What goes in front of a Tudor revival house?
I've seen many nice gardens in my area, but they often seem too modern. These houses are older homes, and they're meant to evoke REALLY old homes. I don't know if the original landscaping was styled after the old English homes or if it was pure 20s North American, but I know Home Depot stacked blocks aren't right!
Perhaps I should be posting in the landscape design forum, but I think the general spirit here is more appropriate somehow. My home needs some ideas!
It's a 1929 Tudor revival on a corner lot. There's a bland arborvitae/privet hedge along the side with the street, a pair of yews flanking the front steps (the main floor of the home is about 6 feet above yard level for some reason), miscellaneous shrubs in the front and side rectangular bed, and grass. The beds are partially built up as you get towards the side because there's a steep slope towards the side street. The front and side beds are about 5 feet deep (front to back, not topsoil to clay :) )The side adjoining the neighbors' yard has grass continuing into their (much nicer) lawn and they've planted a few shrubs on the border: lilac (yay) and one of those red-leafed ornamentals you see everywhere (bleh). It's all pretty blah. The front door is off-centered onto the non-sloped/neighbor side of the yard and has a straight concrete walk to the sidewalk. No beds along the front sidewalk or the walkway. Small apple tree smack dab in the middle of the lawn. The parkway in front of the house has one recently planted maple-type tree and one giant elm-type tree with few limbs and few years left.
I wish I had a picture...but I don't need precise recommendations. I would just love to have some general ideas on what would be used to dress up the small front yard of an urban middle-class Tudor revival home. I'd like something historically appropriate, because the homes in the area that have well-maintained yards with modern landscaping don't look very good to me.
Would this sort of home have formal shrubs? (I love the large yews by the front door but I hate the idea of pruning them into an unnatural shape.) When I redo the flowerbeds, should I maintain a formal (ie. boring rectangular) shape? If I have a formal shape to my gardens, do I have to keep the plants inside arranged/pruned/spaced in a formal pattern or can they be free within their cages?
Are there any good (yet affordable) materials for building up low retaining walls so I can get rid of the railroad ties and the awful stackable blocks?
What about lining the walkway with plantings? I'd love to line it with roses, but I haven't figured out how to grow them decently here, being new to the midwest.
Any tips, ideas, suggestions, etc. would be appreciated! I'm a bit of a newbie so be kind. Thanks!