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What is the best way to spruce up the outside of a house?

I know spring is a little ways away but I have landscaping on my mind. Any shrubs or flowers that you would recommend that you think look good? Its kind of bare around here. And I want to spruce it up. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated

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  1. Well, my neighbor got fake flowers and 'planted' them in the yard. My mom said "wow, your flowers look great!" and they were fakes! Or, some people hang lights up around the yard, Chinese lanterns, etc. Depending on your zone you can plant helleborus (Christmas roses), they are the first to bloom. I bought some from a catalog, will plant them when I get 'em. You can cut the flowers, take them inside and float them in a bowl of water. You can also plant red twig dogwoods, they are shrubs and have nice red wood that looks good in winter.
  2. I don't know where you are, but here in the Northwest I use lots of Rhodys and lots of native plants (like ferns and trees). The green really sets the house off.
  3. Nothing works better than nice clean lines, meaning, if your house is square, you need round curves and edges, having a lush lawn and not cluttered with cheap lawn ornaments helps also. Large flowers in the back, some like green bushes to others liek me who likes color, lots of flowers for all seasons. Perrenials are great,, to tall grasses to small trees, like Japanese maples ,to columbine, autumns glory, diathus grass, to asiatic lillies, roses, cone flowers, black eye susans,Holly hocks, primrose, trumpet vine, clematis, etc... many many to pick from. Succulents for smnall to rock gardens, herbs like thyme, rosemary add color and easy growers, , I like flowers that bloom all year, not a big fan of tulips, Mulching with compost first for a couple of years for flower beds then add wood mulch after that. I use newspaper about 3-4 layers thick instead of plastic, it kills the weeds and does decay. Today I have to re-mulch yearly but the rest of the year i have little maintenance to do but enjoy and think about what im going to do next or what im going to add. I get free mulch from the county or city dump site where they maintain it for just leaves, dirt, chopped up wood mulch etc.... but not all places have it like ours, they watch it and is fenced, so we are spoiled i guess. They even have a machine that comes in and mulches it from fine to coarse. If in the north, people forget they can have a great yard using perrennial rye grass, easy to plant and maintain. I use only 10-10-10 , or a product which is made by Ironite, 20lbs costs 10 bucks at Home depot, but is super for what a yard needs. Good luck!!
  4. Potted plants or flowers are best until you are sure there will be no more freezes, they look nice plus you can always plant then later. Or, try some of those topiary trees that you can bring onto a patio later, they look nice and manicured. If you can plant without worries, petunias and pansies will work well right now.
  5. shutters for the street facing windows are a relatively cheap and quick way of adding interst and curb appeal to your house. A large terra cotta pot on either side of your front door or step frames the entrance to your house. depending on the sun exposure of the front of your house you could plant a large fern or some begonias in the pots (if its shady). Or some snapdragons, lavatera, or dahlias (if its sunny). If the front of your house is in shade then plant a row of hostas along the foundation; they are great groundcover and about 2 feet high and the leaves come in all shades of green, blue, and golden, and white variegations. if the front is in sun, id suggest a row of spirea shrubs or dogwoods, or alpine currants(which can be pruned if you like). paint your door a contrasting color that draws attention, like oxblood red or navy blue. if your real energetic, you could make a 10" border on each side (or just one side) of the sidewalk leading up to your front door, and plant low-growing annuals in it. allysum, dwarf snapdragons,dwarf asters, ageratum. another great way to frame your entrance and add a bit of drama is to plant a columnar cedar or juniper on either side of your front step. they grow tall and narrow. cedars require a humid and slightly cool atmosphere and winters that are not to severe. junipers are better for dry heat and cold winters. If you have a porch around your front door, planting a vine to grow up its walls would look great and soften the lines of the house. best vine for this job is virginia creeper, but you could also use boston or english ivy or trumpet vine if theyre hardy in your zone.