Ugly curb appeal - how to design a front landscape

by Tanya
(Toronto, ON Canada)

Ugly house!

Ugly house!

Hello! I am a rookie gardener and have had a lot of fun in my backyard with reasonable success, but now is time to tackle the curb appeal and I truly have the ugliest house in the world!

(on the outside anyway :)

I am at a LOSS as to what to do. I would like to create a seating area in the front to chat with the neighbors and enjoy the morning sun but need access to the back on both sides. We are building a new retaining wall this year and have had the windows replaced and painted the door red. There is a new tree that the city planted that is a baby red oak and it is centered on the left hand side window (looking at the house not the street)in the middle of the yard (I was not home when it was planted obviously).
ANY help is appreciated.


I like your house! It's adorable and I could see that it could be very charming with the right landscaping.

It's hard to see everything in the photo (although the picture is helpful). I would say to create a walkway leading to the front door (from the left - there appears to be a walkway there...or do you want to start it from the street?), but don't start it too close to the house. This will allow you to add a sitting area in front of the door. I can see a square or rectangle area with a bench to the right.

From here, you can add a small pathway around the right side of your house. From where the walk is on the left side, I would continue this with a path along the left side leading to the back. These paths are secondary and should be narrower in width.

I guess you don't like the tree that was planted and of course I can't see it, but it's positioning sounds nice to me. Perhaps add a tall shrub on the right house corner for somewhat of a balance.

Along the front of the house I would plant some evergreen shrubs, and in front of them I would go wild with perennials!! A cottage look would be perfect! It will give the house charm and lots of texture and color.

Look at these pages.

Perennial Flowers

Evergreen Shrubs Book

If you need more help, please let me know.


Comments for Ugly curb appeal - how to design a front landscape

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 24, 2010
landscape ideas for front of house
by: Susan

Hi Tanya,
I'm glad you liked some of my ideas. However, I can only do so much in this question and answer format. Besides, I need more detailed info to advise correctly with shapes, dimensions, etc.

I could do a sketch for you so you would know exactly what to do. I'd place the walkways, sitting places and "courtyard" area. Then you would have the structure of the design.

I would need a few more pictures and either a survey or some dimensions from you. If you are interested, Contact Me (via direct email), and we can discuss it further. It shouldn't take too long for me to do, since it's a relatively small and flat area.


Mar 24, 2010
seating area
by: Tanya

Hi Susan,
Thanks so much for your help and I apologize for the poor picture. Our house is pretty much the end of our property line on both sides and yes, there is a concrete path leading to the door that goes right to the street (where I was standing for the photo:) Would you suggest moving it? (it's old and ugly too)
I am trying to visualize the suggested seating area. Just to the right of the doorway? In front of the window? Or much closer to the street?
The doorway is the property line on that side, my neighbours house is 2 feet from it. The hedge is the property line for the other neighbour.
I love the evergreen and english cottage garden idea. Would you suggest a climber of some sort for between the two windows? Something to visually distract from the fact it LOOKS like there should be a door there? I keep wanting to jam the seating area in that space as I am obsessed with symmetry. ach! I was also thinking of a couple of adirondack chairs to work with the casual garden theme.
Thanks bunches for your help. We are going to start the hardscaping shortly and will get planting in May. I promise to send a follow-up picture.
Best regards,

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Patio Design Questions.

If you enjoyed this page, please share it!

Ebooks by Susan