June 20, 2012

Curb appeal: Add colour, interest with paint, plants

Flower boxes, a few miniature lilac trees and a central walkway would give this house a much-needed lift.

BY SUZANNE ROWE

Although this lush lawn is worthy of a golf course, this barren landscape needs an injection of natural elements and a boost of colour. The roof, with its various tints of green, is quite recent. The dark brown doors, windows and shutters look harsh upon the white stucco wall.

If possible, I would love to see the top of the windows and the shutters squared off. All the doors and the windows should be a dark green inspired by the tones of the shingles. The white lattices behind the glass didn’t match the old colour nor does it match our new choice. If they aren’t permanently inserted between the two glasses, they could be removed or painted dark green. In the eventuality that they are sandwiched for life, except for the doors, all the windows should be white. The shutters will be a lighter version of green in semi-gloss.

New and bolder glass light fixtures ought to replace the shy ones. The metal trims around these should be of the same finish as the door handle. Flower boxes will be built as wide as the shutters and window combined. They will be secured under the wood panelling and deep enough without touching the ground. Painted or stained opaque dark green, they will play host to drought tolerant white annuals.

A new, wide, central walkway will merge into a slimmer secondary path leading to the driveway. Rows of boxwood on each side will introduce timeless elegance to the home. A strip of lawn 50 cm wide will be removed to accommodate these persistent leaf shrubs. On the outer edge of the smaller walk, near the foundation on the right and all along the boxwood hedges; another 45-cm ribbon of turf will also have to be uprooted to welcome a line of flowering perennials. These borders will charm you with their relentless pink blooms. They will even keep their looks all winter. In the corners of the quarter round flower beds, a couple of miniature lilac trees will gracefully enhance the entry. At their feet, a white carpet of perennial ground cover will coexist with a few randomly placed Zebra irises. If it is, work it while adding good garden soil to lighten the consistency.

Dividers are needed between the grass and the new pink perennial borders. Another divider will be needed between the geraniums’ edge and the white lamium ground cover. On the left of the lot, I’ve added a graceful weeping conifer. On the right side, not seen on the photo, is a white flowering Malus tree. Evergreen shrubs on the left and right side of the house will help frame its large white surface.

Vegetation:

  • Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ (weeping conifer tree)
  • Calibrachoa x hybrida ‘Million Bells’ (annuals, white flower boxes)
  • Bacopa Sutera cordata (annuals, white, medium cascading)
  • Geranium sanguineum (perennials, pink, border)
  • Iris X Germanica Silver Zebra (perennials, variegated, soft violet)
  • Lamium ‘White Nancy’ (ground cover, white)
  • Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’ (2, shrub on stem, pink)
  • Buxus microphylla koreana (shrubs, persistent, hedges path)
  • Malus (owner’s tree, white)
  • Taxus ‘Hicksii’ (2 evergreens, corners of house)

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