Banish the Bushes

Dear Homework,
We are considering removing all of the mature plantings in the front of our house with the exception of a Japanese red maple. Our idea is to paint the brick either gray or tan and leave the siding as is. We expect to put in new plantings, but are not sure what would be best. The house faces north, and the front doesn’t get much sun.

—Banish the Bushes

Dear Banish the Bushes,
I agree with your concept. The existing bushes really overwhelm the presentation. The other problem is that I will have to guess where the actual front door is … hope it’s in the right corner!

Let’s start with the architectural changes. I would bring in a more upmarket garage door and permanently remove the shutters, which are too narrow. Next, add a low brick wall to create more interest at the entry, and cap it with a simple new lantern to replace the current gas lamp. I’ll take you up on painting the brick gray, giving the whole composition a more contemporary look.

The Japanese maple looks great, but the rest must go. A grouping of upright evergreens fill in a bare corner. Beneath them, a sweep of ivy and hostas gives a low-slung base for the entire façade. To the right, a row of hornbeam trees screens the neighboring house.

Hope this helps,

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