What to do with landscaping when front porch and ground meet?

by Amy
(east Tennessee)

We have an empty slate here and I have no idea what to do. Please help.


Our 3'wide front porch meets the ground all the way across the front of the house. I'll appreciate so very much any suggestions! We're in Tennessee, zone 6. Thanks!



ANSWER

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the picture, but I can't quite make out the area. Does your walkway meet the porch without any land in between?

Depending on what is going on, you can address this in different ways to make it successful and interesting. If there is space to plant we'll have to see how wide it is. If there is no space, you'll have to work with plants on your porch. You would also plant in front of the walkway on the left side, etc. I also see a possible planting area on the right side.

I am sending you an email so that you can send me photo(s) of this area and also the right and left corner areas.

Thanks,
Susan

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Front Foundation Plantings With Revised Bedlines
by: Susan

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the pictures. First of all, I would remove the stone that is up against the porch. It is just dividing your ground into smaller areas that are not shaped very well.

Once you do this, you'll have a larger planting area. I would place some shrubs along the edge of the porch, staggering them along the distance. Use all of the same plant, something that does not get too tall and evergreen. Perhaps Plum Yews or Azaleas that are evergreen.

Once you reach the end near the front door, plant either a Butterfly Bush or a Lilac...either would work. We want some height there.

In front of the shrubs, to the right of the "Lilac", coming around the corner of the visibly raised railroad ties, I would use three other shrubs.

To the right of these, in front of the raised rr ties, plant a small and/or narrow tree. Some ideas...Star Magnolia or River Birch. Towards the outermost point, but to the left slightly, I would use another large shrub or small tree. This way you have three large plants in the area and they are triangulated.

Follow these same ideas on the left side. Tree at the corner and shrubs.

In all of the empty spaces, have fun with lots and lots of perennials for color and texture.

Use hardwood shredded mulch as your mulch to keep the weeds out and keep water in. Apply it three inches thick.

One more thing regarding the bed on the left. Re-shape the bed to make it curvilinear. Swing it out at the left corner, then go in, then out slightly around the edge of the walkway.

Hope this helps!
Susan

More details that might help
by: Amy

We can go with however much planting space we need on the left. The ground meets the porch completely on that side.

On the right side, we have the porch, ground, sidewalk. The sidewalk slopes down to the driveway and we have this ugly, wooden, railroad tie type thing as a retaining wall of sorts, but there's about 3 feet of planting space on top of that as well until the ground there also meets the porch.

I'm so excited to see suggestions! Thanks bunches!

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NEED IDEAS FOR FRONT OF HOUSE / PORCH

by Jason
(maryland)


Title says it all! I built this house myself and I need help with shrubs and accents to plant and put in front of the porch .

I live in Maryland zone 7 and the house faces East and is 40‘ across the front. I like shrubs and plants somewhat natural , and don’t want any plants or shrubs to be too tall. I would like the plants and shrubs to stay below the porch spindles around 3‘-5’. My soil is sandy and drains quickly. My house is in the middle of a 2 acre lot with of with only a ½ acre that is cleared, lots of trees. Thank You, Jason
--------------------------------------
ANSWER

Hi Jason,
Regarding ideas for front of house & porch...
It's difficult to explain and provide a layout with words. This can much more easily be done by way of a drawing.

That be said, let me give you some concept ideas, along with some plant suggestions.

I would use the same shrubs along the railing for continuity. The space is not that long (without the steps which are nice and wide!) A different variety(s) could be used on the left side of the house as you go towards the back yard.

I would also use some landscape trees at the corners. This will add height and frame your lovely home. They must be pulled away far enough to allow for their mature width. Some trees you could consider are River Birch, Flowering Dogwood or even Cryptomeria which is an evergreen tree, but one of the more narrow ones. A small ornamental tree or large shrub can also be used to the left of the steps.

For the background shrub, Boxwood 'Green Velvet' is a nice choice and it won't get over three feet max. There are others to choose from.

So far sounds pretty boring, right? We have to now add some interest!

In front of the evergreen shrubs, you can add another layer of shrubs, a layer of perennials, or a combination of the two. The perennials should be chosen so that they provide color throughout the season. Heights should be varied as should textures of the various plants.

I would make the beds very curvilinear with sweeping curves, possibly even bringing the bed slightly around the right side of the walk. Plants can possibly be added at the right side of the walk where it begins at the driveway.

I hope this was helpful. You can always get in touch with me with further questions.

Susan

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Landscape Idea For Area In Front Of A Porch

I need a landscape idea for the area in front of my porch.

I have a medium size square area in front of my front porch it is about 10 feet by 8 feet. It is between the driveway and the front porch. It is sunny and we live in Cleveland, Ohio. I need some ideas on what to do with this space. Right now it is a mess of old shrubs. I do have 2 new hydrangea that were planted in the wrong spot that I plan to move and include in new design.

ANSWER

If you could send me a picture, that would be helpful.

Without seeing the area, I can only provide some general landscape ideas.

Place some evergreen shrubs in the background and use all the same variety. Boxwood 'Green Velvet' or Blue Holly 'China Girl' would be two suggestions. Neither will get too large.

In front of these create a low maintenance perennial garden. Some sun loving perennials to consider are Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Lavender 'Hidcote', and Coneflower (lots of varieties - any will work).

Use lots of a variety...minimum of 3 to five of one kind so you will get a big splash of color. You can also add something taller. I like Butterfly Bush...one of the shorter varieties.
You can also add a garden ornament, such as a sculpture, urn or even a fountain.

Hydrangea typically don't like full sun. You might be better off finding a place for the Hydrangea which gets partial shade.

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"Susan,  what a pleasure it was to work with you.  You made me feel like I was your only client - responding late at night and always so quickly!  Your design is amazing and we only hope we can do justice to it when we plant.  You have such fantastic ideas and you are so open to suggestions and changes.  Loved working with you - now if you could only come to Canada and plant it!!!"
Helen, Ontario-Canada 

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