May 28, 2012

Lush Backdrop Needs A Nice Front

A little landscaping and small structural changes complete package

Proposed plan: Enclosing the area below the home’s balcony — with openings resembling the windows above — and low-maintenance siding would improve the appearance.

Before renovation: The area under the main balcony looks unfinished, and gardens are sparse.

On the down side, although the property has a lush natural backdrop, the front is void of interesting vegetation. This house’s biggest flaw is the unsightly open space beneath the main balcony. It looks as though the initial construction was never completed. I suggest closing it with a structure covered with the same width wooden planks as the top of the house. A repetition of five narrow openings in the same size as the windows above would be a nice connection between the two levels. They would also bring sunlight inside the area. On the side, a rectangular arch ought to be built for access to the ground level entry.

Integrated custom-made flower containers should be flush to the external new wooden facade and extended inward. The existing brown siding is unfortunately not in a good condition. It will need a vigorous sanding and the replacement of a few rotten pieces. For minimum maintenance, an exterior acrylic opaque stain is a good way to go. A medium muddy blue green colour lands itself beautifully to the existing neutral grey of the roof. If you prefer earthy tones, the actual reddish brown tint would work as well on all the wooden surfaces. The stucco should also be painted the same colour but in a matte finish.

Vegetation  From sketch above left to right:

  • Arenaria (yellow green perennials, walkway)
  • Rose bush (owner’s)
  • Verbena X Hybride (annuals, flower containers)
  • Lamium Maculatum (silver ground cover, white blooms)
  • Pennisetum Alopecuroides (perennials grasses)
  • Juniperus Chinensis Mountbatten (Pyramidal evergreens)

Inside the new enclosed space; the doors, the trims and the wall should be painted the same colour as the exterior. To enhance the up-to-date look, new tempered glass ramps would be installed. The handrails would either be made out of opaque grey stained wood or stainless steel. Elongated silver tubular light fixtures could complete the youthful hit. Since the architecture reveals modern lines, I preferred square shapes for the flower bed. The slanting of the ground towards the driveway was more favourable to rounded contours. A low key and minimum maintenance landscaping will effectively frame the facade.

A checkerboard pattern composed of square cement slabs and mosslike yellow green ground cover will be the welcoming path toward the home. The owner’s pink rose bush will beautify the bottom of the staircase. One imposing grey boulder and two or three medium-size rocks will look like islands soaking in a sea of silver leafed ground cover decorated with foamy white blooms. A series of ornamental grasses could gracefully move with the slightest trace of a breeze.

The lot is large enough to bear families of the same pyramidal evergreens planted in a triangular formation. These groups could provide privacy by being strategically placed on the right side of the house and on the left side of the driveway. To furnish the empty area in the centre and away from the building, three firs planted in a trio could be admired from inside the house. Clean air, clean space, clean design … what more can you ask for?

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