Raised ranch homes are distinguished from split levels by a few characteristics. When you walk in the front door, you must immediately go up a flight of stairs to access the main living area. The front windows of a raised ranch may be awkwardly placed as well. Raised ranches became a common choice in the 1960s and 1970s as young families looked for affordable home options. These homes are still a practical choice today, but their boxy form creates some landscaping challenges.
When planning your landscaping, think of forming a triangle between shrubs, trees and rocks or hardscapes. This configuration helps visually soften awkwardly placed windows or doors on a raised ranch. For example, on many raised ranches, the main front window is not centered, but may be high in the air above a garage or at the far corner of the front of the house. Plant a large tree halfway between the house and the street in the strip to the side of the house closest to the window. This is the first point of your triangle. Place a smaller tree or shrub next to the house on the same side as the tree. Arrange a row of small shrubs along the opposite edge of the house. When viewed as a whole, these three elements form a triangle.
Soften the Foundation
On most raised ranches, the foundation lies at ground level, which makes for a boxy, rigid look. Plant a row of shrubs along the foundation to visually soften and hide this area. You can plant a sheared hedge, or for a softer look, plant two to three different types of shrubs and stagger them slightly so they have a natural look.
Remove sod growing next to the house and install flowing raised beds instead. Make the beds at least 4 to 5 feet wide and add additional topsoil to raise them slightly above the surrounding grass. Beds with gently curving lines are more appealing than straight beds, which accentuate the harsh edges of a raised ranch. Fill the beds with two to three types of shrubs and a few perennials or annuals. A combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs provides year-round interest. Select plants that have complementary colors and avoid using more than a few plants, which will create a chaotic look.
Most raised ranches have the original concrete sidewalks installed by the builder. The sidewalks usually run in straight lines, further accentuating the straight lines of the raised ranch. Consider removing the sidewalk and replacing it with a gently curved walk made of stamped or stained concrete, stone or brick. Plan landscaping around the curves of the new path. Install lighting for nighttime safety.
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