Looking for ideas for garden, edging & overall update for my house!

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HI there- I have been getting all sorts of wonderful ideas and advice by scouring this site for about a year. Thanks to all of you for sharing all of your creativity- you're awesome! This is my first time posting and I hope some of you can help.

We purchased this 1950's house about a year ago and are slowly trying to update it on a cash basis. 6 months ago we replaced all of the original kitchen appliances and that was a major hit to our bank account. We also pulled out unsightly shrubs in the area where you see the patches of dirt by the windows in the front of the house.

Last fall I planted some bulbs (hyacinths) also transplanted some purple sage and irises from a friend- and garlic to deter the deer. The plants are slowly starting to come up. I'd like to get something there for year around color. Any ideas on shrubs with root systems that won't affect the house- being so close to it?

Also, that skinny patch of sidewalk between the garden beds and the driveway- I'm thinking I should remove it or somehow edge the garden area to give it more appeal. Ideas?

I also included pic of the narrow patch of rocks that is on the roadside, edged with some old railroad ties. Should I just remove all of that and replace it with sod?

Thanks so much for any help you can give me!
q looking for ideas for garden edging overall update for my house, concrete masonry
any ideas for the porch area? Plan on adding a small table between the chairs and last spring & summer I had some potted plants out there for color.
q looking for ideas for garden edging overall update for my house, concrete masonry
Need serious help here....
q looking for ideas for garden edging overall update for my house, concrete masonry
This gives an idea of the overall look of the front side of our house. Our driveway has 3 entrances, this is one of them. I'm not overly excited with the green, but it was freshly painted right before we purchased it and in a few years we will use it as a rental.
q looking for ideas for garden edging overall update for my house, concrete masonry
This area is a hot mess! It needs some serious help.
  11 answers
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Mar 01, 2017
    Hi Sandi! I'm so glad that you asked!! You have a beautiful Home! And so much potential space to make beautiful- I'm really excited for you! I happen to love the green  It would look really nice with window boxes for flowers- http://www.hometalk.com/diy/build/planters/easy-and-quick-diy-window-box-1728230


    • Sandi Sandi on Mar 02, 2017
      I'm just getting used to this and I didn't even realize my question got posted. lol! It's just so great that when I came in today that I have comments. Thanks for the great advice. I like the window box idea. My big window (not by the porch) is about 10 feet wide, so I'll need to think about how to install one that wide, or use several?

      Thanks again! I really appreciate it. :-)

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Mar 01, 2017
    And there are great options for colorful shrubs that won't damage your home- http://homeguides.sfgate.com/foundation-shrubs-compact-roots-31812.html

    Have fun and good luck!!! Keep us posted!

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 01, 2017
    What is your location so flowers and shrub suggestions can be given?

    • Sandi Sandi on Mar 02, 2017
      Hi Janet- I'm in Colorado Springs. Thank you! :-)

  • Suzanne Suzanne on Mar 02, 2017
    It is always difficult with a huge swath the pavement across the front of a house. It needs softening. I would remove the pinkish sidewalk in between the driveway and the soil. You don't need it. I would also remove the ties by the roadside and replace with sod.
    Any flowering bush in the front of the house is fine to plant as they have a smaller less invasive root system than a tree. You just need to prune. I would hang planters or add window boxes to soften up the front. But I do love your house and really like to colour of the paint!

    • Sandi Sandi on Mar 02, 2017
      Thanks for the advice Suzanne. I am so glad that I decided to post my question because it forced me to take pics of the house and seeing them online opens up all sorts of creative ideas. I agree that removing that strip of sidewalk will soften that area a lot. I'm glad that you like the idea of removing the ties and red rocks by the road. That area has been bothering me since we moved in. I also plan to revamp the mailbox area as well.

      Thanks again and I'm glad you like the color of the house. It is growing on me. :-)

  • Ruth Ruth on Mar 02, 2017
    Sandi, good questions. The one remark was to put window boxes under for front window was good.
    I am focusing on the front door view.
    On your front landing I see you have a step down before the sidewalk. I can t see the depth from you picture, My idea would be to put up cinderblocks (stack up first before you decide to mason them up, you don't want to have to tear down if you don't like the look) on that step making it look like a little private block fence, (you don't want to close in the patio ) put rail/box (to match the ones if you decide to put some under your front window) planters on the cinder wall, make sure it doesn't block your view when setting in your chairs.
    Paint or side/stucco to make sure it blends well with your home. I would match the color of your trim. If that is too much color, then paint random blocks the color of the trim/house color. (will add a more modern interest look) Leave a wide enough opening for you to step up to your front door. On the side (Vertical) step to your front door you could put your address numbers large enough to complement the wall. I live in Az. I would put solar numbers so they would be lite at night.
    Good luck with your venture. I am sure you will get many good ideas.

  • Sandi Sandi on Mar 02, 2017
    good ideas! I'll have to stack up some blocks to see how it looks. Thanks for the great tips! :-)

  • One8414992 One8414992 on Mar 03, 2017
    Not sure about Colorado Springs, but I assume it gets cold & snows.....I have been hounding & searching DIY tips because we too are moving and I am definitely all for SAVING MONEY!!!!! For starters, remove the two plastic chairs on front porch and build an "L" shaped bench using FREE "found weathered wood".....Just sand it and stain and add a few pillows.....Then add in your small table.....Or, paint it if you like to add some color there........And, YES add in some potted scattered plants on the porch as well come spring......Next, on either side of porch, brick the EDGES of the plating areas to match you porch and that keep the dirt in place......Then plant with low growing shrubs of your choice......Use "varied" forms of plants, but nothing that gets real tall.....Choose ALL perennials for lasting plants. check your local nursery for substantial and perennials.........Look for plants on SALE......Amend the dirt and add proper new soil to what you have already......Then plant....Come Spring a few scattered flower pots of annuals could be mixed in here and there.......Just set on the ground......For ground cover, I would use tiny small pebble gravel in grey shade and plus in a few 1-2-3 smallish boulders, and then some scattered "river bed" rocks for eye appeal........

My ideas are to save money and to work with what you have.....Getting rid of things might cost you in the long run........

I am NOT opposed to the railroad ties. but if they are rotted, probably should go.......What I personally do not care for is the strip next to street that holds the red gravel...........I would shovel all that out and the plant some perennial shrubs in a row.......Sell the red rock on Craigslist if there is one in your area or? I suggest using the same grey small pebble rock as ground cover.........Choose plants that will grow to 2-3-4 ft. tall.......for a tad of privacy and to keep people from walking across this area........

The only thing I see that COULD use getting rid of are the cement, concrete boarders near the mail box area...Dump them ALL somewhere..."Habitat For Humanity" will accept all left over building materials.....Good cause! You will need to plus in one more railroad tie to reach the edge of the lawn area........
Next, box in the mail box pole again using old found wood, SANDED and treated for weather..........You COULD build a nice box at the base of mail box with a lip on the edges... and plants flowers in there if you like all this building.........Boxing in a mail box creates a MORE substantial look and dresses the front up quite a bit and makes a very nice statement........It looks like the grass area has a boarder, so continue that boarder all the way to the cub.......Make things, nice neat and even..........Use more of the small gray gravel as ground cover........
I hate to say this but doing a big landscape job where the grass is will or would COST a fortune......SO, I suggest just go with all grass again........Maybe, plant yet another tree or two that will grow tall......
The area on the right side as you look at your pictures and see the big tree is one are that could use so many different approaches.........Since you plan on renting I wouldn't plant it with anything that needs upkeep, watering and maintenance.
You COULD plant just the edge of the driveway of this area with say AZALEAS and then more gravel with some pavers set low into the ground that lead up to & near the tree and set a CUTE BENCH under the tree......BINGO, you're done.............! Huff Puff.........Or, skip the Azaleas.......
I think widow boxes are great IF you like to stay on top of the plants you plant in them......Generally they are used for A NNUALS in a more moderate climates......Unless you really like the idea of tending then every 3-4 months or more, just don't go there...Trust me, your RENTERS will no doubt not bother with them and they will remain empty.....Money wasted! Spend your money on things that are "important", like bringing all different colors of ground cover into a cohesive matched unit.....fresh sod, boxing in all edges of various areas, and your plants, and cost of the gravel, soil for amending the plating areas etc.....
If you build a 4 sided box & top for the mail box, (to hide the pole), paint the box green to match your theme.......You could also BRICK in a box to match your house if you have any bricks laying about or can find cheap........
Do check Habitat For Humanity as they sell supplies as well.......Or the "Materials" section on Craigslist........
All the BEST to you and yours, Linda
































  • Cwh6899259 Cwh6899259 on Mar 03, 2017
    I think the block in your porch is not such a good idea. It will make it feel dark and small. I think a small table between the chairs would be just about right. Large containers on the corners of the steps with a small evergreen and seasonal flowers planted around the edge would be nice.

    I notice someone said to take out the cement around your flower beds running along the front sides of the house. I am thinking someone did that to keep the soil in its place, I would give it a hard think before removing. It is amazing how much mud splashes up when it rains or when you are watering.

    I would plant these aeas up with rose bushes, miniature azaleas or rose bushes, flowering bulbs, lavender, rosemary or thyme plants. Something perennial so you don't have to replant the total area each year, just mix in some annuals.

    Window boxes would be nice, but be sure they would not ruin your siding from being watered. I would go more for hanging baskets, one at each corner of the house and the porch (total 5-6).

    Remove that stuff from your boulevard area and sod it.

  • Cwh6899259 Cwh6899259 on Mar 03, 2017
    That would give you a much larger planting area. If you just moved into the house I would leave that until you have been living there at least 4 seasons. I think that would give you a better understanding of why it was there and do you really want to remove it. I don't really see a problem with it, but I like the colour of your house too.

  • Sandi Sandi on Mar 04, 2017
    ok, thanks! I have a huge slab of concrete wrapping around to the back which from age now slopes to the house bringing water to close for comfort with the summer rains, so I'll have to give it some thought of whether to include this strip. You are right, though, when I water these 2 garden areas mud goes everywhere! I thought maybe continue with the gray small rock theme along the edge of the driveway, increase the garden area and put in a softer edging material.

    I appreciate your thoughts! You all are so helpful for giving me ideas!

  • Wendy Cochran Wendy Cochran on Mar 04, 2017
    i would put in easy care plants. As a rental unit, a person never knows what kind of green thumb the next person has. Hostas are easy plants to take care of and can always add color with potted plants.