Small Front Yard Issues - Sorry, a bit long

I live in a Zone 5 urban area. My house faces the east and my front yard receives a great deal of sun. The yard is quite small 25' wide x 15' deep (at the deepest). It is also elevated above the sidewalk and banded by a stone retaining wall. Because it is sloped we decided not to have grass in this area - it is too difficult to mow. We have planted some English ivy which is doing well. Our biggest problem is our neighbours. We have the misfortune of living beside people who never ever weed. Their front yard is an overgrown disaster and unfortunately all their weeds make their way to our house. Our ivy has grass, dandelions and all sorts of other invasive and pernicous weeds growing up through it. It is a mess. I want my home to look nice and am finding it harder and harder to keep up with the influx of weeds. It's very difficult to remove them from the ivy. Should we rip out the ivy and try something else? I do have quite a number of rocks at my disposal and could create an alpine or rockery type of garden if this might be easier to maintain. Are perennials a good way to go or should we put in lots of annuals every year? I'm reluctant to spend too much on this area because we are moving in a year or two. I want the area to have great "curb appeal" when we sell, but don't have a ton of money to invest in perennials. Any and all suggestions are welcome!
Jacqui
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I have a similar problem, and I dont like grass, so here is my low maintenance front yard
http://weloveteaching.com/landscape/frntyd/7-22-2005d.jpg
on the other side is worse AND we had a cement walk that was uneven and people were tripping, so I built the boxes. BUT, a raised garden along the lot line would divide there weeds from your plants too. http://weloveteaching.com/landscape/frntyd/fyplanter.htm
OTOH, if you really like the ivy you also have the option of doing a couple good weedings and then using pre-emergent weed killer, like preen which will stop seeds from germinating. put it on right after weeding to suppress weed seeds. most "weeds" propagate by seed, the "runner" kinds like grass can be controlled by driving a wide metal or plastic band down between the yards. Ingrid

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My front yard is a patchwork of different groundcovers and other dwart plants with narrow pathways throughout. I keep the colors in the white/blue/purple/glaucous range as a uniting theme. It's fun to plant different things that bloom at different times. My garden is rarely without flowers. Some of my favorite plants:
lamb's ear dwarf geraniums heucheras plumbago lamium sweet woodruff creeping thyme sedums ("Vera Jameson" is a fave) super dwarf veronicas (e.g., "Waterperry") hens & chicks dwarf pinks (e.g., Cheddar Pinks) Iceplant (but rarely overwinters here) Aubrieta snow-in-summer creeping baby's breath saponaria dwarf grasses & sedges (e.g. "Elijah Blue") many others I can't think of right now....

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