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Old 11-13-2019, 05:20 PM   #1
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Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


Hey everybody,

My wife and I decided to finally do some landscaping on our home after a year and a half of ownership, but we're not 100% sure as to what would look good, and hold up to the hot Houston summers. So far we have decided on doing a solid line of boxwoods that run along the back of the beds between the house and the lawn (both sides), but we'd also like to tier it down with maybe two other species of plants for some color, preferably not grasses. We don't do a lot of gardening, so some perennials would be ideal. Anyways, I've attached a picture of our home, so if you have any suggestions or pointers, I'd really appreciate the help!
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:43 PM   #2
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


I don't think it is "under landscaped" as it sits. Granted, I am known for my "design" eye, but a bit of color is all that it needs to me.
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Old 11-13-2019, 05:48 PM   #3
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


That's a beautiful house! At first I was thinking that the line of hedges should be filled in but the gaps show the brick.

One of my relatives who was very successful in real estate speculating, always, said not to do too much. Potential buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living there.
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Old 11-13-2019, 07:54 PM   #4
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


I agree with Window's and Nik's comments: I wouldn't be in too big of a hurry to spoil the understated, symmetrical elegance that, I'll bet, is what made you and your wife fall in love with the place in the first instance.

So, a bit of a disclaimer: if you search you might see that I tend to overdo my garden a bit. Understatedness isn't my thing, but I love it when I see it.

If you want some color, maybe some azaleas? They'll be glorious in season, and green the rest of the year. They rock in Huge-town and all over the Southeast (and here in California too). They love the acid soil that "too much rain" can give rise to. Or, perhaps, some camellias?

Don't be afraid to treat your other senses, either. "Confederate Jasmine" with its white, wonderfully fragrant flowers could be trained as a vine or clipped into a hedge. The fragrance thrills the brain. Below is a picture of the blossoms and green glossy foliage.

Boxwood is nice, too, but after a whiff of Trachelospermum, you might change your mind. It blooms in the spring. If you've lived in the south a long while, I suspect you're familiar with it.

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Old 11-14-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


Thank you for the suggestions! I actually have a ton of the Trachelospermum on the side of my detached garage, and it's sort of been a nightmare to maintain (creeps in under the eaves and into the garage). Whenever I trim it, it looks and smells amazing, but I'll probably keep it on just that, which is located behind the house.

What I had in mind was a solid, rectangular-cut line of boxwood running along the backside (maybe 2 ft. tall), then tier it down with some kind of dark red, leafy plant that sits around 1/3-half the height of the boxwood, spread out maybe 8-12" apart. Lastly, a low level flower or something with a little color (preferable white), and scatter those around in a staggered line to add some character to the simple design. The guy doing my garden suggested Drift Roses and Agapanthus, but those don't really appeal to the wife and I.

I've attached a a quick mock-up picture of what I had in mind.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:36 PM   #6
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


While you enjoy the - Toyota Racing Development - club your wife and some real-estate gals can take care of this landscaping problem that really doesn't exist.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:36 PM   #7
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


Another possibility I put together in Paint (please ignore my lack of skills, it's the best I can do while I try not to sleep during my work meeting)
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


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While you enjoy the - Toyota Racing Development - club your wife and some real-estate gals can take care of this landscaping problem that really doesn't exist.
Sadly, the yard has gone downhill since this picture was taken over a year and a half ago! It doesn't look BAD right now, just not.... great....
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:01 PM   #9
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


I like the first version the best. It shows off the brick more. Because your brick is ornate, imo, much else looks cluttered, imo.
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Old 11-14-2019, 05:34 PM   #10
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


I like the original pic too.

I'd paint the front door a bright cheery color instead of doing more plants. Or if that's not an option, redo the walkway as brick or one of them cement patterns. That'd give you that "ooo that's cool/different" factor.
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Old 11-15-2019, 08:03 AM   #11
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


I would tend to agree with the others that what's there is not so bad to begin with.

The primary function of landscaping along a building perimeter is to transition and accentuate the building. Here you have a very "low slung" horizontal house with no demarcation of an entry point (beyond an ornate door). Boxwoods make for a good background plant, but lining the whole length of the porch with the same may not be the best look. That layout would be what new owners would rip out leftover from the 50s-60s. You also have the dominant trees that your linear boxwoods are not considering.

The type of plantings are a personal choice and depend on sun and climate, so I would focus on massing - where the bulk and height of grouped plantings are. The entry could use the higher specimens and opening up that area to draw you in to the front door. Maybe widening the walk with pavers or putting flowered planters there. The middle of the house can be lower to not compete with the tree and block the porch appeal. The far end can have a specimen to balance the entirety.

A tablet would be better than a mouse for MSPaint . . .
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Old 11-15-2019, 10:29 AM   #12
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


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I like the original pic too.

I'd paint the front door a bright cheery color instead of doing more plants. Or if that's not an option, redo the walkway as brick or one of them cement patterns. That'd give you that "ooo that's cool/different" factor.
We actually replaced the front door about 6 months ago with a mahogany craftsman style (6 small windows up top), and stained it with a dark walnut. Really stands out now, and the lack of bugs and dirt blowing in on a windy day is also nice. The house itself is pretty much where we want it now in terms of the structure and its curb appeal, now we just need the yard to look a bit cleaner and easier to maintain.

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I would tend to agree with the others that what's there is not so bad to begin with.

The primary function of landscaping along a building perimeter is to transition and accentuate the building. Here you have a very "low slung" horizontal house with no demarcation of an entry point (beyond an ornate door). Boxwoods make for a good background plant, but lining the whole length of the porch with the same may not be the best look. That layout would be what new owners would rip out leftover from the 50s-60s. You also have the dominant trees that your linear boxwoods are not considering.

The type of plantings are a personal choice and depend on sun and climate, so I would focus on massing - where the bulk and height of grouped plantings are. The entry could use the higher specimens and opening up that area to draw you in to the front door. Maybe widening the walk with pavers or putting flowered planters there. The middle of the house can be lower to not compete with the tree and block the porch appeal. The far end can have a specimen to balance the entirety.

A tablet would be better than a mouse for MSPaint . . .

Thanks for the sketch! I should have noted that this is going to mostly be the base for a while, but there will be some additions along the way. For example, the far left side (while facing the home) will eventually get a Japanese maple, and the opening where the walkway meets the porch will also likely get a taller, more colorful plant or two. This is mostly to get a solid foundation to hold us over, which is also why I only want perennials for the time being.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:33 AM   #13
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


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Thank you for the suggestions! I actually have a ton of the Trachelospermum on the side of my detached garage, and it's sort of been a nightmare to maintain (creeps in under the eaves and into the garage). Whenever I trim it, it looks and smells amazing, but I'll probably keep it on just that, which is located behind the house.

What I had in mind was a solid, rectangular-cut line of boxwood running along the backside (maybe 2 ft. tall), then tier it down with some kind of dark red, leafy plant that sits around 1/3-half the height of the boxwood, spread out maybe 8-12" apart. Lastly, a low level flower or something with a little color (preferable white), and scatter those around in a staggered line to add some character to the simple design. The guy doing my garden suggested Drift Roses and Agapanthus, but those don't really appeal to the wife and I.

I've attached a a quick mock-up picture of what I had in mind.
Okay, thanks for the tip about Cornfed Jasmine. I knew they were vigorous, but didn't think they'd go semi-berserk.

And . . .

LOVE the brick house! So nice and elegant, and long-lasting. My brother's house still has that aluminum siding on it, and it's starting to get a bit tatty after more than fifty years.

We had them in Ohio, but not so much in California. Earthquakes destroy them.

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Old 11-16-2019, 10:38 AM   #14
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


Your front yard and home is lovely.
Do you have boxwoods now? The reason I ask
is because it smells like cat pee.

My favorite scrub is birds nest...is stays low, spreads out
and is awesome looking.

Now for perennials, they require quite a bit of work in order
for them to look neat and tidy. I love the ones we have in our
backyard such as Iris, Japanese iris, black eyed susan, cone flowers,
daffodils, tulips, lilies, etc...however, they bloom have a short
staying period, then you need the next perennial flower to come up.

If you plant low growing evergreens such as birds nest shrubs and
dwaft mungo pine. Fill in with rocks, and plant some low growing
flowering annuals such begonia, and impatience.

Another annual I love is vinca vine...It creeps low along the beds, shares
the space nicely with other plants, requires minimal to no maintenance,
and the best part is eliminates weeding by filling in all the ground
with covering.

What planting zone are you?

Hereís the USDA PLANT HARDINESS ZONE MAP
in the upper left corner just put in your zip code.

https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/

To sum it up, I like the front to have mostly low
growing shrubs with a bit of color supplied by
continually growing annuals. The back yard is the
place for the flowers, both annuals and perennials.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: Landscaping ideas for Houston home *picture*


How could I forget Hosta, itís a beautiful perennial.
There are many varieties, they come up in early, spring
and look lovely all season long until you get a frost.
Another perennial is live-forever, both these could be
planted in your front beds. Low maintenance, I think thatís
your goal - not to be weeding in the hot summer.

Think different shades of greens with annuals here and there.

Also, consider a gorgeous Japanese red maple.
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