One of the most important decisions when creating a garden design is the approach to landscaping the front yard. Behind the house, in the backyard, you can hide a million things that no one sees, but the front yard is the “public” face of your home, so to speak. So that begs the question – how would you like others to see it – and by extension, you? Another aspect is value creation. Quality landscaping can represent 5% – 10% of the value of your property – and this can stand you in good stead if you wish to borrow against accumulated equity or, more importantly, if you are putting the home or property up for sale. Good landscaping doesn’t have to cost a fortune – even if the front yard is quite large. Trees can fill large areas when combined with lawns. They can also add a touch of serenity or elegance.
Inviting and welcome
Through their shape and foliage, trees can also be an additional architectural feature in their own right. This can also be the case in small front gardens if you use trees such as silver birches or Japanese maples or flowering cherries or almonds. Some simple beds of cottage flowers are easy to build and inexpensive – and with all the color you can get from annuals like marigolds, foxgloves or petunias and the like, they both add a sense of welcome and add beauty to the front yard. The main goal is to create a sense of invitation and accessibility. Since we don’t use the front much otherwise, it doesn’t have to cost a lot either. A simple design usually works best.
DIY front yard landscaping
Anyone can design their own front yard if they need to save the cost of professional landscape architects. If you don’t know what to choose, just look around the better gardens down the street and in the neighborhood – to see what you like – and if they look healthy then you know they will too in yours garden will work. Good gardeners love to talk about plants, and gardeners will identify the names of plants if they don’t know them. They also pass on tips if you need them. You can also take a leaf from a plant or a digital picture and your local nursery should be able to identify the plant from that.
Care and Maintenance
All plants prefer good, well-drained soil, mulching, and occasional fertilizing with manure and other targeted fertilizers from time to time. In the heat of summer, the mulch saves water and keeps your plants happy. However, many plants grow in soil and conditions that are less than optimal. I grew roses in the tropics – with a constant fight against fungal diseases! But I thought it was worth it because I can’t live without roses! Of course, the better the growing conditions, the better the plant will be. Soil can always be improved and mulching helps to be more water efficient in dry regions. Clays can be mined with gypsum and sandy soils can be built up with regular mulch and manure. If you need information on planting (soil, mulch, etc.), the local nursery always offers free advice. They will also tell you which plants are drought tolerant, hardy and not delicate, how fast they grow and what care they need.
Quality comes from balance and careful placement of the plants you choose for your front area. Simplicity works well, as do more complex designs that incorporate a wide range of plantings and features such as cottage garden beds, hedges, trees, bushes, arches, fountains, and so on. There is also a sense of order (in the sense of order, not necessarily formality). Finally, adding subtle landscape lighting can accentuate the beauty of your yard and make your front yard landscape an asset both at night and in daylight.
Look out for The Backyard: Garbage Heap or Treasure? (Landscaping for Beauty and the Environment – Part 4)… and later a dirty story (Soil isn’t dirt!)