Landscaping IDEAS for Front of Home
Successful landscaping goes well beyond a beautiful lawn. See 12 pro tips for showing off your front yard.
By Larry Bilotti
Your front yard, regardless of its size, plays an important role in your home’s overall curb appeal. Your landscaping, however, goes well beyond just a beautiful lawn. It should take into account the style and size of your house, how it’s sited on the property, the amount of sunlight the yard receives and how to best enhance it with plantings, bushes, shrubs and trees. It should also include hardscaping features, from walkways and driveways to raised beds, planters and decorative containers.
What are the best practices for front-yard landscaping? To learn more, we reached out to Dorian Winslow, a certified landscape designer and the owner and president of Womanswork, an online retailer of gardening apparel and supplies. Here are her 12 tips for successful front yard landscaping.
1. Find your focus
Every view in your landscape should have a focal point. “For your front yard, the focal point is the front door, so be sure you don’t hide it, ” advises Winslow. If you are considering major plantings such as trees, think about how they will frame the front door as you approach your house.
2. Use ground covers
Ground covers are a low-maintenance alternative — and complement — to grass. “Because they’re low to the ground and dense, they give a neat appearance with very little maintenance, ” says Winslow. “They also allow you to introduce spring bulbs to your landscape because the ground cover hides the dead leaves after the bulbs bloom.” Be sure you research what ground covers work (culturally) with the trees in your yard.
3. Set the right path
When considering the pathway from the driveway to your front door, Winslow says to “remember that our natural instinct is to take the most direct route to where we’re going.” A curved path to the front door is nice, but a meandering path may not be. “If you want to take your visitors on a circuitous route, be sure you plant densely along each side of your path, ” she adds. “Otherwise, your guests will cut their own path across your grass to get to the front door.”
4. Rethink foundation plants
“Avoid treating foundation plants as if they were little soldiers pressed up along the perimeter of your house, ” advises Winslow. “For a two-story house, foundation plantings should extend at least 8 feet out from the house.” And remember, a curved garden bed can soften the lines of your house in a pleasing way. Be sure the shrubs that are placed closest to your house are not taller than the windows, or they will block the light coming into your house and the view from inside looking out. When you’re planting shrubs, think about how they will look in three to five years. “You don’t want to select varieties that will block your windows, ” she adds.
5. Add some privacy
If you are looking to add some privacy in your yard, consider a buffer of shrubs, suggests Winslow. “A buffer that includes multiple plants at varying heights can accomplish the same thing as a solid hedge or a fence but is far more welcoming, ” says Winslow. Alternatively, if you are just trying to block the view from a particular room — or a part of your yard from your neighbors — plant a couple of trees or shrubs with strategic precision.
6. Deter the deer
If deer are an issue, select shrubs that are deciduous (lose their leaves in the winter) but retain their form even when their leaves are gone. This will help preserve the structure of your garden in all seasons.