glb0078
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Landscaping help for first time homeowner

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Hi Everyone,

My husband and I bought our first house a year ago and are slowly trying to update things - one of those being our landscaping. Last year we had to sod the entire yard and we put edging around the flower bed and tree. I also added some flowers around the tree. I would really like to get rid of all the shrubs in the picture and start fresh. We were thinking of putting a purple leaf plum near the left side of the house (you can't tell but the flower bed curves around at the end) and maybe some boxwood shrubs in front of the window. On that note, I've heard that you're never supposed to put a tree close to your house because it could cause foundation problems so I might just try to find a tall shrub - any ideas?

Does anyone have any ideas as to what to put in the flower bed? Also, I want to get rid of the shrub next to the front door, what should I put there if I remove it?

Some info:

1. We have edging around the existing flower bed and tree (it's a flow-y design)
2. I really like trees and shrubs to look "organic" and "flow-y" instead of pruned and perfect.
3. Our yard gets full sun (faces south) and we live in zone 8 (North Texas) so we need plants that are drought tolerant
4. There's probably about 5 or 6 feet on the end of the flower bed where we want to plant the purple plum. I was also thinking about possibly extending the flower bed so it wouldn't be so close to the house.
5. I would estimate that the flower bed is probably about 3-4 feet deep and we installed green metal edging.

Thanks in advance for your help!! Any ideas are GREATLY appreciated!!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Yes, indeed extend all the planting beds, move things away from the house. The mistake almost everyone makes in landscaping is to make the plantings too small, one little line looking uncomfortable and unnatural and all out of scale with the house behind them, and jammed up against the house.

I'm at work now and don't have time to write a bunch of stuff out, but here are several posts I've made in the past to similar questions. The bottom one has links in it to a couple more.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 12&t=57400

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 12&t=56975

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/vi ... 12&t=53331

Welcome to the Forum!! Have fun and stay in touch. Let us see what you decide to do!
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glb0078
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Thank you, Rainbowgardener! I looked at your previous posts and those do help tremendously! I appreciate your help!

imafan26
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on being a new homeowner.

The trees on the side of the house may be too close. When siting a tree expect that the roots will probably go out as far as the tree is tall (assuming a tree is not topped)

Select trees with non-invasive root systems and make sure they are not planted where the roots can get into sewer lines, under water pipes or electrical utilities.

Trees will help cool the house in summer by providing shade and wind protection. But remember trees still need maintenance. If you have gutters, you will need to clean them out before the rainy season as leaves, twigs and debris will clog them. Trees do have to be trimmed of deadwood and any weak branches.

Plantings should be in scale with the house. On one side of the house you have a blank wall. If you do plant shrubs there or anywhere around the house leave a maintenance path at least 2-3 feet wide so you can inspect the foundation, paint the house or clean the windows. You also want to make sure it is a root free zone so nothing gets under the foundation of the house. You can use gravel or bark on a weed mat so it won't just be dirt. Weeds will still grow on top of it but if you pull them out early the roots should be above the weed mat.

Make the beds wider and add some curves, choose plants of different height, shapes and textures so it does not look so flat. If you like the organic look then you should carry that theme throughout the planting. Color should be limited to 2 or three. In a small yard too much color will make it busy and fewer colors will look unified.

Feng shui would give the entrance more prominence by painting the door red. The downspout is white and is distracting. Paint it a color that will blend into the house and since it empties toward the entrance, consider tunneling and extending the downspout under the sidewalk and let it empty out on to the lawn or a sump instead, depending on the slope of the yard. The sidewalk can in the future be widened and curved by the driveway to eliminate the corner. It is better to extend all downspouts out a couple of feet so water is not dumped near the foundation of the house. If you round out the border around the corner, you can extend the downspout with extensions in to the shrub border and soften the corner of the house at the same time.

You want soft plants with soft foliage near the entrance as it is more inviting. Your door is easy to find. If the entrance was harder to find, then red plantings direct people toward that side of the house. This works when entrances are on the side of the house rather than in front. You want to avoid spikey or thorny plants near the entrance since it sends a message to 'go away'

Half the front yard is a long driveway. Great for extra parking but a prominent feature. You want to balance it with something on the other side or making it less prominent. Here people would paint the driveway green so it blends in more with the lawn making the lawn look bigger than it is and not have so much concrete as a distraction.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

All very nice points by imafan! I agree that the house is somewhat dwarfed by large garage, very large driveway, huge old tree.

It may be beyond the scope of what you can do now, but have you seen the grow through driveway pavers?

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Concrete pavers that you can drive on, but with holes to let water soak in and grass grow through. In the meantime plantings along the edges of the driveway would probably soften it some. If it were me, I would probably paint the garage door. Not to match the house, that would be entirely too much brick red, but some kind of soft neutral that wouldn't jump out as much as the white, a grey or beige/tan.

The red door is traditional in feng shui, but in this case with a red house, I think it would just make the door blend in more, not be more prominent and welcoming. But you might think about other ways to make the entry way more welcoming. I don't love the huge old tree there, partly blocking the sight line to the door. And since your house is south facing, the tree provides winter shade not summer, which is not what you want. The tree may have been there since before the house was. Perhaps you could at least get someone to do a good pruning job on it, limb it up more and thin it out some.

I agree with getting rid of the shrubs on both sides of the front entrance, they just block it more. And they are pruned to look like lollipops, not at all the natural look you were talking about. I wouldn't put anything else right there. While you are at it, I would take out the little hedge jammed up against the window.

Best Wishes! Remember that this is going to be a work in progress for years, be patient with it :D
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

glb0078
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Thank you SO much imafan26 and rainbowgardener!! I really appreciate both of you!

rainbowgardener - You know what's funny? My dad and husband pruned those shrubs and "lolipops" is exactly what I called them after they got done! I've hated them since they pruned them last year! Any ideas on what flowers might look good there?

imafan26
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Yellow or orange works too on a south facing door.

In Feng shui you would not want to clutter the entrance way too much, but an element of water is welcoming. Water should flow toward the house.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Unlike imafan, I really like the blue door. I think the spirit of the feng shui principle she is referencing is contrast, to make the entry way very visible. In your setting, the blue does that nicely. So in keeping with that, maybe think about blue/ purple/ violet flowering perennials around there. It will bring out the entryway more and in a TX summer, blue is very cooling and restful.

Some TX native perennials that bloom in this range include:

Flaxleaf bouchea,/ Groovestem bouchea
purple poppy mallow, finger poppy mallow
bluebell bellflower
purple coneflower (look for bluer cultivars vs pinker)
prairie verbena
TX gayfeather
wild lupine
prairie celestials (a beautiful sky blue)
blue sage, lyre leaf sage, TX sage
downy skullcap
smooth blue aster, aromatic aster
grey vervain

Most of these you will not find at your local big box, you will need to go to a native plant nursery

https://www.calloways.com/event/native-p ... s-gardens/
https://cals.arizona.edu/maricopa/garden ... 01496.html

Look around, I'm sure there are others, I just don't know what is near you.

But I REALLY recommend using native plants. Since they are adapted to your conditions, once established, they will be very easy care, low maintenance, drought tolerant, not needing lots of water. And they are attractive and useful to the local butterflies, honeybees, etc.
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glb0078
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

I probably should have mentioned this earlier but we recently got a new front door and painted it mint green. I actually didn't like it at first but now it's growing on me and I think it'll look great once we get some colorful flowers planted.

I absolutely love blue and purple flowers so I'll try to stick with that color scheme while also incorporating native flowers (which is a smart idea).

Thank you both for all of your help!!
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imafan26
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

It does look nice. The purpose of a color that pops is to make the entrance stand out. I do agree with Rainbow that the garage door is so massive that it pulls attention away. So consider painting just the garage door a more muted color that is a shade darker than the color of the wall.

Also consider when you landscape, building out the entry a bit more with an arbor or entry that protrudes farther out than the garage. That will bring the entry forward more. I cannot tell how wide the sidewalk is but you want it comfortable enough for two people to walk side by side without feeling like they will fall off the path. When you landscape around the front path. start with low plantings at the entrance so it is inviting and not a barrier, you want people to see and be drawn to the entrance. For privacy you can gradually increase the height of the plantings toward the street side, you just don't want to crowd the sidewalk. It is best not to plant a line of anything along the driveway as it will just draw more attention to it. The grass is fine just the way it is. I might consider a mailbox planting or a different mail box base.

It is a common problem with most homes that the driveway and garage are in the front so they are the prominent feature of a house. Most of the inspiration houses don't even show a garage so it does not really give you great ideas on how to minimize it.

I have the same problem. I have a garage in front of my house with an extension on top. It is painted antique white so the lite color and massive presence in the front of the lot makes people believe the house is bigger than it is. I also did my landscaping before my feng shui class so I have a red Caribbean Copper plant trimmed into a lolipop and a fire tail ground cover on one side and roses on the other side of the driveway. I get people walking up to my garage door all the time because all the inviting red plants are on the garage door side and the thorny roses are near the entrance gate. I can't really switch them very well since the side with the red plants is much narrower and I can't get as many roses there as on the other side. I did try the ground cover on the other side but the grass invaded the bed and took over. I did remove the corner rose after it died and planted alyssum and geraniums and that has made the entry easier to find.

Since you are into the natural look. When it is time to change the garage door, look for a paneled door with a wood look. Steel doors are less maintenance than wood doors and the motor will last longer since steel doors are lighter.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

In order to really get a good blue/purple effect, you may need to mix in a few non-native flowers, maybe bulbs. And perhaps just a little bit of white blossoms, to lighten it and give contrast.

Remember to fill in with at least a few annuals. Most perennials bloom over a fairly short season, but the annuals just keep pumping out color.

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https://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I ... 020859.jpg
delphiniums, nicotiana, sweetpea

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https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-zgem ... pleSq3.jpg
lisianthus, nirembegia, petunia
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

and do get rid of the teeny pots of teeny flowers on the front porch!

I love looking for inspiration pictures!

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https://www.landscape-america.com/art/fr ... h_3496.jpg

I actually HATE the red and yellow flower combination in this one, so ignore that. But it is a good illustration of some other design ideas, the curving path to the door, the shrubs that are significant size, but kept very thinned, light and airy so they don't really block the view of the house, the high contrast and masses of color, but mostly kept low.

Here's imafan's feng shui red door with the round hanging and lots of glass. You are not going to miss this entrance!
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actually the magenta and red flowers scream a little too much for my taste, but you get the idea

Potted plants are lovely and welcoming at the entrance, but they need to be substantial.


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Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

glb0078
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

rainbowgardener - those are great inspiration photos. Honestly, the only reason I have those tiny pots on the patio is because one was given to us by a friend when we bought the house and the other one was left in the backyard so I figured I would go ahead and use it. Now that you mention it, I guess they do look pretty tiny up there.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Landscaping help for first time homeowner

Yes, you have to keep thinking about in scale with the house. Little pot next to big house is all wrong. Something substantial really helps ground and anchor the design and harmonizes.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration



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