For me, I would extend the front porch across to the driveway. Left sie of house a weeping Japanese Maple with a front border of daylilies. In front of porch maybe some azaleas and assortment of daylilies, Iris, and some annuals.
I like the front porch idea. Another option would be a flagstone patio in that front area between the door and the driveway, with a small flowerbed next to the house. on the right side of the picture.
Our budget does not allow for extending the porch or adding patio - I am seeking plant selection and bed shape ideas. Here is how the home looked about 2 years ago. Would like to add a tree on the right in the yard - suggestions on type and placement? Thinking a white birch would look nice.
I still like the idea of a weeping Japanese Maple on the left side of the porch (if looking at the house) and a front border of daylilies. I would make that bed border rounded instead of straight across. This adds some contrast to the front instead of everything in a row. On the driveway side either azaleas or wiegelia. Annuals in front of them or more daylilies.
You can wrap the bed at driveway around side of house to chimney. That would help soften the side also
I think the main problem is all the straight lines. I would create a walkway from the front porch to the front of your driveway, somewhat following the lines of the original planting area that was adjacent to the driveway. Because of where you park, most guests are going to approach your house from that point. If you want more direct access for yourself, you could tuck stepping stones into the bed that is created. To give you suggestions about planting, we would need to know how much sunlight that area receives. Also, before making any decisions, please get a soil test so you know what pH you are dealing with (one-third of the soil tested in Virginia has too much lime, resulting in alkaline soil that can result in nutritional deficiencies in plants).
Good point Douglas about the pH and the sun (light).
To clarify, the home is in Thomasville, NC - not in VA. Summers are hot & humid. Home receives afternoon sun in the front with less direct light to the left.There is a small stream to the left where the trees are visible. We will amend the soil as needed. Just struggling to decide what bed shapes & plants will best compliment the home and the setting. Creating some shade to the right is desirable.
Still round the flowerbeds to soften the lines of the house. White Birch is a nice tree but I know here in PA they don't hold up well in storms or heavy snow and ice. Not sure about your weather? I myself love crimson maples, but you must give enough space away from house to grow.
Also, you can search landscape from home page and look at some of the photos there for ideas.
I like the suggestions so far. In addition though, I would expand the bed on the left hand side and incorporate a vertical green shrub to give some depth on that side and give the appearance of a 'longer' front area. You could use something like a (depending on the expansion) a larger growing Holly ( Foster, Nellie R Stevens, Emily Brunner), or Arborvitae Emerald Green, or Italian Cypress) add in some color shrubs such as a Loropetalum with some pink blooming shorter azaleas (Gumpo pink or white) and some ground cover perennials (Dianthus Neon Pink would be a good one with that combination)
I like Douglas Hunts idea of the stepping stones around the old corner garden, you could do stepping stones with gravel in between and keep that in with edging, then do a new garden area where the old one was, maybe a birdbath in it? On either side of steps, plant something about 4-5 feet tall, that stays small, or that can be kept trimmed/pruned, this will 'anchor' the entrance way. maybe a small tree in the lawn area, toward left side of steps. I just installed Metal Edging, was very easy to install, like it much better than plastic.
How far away from the house should bushes be planted? I know it will vary based on the characteristics of the plant but Is there a specific minimum to maintain between the house & the plant as the plant matures?
You need ideally to be able to walk behind the mature plant. So depending upon the plants chosen this number will vary. It may look a bit off for a short while, which can be corrected by fast growing type plants. In any case the exterior of the home should be able to breath. If plants are to close you will get mold, insects, and unhealthy plants if you need to keep cutting the back sides off of them.
Depends on their growth patterns and ful lsize. Check labels. From experience, I plant mine at least 3 ft from the house for smaller shrubs. For shrubs growing larger or tree-bound types, I have learned not to plant less than 15 ft from the foundation. 3-5 feet appears to be the limit in order to keep their shapes.
Knock-Out roses. Easy as pie, gorgeous for all three seasons. Maybe with a few low-growing muga pines? I'm a muga fan.
We are stuck with the straight walk for now, but I agree that curved & extended beds will help soften the lines. We are also dealing with a dog who does not recognize garden vs lawn, so thinking hardy shrubs will be less likely to be trampled than perennials. Because of this, we will be trying for color in the leaves along with shrubs that bloom. Thanks for your suggestions. Is there a rule of thumb on combining shrub colors (yellow, red, green, variegated) Stick to a certain number and certain combos? Don't want the result to look like a crazy quilt - want something calm, but attractive.
Lilacs offer lots of color and are pretty hardy, but they aren't large enough that they will block the windows and such.
White birches like cooler weather....they are most popular in upper New York state and Canada. They are prone to bores. When landscaping remember to 'frame' your home. Never place large trees in front of windows or doors in the yard. Place them at the 'corners' if you will but many feet away. Certain tree roots will cause harm to concrete sidewalks and driveways. A smaller tree to the left front would be appropriate. Use garden hose to outline the areas that surround the home that you wish to put into landscape beds. Lanscape fabric is not necessary.
This list of recommended native trees and shrubs for North Carolina would be a good starting point for you:
Thanks everyone for your suggestions!
We'd love to see some "after" pictures when you finish the work, Kate.
Sure thing! Not sure how much will get done this year due to budget constraints and more pressing needs, but always good to be planning & researching in the meantime!