varieties. Many succulents are beautiful and don't just look like cactus. There are many mounding grasses - I like blue fescue. Our local junior college has a water conservation garden and also a nursery which sells plants the students grow. Try nurseries owned by local families rather than big chains - they will know what grows in your area. I good Home and Garden guide is invaluable.

    Good luck and have fun. Some things will work and some won't - that is the fun of it. Maybe your kids can help plan it - I have added rocks we collected, little garden statues and surprises throughout to provide interest. The pond was pretty easy and we just stock it with cheap fish cause who wants to lose koi to the local animals and birds? Do little parts at a time so you dont get overwhelmed.
     
  15. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    Remember the basic goals of your front yard landscape -
    *you want to focus attention on your entryway. Right now, it is a little hard to find.
    *you want to hide the intersections of hortizontal and vertical lines in the landscape - ie the corners of your home. This is also where you want some taller evergreen shrubs to make the landscape appear to be more permanent. - Think yews, aborvitaes, holly shrubs, or something similiar. What ever is planted there shouldn't reach the roof line of the home at maturity.
    *seriously consider the mature size of your plants before planting and leave them room to grow. Don't plant a five foot tall shrub in front of that double window.
    *remember to make your flower bed lines flow - don't use straight line, use gradual curves.
    * a nice focal point in the front yard adds interest to the landscape. A graceful Japanese maple, etc.
    *the board fence is crying for a beautiful perennial border in front of it. You could find so many colorful perennials as bulbs, etc, at Walmart at a really good price. Make friends with people with lots of perennials - they like to share when they are dividing their plants. I see hollyhocks, cannas, blue bonnets, perennial salvia, peonies, and daylillies. I would look into natives from your area. We love to use spiderwort, shasta daisies, purple coneflowers, black-eyed susans, etc. I am not familiar with natives from your area, but there are advantages to using natives in the landscape. Since those plants evolved in the area, they are well adapted to life there and need little coddling after getting established.
     
  16. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Thanks all! I will definitely research your guys' advice and see if the plants you mentioned will work in our zone.

    Do you guys think it's too late to get started? Spring just started here and it's starting to get pretty warm. I'm wondering if I should have started this earlier in the year????
     
  17. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Are ponds legal to have in the front yard?? I thought it wasn't unless you had a high fence around it otherwise kids could fall in and drown. That's what I was told, at least.
     
  18. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I wanted to get rid of the whole cement area, actually, but decided to not touch it. I'm afraid of ruining something important, like the foundation or something. I really don't know how well just digging up the cement in one area would work, may be a LOT of trouble/work.

    There are no window boxes.
     
  19. midwestteacher

    midwestteacher Cohort

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    As long as you are watering the plants, you can really plant any time. Just don't neglect them. And don't try to make the rest of us jealous of your weather. We actually had snow and sleet on the first day of spring last weekend!
     
  20. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Oh, I'll try not to make you or any others jealous of our awesome California sunny weather that we are currently experiencing right now. :D
     
  21. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    I don't do well with outside stuff either...but I LOVE my hostas!!! I have split those things a thousand times & they keep coming up. I have about 5 different colored ones. They do pretty well in the shade & they are so easy to take care of. They are low have different shades of green leaves & usually a purple flower that comes up in the middle. That is pretty much my planting knowledge!!! LOL!!!
     
  22. MissWull

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    I have no idea what types of plants to use. But in that patio area in front of the window to the left, maybe you could put a couple chairs out there and potted plants (if chairs would fit, it looks like it from the pic). Also, under the window in the front I'd put some plants/flowers. To the right of the main window I would plant a tree, or maybe in the middle of the yard. Then maybe put up some privacy bushes (more appealing than your neighbors and taller) along the property line of your neighbors.

    Cute house by the way...even though your yard is simple right now it has nice curb appeal. :)
     
  23. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Browse bookstores/libraries & find nice landscaping pictures & recreate something you like.

    Remember, if you plant trees or bushes, don't have them too large, they'll overpower the house & just make your house look smaller.

    I love the tropical look & I like color, so I'd want some pretty, colorful flowers in a couple of different colors. My parents' house used to have a tree in front of their house, but they had it removed because it was getting too big & starting to take over.
     
  24. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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  25. Harper

    Harper Companion

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    A couple things to consider
    1. plant choice - native species that are non-invasive. A good garden center (not the big box stores, but a well-established local center) can help you with that. But then, so can Google.
    2. Drought tolerant species as someone else suggested.
    3. Consider removing turf and making a more natural landscape. Many organizations, including local water management, are offering significant rebates and incentives for removing x% of turf and replacing with native, non-invasive, drought tolerant plants.
    5. The less fertilizing and pesticides required the better. Species that tend to have few bugs, fungi, diseases, etc. are easier to maintain.
    4. soft curving lines over squares - it softens the lines of the house and looks more inviting.
    5. Many garden centers will offer free design consultation if you agreed to buy the material from them when the time comes (i.e. $250 for the consult, but you get a credit of $250 when you buy the plants)
    6. You are in CA - Sunset magazine is awesome. And, they regionalize, so what you see will work for your area. Lots of fun ideas in there!
    7. Pollinators - help preserve butterflies and bees - give them food! :)
    8. Have fun. I love gardening and yard design. Wish I could do my yard right now! Please share your after pictures too!
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2010
  26. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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    Excellent points Harper...... and I especially like soft curving lines over squares.

    I might add there are lots of very good.... relatively cheap... landscape design software packages available. You can take pictures of your house/lawn.... and superimpose plants on the photos.....:):)
     
  27. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    THANKS! I'm going to take the suggestions from Harper and the rest of you and write them down. One of my coworkers told me about a GREAT local garden shop in a city about 30 minutes away (not one of those chain type stores). She said they are very helpful and will sit down with me and go over a plan. She said to bring in my pictures along with me. So, I will bring in my pictures and your suggestions. I can't wait to get started! :)
     
  28. gigi

    gigi Groupie

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    You could also visit HGTV website, they have lots of ideas on planting and landscaping. I like the idea about visiting a garden center with your photo and asking for help/ideas.
     

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