Asked on Apr 04, 2014

I need helpful ideas for the most boring landscaping on the planet. :(

Amy Rohde
by Amy Rohde
I did manage to get rid of the weed garden that was left by the former owners. The entire front of the house is lined with ALL holly bushes and a forsythia on each end and I'm wondering if we should keep them or rip them out so we can have more color? There is barely any space between the holly bushes and the sidewalk (in front of the garage on the right) so pretty much all I can plant there is small hearty stuff like grape hyacinths and hen-n-chicks.
We did plant three spirea bushes in front of the holly bushs to the right of the front door and then there are some other plants in there like lilyturf (SO not a fan!), salvia, micrantha and phlox. It's ok in the spring (see pic with child) but for the most part you can see that it's B-O-R-I-N-G!
What should I do?? Maybe I need to paint the porch? Maybe I need a new sidewalk? Maybe a portico? I'm open but all these things would just be a distraction for the crappy landscaping... HELP!
i need helpful ideas for the most boring landscaping on the planet, gardening, landscape, Front ouf house Where s the color
Front ouf house.. Where's the color!?
i need helpful ideas for the most boring landscaping on the planet, gardening, landscape, To the right of the door is more holly bushes spirea lilyturf salvia micrantha and phlox
To the right of the door is more holly bushes, spirea, lilyturf, salvia, micrantha and phlox
i need helpful ideas for the most boring landscaping on the planet, gardening, landscape
i need helpful ideas for the most boring landscaping on the planet, gardening, landscape
  34 answers
  • first I want to say that this is NOT the most boring landscaping I have ever seen-it is just green. Your home is beautiful but your shutters and door color are ho hum for color of the home (which the color is a great color from the pics). I would paint your front door a vibrant teal, blue, or whatever your favorite color is! But first before any suggestions on plants-you look to be in zone 6b in MD so you need to make sure any plants are for your zone. Then the most important thing is to know what direction your home faces. is it east and gets morning sun or is it west or south and the hot sun. Green foundation plants are not a bad thing because they give you green all year. I would think about extending the bed on the left and curving it to the sidewalk and then adding more spirea (which look great!) to mirror. I would also think of some really beautiful pots to flank each side of the sidewalk replacing that small empty one. Plant it with an evergreen like a 2' arborvitae (for winter interest) or some black elephant ears, cannas, and add some sweet potato vines, wave pentunias, sun coleous, and whatever you can find for drama. You definitely need some blooms in there so get back with what way your house faces. If you are really gutsy I would think about going down the side walk on the lawn side with some perennials too! How much do you want to do? budget? these are what you need to know. And go on Pinterest for some great garden ideas!

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    • I live with an HOA too. Think about getting rid of Forsythia. I know my HOA has guidelines on front landscaping. Think about filling on with re blooming dailies, Black Eyed Susan's, Coneflowers, Autumn Joy Sebum, May Night Salvia, to name a few

  • Lori J Lori J on Apr 04, 2014
    I love forsythia, but not in such a formal placement. They transplant well. I would find a corner where they can wild a bit.

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    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 07, 2014
      @Lori J Gotcha. I do love them too and wish they bloomed longer!!

  • Fay Most Fay Most on Apr 04, 2014
    I would invest in a really nice bench, with a comfortable cushion and maybe a foot stool. I'd face it towards the house, and sit and enjoy that fabulous house. After a few years the landscape plan will present itself to you. Win - Win, you will not have lost any time worrying about it and will have enjoyed your quite time.

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    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @Fay Most That's a neat concept and typically what I do on the inside since I work from home.. many-an-idea has come to me while I was 'working'..... Sounds like I need a laptop to go with my new outdoor bench... :)

  • Pamela Flanagan Pamela Flanagan on Apr 05, 2014
    you need an ornamental tree in that corner garden by the door for some height. Something you can keep trimmed but would add some vertical interest.

  • Linda Maurer Linda Maurer on Apr 05, 2014
    You definitely need some vertical interest. Nothing that would get really wide though. Sky Pencil maybe . .. I agree with most that you need something more on the left side of the house. Is this the west side. My home is very similar but a little more north of you. I work at a greenhouse and wander through the shade and perennial sections until I find something that "clicks" with me. More often, people bring up their carts and I see something that I've not noticed and check it out. I've added things like reblooming daylilies, sedums, hypericum and phlox paniculata (taller types not the stolenifera) to my original provided landscaping. It helps. I think you're main problem is that there is such a solid line of green..... If there were more individual shrubs it might give you a warmer feeling.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @Linda Maurer I agree about the existing boring.. Do you think I should consider removing them? Knockout roses would be so much more beautiful but the downside is that they would have months of looking like stick plants so I'm torn...

  • Darcy E Brenner Darcy E Brenner on Apr 05, 2014
    I'm assuming your in the north. I'd get rid of the all the holly. Use three or five other medium size bushes, odd numbers are best. All different. Color, leaves, and even height. Adding peranuals like Astros,silver sage or any plant that doesn't travel in the bed. Finally get something on the porch that is tall and get rid of those planters. Like water skis, sled for winter, tear of pumpkins fall, spring giant Easter bunny. Guess be tall and loud looking. Good luck.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Apr 05, 2014
    This landscaping is not boring. Keep in mind that an abundance of plants means an abundance of work.

  • Diane V. Diane V. on Apr 05, 2014
    I agree with Fay. Take some time to get to know your garden through the 4 seasons. Then introduce some vertical elements to anchor the one corner. Could be a series of vertical planters you can change through the seasons. Also it looks like you have a good-sized front yard. If possible, consider creating a couple planting beds in the yard to add the color you want. Also it will have a layering effect with your existing landscape...which is lovely!

  • Kendra Loftus Kendra Loftus on Apr 05, 2014
    I would say that it's far from boring!! The house itself is absolutely stunning.

  • Debb Debb on Apr 05, 2014
    I would concentrate on the walkway to add interest..the landscaping suits the style of the house....

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @Debb Thank you for your feedback! Do you mean making the walkway itself different or planting something in front of it?

  • Lisa Schneider Lisa Schneider on Apr 05, 2014
    I would start working on the other side of the sidewalk out into the yard so it doesnt look flat. A nice magnolia with iris' , peonis, hydrangea. Some ornamental trees. just remember to make sure that there is always something in bloom throughout the seasons.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @Lisa Schneider You are so right! I'd love for there to always be something happening! I'm fearful of making bad choices and having lots of 'bare sticks' in the winter..

  • Jen Jen on Apr 05, 2014
    1st off...fantastic house! I would paint the front door a bold color to make everything pop...then I would consider doing a cottage garden on either sides of your path...maybe add a picket fence...or you could make the whole thing edible!

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    • Jen Jen on Apr 07, 2014
      @Amy Rohde no! Do it and then decide!

  • The River Prayer Walker The River Prayer Walker on Apr 05, 2014
    maybe sum flower boxes below the windows! a small gazebo in front yard with rock garden and planty of colorful plaints

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @The River Prayer Walker I would love flower boxes but I'm afraid I have no clue what kind or how to mount them?

  • MikkiGirl MikkiGirl on Apr 05, 2014
    What a lovely home!! I'd suggest a border along the sidewalk -phlox (you already have some to pull from!) or wildflowers, daylilies, black-eyed susans, if you want something with height. Toss the planter and plant a miniature ornamental weeping tree or other small landscape tree in the spot to the right. I'd plant flowers in front of the hedge to the left (facing the house) to add color and soften the solid green. Have fun!

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @MikkiGirl Sounds perfect! I attached a couple pics of something similar that we did at the last house. The only problem is that the beautiful color of the phlox was so short-lived.. and then it just looks dull green until the next year..

  • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Apr 05, 2014
    Beautiful home. The one thing I would do is trim the holly back below the window sills and away from the front porch more. Barely noticed the planters on each side of the door, I would pull them out to the front corners of the porch and raise them up some how or buy taller pots. Maybe even do a grouping of potted plants if there is room. Planting some vibrant colored plants for example: Purple fountain grass, coleus, caladiums, or sweet potato vines would draw attention to your entrance. Like Jeanette S replied the more beds the more work, but if you are willing to do that you could extend the bed to the other side of the sidewalk to include the corner. Start at the left front porch corner and go around to the front of the sidewalk Including an example photo. Happy Planting!!

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    • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Apr 05, 2014
      @Amy Rohde Regarding the trimming and photo taking~sounds like something I would do! I have found in my gardening, that sometimes the simple, old standby plants and flowers do best. For instance marigolds, petunia's, garden mums. etc. Here's some of mine.

  • NanaWells NanaWells on Apr 05, 2014
    throw one or 2 more of those cute little blonde tikes in the picture with the house and there you go landscaping done best in the neighborhood :)

  • Michele Eures Michele Eures on Apr 05, 2014
    Wow Amy! You're right down the road from me!! Hi there! Well, about your question, I like the landscaping you have now. The one thing I would do is add some small shrubs in front of the ones lining your side-load garage to soften that line a little. Then, I would extend the front garden to include that tree!! You could put some hydrangea, viburnum, andromeda and azalea. Then punch it up in the spring/summer with annuals. Two large urns on either side of the front porch would add some interest. And if you wanted to go with a new front step, there are pavers out there that would look very nice.

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    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 06, 2014
      @Linda Maurer So neat that we are all neighbors!

  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Apr 05, 2014
    You have a lovely home. I agree that the holly are too tall and that they shouldn't cover the bottom of the windows and shutters. Perhaps remove every other one to open up the space. The sidewalk is very angular. Softness could be accomplished with some curving beds, But if this is the look that you like great too.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @MaryAnn B I LOVE the idea of curved beds and yes I typically keep the hollies lower... It's time for another trim! I love the idea of taking out every other one but somehow they have a way of filling themselves back in.. hmmm.... pondering!!

  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Apr 05, 2014
    Drive around your neighbor and look for landscape that you like and adapt it to yours.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 05, 2014
      @MaryAnn B Thank you! Great idea....I do try to do that, trying not to look like a stalker, but I still struggle with what to do and how much I can take on... I did SO much work at my last house and then had to leave it all behind... AND I made mistakes there which I'm fearful of making again so I'm sort of trying to be more sensible and calculated if that makes sense.

  • Stephanie Stephanie on Apr 05, 2014
    Your yard is large and beautiful, however I understand the need for color too. I would have dirt hauled in and create a raised flower bed that stretches across the front of your yard. I'd make mind windy, kind of like the letter S, but sideways.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 06, 2014
      @Stephanie That would be so amazing. There is a light pole over by the drive and I had often thought that a meandering garden. which led to and around the pole, would be pretty.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 06, 2014
    Lovely home. Just my impression, but I don't think the steps do justice to the scale of the house. I'd deal with these first, budget permitting. I'd make the steps the same width as the landing and make the top step deeper - maybe somewhat less deep that the existing bottom step. How deep depends on the depth of the landing. I'd make the sidewalk the same width and curve it instead of having the right angle. For all, coloured stone/pavers which pick up some of your shutter colour would help ground the house, and provide presence to the entry. With deeper, wider steps, you could place two large urns on either side of one of the steps. With the manicured hedges, urns which have pedestals might look nice. I personally like those tall spikes that are put in the centre of an arrangement. They're hardy, look graceful. You could also paint your door aqua or such to draw the eye to the entry while you work away on the landscaping. You have an enormous stretch of lawn. I think it is a good idea to try and break it up . I've seen large, usually curvy, edged, and sometimes raised beds that run almost the width of the house with various hued shrubs, low-growing evergreens, colourful plants including rock garden variety -. sometimes with boulders or a fountain, For the size of house and yard, it might be worth having a few pros in to give you their ideas and estimates. May cost a bit but they can arrange it so you have colour almost all seasons, know what plants are suited for the soil and light conditions, how to complement your house style, etc. - which saves time, money, energy, disappointments, and constantly experimenting to see what works.

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    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 06, 2014
      @Marion Nesbitt Thank you. We had a super bad storm that made it lean so I'm hoping we can get is straight again!

  • Nancy Nancy on Apr 06, 2014
    I would first reduce the height of the Hollis to expose the window sill area. Shear in the spring, not summer. Then I would add an 8 by8 square to the two front corners. This square pad could be bluestone or even pea gravel with a metal border to hold it in place. In one squares I would put a couple of chairs for sitting or a bench and in the one near the drive I would 3 or five big glazed pots . These might be the same color as a new front door color. Fill the pots something big like cannas with burgundy leaves in a least one for height. I would add a tree to th outside corner of these squares at least 6 feet away. A locust would provide a nice bit of shade and and airy look. Add a shallow semicircle bed between the squares with a low perennial salvia on the street side and some pretty bedding plants to finish it off near the side walk. I would want to frame the house and draw the eye out from the straight lines of the house.

  • Buster Evans Buster Evans on Apr 06, 2014
    definately lower the height of the bushes, whether you some of them out or not is optional.. If you have the time for it you could alternate the height Lower in front of the window and higher in between to break up the flat squared look . maybe even a humpy roller coaster cut... on the outside of the sidewalk maybe a border plant like varigated lirope (monkey grass) which would add a contrast color,lighter green with stripes. Then out at the trees in the yard fill the flower beds around them with flowers like petunias, marigolds,etc that will bloom most of the spring /summer.. also a nice center piece in the yard, a bird bath with a flower bed around it in line with the corner of the room that protrudes out .. Birds coming to and from a birdbath always add color to a home just by visiting. I like what you have already, I think shapes and colors are the key to livening it up to give the curb appeal you are seeking... Play around with all of these suggestions from everyone, see what you like and incorporate it... one thing for sure with plants if you trim them and don't like it they can grow back... have fun with it..

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    • Geraldine Smith Geraldine Smith on Apr 06, 2014
      @Amy Rohde

  • Nancy Nancy on Apr 06, 2014
    I mean by corners the corner at the driveway sidewalk and the walkway leading to the house. Extending a gentle curved bed from that front corner to the left house corner would add area for low profile material stepping down vegetation before the lawn. Simple, tidy, limited color pallete will reflect the formal lines of your house. Put the most colorful material in the areas you want to draw the eye to. You want to accent your lovely house putting a frame around a fine home.

  • Polly Zieper Polly Zieper on Apr 06, 2014
    The fastest and easiest things that come to mind: potted flowering plants for the front steps, and change the outdoor light. I bought the cheapest ones at Lowe's and Home Depot and they made a nice difference for my front door and garage( and bathrooms)

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    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 07, 2014
      @Polly Zieper oh ok WHEW! haha

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Apr 06, 2014
    Your househas great potential. First, I agree withothers that have said you need color. Painting the front door with another color would add eye appeal, as wellurns on the front steps full of seasonal flowers. Those you can change with every season. In addition, this is a great opportunity toget to know your neighbors by asking suggestions and what works for them, beingmindful of your growing zone. By addingcurved flowerbeds with flowering perennials for your area, you will soften thesquare lines of the house. I haverecently read a good gardening book that is full of ideas as well as practicalsuggestions. It is “How to be a Gardener”by Alan Titchmarsh. You could also lookat magazines and clip out scenes that you like. Then, if money were no object, I would hire a landscape contractor to dothe work. Good luck. I hope you post pictures.

  • Nancy Nancy on Apr 06, 2014
    Take out 8x8 area of turf. Replace with bluestone squares or pea gravel. This provides a chrisp area for seating and display . Bluestone is much like slate, real stone product.

  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Apr 06, 2014
    I think Marion Nesbitt is right on about everything.

  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on Apr 06, 2014
    @Amy Rohde Hey there is no such things at "mistakes" just call it a learning experience and move on. I'm on my 4 house and you can't imagine all of things I would go back and change and what not to plant where. EMBRACE WHAT YOU DO!

  • Linda Maurer Linda Maurer on Apr 06, 2014
    "Do either of you come up to Kirkwood to Groff's Plant Farm? I'jm the "store lady" if you do.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 07, 2014
      @Linda Maurer No but is that Kirkwood, PA? I will most def come there and look for you! Believe it or not we typically go to Ronnys or Wileys in lower Delaware.

  • Lisa Schneider Lisa Schneider on Apr 06, 2014
    These were taken a few years ago.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 06, 2014
    I'm sure this can be done. Have seen some kind of padded girdle put around the trunk which is then attached by chain or rope to a long pole anchored in the ground.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 07, 2014
      @Marion Nesbitt That's what my husband said! He said it would be a pain to mow around but we need to look into it.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 07, 2014
    It would be a pain! I avoid these lawn cutting annoyances by edging out from beds and trees so I can run the mower with two wheels on the dirt, and the other two on the grass. You could dig out the grass around the tree and pole in a nice pattern, maybe add a bit of soil, and plant some things so you have a landscaped look. Your yard is so huge, it would help break up the expanse of lawn, and reduce the amount of grass to cut. Every little bit helps!

  • Linda Maurer Linda Maurer on Apr 07, 2014
    Yes, its' pA.

    • Amy Rohde Amy Rohde on Apr 07, 2014
      @Linda Maurer I used to live in Lincoln University so I know exactly where that is!!