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ashblunden

Need help adding curb appeal on a 1960's ranch

6 years ago

Hi there! I need help adding curb appeal/updating the landscaping on my 1960's ranch. We have done a lot of updating on the inside of the house and now we need to bring the outside of the house up to date. Its hard to show the entire landscape in one picture so I have included a few more near the end.



The masonry on pouch and below the windows is new, so not looking to change that. I have cleaned up the shrubs quite a bit, but they are pretty overgrown and its looking like it is time for them to go. There is also an awkward empty space filled in with rocks on the right side of the porch near the walkway. I would like to get rid of the shrubs and start fresh, but I don't know a lot about landscaping. I am looking to replace the current landscape with something clean, low maintenance, and with a little color. My house is in zone 6A, faces the south, and has a lot of shade. Any suggestions for how to bring my landscape up to date?





Comments (14)

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    When first starting out planning a landscape it is important to decide a few things right off the bat. How much are you willing to spend is most important, second is what style are you looking for, third is what are your must haves and things you could not live with out having or changing. First off Ii would say that your shrubs are all in the wrong spot. Specially any of them over growing a window and the one that is directly in front of your door. If you like shrubs they should follow lines and features of the house. A line of high shrubs in front of the brick portion to break up the vast chunk of brick of the house and low shrubs in front of the window to not cover up the shutters and interesting brick. Cover the porch in stone, Add a black band around the edge and a light colored infill, to match the color of the shutters and the color of the brick respectively. Think black granite and Indiana limestone. Remove and replace the concrete walkway with almost the same layout with a smooth finish and architectural cuts. Fill in the large garden in front of the lawn chairs on the porch with shrubs entirely and cut them square so it is rectangle of green. in the gardens with e shrubs lining the house but color and interesting low grasses and add flowers and a multi stem feature tree.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    All those shrubs need to go of course , I have no idea the purpose of the shutter like pieces on the side so f the windows so get rid of them. Also not sure why you added more masonary to the brick it clashes IMO and siding would have been a better choice to give a break from all the brick.I would replace that glass brick window with a real one.A walkway from the street to the front door is always a nice welcoming addition and allow for some nice landscaping too. A new door with some glass . As for the actual plantings go to your garden center and get some ideas of what will work for you

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  • 6 years ago

    You have a home with great potential. I agree with Patricia 100%. The shutters don't belong on your windows. Please read this brief article about shutters: Shutters vs Shudders so you know why.

    I would widen the walkway and change it to a more modern style, something like below:


    Norway Rd · More Info

    Definitely remove the current shrubs as they are not in the right places and way past their prime. Have a landscape plan so you can implement it as time and budget allow. Meet with a landscape designer. They can also help design the walkway as well as the landscape plan that enhances your home.

    ashblunden thanked Denita
  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The shutters must go, and a new door be put in, with no fussy moldings. More plantings along the walk (and nice to curve it a bit, or extend toward road).

    You might consider, eventually, bulking up the iron posts and adding a railing too.

    ashblunden thanked acm
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    I would suggest you google MCM landscaping it will give you some great ideas and IMO the best way to go with the house.

  • 6 years ago

    Wow! Thanks everyone! There are a lot of great tips here!

  • 6 years ago

    not sure when this photo was taken, but giving your lawn a good raking as soon as the leaves are down gives your yard a better look all winter long.

  • PRO
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    some ideas

    ashblunden thanked Dig Doug's Designs
  • 6 years ago
    I think the shutters give you a chance to introduce some color to the house. I agree that you should take down the brick wall in front of the door, it would open things up. Also replace the front door. I like Doug's landscaping ideas.
  • 6 years ago

    Ashblunden, it looks like a narrow planting bed along the walk to the porch. What is the measurement where I marked with the arrow on the image?

    I ask because you mentioned low maintenance. If you plant a shallow bed with shrubs they will need frequent pruning to keep them from flopping onto the walk.

    I suggest you get a color match on the brick and paint the utility meter that color even if you intend to hide it with plants.

    Are you open to making other changes or do you just want to focus on the planting of the landscape? If you think to make hardscape changes that must be decided first. Mostly I am asking about the walk and if you will add a landing in front of the porch.


    ashblunden thanked emmarene9
  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I think that some of the suggestions wouldn't be an improvement and suggest that you think about whether those changes will enhance the home's appearance and period details. The dark stripes of the shutters add interest to the facade from a distance and I don't think I would change them unless you are going to add similar wide dark trim. The glass brick are appropriate to the architecture and were common in that time period, so unless you want that to be a window that you can look out, don't change them. Similarly, the wrought iron porch supports are typical to the time period, so unless they really bother you keep them. On the other hand, I don't like the jalousie windows and consider them to be more common on beach houses and back porches, not on windows to the main house, so I would switch them out. The low wall doesn't bother me since it is so low, but if you don't like it, I don't think removing it would be an issue as long as doing so won't damage the porch or house. I think replacing the door with one more in keeping with the house's architecture would be nice, and painting it something that contrasts with the masonry while still coordinated with the house would look good, so rich deep brown or black, or a shade like the brightest brown in the masonry, or even some shade of orange.

    The main issue to get an appealing entry is the plantings and walkway, both of which are currently narrow and cramped feeling. So I would move the walkway to a minimum of 5' from the garage so that you have room for a row of small shrubs underplanted with groundcover and a few bright flowers near the drive and where the walk turns toward the house. The walk should be at least 5' wide so visitors don't have to approach single file, and 6' would be better. You have a lot of different masonry surfaces going on already, so I would choose concrete to match the porch surface. I like the simple squared off shape of the walk and how it relates to the building, so I wouldn't change the shape or add curves.

    The current plantings seem rather random with regard to the architecture, so placement when you add plants will be important. Don't put plants that want to grow tall in front of windows, and center plantings with regard to architectural details instead of the current placement of being half in front of windows and masonry details.

    You don't say where you are in zone 6, and soil pH, texture, and moisture are different in Cleveland vs. New England vs. Oklahoma, so at this point it is difficult to make specific plant suggestions. You will want some evergreens for the backbone of the garden to provide year round interest.

    If your soil is acid and has reasonable drainage, look st some of the smaller and more densely growing members of the Heath family such as smaller Pieris or mountain laurel/Kalmia, heath/Erica, Heather/Calluna, or some of the smaller Rhododendrons. The Rhododendrons and Kalmia will tolerate a good amount of shade but the heaths and heathers like full sun.

    Other evergreens to consider with varying tolerance for shade include:

    Yew/Taxis which is your current plant, but has other shapes and sizes available and has the advantage of being very shade tolerant

    Junipers range from groundcovers to large trees and different cultivars have varying foliage colors, but like a good amount of sun

    Chamaecyparis has quite a range of foliage color and texture as well as plant size, depending on species and cultivar. Doesn't like all day shade, but tolerates a range of pH.

    ashblunden thanked NHBabs z4b-5a NH
  • 6 years ago

    Thanks NHBabs! I totally agree with what you are saying. I am not looking to really change the style of the house. I love my 1960s ranch, I think it just needs some refreshed and more current landscaping. I would also like to eventually switch out the front door to a nice dark chocolate wood color with some pretty glass. I would also eventually go for a similar dark chocolate color for the garage door.

    I've noticed that a few people mentioned that I switch out the jalousie windows, but that is actually a roller shade behind the window that is giving the look of a jalousie window. The roller shades look really nice on the inside of the house, but I didn't realize that it would give the look of a jalousie window from the outside when the shade is down. I also like the block windows in the garage, it offers more security and hides all the stuff in the garage.

    I think re-pouring the concrete walk in order to move it out from the garage a few feet might be a good idea but it sounds like it might add to the cost of my project pretty quickly.

    Emmarene, the narrow planting bed that you marked with an arrow if probably about two feet deep but I would have to check for sure. I hadn't even thought of painting the utility meter, but that is a great idea!

  • 6 years ago

    Bear in mind your current planting bed against the house is tiny/narrow and the shrubs you have planted there are way too big for the space, so hard to prune to keep looking nice. You want tiny plants there, so if it is shrubs, you want tiny one like magic carpet spirea, blue star juniper, dwarf baby mugo pine, and golden globe arborvitae and baby azaleas. Those are some common ones I see around my way.

    ashblunden thanked l pinkmountain