Ground Up Inc

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Commercial and Residential Landscaping Services

Not sure what your front landscape needs for more curb appeal? We can help. Contact us today for your free estimate or call us at 772-4722.

Landscaping Ideas For Improving The Curb Appeal Of Your Front Yard

Some of the more frequent “offenders” that contribute to low curb appeal are listed below.

LANDSCAPE LOOKS CLUTTERED OR UNTIDY

  • Does your landscape still have leaves from last fall or unwanted weeds, vines, or turf grass growing in your plant beds?
  • Are the edges of your plant beds no longer well defined because of encroaching grass or weeds?
  • Is the mulch in your beds thin or faded?
  • Are your shrubs in need of shearing, thinning, or pruning?
  • Do your perennials look tired, spent, or overgrown?

If any of these situations applies to your yard, we can help transform your landscape with a professional clean-up by:

  • Weeding beds and removing landscape debris.
  • Re-edging beds, walks, and driveways.
  • Re-mulching beds.
  • Shearing, thinning, or pruning shrubs and hedges.
  • Cutting back perennials after blooms or foliage has faded.
  • Removing low-hanging limbs on trees making it easier to mow or walk around your yard.

OVERGROWN SHRUBS ARE BLOCKING WINDOWS, DOORS, WALKS, OR DRIVEWAYS

Pruning may or may not be the solution.

Some shrubs can take severe pruning and still look good, some will look very bare until they can grow back in, and some will look just like a shrub that got too big for the space where it was planted and had to be severely pruned to recover a walkway.

Also, pruning may be required once or twice a year to keep those existing shrubs in bounds which can be quite costly depending on how many shrubs need pruning.

If pruning is too costly or not an option because of the type or sheer size of your existing shrubs, consider replacing them with shrubs that will grow to a mature size suitable for the space without requiring frequent pruning to keep them in bounds.

Other options for replacing shrubs where the available space is limited include using:

  • Shrubs that have a more upright shape rather than a rounded or sprawling shape
  • Upright perennials or tall groundcovers
  • Climbing roses or vines

NOTE: When selecting plants, be aware of the mature height of plants in relation to overhead utilities, trees, and other overhanging structures.

EVERYTHING’S JUST GREEN

Foundation plantings are often evergreen to mask the house’s foundation with their year-round foliage. Other shrubs and trees in the landscape may provide some colorful – but fleeting – blooms.

ADD AN ANNUAL BED: Evergreens and blooming shrubs or trees are wonderful, but if you long for some bright blooms that last a bit longer than that first flush of spring, consider adding an annual bed that can be planted with long-blooming annuals: for fall/winter, spring - Pansies; for summer into fall - Geraniums, Impatiens, Lantana, Marigolds, Petunias, Zinnias, and many others.

This way the colors in your landscape can change from season to season and year to year to provide some added interest and curb appeal.

Adding early spring-blooming or fall-blooming bulbs can lengthen the season of color provided by annuals.

Don’t want to add another bed to your yard? Give your landscape a make-over by adding flowering annuals or brightly-colored foliage plants for seasonal color and variety to the beds you already have.

ADD STONE: You could also consider adding a low free-standing wall or rock garden to create year-round interest in your yard.

ADD A SPECIMEN PLANT: Break up the monotony of masses of small-leaved evergreen plantings by installing a specimen plant with interesting features (consider a deciduous plant with a different shape, foliage, flowers, or color from the evergreens) to add impact and variety.

ADD LAYERS TO YOUR LANDSCAPE: Adding layers to your landscape gives you opportunities to add even more interest to an otherwise green landscape. You can add other foliage colors – like reds, blues, chartreuse, or variegated leaves with cream or yellow. You could also add other foliage textures – lacy leaves have a finer texture than simple leaves and large leaves are coarser in texture than small ones, and so on.

If your landscape is predominantly evergreen, you can add some deciduous plants that will lend bloom color, fall foliage color, interesting branching structure or bark – or all of these. Conversely, if your landscape is comprised primarily of deciduous plants, you might consider adding some evergreens with a different shape or height or beautiful dark green, blue, or golden foliage. Some evergreens even change the color of their foliage in cold winter months.

How to add layers to your landscape? Add a row or rows of plants of a lower height. For example, say you have an existing small tree in your yard – for this example we’ll say it’s a Forest Pansy Redbud (20-30 feet tall). Consider adding a small group of evergreen shrubs - like Green Velvet Boxwoods (3-4 feet tall) - below and behind the tree as a backdrop for the trunk of the tree. Below and in front of the tree, plant a group of late spring-blooming perennial – say Deutschland Astilbe (2 feet tall). In front of these, plant a border of summer-blooming perennial groundcover – like Bigroot Cranesbill ‘Ingwersen’s Variety’ (10-12 inches tall) – interplanted with spring-blooming bulbs like white, yellow, and purple Crocus (2-4 inches tall).

Now you have a garden with interest in every season: In late winter/early spring, enjoy the bright, colorful blooms of Crocus. Soon the Redbud will be blooming all over its branches with rosy-purple flowers before the purple leaves emerge. In late spring, the Astilbe will put on a display of showy white flower plumes and then, in early to mid summer, the Cranesbill will sport its light pink flowers and large, fragrant green leaves. In fall, the purple leaves of the Redbud will turn color. In winter, the Boxwood will still be green and you’ll have the Redbud’s branching structure and the texture of its rough bark. You may even have some seed pods still clinging to the branches through the winter.

And this planting’s interest isn’t limited to different colors in each season, you also have the different textures from the foliage of each type of plant: large leaves of the Redbud contrast with the small leaves of the Boxwood, the fern-like foliage of the Astilbe contrasts with the large leaves of the Cranesbill, and the grass-like leaves of the Crocus are different from any of the other plants.

Adding layers in this way also helps link the planting to the rest of the landscape: Small trees help link large trees to shrubs in the yard and around the house. Similarly, shrubs – like the Boxwood in the example above – help the eye transition from trees to other plants like perennials and groundcovers.

Shrubs can also serve as a backdrop for smaller plants so they don’t get “lost” in the wider scope of the yard. In particular, evergreen shrubs planted behind spring-flowering bulbs helps showcase their colorful blooms.

Layering also gives an impression of depth so that a planting or yard seems larger than it really is – something to keep in mind if you have a small yard. Instead of trees for a small yard, focus on upright shrubs paired with other small shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers. If your space is really small, use a non-living structure (bird bath, upright sculpture, etc.) or climbing vine on a fence or trellis in place of the shrubs and pair with smaller perennials and groundcovers. Citation: Lovejoy, Ann. Further Along the Garden Path. New York: McMillan, 1995. Print.

IN WINTER, EVERYTHING’S JUST BROWN

If more of your landscape plants are deciduous than evergreen, your winter landscape may lack interest at a time when it would be really nice to see some color. Consider adding fall/winter annuals or supplementing your deciduous plantings with evergreens for more color and interest during the long dreary months of winter.

You might also consider planting more perennials or shrubs that attract wildlife so that you can enjoy fall/winter visitors to your yard.

WINTER IS A REALLY GOOD TIME TO DECIDE WHAT CHANGES YOU’D LIKE TO MAKE IN YOUR GARDEN FOR NEXT SPRING

But how do I know what plants to use if my favorite nursery is closed during winter or has very few plants right now?

Instead of deciding which particular plants to purchase, decide what the problem areas are in your yard and ask yourself what plant features would best resolve those problems.

For example, say there’s a Holly that has become too big and leggy with sparse foliage located in a bed next to the house where it obstructs the view of your yard from a window. At this point, instead of shopping for plants, try to imagine what you would rather see in this spot.

Let’s say you like that the Holly is evergreen but you want something that won’t grow to cover the window. So now you have decided you want an evergreen shrub and you’d like it to be, for the sake of this example, 4 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide. You know the reason the plant is leggy and the foliage is sparse is because it is in a location that gets a fair amount of shade. The new plant will need to be shade tolerant.

Now, let’s say that in the same bed there are some Boxwoods that are suitable but just don’t have any blooms or berries or other features that give any interest other than their evergreen foliage. You would prefer the new plant to have some kind of features that would give a splash of color.

With these criteria in mind, you can now identify particular plants that have:

  • Evergreen foliage
  • A mature size of 4 to 8 feet high and 4 to 6 feet wide
  • Shade tolerance
  • A splash of color (flowers, berries, etc.)

One plant that meets these criteria is Mountain Fire Pieris. It is a broadleaved evergreen that grows 4 to 8 feet high and 3 to 6 feet wide. It bears showy white flowers in spring and its new growth emerges as bright red leaves that turn glossy dark green with age. In late summer, the plant will be decorated with bead-like buds for winter interest; these buds will be flowers the following year. In addition, this plant will thrive in part shade, is deer tolerant, and attracts hummingbirds. PROBLEM SOLVED!

Do this for each problem area in your yard. When you’re done, you’ll get a jump on spring because you’ll already have a plan for upgrading your entire yard.

Don’t know which plants to buy? Just take your list of plant criteria with you to your favorite nursery and let the salespeople there help. If you need help installing your new plants, contact us or call us at 772-4722 for a FREE ESTIMATE.


LANDSCAPE LACKS A COHESIVE DESIGN

If you love plants, you probably have a yard that looks like an odd assortment of all of your favorites. This might be pleasing to view up close, but it may not look like a cohesive landscape design at a distance.

OPTION 1: Plant large groupings of the same or similar plants in multiple areas. Groupings make for a better visual impact than single plants – especially if the single plant is small, thin, or low to the ground.

OPTION 2: Put your plant collection in the back yard where you can sit and enjoy it at your leisure. In the front yard, install several groupings of fewer types of plants to lend unity, balance, and cohesion for greater impact and curb appeal.

For more information on the design, build, and installation services we can offer you, visit our other Web pages: LANDSCAPE DESIGN, BUILD SERVICES, and LANDSCAPE INSTALLATION. If you decide you need help with your landscape design and installation, feel free to contact us for a free estimate.

Selling your home and need help improving the appeal of your front yard?
Or maybe you just want to upgrade your landscaping
to improve the value of your home.
Contact us online or call 772-4722

We Provide Services to the Following Cities, Towns and surrounding areas in VA:
  • Blue Ridge, VA
  • Boones Mill, VA
  • Botetourt County, VA
  • Cave Spring, VA
  • Cloverdale, VA
  • Daleville, VA
  • Fincastle, VA
  • Franklin County, VA
  • Garden City, VA
  • Hardy, VA
  • Hollins, VA
  • Moneta, VA
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Rocky Mount, VA
  • Salem, VA
  • Smith Mountain Lake, VA
  • Troutville, VA
  • Vinton, VA