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Old 11-10-2014, 09:05 PM   #1
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Ugly front yard needs help!


My mother foreclosed on her house and bought a mobile home in a very nice retirement park. It's super-cute inside, and in back, but you'd never know it from the outside. Calling it an eyesore would be putting it mildly.

My main question is about the big gap in the bushes. She says she can't plant anything until spring. Apparently the holly went all the way across, then that chunk to the left died, so the lawn guy removed it. Leaving a big gap. What can we do with it, or put there?

The previous owners screened in the carport, and it actually is a pretty useful screened room, but we are trying to figure out how to make it look more like an entrance. We are not handy at all, and are on a no-budget budget, so relocating the door to the side would not be an option.

Here's what we've done so far since the picture was taken:
-Found a pair of shutters for the window, and we are going to paint those and the rest of the shutters a pretty blue-gray, as well as the top trim. And maybe the door frame.
-Removed the aloe plant around the lamp post, and planted some purple flowers and put rocks around it
-Relocated the trash cans to the left side of the house.
-Put a hanging basket of pink flowers on the shepherd's hook.

I hate the floating plants just stuck in the middle of the yard but don't want to tear them out either. Is there any way to somehow tie them in to a design?

As for the rest of it, --help? We know it's lipstick on a pig but I hope we can improve it somewhat. All of the mobiles on the street are quite nice, well-kept and landscaped, and owned by retirees with golf carts.

Any suggestions (we've already jokingly entertained garden gnomes, pink flamingoes, scarecrows, ugly metal statues, tacky figurines, bottle trees, tire stacks, cars on cinder blocks, gargoyles and creepy little fake garden animals).
So if there is a real solution for dealing with that shrub hole until next spring in a non-tacky way, we would be grateful. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-10-2014, 10:46 PM   #2
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What state is this, Florida?

To emphasis the front entrance I'd get 2 big planters for each side of the front door and fill them with flowers. I think she needs colorful plants or bushes. Pay attention to whether the plants are shade or sun loving and what light is by the door.

In the gap next to the front of the house hibiscus grow quickly. Camellias are beautiful but slower growing. Azaleas are showy in the spring. Or rose bushes. Another bush I like is loropedalum which has purple leaves that would add a variety to the evergreens.

Drive around the neighborhood for plant ideas and to see what grows well in this zone. I'm glad you got rid of the aloe.

Also go to Home Depot or Lowes garden center and look at plants, or a local nursery.

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Last edited by Startingover; 11-10-2014 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 11-10-2014, 11:27 PM   #3
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Thanks, Like those ideas, especially the planter.
Yes, it's Florida.
The thing is that the bushes come halfway across. Maybe I can convince her, but she says she won't plant anything there because she plans to plant more holly next year so that eventually it's one large block again. She thinks it will look weird if the bushes stop halfway. Is that true? is there anything I can stick in there in the meantime? Some kind of garden-y thing that will not be actually planted - a statue or something that will make it look acceptable?

I don't care for the bushes; they look overwhelming and boxy IMO.
Personally I wish I could rip them out and plant flowers. But she probably won't go for it.
I"d take out the bushes, plant flowers, paint the shutters and trim yellow, and maybe have some kind of lattice thing or white picket fence thing with roses. This from someone (me)who has never planted anything, ever, except the purple flowers and a recent pineapple. =) But that's me, not her, and it's her yard, so....

This place is so weird. it looks like they turned it the wrong direction - there's a cute bay window for the living room over on the left side. There's a beautiful little glass porch on the back overlooking the oak trees. But on the front, they screened in the carport, hiding the door, and built a utility room on the front with this teeny tiny window. So the place looks like a storage shed in the front.

Last edited by TheUglyHouse; 11-10-2014 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:10 AM   #4
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Maybe if I could do those suggestions, but keep them in pots so they are not actually planted? Would that work? Then she can plant next year but it won't look so awful in the meantime.
I agree also about the color - it really needs it.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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I would not prune those plants up against the house into flat-tops. There are too many horizontal and vertical lines in your front view. Prune them to keep them below the window, but into a rounded top.

The shrub right in the middle looks good; bushes in the middle of a field of grass will look much better inside a rounded border with mulch inside.

If you are up for it, I would get away from the white in favor of a light tint, like a clay color that would go well with all the green. Leave the fascia or gutters white. Then you could leave the door white to stand out from the rest.
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Old 11-12-2014, 07:03 AM   #6
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Thank you Chuck,
I should be able to convince her to round the corners of those bushes.
What would you put next to them in the gap?

I will put an edge around that center plant - we have some coloured rocks that would work.

I like the paint idea, personally, and I'll bring it up to her, although she's planning at this point to paint the trim a light blue (she painted the shutters yesterday and they look good so far). What do you think of that? However, I may keep it as a winter house when she passes on, so I can repaint at that point. A tint would be less stark than the white, for sure.

But that gap in the bushes - ugh. And I fear that putting more bushes straight across will make it even more boxy.

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Old 11-13-2014, 02:32 PM   #7
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A trellis and fast growing vine, like honeysuckle or confederate jasmine would fill the bare spot under the window instantly, until you decide what you want.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:38 AM   #8
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Thanks, I'll look for those at yard sales tomorrow. Like that idea - wish me luck! Thank you for all the great ideas. Keep them coming!!
If only there was a Photoshop for real life. (And while we're at it, an "undo" command. But that's a topic for another day....)
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Old 11-27-2014, 10:13 AM   #9
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Do you think I should simply round the edges, but keep them all in one big row? Or something that looks more like trees? Do you have a picture link by any chance any examples of what might look good here?
Also, it's the winter season in FL, although it's really in the 70s. We had a few freezes last week. Is it safe to cut the plant back now or is it best to wait?
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Old 11-28-2014, 03:26 PM   #10
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You should fill in the hole with either another of the plant on the left or right. You should round the edges if you can do it enough to get down to a radius similar to the new one on the left but you don't have to entirely separate them. If they are overgrown and too close together you might have to remove one or two. It might be that the spacing of the ones on the right is so close that you can transplant one into the hole. In your climate holly is prunable any time, and you aren't removing much of it anyway.
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Old 11-28-2014, 04:05 PM   #11
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As a temporary fix, you might consider some potted palms. There are several types that will neither overpower nor obscure the front of the house, and will fill that gap nicely until Spring. Then the palms could be moved to the back patio area.
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Old 11-29-2014, 08:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by TheUglyHouse View Post
It's super-cute inside, and in back, but you'd never know it from the outside. Calling it an eyesore would be putting it mildly.
i don't see anything ugly. looks ok to me.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:23 AM   #13
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LOL.... looks great doesn't it?
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i don't see anything ugly. looks ok to me.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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Thank you,
I'm having a little trouble visualizing what you're saying. Do you by chance have a link to a pic that is similarly shaped?
When you say the plant on the left, are you referring to the shrub under the shed window, (as opposed to the other shrub under the bedroom window)? Or to the separate tree on the far left? Also, not sure what the radius refers to in this instance?

Ok so if I understand you correctly, it's okay to cut it back in this climate? Just to add some extra info - I'm in central FL, which is a little bit colder than other areas, and we are expecting some freezes next week. Is it still okay? And as for transplanting, you would probably have to cut a piece out with the roots and everything,, right? How big a piece of it do you need? I think she was just planning on buying one but maybe we could plant a piece of what we have.

Also, like the palms idea, thank you.

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You should fill in the hole with either another of the plant on the left or right. You should round the edges if you can do it enough to get down to a radius similar to the new one on the left but you don't have to entirely separate them. If they are overgrown and too close together you might have to remove one or two. It might be that the spacing of the ones on the right is so close that you can transplant one into the hole. In your climate holly is prunable any time, and you aren't removing much of it anyway.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:51 PM   #15
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LOL.... looks great doesn't it?
idk about great. but it looks respecctaable enough.

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