Now that the One Room Challenge is over, we’ve taken some time to chill and relax, and enjoy the nice weather we’ve been waiting all winter for. The big hubbub around here is that Ronnie got a tricycle! Breaking news for sure. After seeing the older girls (there are four or five elementary school-aged girls who scoot and bike around our block) with their wheels, she’s been practicing with her new trike non-stop. Ask her what she’s up for and you’ll inevitably get: “I wanna go outside; ride my trike!” and so we head outside, rain or shine, and she rides around, alternating between frustration and laughter when she gets the hang of it and pedals for a good long stretch across the cul de sac.
Speaking of cul-de-sacs, I never really understood the point of them until now, but I’m 100-percent on board with it. At our old house, cars would fly up and down the block, oblivious to the world (and pedestrians) outside. It’s so much more relaxing to watch her play here, instead of having to constantly be on the look-out for speeding cars.
Being able to spend lots more time outside has really driven home the point that our house’s exterior is currently shite, however. The peeling paint, woodpecker damage, and a group of giant, overgrown shrubs really give the house that creepy, haunted feel that’s all the rage right now, heh. But we’ve decided to go in a different direction--less like the house where Edward Scissorhands lived before Dianne Wiest came to sell him Avon, and more bright and fresh with new plantings that bring in some color. Below is a photo from the real estate listing (apologies for the small, grainy photo), and you can really see how overgrown everything is:
AFTER SHRUB REMOVAL
MUCH better, right? Well, before we could get too excited about our fresh start, we had to undertake an unexpected upgrade: a new gas service line! It all started when Frank was preparing to pull out the root balls of those giant shrubs, and he gave Dig Safe a call to come and mark out where the natural gas pipe was located. The roots were deep and tangled, and pulling them out required a fair amount of digging and pulling with chains and a pick-up truck. Dig Safe showed up, and their handheld meter showed immediately that something was off. They called Eversource, and long story short, there was a small, but noticeable leak near where the pipe from our house meets the gas main under the street. Within 5 hours, the original gas line--installed in 1965--was replaced! While I’m psyched that we have a new, efficient, SAFE gas service line to the house, I’m not super-psyched with the huge gas meter that is now right next to our front door:
Lovely, isn't it?! Once the gas meter was installed, however we proceeded with more root-pulling:
However: this new gas meter is really cramping my style. What to do, what to do…
I did some googling and found several ideas. Thankfully, our house’s MCM style lends itself to some cool opportunities to both display house numbers and provide a little screening for eyesores like gas meters and water spigots. Here's one I like from Etsy:
Obviously, Eversource will need access to the meter, so we can’t enclose it completely, but we can screen it so it’s not too noticeable until you’re up close. I also like how these little structures can be part of the exterior design concept, adding function and a little something interesting to look at.
For the rest of the landscaping, our plans aren’t finalized, but we do we have an overall idea of what we want. Here is the existing and proposed front elevation:
Starting from left to right, we plan to add a large flowering bush, most likely a hydrangea or lilac in front of the chimney. In front of that shrub will sit a mix of smaller arborvitae (I like juniper best!) and perennials such as tulips. I'm leaning towards bright, orangey and pink shades to complement the aqua front doors.
Surrounding the front door will be a mix of (existing) hostas and day lilies, and some small shrubs to frame the steps and entryway. To the right of the door will be the gas meter screen, which will be made out of stained wood planks and will display our house number. We'll put a small rose bush there too and some small, low plantings around the wooden screen, as well as an uplight so that the address can be read at night.
That large space between the banks of windows to the right of the front door is begging for a small, flowering tree! I don't want anything too high--I'm thinking 12-15' at the most--here to dwarf the house, however I feel like the long, horizontal plane of the roof needs to be visually broken up a bit and I think a perky little tree would be a great way to do it. I'd like to mirror the mix of arborvitae in front of the chimney on this side of the house as well, bringing it all together in a neat, simple design:
This week (if it ever stops raining, ugh), the painting crew is coming and we'll get this place looking fresh and good as new! Then we can really get going with our landscaping plans in earnest. Until then, I'd love to hear your Zone 5 landscaping ideas and what's worked for you, what hasn't. Happy Tuesday!