Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Where's the Ugliest House on the Block?

Someone told me once that if you can't find the ugliest house on your block, it's likely that you're in it.

Methinks that's the situation for my place.

Here's the wee property as it stands.


I've worked and worked on the interior: now that the weather's turning well, it's time for me to focus on the exterior.

I'm a total newb when it comes to gardening, home reno and the like, so I thought it might be fun (maybe more for you, dear readers, than for I, especially when you get to laugh at my foolish failures!) to design, dream and hopefully create this new lawnscape along with ya'll.

First thing I did was peruse magazines, other neighbour's lawn-scaping, and a hefty amount of Pinterest ogling.

I'd LOVE to be able to have a verdant, confusing muddle of a cottage garden, but logic tells me 1) I'm too lazy for the properly cultivated upkeep a seemingly muddle cottage garden needs, and 2) I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

Other constraints include:

-North-facing front lawn
-Zone 4 gardening (I do believe that's North-America-wide, if not: it's the same as the Niagara Region of Ontario).
-and yes, the aforementioned ignorance and possibility that I'm the Angel of Death for plants. Let's hope that's not true.

Herein lies the beginning of the beginnings, with many a (successful!?) update to follow over the coming months.

If you have any gardening tips or suggestions, favourite plants (simple to care for is key for me!) I'd love to hear them.

Thanks everyone! I look forward to reading and learning from your planty knowledge!


dandelionpicker said...

A pretty flowering tree would be nice :) Also hydrangeas keep my yard colorful most of the summer and fall and they're pretty easy. They'll work in zone 4 too :)

Cubzwin1908 said...

I agree a hydrangea would be beautiful under the window on the left. Would soften the whole area. They are a favorite standby of mine...and best of all don't require lots of attention. :)

Unknown said...

Cute house! I would also add a flowering tree - a red bud, maybe? Facing the house, I'd put it to the left, halfway into the yard. Hydrangeas are great - but be sure you get one of the easy care ones, that flowers a lot. Endless Summer is a good one. I can also see an sidewalk edging - to the left of the sidewalk. Hosta's are cliche, but easy-care - and come in a ton of varieties. They flourish in shade - and north facing sides. Astilbe's are nice in shade.
Best place for ideas, IMHO, is to get yourself a copy of White Flower Farm catalog - http://www.whiteflowerfarm.com/index.html
It's a great site, even if you probably can't get plants sent to Canada.
FOr a quick and easy look, you could add some window boxes or those flower boxes that attach to your porch rail. Flower pots that sit on each step - would add color too. Wish I lived closer!

Anonymous said...

Don't plant anything with the word 'weed' in its name, no matter how pretty it is. Bugle weed and Bishops weed are the bane of my existance. Also mint - keep it in a pot!

Julie said...

I definitely agree with the idea of something flowering, maybe some pretty flowering shrubs, like dogwood or forsythia. Trees and shrubs would be easier upkeep than a traditional garden, and still give you a nice impact. Then get two hanging flower baskets to hang on your porch, one near each pillar- that would give you easy flowers during the rest of summer, when the shrubs or trees might not be flowering. Or, you could add window boxes to the front and plant some geraniums in them- geraniums are super easy, and nice and bright.

Unknown said...

I think Julie's hit the nail on the head: shrubs and trees, plus some baskets or boxes on the house itself.

Lilac trees can be absolutely lovely, as can cherry trees. I love hydrangeas, and you can shift the color a little bit by changing the pH of the soil (science AND color!). If you have the patience, spend a little time figuring out when each type of plant is likely to bloom (spring, summer, fall), and try to keep something blooming in the yard as long as possible.

Baskets and boxes have the advantage of being easily accessible and a manageable project for an afternoon, which means you could go ahead and plant new flowers (assuming you go with annuals rather than perennials) a few times a year for a little freshening up each season. And, if you're like me, that gives you the chance to play with new things as the mood strikes you.

Kelly H. said...

Lilac's are my absolute favourite, but be warned they are *crazy* slow growers and won't bloom for years and years (and years - ask me how I know?). Cherry trees will bloom the year after you plant them, so they're a nice option.

Remember to keep in mind winter - anything with wide-spread, flimsy branches will be damaged by heavy snow. Consider an evergreen of some sort for "winter interest/colour".

Keep bulbs in mind - come fall is when you'll plant any spring flowering ones but they'll need space to be planned around (except crocus', which grow anywhere and look fabulous in the grass - by the time your lawn is ready to mow, they're done blooming and can be mowed with the grass).

I'll stop now. :P I'm a gardener without a garden this year so I'm going to be living vicariously through you, methinks. I'll try to control myself.

Mousewife said...

A lavender bush is an amazing addition. It smells beautiful all through the winter as well as when it's in bloom.

Also, your house is definitely not the ugliest on the block. Your house is cute!

Barbara said...

I love the idea of hydrangeas and hanging baskets but what about a honeysuckle or a clematis growing on a trellis or growing over your porch? I am not sure they can survive Canadian winters but your local garden centre would know.
Good luck and please keep us posted!

Anonymous said...

Why not start with $50 worth of annuals to get your feet wet? You can use them to figure out where you'd put them, what colours you like, and if you want low little things, or taller things. And you won't get stuck with things that spread unexpectedly, or things that are hard to grow. You'll get lots of colour right away, too. Good luck!