LANDSCAPING IDEAS FOR FRONT YARD
LANDSCAPING IDEAS FOR FRONT YARD
Front yards can be tricky to design so that the landscaping looks interesting. After all, how many times have you seen front yards that have a straight blacktop driveway, a straight front walk, a tall Arborvitae on the corner, three flowering shrubs under the window, and two matching shrubs on either side of the door, with a couple of shade trees in the lawn; that’s it. The house itself could be beautiful, but the landscaping says "boring”. Well, even with a modest looking house, the landscaping can make it look absolutely stunning if it’s well done. Think of the front yard as the ‘public face’ of the house. The street is the public space and the home is the private space, so landscaping ideas for front yard areas need to transition the two. Not only that, but good front yard landscaping will accent the home; the shape, the style, the feel. You want your front yard to say ‘welcome’!
The very first thing that people see,
and often goes unnoticed as a landscape design opportunity, is the
driveway. Yes, the driveway can be a landscaping design opportunity.
It is the most obvious transitional feature between the public and
private natures of the street versus the home. So, try designing in
some ‘transitional’ features into it. One idea could be a pair
of matching pillars on each side of the driveway near the street.
Pillars can also be used to mark the transition from the driveway to
the walk at the front door. Pillars can be built out of concrete
blocks and caps, or can be built with local stones and match the
paving stones for the walk. You could also incorporate a mailbox or
lighting into pillars. The driveway paving itself can be a design
feature. The entire driveway could be done in bricks, for example.
Patterns within the brick can add elegance to the look. It isn’t
necessary to do the entire drive in driveway paving. You could do an
abbreviated amount of paving to define the entrance to your home by
doing some cobblestones or bricks in a limited area near the driveway
entrance at the street, or right up near the garage doors. Bricks or
stones as an edging for a blacktop driveway look great too. Driveway
paving patterns can be done in many ways; Running bond, Herringbone,
Circular, geometric patterns, Star shapes, etc. Given the importance
of automobiles in our everyday lives, driveways should be given more
attention as landscape features. They do not need to be just
utilitarian in nature. Transitions from driveway to house are often
confusing, with neither obvious paths to follow or obvious final
destinations. Front door walkways are often done in the same boring
way that driveways are done; a narrow, straight path of concrete
placed too close to the front wall of the home. Try making some
curves in the walk, starting it near where the drivers’ door of the
parked car is, rather than closer to the house. Front walks can be
really interesting if there is a widened small patio area for a
bench. A courtyard near the front entry is a great idea for a
transitional place that gives a more personal touch to the front
yard. So, "transitions”, "clearly defined paths” and
"clearly defined destinations” are key ideas when thinking of
driveways and walkways.
When thinking of landscaping ideas for front yard spaces, the plantings at the face of the home are the next most obvious thing to consider. Make sure that you frame the shape of the house nicely and lead the eye to the front door. If you have a particularly tall place on the home, be sure to put taller plants near it to bring it to scale and soften it. Do not plant trees and shrubs so close to the building that their branches harm the siding of the house though. Also, do not let plants get too tall in front of windows. Think of the style of your home. Is it a formal colonial home? Is it a natural - looking log home? Whatever the style of your home, make the landscaping enhance the style. For example, a formal colonial home may look best with manicured shrubs and low hedges along a geometrically shaped entry walk that has a small courtyard near the front door. In this case, choose plants that do well being shaped and sheared. If you have a log home, try using more informal, loosely shaped, natural looking plantings that do not get formally pruned, such as Rhododendrons, Viburnums, and Hemlocks.
Planting islands, retaining walls, lighting, and hedges are additional front yard landscaping ideas. Planting islands break up a large expanse of lawn and add shape, color and interest to your yard. Not all of the plants should be just at the front foundation. Bring some plants out into the middle, edge or front of the yard. Hedges are commonly used to define a property line, block unwanted views, or even act as a formal feature for a formal styled home. Retaining walls may be necessary if you build on a slope. Use retaining walls to not only retain soil, but to act as a ‘backbone’ for further landscaping ideas; using them as a way to draw the eye to the front door, or having the wall end at a tree and an island planting bed. Perhaps the retaining wall could go right next to a walk, having a place to stop and rest along the way, using the top of the wall as a bench itself. Then, turn the walk to step up through the wall and lead up to the door.
Front yards do not need to be boring. Let your front yard enhance the style of your home. Transitioning from one place to another is one of the most important things to contemplate when thinking of ideas for front yard areas, and it can be done artfully so that your home has impressive curb appeal.