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Old 05-15-2015, 12:23 AM
 
46 posts, read 102,751 times
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Hi all,

I just had natural gas service installed this past fall. While the cost savings are great compared to the oil heat it replaced, I'm now stuck with a gas meter in the front.

To make matters worse, as part of the trenching for the gas line, the shrubs in the front had to be removed. So now there is nothing there except for the meter (which looks terrible).

So I need to re-landscape the front, and would like some input/suggestions.

Cost/difficulty aren't really a concern, so I'm open to anything (except for a red brick retaining wall out of the 1970's).

Thanks in advance.

(I've also attached a pic of the front from last summer before the gas install)
Attached Thumbnails
Landscaping suggestions for front of house?-0514151256a.jpg   Landscaping suggestions for front of house?-526.jpg  
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:57 AM
 
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While the area is bare right now, I would clean the front of the house up first before landscaping. Pressure wash, paint, stain etc. Before anyone can suggest shrubs we would need to know what zone you are in, and which way the house faces.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:07 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,586,363 times
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You want my opinion?

Flowers!

Many beautiful flowers. The house is grey, the grass is green - what a great landscape for a fabulous flowerbed.

Choose plants that will grow to less than 3 ft (because of the windows and the porch railing). Focus on a perennial mix that will bloom throughout the year, with a few annuals in the blend every year for some quick color pop.

It can be a beautiful border for your home and yard. Nice to have a blank slate to work with and plant anything you like.

Please please do not plant a bunch of ugly shrubs which will have to be sheared back constantly to keep from overwhelming the house and the windows. Don't do that.

A pretty flowerbed.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 45,658,192 times
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Usually I would agree with perennial bed but not in this case.

The meter has to be read and maintained and the service people will not take care to avoid damage to plant material.

I would recommend something evergreen and soft....like the proper variety of Nandina or carissa hollies. No junipers, no flowering shrubs which attract bees and insects for any front door entrance. Maybe you could expand the bed and put some perennials in front of the shrubs but you definitely need shrubs as foundation planting. personally I love all the varieties of nandina available today...compact, disease and pest resistant. And nandinas offer color interest.

Maybe azaleas since they bloom early spring when insects and bees aren't too busy.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:35 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,586,363 times
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Point taken about the meter, no kudzu.

But when most people think foundation shrubs, they end up with some godawful boxwood, laurel, giant photinia , future massive hideous juniper, scabie ridden euonymous, or the like. You know what I mean?

You don't need that junk if you have large hostas, oak leaf hydrangea, perennial hibiscus, azalea, all kinds of lovely things.

My god I hate 90% of the foundation shrub plantings I have seen in this world. Horrible. I'm just thinking, please god not one more.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,502 posts, read 45,658,192 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azoria View Post
Point taken about the meter, no kudzu.

But when most people think foundation shrubs, they end up with some godawful boxwood, laurel, giant photinia , future massive hideous juniper, scabie ridden euonymous, or the like. You know what I mean?

You don't need that junk if you have large hostas, oak leaf hydrangea, perennial hibiscus, azalea, all kinds of lovely things.

My god I hate 90% of the foundation shrub plantings I have seen in this world. Horrible. I'm just thinking, please god not one more.
Don't let Bulldogdad see that. He loves red tips!

I agree about most of the foundation plantings, especially in one builder development. The same "landscaper" does all the houses and buys in bulk with little or no regard for sun/shade requirements. Our house was being built when we bought it and part of the price was of course the landscaping. I had very little choice in what I could use but I certainly did have choice about shape of the beds. I took my paint can and made huge sweeping beds to accommodate the perennial beds I wanted. Wishing now I had removed some of those plantings before they got too established. When we first moved in I heeled in over 150 nursery pots of perennials, shrubs, bulbs and vine I dug up from Atlanta and moved to N.C. and I really wanted to get them in the ground.
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Old 05-15-2015, 06:20 PM
 
46 posts, read 102,751 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon_In_NOVA View Post
While the area is bare right now, I would clean the front of the house up first before landscaping. Pressure wash, paint, stain etc. Before anyone can suggest shrubs we would need to know what zone you are in, and which way the house faces.
I'll be pressure washing it this weekend.

I live in Massachusetts, about 20 minutes north of Boston.

My house faces east, so the sun hits the shrubs until noon. However, I have a huge maple tree in front, so it actually obscures a good amount of light during the day.
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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Azaleas will work just fine
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Old 05-16-2015, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,473 posts, read 14,388,968 times
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OP since you are in Mass., I'm assuming you need something that is cold hardy. If the area gets morning sun, shade loving plants may work best. Plus it is close to the foundation, so the soil is probably on the alkaline side...if you have a concrete foundation. I'd recommend these shrubs:

1. Dwarf Gold yew - such as taxus cuspidata "bright gold" or others.
2. Dwarf mugho pine - such as "mops" or "slowmound" a shortcoming of these is that they may get european sawfly. Nevertheless the regular dwarf mugo pine likes shade and alkaline soil and has a really beautiful shape.
3. Boxwood - There is a disease called boxwood blight going around, so make sure you get healthy plants and don't plant too many.


Mix it up with one or two deciduous shrubs:

1. Hydrangea arborescens - Cold hard hydrangea that are native and like alkaline soil. You can try cultivars like "bella anna" (blooms on old and new wood), pink "invincibelle", white "annabelle," "white dome," or "Taylor's starburst."

2. Snowberry - Native with white berries that provides fall and winter interest. Give it room. There is a Dwarf variety with Pink fruit called "candy sensation."

3. Sambucus racemosa - Native with some dwarf-ish cultivars. "Lemony lace" (or lemon lace) has finely cut chartreuse leaves.


Other recommendations:

1. Make the bed bigger than you had it previously. It seems grass had a problem growing there, so you might as well expand it and put in other plants.

2. Put in a path. Nowadays most the wisdom is to make new paths ~4 ft wide. You could stick in some stepping stones to the meter and make a path to connect the deck or porch and that other path by what looks like the front door.

3. Mix it up. I'd agree with the previous suggestion to add some bulbs, perennials etc that will be pretty in other seasons. In front of the evergreens.

Some mixers that are cold hardy (to zone 4), like afternoon shade and alkaline soil are:

1. Dicentra eximia - Native bleeding hearts. Pretty foliage and dark pink flowers. Relatively Low growing.
2. Heuchera - The straight species (h. americana or h. villosa) are nice and there are TONS of cultivars.
3. Carex plantaginea - Native wide-leaved sedge.
4. Asarum canadense - Low-growing native groundcover.


Best of luck.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
72,360 posts, read 55,407,690 times
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I'm better with veggies then flowers so sorry I cant recommend anything but I will say this...

Anything with Color Blooms is a pain to maintain. You have to stay on top of it and hope for the best.

I would get a couple of Dwarf Spruces in there.
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