Dear Homework,
Repairing some water issues in our basement resulted in the removal of the bushes in the front of our home. While they were horribly overgrown evergreens that needed to be replaced, we hadn’t planned to rip them out just yet. Now, we’re faced with a blank slate and would really appreciate some advice.
—From Gloom To Bloom


Dear From Gloom To Bloom,

Perhaps as a reaction to the bleakness of your submission photo, I have chosen to re-landscape your home with blooming springtime favorites. This approach will also soften the Tudor seriousness of the architecture all year ’round.

First, I would plant a low, straight yew or boxwood hedge, which will give you a baseline of year-round greenery. Behind this, plant an intense row of bulbs to will produce a bold, changing display of color during the growing season. Beyond that, I would establish an undulating hedge of red azaleas for an additional jolt of life. Two tall pyramidal evergreens help frame the entry.

At the very edges of the house, I would place a pink dogwood, which, because of its open branching and horizontal growth pattern, will help frame, but not block, the existing façade. If you are ‘color averse,’ the plantings could be white instead. Some oversize flower boxes help furnish the front porch.

Hopefully these suggestions can help you envision a brighter landscape future.


[HomeWork is penned by Paul Doerner, president, The Lawrence Group. If you would like your home critiqued, contact us at]