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Old 01-03-2011, 04:51 PM
 
6,121 posts, read 9,818,575 times
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One thing has been bothering me since I moved here, that is my front yard is very boring.

It's not just me, almost most of houses I see here have a very boring front yard. We don't do much with the front yard, other than perhaps a flower bed, some foundation plants, and a few trees. But by and large we leave the front yard as one big expansive lawn, wanting to be watered, mowed, more water, then mow again... repeat once a week in the summer and once every 2 weeks during spring and fall.

Most front yards are just that, lawn with a drive way, and a tiny walk path from the driveway to the front door. Functional at best but certainly nothing leads to inspirations.

I just came back vacationing in southern California and I realized what I've been missing, that is a well-designed front yard with walk path separated from the driveway, well-placed shrubs, hardscapes (raised flower beds, low walls, etc.) and trees to break up the monotonous lawn.

So I am tempted to do something to 'beautify' my front yard, but I worry that my house maybe 'out of character' with the rest of neighborhood as a result. I would not worry about this if I live in million-dollar neighborhoods, but I live among the frugal, penny-pinching peasants. Also maybe this is just a 'South' thing to have a flat, boring, lawn. Same with the fence that start at the midway or even back of house instead of the front of house.

So please advise. Especially those of you who're in the real estate business.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Madison, Alabama
956 posts, read 2,309,880 times
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I think your home would stand out in a "good way" as long as it wasn't overly done. If I know you, it will be beautiful. I say go for it! Personally, I"d be thrilled to have my sign in the yard of a home with the nicest landscaping on the block!

I think most homeowner's focus on the backyards, because that is where most of their time is spent. (That's the case in our household).
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:32 PM
 
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We are planning to make our front yard more interesting too. Any recommendations for landscape architects?
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
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Most lawns are plain because they're easier to mow that way. I'm trying to get across to my husband that if we plant large beds with trees, flowers, etc., it will cut down on his mowing time.

I'm beginning to see the front yard landscaped more frequently...a patio-type sitting area (no grills in the front, please!), or even a parking pad and circle drive.

Be sure to check the neighborhood covenants and any ordinances about plantings.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Tijuana Exurbs
4,252 posts, read 11,057,744 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HB2HSV View Post

So I am tempted to do something to 'beautify' my front yard, but I worry that my house maybe 'out of character' with the rest of neighborhood as a result. I would not worry about this if I live in million-dollar neighborhoods, but I live among the frugal, penny-pinching peasants. Also maybe this is just a 'South' thing to have a flat, boring, lawn. Same with the fence that start at the midway or even back of house instead of the front of house.
If you are concerned about the negative reactions of your neighbors for "showing them up," (and contrary to the 'in your face' types, I believe a reasonable concern for the attitudes of your neighbors is commendable), then don't go all out, all at once, on the re-landscaping of your front yard. Do half of your project and then judge the reactions of your neighbors. Some of them may have felt the same way as you, but didn't want to be seen as extravagant.

However, in regards to the fencing issue, it could be that a front yard fence is seen as being un-neighborly, a way of keeping the neighbors away that is considered inhospitable and unfriendly.
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:49 PM
 
6,121 posts, read 9,818,575 times
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Thanks guys for your inputs. If I may illustrate my point..

Here's your typical Huntsville area 'tract home'. Notice the functional yet unassumable walk path between the driveway and the front door..



and this one. These two pretty much describe your standard 'builder spec' tract homes in the Huntsville area



Now for 'upgrade', I could do something simple like this one


But see the big improvement on a relatively similar house, except doing the walk way differently



But see the dramatic improvement with this one



Or this one, my personal favorite



Ideas? Suggestions? Are the last 2 photos 'too much' for this area?

TIA
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:57 PM
 
6,121 posts, read 9,818,575 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elizabeth_G View Post
I think your home would stand out in a "good way" as long as it wasn't overly done. If I know you, it will be beautiful. I say go for it! Personally, I"d be thrilled to have my sign in the yard of a home with the nicest landscaping on the block!
OK, Elizabeth. If I get this great job offer that doubles my pay but will require me to move out of town, I will give you a call.

Right now, Obama is freezing my pay increase for the next 2 years. But I should still be grateful in today's economy.

Quote:
I think most homeowner's focus on the backyards, because that is where most of their time is spent. (That's the case in our household).
Well, yeah... but that's another project

Last edited by HB2HSV; 01-03-2011 at 10:09 PM..
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:30 AM
 
87 posts, read 125,576 times
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Default Grass lawns are boring :)

Go for the yard makeover!

And don't forget to sneak in some fun and edible plants!
http://foodfromtheyard.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-are-neighbors-doing.html

We'd love to feature your yard if you do some edibles

Here's another article just posted with some more ideas..

HSVGreenLink - Articles - A Profitable Use of The Urban Landscape*Space
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Old 01-04-2011, 07:53 AM
 
261 posts, read 671,771 times
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I think it's a great idea! However, if you don't have much experience with landscape design you may want to hire a landscape architect to help formulate a plan that relates well to your home. While I like the concept of what was done in the photos you posted, I don't care for much of the detail because the materials used in the hardscape don't tie into the materials used on most of the houses (the last one may be an exception if that's the same stone on the house foundation in front.) Also, I admit that the last one seems a bit much - but I tend to be frugal and wonder why I'd want such a large patio-like space in front if I didn't intend to use it for seating. It seems larger than needed to provide a gracious entry.

Southern Living magazine has featured some very pretty front entry makeovers. You might check their website to see if they've archived those photos.

I don't think you can go wrong with adding well planned hardscaping, but would caution you to consider ease of maintenance on the plants if this is not your forever home. Some people who don't have a green thumb (and I do not) may be intimidated by a garden that appears to take a lot of work. OTOH, if you use heat and drought resistant plants and a drip irrigation system, your new landscape could be a great feature for resale.

For the "typical" HSV houses you showed, I think it would look better to use the same color/size brick to edge the walkways and raised planters as was used on their facades.
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:38 AM
 
1,166 posts, read 2,534,757 times
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I would definitely get some advice before starting but I think it is a great idea. We love John Gidden on HGTV's The Block. He always takes these boring front yards and houses and redesigns a front that is hospitable and easier upkeep. I drove by Trevor Cole's house (he owns Across The Pond) and thought it was extraordinary. He took a huge lot with no trees and has lots of hardscapes and landscapes. I love older homes because the front yard is usually a little more like you want to do. Drive around and get some ideas.
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