Basic Five Front Yard Landscaping Focuses
How much time do you spend at the front of your property? We’re guessing it’s not much unless you’re out there maintaining the garden, repairing the fence or mowing the lawn. In fact other than maintenance you probably only pay the front yard a cursory glance as you pull into the drive or check the letter box.
However, your front garden is what represents your property – it gives your visitors a hint of what your style is, and what could be out the back. It doesn’t have to be a massive investment, just a welcoming entry, nice plants in the front, a tidy lawn and a fence to frame it all. From there it’s up to you. Just keep in mind function and continuity for the rest of your property.
So, what should you focus on for effective front-yard landscaping? The answer depends on you, your preferences and what you need from your front yard. Are you looking for privacy? Do you want to welcome guests, or is it just functional like a driveway with little to no fuss?
Privacy plus Curb Appeal?
How much attention do you want your front yard landscaping to invite? Are public glances in from your neighbours ok, are you the type to invite conversation with passers by on your gardening prowess or would you prefer screening them out for some privacy?
Striving for a balanced approach the popular vote; you want to create a welcoming feeling overall for guests, but including a small privacy screen or larger shrubs at the fence line will shelter you from prying eyes.
Don’t worry – properly thought out, a privacy screen could enhance, rather than detract from curb appeal. While fencing such as lattice can be used to construct a small privacy screen for a portion of your lawn, some people opt for a “living wall” to break up a direct view in: giving a barrier made up of shrubs and manicured trees. Also keep in mind your outlook to the street, you don’t want to feel locked in by your frontage. Depending on your view from inside the house you’ll still want to see out to the world and any excitement in your street.
Define Your Property
While some might opt for privacy fencing to screen out prying eyes from the street, not all fences focus on privacy. Think of some of the post-and-rail fences you’ve seen, they don’t provide privacy or security; so what use are they?
Fences are sometimes just for an aesthetic purpose if privacy isn’t an issue; basically they offer property definition. Borders are important visually. When an area is defined it catches the eye better than an open-ended one. It gives your property a more “finished” look. More often than not you’ll find properties set off by hedges, fences or stone walls are far more appealing than those that aren’t.
Driveway By Design
Driveways often perform double entryway duty for vehicles and foot traffic if you’ve chosen a hedge, fence or wall as a border for the driveway use this as a way to frame the access way. Harder surfaces are recommended for heavy traffic areas, and we recommend calling in the professionals if you are laying concrete or pavers to ensure stability and longevity.
Whether or not you have a gate, be sure to pay attention to the entrance, ensure the safety of pedestrians and yourself by making sure your view is unobstructed by any driveway plantings, or structures (including the letter box). Remember the first impression of your property will be greatly impacted by the appearance of your driveway entrance and the upkeep of the driveway itself.
Walkway; walk this way
Perhaps you, yourself hardly ever use your street-facing door due to garage or driveway access, and you might not give it too much thought. But traditionally many people have a walkway that cuts across their lawn to their home’s main entrance. If its purpose is to lead visitors from the street to the door facing the street, then it should be straight, and unobstructed. But if you’d rather have visitors enter via a side door or back door you can take this opportunity to signal this with a walkway that obviously leads them down – potentially adding visual highlights like shrubs, flowers or features of interest along the way.
If you encourage visitors to use of your street-facing door as an entrance, you’ll want to make this area a focal point of your design. Start at the door and doorway and work your way backwards to the street.
Maintain the door itself and its hardware (for safety as well as aesthetics). Plants around the porch or doorstep can work to tie the area into the rest of your design, thereby promoting unity in your design. And lead the eye to the doorstep destination.
A nice to have is shelter at the doorway for visitors waiting in the rain or bright sun to be let in. And if you receive packages or deliveries it’s a bonus to have a sheltered area with a corner not visible to the street should they need to be left there.
The bottom line is that unless you want to attract the attention of passersby, front yards do not have to be highly landscaped. Put thought into this area and how you use it, beautify it to your style. Make it inviting for those you wish to enter your property and hint at privacy to the rest of the world. Easy maintenance over extensive design is a great place to start – then you can inject your personality over time.