Gail Sims
Gail Sims
  • Hometalker
  • Greenwell Springs, LA
Asked on Aug 28, 2018

How to landscape to improve ambience and curb appeal?

DebbsIliHappy Days Hometalker


My home was flooded in 2016. I am trying to restore my home and hope to landscape to improve the look and the ambiance.

q how to landscape to improve ambience and curb appeal
5 answers
  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Aug 28, 2018

    Are you looking for trees and shrubbery ideas? What zone do you live in? Is it subject to flooding or was this a one time thing?

  • Jan Clark
    on Aug 29, 2018

    #1 de-clutter. Anything you don't need or doesn't work has got to go. #2 Once clean of debris, wash everything down. Rent and use a power sprayer if need be. #3 Paint with a quality exterior. Color is your choice, but I would use a neutral for the most part with a contrast color (you like) that 'pops' your personality. #4 make planting beds. Clear out areas that work for your traffic patterns. Define them by using some kind of border (stone, concrete, plastic or steel) use plants that grow well in your area and choose ones that fit with the amount of sun/shade they will get in their new home. Plant and mulch deeply. I love cedar mulch because it stays put and repels a lot of bugs. The plants you choose depends on their placement in the beds (lower in front, taller toward the back) and remember that annuals bloom a lot but need to be replaced. Perennials live longer but only bloom once a season.

  • Happy Days Hometalker
    on Aug 29, 2018

    Agree 100% on the de clutter, but I know how hard it is especially since you are restoring after the flood and may need some of the items shown in the photo, install temporary lattice to conceal the items you are storing, it will make a hugh difference, paint the house, trim and the lattice complimentary colors, start there, slowing add plants when you find them on sale or free plants from homeowners wanting to thin out their yards. Once you paint you may consider exterior shutters for your windows. A designated pathway with flowers or shrubs leading to the front door. You have already made a giant step forward by deciding to enhance your curb appeal. Take it slow, it will evolve. Best of luck to you, please do post pictures along with way, would love to see your progress.

  • Ili
    on Aug 29, 2018

    Kathy, so sorry for the devastation that happened to you!!, Please follow the advice already given...prepare ahead before you start moving things around, what is going to be fixed/what is going to be thrown away/given away, etc....and GET RID don't just move everything to a different spot....You'll feel so much better when your front porch is clean and ready for next step...I can picture big container with flowers or just nice greenery by your door...JMO

  • Debbs
    on Aug 29, 2018

    Devastation to ones home can break you – be an over comer – here are my hopefully helpful words.

    Clean, Paint, Dispose of all damaged items. That is a given but really most important and largest improvement.

    Our home is in a country estates area so all the lots are 6+ acres. We love our numerous planting beds but have chosen our formal plantings carefully for expense and curb appeal. I always like to approach everything, be it home remodeling, décor or landscape, with a “One WOW factor” item per area. My kitchen has all the bones like it should but I installed a great WOW sink and faucet. My bathroom has affordable ceramic tile with very high level WOW marble insets parsed throughout. My livingroom has functional everything with one very exquisite WOW cabinet as a focal point. This way there is one special thing to rest ones eyes upon, overlooking the plain surrounding items.

    I have treated my planting areas the same. One large WOW statement tree or shrub per area, affordable common shrubs and bring in perennials/bulbs for my fillers. I really have fallen in love with my perennials/bulbs after several years now for the following reason…they multiply or grow larger on their own. I have run a long bed of lavender along our large country porch. I began with 2 dozen teeny little tiny starter plants in year 1 which were to be gotten for $1.47 each at Walmart, placed them 18 inches apart. Year 2 they grew substantially, and now in year 5 it is a glorious statement of fragrant color for 5 solid months. Plus I get to harvest it in bunches for decorations, crafts and moth deterrent in closets. Perennials can be divided as the years go by to fill in other areas in the landscape. Another plant we have had great success with is our Hosta bulbs. They keep multiplying and filling in more and more square footage of the bed. Lamium, common name is dead nettle…I have two colors of flowers – yellow and purple, I first acquired it in a flat for $9.97 at Walmart. Planted it under the shade of trees where nothing else would grow. It just keeps sending out runners and spreading every year. They grow so densely, weeds will not grow there, thus reducing my upkeep of planting beds. Another self replicator…hens & chicks…grandma always had them right?. Visit your local nursery, share your story and obstacles. They will be able to guide you to zone specific trees that will grow quickly to achieve best landscape fillers - bang for your buck! In Seattle area, I have had great results with Cedrus Deodara (common name Himalayan Cedar, nice weepy shaped evergreen), Quercus palustris (common name Pin oak or swamp Spanish oak , has grown very quickly for me with adequate watering until established), Salix babylonica (common name Weeping Willow, to grown in that really wet area of my yard where nothing else took hold), Cupressus × leylandii (common name Leyland Cypress, my fastest growing tree solution $5/1 gallon pots install at about 18” in year 1 and in year 5 they are over 25 feet tall – fabulous for privacy when planted as a hedge or can really be majestic as a specimen. They can be planted at 6’ apart for a solid hedge that will require at least 4 hedgings per year or 12’ apart for a natural low maintenance country green screen but give them room to grow (ie, property lines, buildings, power lines, etc) because they will grow beyond what you can fathom).

    In your picture, if that is the front of the house, consider installing DIY planter boxes in front of the posts holding the porch up. They can be as simple as reclaimed pallet boards or as fancy as custom brick or stone work – your budget & diy skills will determine your materials. Or maybe some whole pallets converted to planters (see pics). Use this space for your annuals and your pops of color. Annuals are expensive and I know this is a little “trailer park” but I have done it as has my mother, consider the use of artificial flowers. My mother sticks large gorgeous pots throughout the landscape and sticks bunches of fake flowers in them. The neighbors walk by and always comment on how she has such a green thumb to have such beautiful flowers all the time. She simply says “thanks”. Come end of September she just removes them, washes them, lets them dry and stores them away for May of the following year. She is 73 and travels a lot, she doesn’t have time to water and fertilize. I use fakes in my hanging baskets. We work and are gone from home for 12 hours every day, we also travel a lot. Baskets need water 2 times a day in the hot of summer and then they dribble dirty water all over the white painted porch – not for me – stick in the fakes and they look great no matter what.

    Unless you have large amounts of disposable income, it will be a little at a time…How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Start with the free or low cost items for immediate satisfaction: Cleaning, painting, removal/disposal of damaged items, ask friends to pitch in and help for all you can eat & drink bbq after the day is done. Second, establish planting areas and amend soils, plant large landscape items and re-establish lawn. Consider landscape stones like flagstone for a natural pathway, install it with a curving, easy relaxed approach to the porch… I have gotten these at Lowes Homedepot for $6 a stone. Third, put in the secondary shrubs, your run-o-the-mill Walmart shrubs, then pick your perennials. Finally, gild your lily with a nice conversation area. Perhaps a couple rockers on the porch with a little table for afternoon iced teas in the shade and maybe a small fire bowl in the front yard area with a few diy benches for enjoying those long summer nights with friends and wine. Close your eyes and picture how you would love to spend your time in your yard then just seek the easiest and least expensive way to achieve it. Good luck.

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