wingdesigner
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2038
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:58 pm
Location: Michigan--LP(troll)

Distracting the eye from an UGGY house.

OK friends, here's my next challenge. My friend left the design of his "Up North" house to his son, and hates the results. Too stark, too modern, too institutional. Think crackerbox on end with clerestory windows; high two-story in front w/large deck; three-story in back w/walk-out basement; grey siding. I'm thinking Mediterranean accents to soften the lines--tall, skinny evergreens, some topiaries on the deck. He's already planted some variegated dogwood (red-twig) in front of the deck. He's pretty much tapped out, financially, so additional ornamentation on the house is out. Oh, yeah, and this is the house with the mostly sand soil and mound-type septic system, (in the front yard, of course). I know there are blue "Skyrocket" junipers, is there a tall, narrow gold or gold-tipped form? He's also planted a lovely hemlock--how fast and wxh do they grow? We're putting in a Japanese-style stone garden in a spot between the back entry stairs and foundation wall; but the rest of the sparsely grassy area would need some interest. I'm trying to keep him from planting anything now, as summer has finally arrived and he's not there full-time to baby anything. Oh, zone 4; Great Lake exposure (the view is grreaatt!) No tall order here, eh? There're more problems to solve, but the ones listed above are my stumpers. Appreciate any suggestions, after you folks are too tired, sore, etc., from your own gardens...

Happy Gardening!
Happy Gardening,
Wing

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

Yikes!

Wing, drop the 'Skyrockets" and step away from the crackerbox... :lol:

'Skyrockets' are horrid plants, prone to twig blight and they'll split to pieces as soon as you get the first snow load on them...

Japanese design and modern design go together perfectly (lots of similarities) so that sounds like a good tack to take. The start of red-twig makes me think native; lots of native grasses would create habitat and soften hard lines. Mix in some big prairie perennials like coneflower and tall rudebeckia back and mid and asters and sedums up front and there you go...Try amelanchiers for upright tree types, there is a cedar named 'Emerald Sentinel' that is upright and evergreen that would be MUCH better than 'Skyrocket' and river birches like 'Heritage would go nicely with everything else. Look in the surrounding woods for ideas that tie into the existing landscape, like viburnum or particular perennials...

HG

Guest

Landscape Dilemma

Is this home by chance in the upper west quad of the Lower Peninsula?

There is an organization based in that area that is assisting landowners in providing continual green belts. They have plant lists/sources available. They can make home visits and give suggestions. When this project ends they will move to the upper east quad so the info may still be on target for the homeowner. It's possible to visit area landowners the group has worked with. Results are amazing as the finished area looks like nature did the work. As per the HG suggestion their trend is toward native plantings.

The three prong approach is to provide continous greenbelts which in turn supports native wildlife, waterfowl, aquatic plants and absorption of soil pollutants before they reach the water.

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

There you go Wing! Nice work!

HG

wingdesigner
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2038
Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2005 9:58 pm
Location: Michigan--LP(troll)

Uggy house dilemma

Do you happen to know the name of that group or website? If you look at the back of your left hand, it's on Lake Huron, just at the top of Saginaw Bay, or just below your left index finger middle joint. It's Zone 4, with mostly sand, and two swales running through the back of the property where ancient rivers once flowed. 100 years ago the forest was cleared for farming, and there is a gypsum plant right up the road. Second-growth forest, and it won't dry out back there until July, I think. Looking toward a "rain garden" for the swale nearest the house, with a wide, sturdy bridge for the tractor to get across and mow behind it and up to the tree line. Anyway, house in question is on Lake Huron and I would be most interested in contacting the group you mentioned. I'm trying to keep the homeowner from buying any more plants w/o my "permission", he's already planted a hemlock too close to the house, and some other faux pas. Sigh. Thanks for all the input, folks, I really appreciate it.

Happy Gardening.
Happy Gardening,
Wing

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