When Considering Views: Think FROM the house, not OF the house

One of the best compliments I've received about my garden was this: "Oh, yours is the house nestled in the trees." It came from a neighbor I then invited over for a visit to the back garden, which happened to be in full Peony form on a Memorial Day several years ago.

Our house was built in the '60s, so its surrounding trees are mature. Luckily for us, the former owners had valued trees, planting a Kousa dogwood in front of the house, yews and arborvitae on the eastern edge, and cranberry viburnum at the edge of the woods.

Since we moved in, three more houses were built on our block, two of them careful to save several mature pin oaks already occupying the lots. One house had a clean slate on which to build, the lot's former owner having cleared it and planted grass.

The two homes built amidst the oaks fit into the landscape beautifully, and look as if they'd grown up with the trees.

The house built on the empty lot seems to be saying, "Look at me! I'm new and big and the most important thing on the block."

The others say, "I'm in partnership with the trees." These residents keep the trees' roots cool and their trunks undamaged by lawnmowers. The trees offer shade on the hottest days, music from their resident bird population, tons of color, and mulch for lawn and gardens.

Sure, a few of my neighbors complain when it's time for the leaves to fall. Our neighborhood is well beyond the "mulch it with a lawnmower" stage. Huge vacuum trucks come by to suck up mile-high piles of leaves several times in October and November.

An aerial view of the area I can see from my front picture window.
Some houses in the community have been "professionally landscaped," with 'Stella d'Oro daylilies, miniature spruce and Spirea huddled up close to the foundation. Sometimes they'll end up with a river birch or purple-leaf plum plopped down in the center of the front lawn.

Ok, I'm guilty of harboring a row of boxwood beneath our living room picture window. I keep meaning to do something about them, but that would mean spending time near the window, which is in dire need of replacement. If I took out the boxwoods, unwelcome attention would be drawn to the hideous window. Plants can cover or at least camouflage a multitude of unfortunate events in household upkeep. Which is another good thing about having a house in the midst of the trees.


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