We were on the home stretch in the Fall of 1989. The reno was nearly done, we were ready to move back from 7+ months in a 2 bedroom apartment with our 1, 4, and 6 year old.
This is a 1/5 acre lot at the end of a rare in-town Atlanta cul-de-sac. Our block was originally built out in 1950 with "Minimal Traditional" 3br, 1 1/2ba, 1,200 sq.ft homes. To the west about 12', a house. To the east, there is a big drop off as you can see from the picture with the checkered patio.
This didn't go exactly like Curb Appeal, or Landscape Smart. The yard was a muddy / dusty mess. Of course we had run out of money. We had to start a yard to get the final loan. We were exhausted in every way. We said, just do it! The basic plan was "low" bushes in the front and never let them overgrow.
You'll need to click on the "see the huge..." links to make the plans readable. The plans and plant lists are a little further down this post. Trust me, they really are.
How did it all turn out? Even considering the architecture tourist's black- thumb-of-death, some of the landscaping is still going strong. Something blooms 9 months of the year and there is color going even in the winter. The fundamental shape of everything is still works. The 2 cherry trees, the rhododendrons, the azalias and the Japanese maples rock the house. I think the back yard turned out better than the front.
The azaleas look pretty good from the kitchen, huh?
The shape of the driveway - the curve - may be the most significant detail in the landscape and it cost extra. Gordon, our designer, laid it out with a garden hose. Bill the architect, agreed, knowing the extra expense was well worth it. (He was really trying to help us keep costs down and never let us do anything stupid.) Anyway, we first thought it was a really dumb idea but...
Here's the deal with the curved driveway, it's a great feature:
- The curve keeps the driveway from being the dominant visual feature of our front yard. It's hard to hide concrete on a small lot.
- It gives us room for a planting area west of the driveway that frames and separates our house from the one next door. It makes both houses look better.
- The plantings help hide our cars from the street. This is a neighborhood of 60 year old unusable garages. Folks park in their front yard driveway and on the street.
- It makes our house unique, there aren't any other curved drives for houses like ours in the neighborhood.
- The curve gives our tiny house and yard an upscale feel.
- The curve gives us little more driveway. It's a little longer and wider now. We can put a few more cars in it. It would hold the Merdeces, the Beemer, the RV, and the boat - if we had any of those.
- It hides the view to the garage a little. I guess it's a Zen view of the garage. It makes you wonder what's around back of the house.
- It visually compliments our curved "bunny" retaining wall on the other side of the yard and the informal curves of the planting area. It helps soften the facade which is mostly angles - bump outs and gables.
Finally, time to see the plans:
Click here to see the huge, readable front yard plan.
Front yard plant order:
Click here to see the huge, readable backyard plan.
Some years our rhododendrons just out do themselves.
Backyard plant order:
The Japanese Maple started small but never fails us in spring and fall.
Our bunny stands guard at the end of the curved wall.
About the bunny and curved wall. At the time I didn't understand.
- Bill designed the curving wall and the pillar from the very beginning. Bill said, "When you walk up to the door, the wall will be putting it's arm around your shoulder."
- On one shopping trip Gordon spotted the concrete bunny and wouldn't let it go. Gordon said, "We're going to need it," for what, he didn't tell us.
- When the house was nearly finished, Bill made the wall longer to suit his eye.
- The Masons built the column with a flat top. Gordon was there and said no way. We scouted the yard for more brick and Gordon directed the built-up top. Then Gorden said, "Where's the rabbit?" We produced it and the mason put it on top.
The front yard took a beating when we repaired the sewer pipe and improved the drainage.
Whew. I know that if you've made it this far, you are probably worn out. So here is a link back to: Hooked on Houses.
Thanks so much,
P.S. If you up for a challenge check out yesterday's post that includes this shocking statement:
A building in which the ceiling heights are all the same is virtually incapable of making people comfortable.
The landscape even looks good in black and white.