Dear Homework,
We built our dream home in Des Peres 20 ago this fall. Our budget did not allow for professional landscaping. I am a gardener so I decided to take on the project myself, but I am ready for a fresh new look. My home faces west so the front gets full afternoon sun. Any advice would be helpful and appreciated!

—Refresh Our Dream

Dear Refresh Our Dream,
Overall, I think your home looks pretty good, but a number of small changes would improve its presentation a great deal.

First, I would suggest removing a number of trees that block the view of the facade. I think you will agree that it looks better when you can see the house’s major windows. A new river birch replaces the tortured red bud tree. Next, you will see I have added an evergreen hedge near the curb accented with tiger lilies. I feel that this underscores the “all American” feel of the property.
I’ve also made a number of minor architectural changes. Wider shutters with hinges and tie-backs as well as a large window flower box and a front door accent color add a bit of charm to the picture.

After a few decades most properties need some adjustments. Often as plants mature, we can see that not all of them are necessary in their full grown state to enhance the presentation.

Hope this is helpful,

Homework is penned by Paul Doerner, founding partner of The Lawrence Group. If you would like your home critiqued, contact us at