Let me jump right in. As I mentioned on Friday, I’ve been getting overly excited about springtime because it means I can finally contract someone to fix my gross driveway. I’m also amped to work on a landscaping overhaul in the front yard… umm, let me define “overhaul”. No, I don’t need retaining walls, no, I won’t be ordering in a truck of sod, and I’m not thinking about adding fountains (or fire features for that matter…this isn’t Yard Crashers).
I’m just looking to do a little something to improve this place and add a little curb appeal.
The most frustrating part of gardening for me is… waiting. I planted azaleas two summers ago. They’re still tiny (they’re the teeny shrubby things in the picture above). I planted two hydrangea plants (they’re the teeny branchy thing in the picture above… planted closely together). They’re still tiny too. I transplanted an unidentifiable tree/bush two years ago, which started growing really well last summer, but now I think it’s too close to the corner of the house and brushes against the sunroom windows. Not really sure it’ll stay, or could stay without damaging the house someday. And (bad gardener alert) I even forgot to plant my tulip bulbs until New Years Day, so they’re a little behind the tulip growth curve compared to all of the ones I see popping up in other people’s yards. They’re kind of scattered throughout the whole front garden.
I know we’re just coming out of wintertime, but this garden is lame. I really hoped that these plants would fill in the space better. I guess I’m too accustomed to seeing azalea bushes that are oh, maybe 20 years matured. These baby-azaleas might be awesome if I nurture them until, you know, 2019. But as I said, I’m anxious, and my front yard needs help.
To show what I’m thinking about doing used the Better Homes & Garden’s Plan-A-Garden tool. Here’s a little before (keep on readin’ for the ‘after’):
Just a quick review, this free online gardening tool was pretty good to use but not nearly as comprehensive as I had hoped it would be, especially coming from a gardening magazine. My yard isn’t quite to scale because I had a limited space to work within on the screen where I could see it all at once; zooming out wasn’t an option as far as I could find. There weren’t as many plants as on floorplanner.com, but I suppose for the purposes of showing an idea, it helps to get the point across just fine.
Before even heading out to a gardening center or nursery, I wanted to have a sense of what shape this new garden should take given the available space. I had a few new yard changes to work with as well: Last fall, I had the front porch removed to make way for a smaller, more simplified staircase (it’s still in progress but weather and time permitting, it’ll be done before summer gets underway). Another change: I’m hoping to remove part of the driveway (the third parking spot that’s furthest to the left in that first photo). The removal of that asphalt should give me approximately 250 additional sq. ft. of awesome grassy lawn (grading and grassing is a separate undertaking for the springtime).
I have this hoarder tendency to save magazines (not catalogues, just magazines) because at times like these, I like to refer back to find inspiration. I whipped out a slew of magazines to peruse (Martha Stewart Outdoor, Cottage & Coastal Living, Better Homes & Gardens, Country Living, House Beautiful) and I’m excited to have found a few inspiring images/articles, although I should note that ironically both came from the April 2007 issue of Cottage Living.
1) This one is really something more suited for those pergolas on my back deck, but the lush plants along the fence are right up my alley. Pretty grasses and leafiness.
So I began sketching, and came up with this masterpiece. OK, not masterpiece, but worthy of… um… sharing. I imagine extending the front garden outward further from the house into an arch, or a series of scallops maybe, to allow for extra room for layers of plants. My own little mullet garden. I’m pretty much guessing at what will be planted at this point (still need to get myself to a nursery, which is on the list of things to do) but I’m envisioning green shrubbery in the back, with smaller flowers in the front, accented by ground cover (maybe hostas, maybe ivy). I moved the azaleas over to the left, and grouped them together for more impact. I’ll leave the hydrangea where it is and drop in some accent flowers around it. Maybe I’ll add some pretty lavender in there too (true story: I like the look but not the smell).
Fortunately for me in this eager state, not much of this is contingent on the driveway work, so I could get started on parts of it right away, although I hesitate to do major work until the tulips are done blooming (and they’re still only 1″ out of the ground) and the azaleas have done their thing. Until then, I’ll work in areas that aren’t effected and start to track down the plants I want to buy and get the bed in ready-to-plant shape.
Anyone else doing some lofty curb appeal gardening this spring?