ninjamary
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Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:32 pm
Location: Iowa

Need ideas for landscaping please!!

Hello!!!

I am in DIRE need of some help with landscaping ideas!!
We live in a small ranch home and the front is so bare looking, I just want to liven it up with some landscaping but I don't even know where to begin!!!

I'm thinking I might have to do some above ground landscaping. I'm thinking hostas and some fun colorful plants that are not very high maintenance?

I've attached an image of the front of my house -- please help me!!

Image

Thanks in advance!!

Image
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Front of house2.jpg

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

No one can make any suggestions about what to plant without knowing where you are located and your climate. What thrives in Minnesota won't survive in Texas and vice versa. What direction does that porch face? It looks like the whole front yard is pretty shady from the big tree. Is that right?

In the meantime, here's a couple threads with general ideas/ principles about foundation plantings and front yard landscaping:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=56975

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=70232

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=67149

Welcome to the Forum! If you are willing to take the time to give us some better information, I'm sure you will get some good ideas.
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

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

Welcome Ninjamary, blank Slate, good place to start from.
Please update your profile with your zone and location. Without that information, it is hard to make relevant recommendations.

Tell us more about the site
I see some big trees. How much light does the space get throughout the year?
What is your temperature range throughout the year?
What colors do you like?
How much grass are you willing to give up?
Are you planning to view mainly from the street or from the inside of the house or both?
Are you willing to paint the door another color?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

ninjamary
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:32 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

rainbowgardener wrote:No one can make any suggestions about what to plant without knowing where you are located and your climate. What thrives in Minnesota won't survive in Texas and vice versa. What direction does that porch face? It looks like the whole front yard is pretty shady from the big tree. Is that right?

In the meantime, here's a couple threads with general ideas/ principles about foundation plantings and front yard landscaping:

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=56975

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=70232

viewtopic.php?f=12&t=67149

Welcome to the Forum! If you are willing to take the time to give us some better information, I'm sure you will get some good ideas.

Thanks!! Sorry about that, I am located in Iowa!! The porch faces South and you are completely right about the shade from the big trees we have in out front yard area!! Thanks so much for the links!! I will check them out!
Last edited by ninjamary on Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ninjamary
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:32 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

imafan26 wrote:Welcome Ninjamary, blank Slate, good place to start from.
Please update your profile with your zone and location. Without that information, it is hard to make relevant recommendations.

Tell us more about the site
I see some big trees. How much light does the space get throughout the year?
What is your temperature range throughout the year?
What colors do you like?
How much grass are you willing to give up?
Are you planning to view mainly from the street or from the inside of the house or both?
Are you willing to paint the door another color?

Thanks!! I am in Iowa!!

--Honestly the space doesn't get too sunny throughout the year, I know there have been times when the sun has come in through the picture window but the trees do a pretty good job blocking it!!
--I was thinking with our dark blue doors/shutters that red would look good. I love all bright colors, though!
--I guess I haven't thought about how much grass to give up, I'm wondering if I should fill that patch of grass (under the picture window) with landscaping or just the area right under the window?
--I'm thinking for now I should just start with the view from the street -- we JUST put in an egress window on the side of the house....there are 2 basement windows on the left side of the house (left when viewing the house from the front) and one of the windows is the one we just changed to an egress window so that is on that side
--I would be OK with painting the door a different color (we also have a side door -- from the driveway) and that one is also dark blue like the front door... we also painted the side garage door dark blue

Hope that helps!!! Thanks a bunch!!

ninjamary
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Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:32 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

Oh and here's another view of the front of the house so you can see all of the trees we have
Front of house3.jpg

imafan26
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

You will want to make the entrance stand out.
Depending on the colors you like, I would paint the front door a bright color so it stands out.
I like the curved path, but I would widen it as it approaches the entry. The entry path should be wide enough for two people to walk on side by side. You can add additional pavers on the side or a gravel strip on both sides. Low plantings and landscape lights along the path will guide people to the door. At the entry post and by the wall, either a vine on a trellis or a tall slender plant like a Sky Pencil Japanese Holly to frame the entry.

Select your foundation plants. These will be the taller plants that will give structure to the garden all year.

Fill in with color annuals and perennials around the shrub border and along the path.
Do not choose too many colors. Unless you are doing a cottage garden, it is best to pick 2-4 colors.
Use plants in multiples of 3 or more. Massed plants look better than singles. Drifts look more organized than a mixture of different plants

Stay with the design and scale of the house. Plants that get too tall will dwarf the house and block the view from the windows.
Avoid the straight lines. It is more interesting to see curves rather than a line. Offset the plants, don't plant them in a line.

If you have mostly shade, look for different leaf shapes, textures, and leaf color. Heuchera, hosta and other plants will bloom seasonally in the shade. Vinca minor, bleeding heart, and rhododendrons don't need full sun to bloom.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

Thanks for the prompt and informative responses!

Most of Iowa is cold hardiness zone 5. So your foundation plantings will need to be cold hardy and shade tolerant. You should consider that you will be creating some shade gardens. That is nice because shade gardens can be beautiful!

Here's a thread I did about cold hardy shade perennials for someone who was also in zone 5 (Indiana): viewtopic.php?f=5&t=68596&p=388903&hili ... ns#p388903

another shade garden picture
Image
hostas and painted ferns and wild ginger.

Along with perennials, you will want a few shrubs to anchor it and give some height variations. Shade tolerant, cold hardy shrubs include azalea and rhododendron, oakleaf hydrangea, virginia sweetspire, daphne (but be careful not all varieties would be cold hardy for you), mountain laurel, hollies and junipers, red chokeberry. You might even want a small tree for the corner of the house opposite side from the driveway, like a dogwood or redbud.

I would think about using the whole space between the walkway and the house as a garden space and then make a garden on the other side in front of the whole section of the house to the left (in the picture) of the porch and curving out.

Unless you have a ton of money, you are going to start with relatively few and small plants and shrubs and a lot of bare mulched dirt around them. In a couple years they will get a lot bigger and you can keep adding more. Keep things small enough/ low enough not to block the windows or the view of the entry way. Think about putting in a bird bath or other small water feature, as in the pictures in this thread viewtopic.php?f=8&t=69527&p=393646&hili ... ns#p393646

One easy way to get some height without blocking windows and without having to spend money on a big shrub is to put a small shrub in a big pot. Mixing some containers in with your ground plantings gives nice contrast of height, textures, etc.

Look for a good nursery (NOT big box store) that carries a lot of native plants. In return for you making a fairly substantial purchase, they will be glad to consult with you about what grows best in your area, design suggestions etc.

Get to work now! You have not much more than about six weeks to get whatever you are going to fall plant in the ground. Maybe just plant a few things and add more in spring. Or maybe just work on getting your soil ready (and figure out your design plan) so you will be ready for spring planting. You are going to need to till up the ground where your beds will be (a half a day's work with a rented rototiller) and put down a lot of good soil amendments: compost, composted manure, worm castings, shredded fall leaves, etc.

So that's a lot of information and a lot of threads to read. Let us know what questions you still have after you have read and thought about it. Best wishes, it's a fun project. I'm going to be doing the same kind of thing at my house this fall.
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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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Need ideas for landscaping please!!

PS we would love for you to show us some progress pictures of this project as it goes along! :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

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