front yard garden landscaping ideas
What small front yard gardens lack in size they make up for in their big opportunity to showcase creativity.
Although what constitutes “small” varies, experts say following basic landscaping and interior design concepts will help create a captivating front yard garden.
“Use a simple plant palette, ” said Sierra Hart, director of design for Santa Rosa, California based Allen Land Design.
“Repeat key foundation plants in groupings and then choose one or two accent plants that punctuate a key transition, a dead corner or a particularly compelling view line.”
Allen Land Design turned a boring front yard into a stylish stone-scape by repeating design elements. The yard features stone slab steps and patio landings with a stucco wall, curved steel walls and boulders for retaining.
Another Santa home had a large circular driveway that ate up most of the front yard. Confronted with a sea of concrete separating thin patches of yard, Allen Land Design used cranes to bring in mature olive trees to soften the entrance to the home.
“That was the foundation for our landscape design, ” said Hart.
To soften the driveway they planted masses of lavender and bronze sedge. Hart suggests using what she calls “swatches of color” to soften large hardscapes or driveways. Start with taller scrubs, she said, and then add an accent plant for visual impact, as they did with the lavender and bronze sedge.
“I don’t have a formula for how much color to plant. It depends on the size of the yard. But you need to feel like it’s a mass of color. It’s almost like painting with a color palette. You need to experience the color.”
Hart recommends using garden furniture, such as an antique bench to expand livable space to the outdoors. “It gives you the feeling of being in an outdoor living room even in a small space, ” she said. For “flooring” spread gravel and stone, said Hart.
One thing is absolutely essential for front yard design, said Marta Carlson, landscape designer for Professional Grounds in Virginia: take the change of seasons into account and anticipate how your yard will look throughout the year. “Always have an evergreen foundation plant so there’s enough there in the winter time and perhaps install trees that could shade the house during the summer.”
Carlson suggests buying plants of various heights and size to create drama in the garden.
Feel free to stray from the expected. Nell Barrett, a master gardener who lives in Westport, Connecticut, created a natural cottage garden for her front yard. Warm and welcoming, this garden stands out among the more formal front yards in this coastal community.