barbc12

Heeeeelllp for garden novices.

Barb
6 years ago
last modified: 3 years ago

We've just bought our very first house (YAY I'm 29 years young) and although it looks small from the front, it's actually a large house out the back, where we've just completed a huge deck and great outdoor living. We really need help with the front now, which leaves a great deal to be desired. The windows are bedrooms, the door, our front door, which no-one really uses, as there is no presence at all. Out of shot directly in front of the house, we have a large stone wall with a pedestrian gate right opposite the front door and a driveway with electric gate to the left (see pics). We'd really appreciate some ideas with either soft/hard landscaping and/or actual house embellishment. Thanks so very much.





Comments (23)

  • Barb
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    The pedestrian gate
  • Barb
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    The back of house
  • Bonica Mitchell
    6 years ago
    When choosing decorations and furniture that feature you should decide what look you want
    Eg.modern, vintage, classy, etc.
    Barb thanked Bonica Mitchell
  • PRO
    Helenscolour
    6 years ago
    Barb, you have done an amazing job of the back and the driveway looks great. You just need to carry the driveway look to the front. You could put in a nice wide path with some statement trees down each side. Be advised by your local nursery on this. Some large pots with topiary maybe at front door, (paint the door your favourite colour) and trim back the greenery at the gate. Have faith, you have made a great start!
    Barb thanked Helenscolour
  • PRO
    Helenscolour
    6 years ago
    Barb, the planters in front of the house need more statement planting, again ask your local nursery, maybe take these photos to help make choices...hope this all helps!
    Barb thanked Helenscolour
  • Sophia Hicks
    6 years ago
    if the front door is staying I would suggest a pathway, planter boxes, I would like to see taller plants
    Barb thanked Sophia Hicks
  • PRO
    cearl11
    6 years ago
    I would like to see Hedged. And I would like to see some flower or walkway to your door and make little secret garden to be more cool
    Barb thanked cearl11
  • Barb
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Thanks - good idea - we'll collect a few ideas of what we like.
  • mrr100
    6 years ago
    Why don't you put some nice architraves and/or an awning to dress up the windows and give more character to the front?
    Barb thanked mrr100
  • mrr100
    6 years ago
    If you want low maintenance, a mass of agapanthus would be lovely to compliment your colour scheme in the garden beds
    Barb thanked mrr100
  • Andrew Smaus
    6 years ago
    Get rid of those curtains and replace with plantation shutters. Then add some medium size trimmed Yukka's to the front garden bed.
    Barb thanked Andrew Smaus
  • PRO
    Romany Lambert Garden Design
    6 years ago
    You've made a great start. Given the straight lines you've used elsewhere, I would be inclined to create a central path, possibly with a big central square in the centre of it with a glossy large pot in it. You could plant succulents or something with small strappy leaves around this. This should be contained in a smaller square. Your path should be the same width around this feature as everywhere else. I would paint your timber garden beds the same colour as your guttering and make the pot the same, or a few shades darker. I would also choose plantation shutters as my window coverings of choice for the front rooms, however if there are too costly, white Venetian blinds are a good option.
    Barb thanked Romany Lambert Garden Design
  • buffpoint
    6 years ago
    Hi Barb, Suggest you stain the timber garden beds with a stain to match your back deck. Add a Yukka your similar plant to either side of the house front but not near the entrance, this will give some definition, balance and colour to those bare walls. Include some strappy leaf plants such as Lomandra for easy care gardening.
    Barb thanked buffpoint
  • angelasusanm
    6 years ago
    And I would be planting trees – real trees not dwarf versions of trees and no more palms (unless you want to have palm tree themed garden – in which case a lot more palms are needed). I am not advocating planting forest giants but there are trees that will provide shade, shelter and a sense of scale that you won't get from yuccas and buxus and mondo grass and succulents alone. But before you start buying those trees you have a few decisions to make and a bit of analysis to do.

    1. Orientation – you need to understand the basics of winter sun and summer sun, how much westerly sun you welcome and how much you need to shelter from it; where your prevailing winds blow from and whether this changes with the season also. So, once you've worked out where you want the sun to penetrate and at what time of the year, how to allow for wind, frost, whatever... you need to

    2. Decide if you want a predominantly native garden, a range of deciduous trees or a completely eclectic selection (like the best 'English' gardens – which are planted out with plants from all over the world – Indian subcontinent, Asia, Africa, The Americas etc. Even some from Australia!).

    3. Now the tricky bit – what do you love, i.e. which trees and plants make your heart really sing – and hopefully for more than two or three weeks of the year? Once you have that list which of those are likely to be happy in your climate, in your soil and with the amount of gardening attention (watering, feeding, pruning etc) that you're likely to enjoy lavishing on them.

    Your long list will by now be a much shorter (and more manageable list) but trees are what make a house look bedded in and part of a landscape rather than just sitting out in the open in a way that is both self-conscious and a bit awkward. Although, again I guess you could embrace the suburban awkwardness and go all Howard Arkley in which case keep it all small and suburban...

    But it is your garden and your house – make it look like what you want your house and garden to look and feel like!

    Good luck!
    Barb thanked angelasusanm
  • brizman
    6 years ago
    Hello there Barb - hope I haven't missed the obvious but you don't say where in Australia you live, and you don't give the orientation of your block - both important in recommending the options you might have. I see what seem to be Alexandra palms down the driveway - but they grow over a wide range of climatic conditions.

    Try to come up with a theme for your gardens - you have the opportunity to to develop two distinct styles because the block is in two distinct parts. For example, at our place, which faces due west in Brisbane, at the front we have used rainforest plantings (not a rainforest, just the cool green colours of shrubs and trees that grow in such a setting) to provide shade and a cooling green aspect to the street. At the back we have gone for more cottage style plants for colour to look out on - lots of camelias and sasanquas, brunfelsia and a flowering peach we inherited. So we get cool shade at the front and lovely colours at the back to enjoy from our deck.

    Head off to the llbrary or even just browse in the garden section of bookshops to see what appeals to you - formal, sculptural (like the palms and the large draecena at the side at the back - take that further); cottage garden with seasonal flowers and shrubs like gardenias, azaeleas, brunfelisa; larger shade producing plantings if you are exposed to hot sun on the western aspect; dry garden with desert type plantings (just be aware that a return to rainy weather might see them struggle); even fruit trees like citrus and the native tropical ones for a productive garden. If you want to grow vegetable and herbs remember to leave a sunny patch for a raised garden.

    So many options - and lots of looking around the neighbourhood, the book shops and the local nursery. But get some kind of organising principle, if not a design, or you will lose valuable time in re-planting and making mistakes (although there will be plenty of those - that's half the fun!)
    Barb thanked brizman
  • brizman
    6 years ago
    PS - try to keep plantings away from the house. Watering gardens up against foundations is not a good idea - and insects, like the plague of ants we have had recently, will have easier access to the house. If your garden bed has a back to it that is not the wall of the house, the plantings will soon cover the "gap" and you will not be softening the ground on which the base of the wall stands and you will not be providing an attractive environment for white ants quite to convenient to the dark inside (and damp) stucco brick base.
    Barb thanked brizman
  • benandbern
    6 years ago
    I would make it neat and formal. Get rid of the grass so you don't have to mow it. move the path along the front of the house back towards the fence so it evenly divides the space into 4, perhaps a fountain, birdbath or some feature where the paths intersect. Edge each of the 4 spaces with clipped african box or similar and fill with floribunda roses that are more bushy than tea roses and lavender. The cottage style suits your house...or for a native feel fill the beds with super tough leucospermum. A row of flowering plum along the drive and some other trees only the left boundary - citrus perhaps. The stone fence looks gloomy and dark - I'd soften it with planting in front instead of the grass. Something with light coloured foliage.
    Barb thanked benandbern
  • hosinator
    6 years ago
    Stone Path from the pedestrian gate to the front door. Consider hedging it with English Boxes. I'd stay away from trees that shade the bedrooms too much, they will make the rooms dark inside. Consider how much maintenance you want to be doing. Every weekend or once a season. Conifers are low maintenance and evergreen for example.

    Good luck!
    Barb thanked hosinator
  • wuff
    6 years ago
    A previous comment suggested adding white architraves, I can see there is some smooth render above the window and the windows have a nice sill, maybe painting them white would pick out the feature already there. My thoughts would be also some feature trees, depending on aspect, some flowers deciduous trees but as already stated away from the house. You are doing a fantastic job. The back is awesome
    Barb thanked wuff
  • amwants
    6 years ago
    Walk around your neighbourhood, see whats growing well, make it a regular walk, talk to the locals( that have great gardens), the ones that have lived their many years. Find out what grows well, if they have tried other gardens and perhaps weren't successful with the local climate - better than any book, Also you may get a few cuttings and perhaps a new friend. Have fun and congrats.
    Barb thanked amwants
  • Barb
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Wow thanks everyone - some really fabulous ideas. We are based in Auckland NZ, so climate can be 4 seasons in one day but predominately not too hot/cold and hardly any frosts. We're going to make a scrap book of mag cuttings (as suggested) and see what we both like. Then go for a neighbourhood walk to see what grows best. I'm tending towards something structural and formal, rather than cottagey and messy (although this is our type of house i.e Cottagey), just because structure/formality may be easier to maintain, as we both work full time. Going to have to put the dog out the back also, as she tends to dig things up. Your thoughts have been awesome, keep them coming, we really appreciate them. :)
  • bricksmum
    6 years ago
    How exciting to be in your first home. Do remember that this probably won't be your 'forever' home though, so whatever you plan to do keep in mind how much gardening you like to do regularly and if your lifestyle allows for that. Also keep in the back of your mind the street appeal you will create as you may sell in several years.
    Barb thanked bricksmum