I need to make the front yard more attractive, and a more inviting useable space. It faces East, and is on a large corner lot in Seattle. There is an old fence, old light post, overgrown juniper bushes and 2 pine trees shading the front of the house that will probably need to go. This is an upscale neighborhood, and while I will be hiring an architect to give the front of the house a face lift - the yard needs help too. I would like an area for sitting, a little privacy from the street and neighbors, although no high fence. I have thought about raised beds of some sort to plant flowers, as I love to garden but back problems make bending to weed very difficult. I will need to hire out heavy yard maintenance so don't feel like it needs to be a zero maintenance landscape.
I plan to put in a covered porch in the front of the house, so keep in mind this will take up possibly 4 or 5 feet of the yard directly in front of the house.
A curb cut at the NE corner of the lot used to be a driveway, and one day I may want to route the driveway through this area again so hoping to have a design that would allow a conversion to driveway N. of the house if necessary. The maple tree on the SE corner needs to stay. Prefer to minimize lawn maintenance as there is a huge parking strip to on the South side of this corner lot. I do not want a beauty bark / rhododendron & azalea type commercial looking landscape. Some lighting to replace the light post in front, unless you come up with design that incorporates it. Saving it is not important to me.
There is a rockery that begins at the S. edge of the front yard on the S. side of the maple and continues down the entire length of the property. It gets higher as you go downhill. I can't disturb the rockery, it needs to stay intact but I will have the overgrown vegetation scaled back.
Zoning requirements: any fence / retaining wall no greater than 4 feet tall. Retaining wall must be no closer to the property line than 3 feet.
There is a slope of about 3 feet from the top of yard down to the sidewalk. In the photos it is completely obscured by the massive junipers and the fence. There is a small bit of lawn and some pavement between the fence and house. The flower beds have not been kept up since my Mom died. I am thinking some kind of tiered level is what will be needed, perhaps a low retaining wall with a small iron fence or some way to make a boundary / give a little privacy.
There is a tall hedge at the property line between my house and the house directly to the north, this hedge will need to stay but can be trimmed back.
Please render a drawing in color.
Aesthetic appeal, how practical and useable the area is, cost and ability to convert curb cut area to driveway (without a huge amount of demo or cost) if I decide to route driveway through there & put up a new garage in the back yard. I have been an avid gardener and know what grows well in different conditions & lighting in Seattle, so you don't need to pin down what exact plants I should put in. I need more of a big picture concept because I can't get my head out of the box to come up with new ideas.