‘Over it’ does not even begin to describe how Ontarians feel about the protracted winter that has befallen us, and so I placate with thoughts of greenery and curb appeal. Sooner or later Spring will actually arrive, and with it the season of outdoor preoccupations such as the below question from Linda M., about her ginormous tree.
To the rescue I call our perennial Outdoor Design Dilemma guru and host of Green Force, Carson Arthur, who will be appearing at the International Home & Garden Show on Friday April 1st, in Mississauga, ON.
Carson will be happy to answer your landscaping and curb appeal questions in person, and hopefully will use his green force to help this cold weather be finally on its way.
From Linda M.: "Hi,
We have a lovely (professionally landscaped) backyard but our front yard needs some curb peal. We have a large blue spruce that is quite stately but my husband says it has to go…I just cant part with it! Can you please help?"
Carson suggests: There’s a house behind that tree? Wow! Stately doesn’t even begin to describe that spruce. As far as that tree, you have a couple of options and a few ‘no-no’s.
In general, when deciding whether a tree should stay or go, I’m on the fence. I hate to ever remove a tree for aesthetic reasons, but there are limits. Sadly, the tree on your front lawn should never have been planted where it was in the first place, but at this point it’s moot.
If you are keeping the tree…
1. Promise you won’t remove the branches near the base so that you can see under it. As a landscaper, nothing irks me more because it looks completely unnatural.
2. You have to lose the shrub in front. The whole sense of scale is off between the two.
3. We need to create a pyramid in your front lawn with the spruce as the top point. To do this I suggest you plant a flowering tree in front, and to the right of the spruce. Something in either the dogwood or ornamental pear family. The tree you choose should have a maximum growth height of about 25′. The final point of your front yard triangle needs to be between 5′ and 10′ — maybe an ornamental grass or even a decorative obelisk/trellis with a vine on it.
Visually, by going from small to medium to spruce, the eye follows a natural transition between the elements, helping to downplay the beast in the background. Fill the in-between spaces with great beach stones and your favourite perennials for a impact-loaded front yard, and you’ve gone from overbearing to lush and beautiful!
One more side note… Lose the three little plant beds along the walkway. I see that you are planting annuals which are probably the only things that grow there. Sadly, they emphasize how blank the wall is because they are so low to the ground. Instead, opt for some great decorative planters that raise the plants to waist height. Makes for a much nicer impact at the entrance!
Hope this helps.