Front yard: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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One of the most challenging yet rewarding parts of owning a home is getting to grow a garden. It doesn’t matter if you have a massive plot of land or a tiny front porch, you can grow anything because plants are so versatile and can fit in almost any space. Gardens in America vary greatly because certain plants need certain climates to thrive in, so before you start any landscaping, perhaps talk to a professional and get some good tips and advice on what to plant and where in your garden to plant it. 

Beginning your front yard

Before you begin any yard work or landscaping, you have to look at the space you have available to you. If you have an apartment, what space do you have on your porch to place pots or vertical plant growing areas? As for larger homeowners, you’ll want to get a full idea of the size of the area you have to play with taking into account your driveway, parking garage, and the outside wall of your property. If you don't have a front wall, remember that people need to use the sidewalk, so take that into consideration as well. 

In order to have a healthy garden you need to have healthy soil, so before doing any planting be sure to buy compost, or if you prefer to do things yourself you can start a recycling bin or worm farm to make your own. Use your autumn leaf piles by churning leaves into the earth and let them break down naturally, this will promote fertility in the soil in your yard and give you better quality growing areas. 

Once you have an idea of what your area is, start looking for plants which are either indigenous to your area, or are able to thrive in the climate of the state you live in. This will ensure the longevity of plants and also mean less long term work to keep them healthy. Also research the size that shrubs or trees will ultimately grow to, a large tree may very well outlive you, and it will continue growing. Once you've planted your garden, put in the finishing touches, well placed rocks or small boulders, a water feature or perhaps some walkways and nightlights.  

Types of plants available to you

Plants are extremely diverse in terms of size, individual color and also individual needs. If you have a color scheme, try to stick to plants which require similar kinds of care. 

Trees—Trees are rewarding because they grow tall and they encourage wildlife like birds to nest in them. Remember that they provide shade, so best not to put one too close to a window unless this is something you’re planting it for. 

Shrubs—Shrubs and bushes are very well suited to bring out any accents of your landscaping, as they grow short and stout and can be cut to retain certain shapes. 

Flowers—Flowers are there to produce colour and provide the final touches to a garden. Certain types like Jasmine, Anemone, Aster and Cardinal flowers are very popular in America and have either got very sweet scents or bright colors. Flowers also attract honeybees which is eco friendly too.

Annuals—Annuals are flowers or colourful plants which are planted once a year. They are best at creating splashes of colour and are very well suited to being planted in small or large areas.

Perennials—These plants are often hardy, and can often tolerate a wide range of climates. Plants like Lavender, Daylily, Hydrangea and Mardi Gras Helenium are part of this group.

Evergreen—Evergreen is usually reserved for trees like Pine, Monkey Puzzle and other Conifers. They remain green most of the year.

Grasses—Grass is varied, and lawns require a significant amount of work including mowing, fertilizing and good irrigation to keep them looking really good, but the reward is well worth it. Bluegrass, Red Fescue and Ryegrass are popular in the colder states, and Buffalograss, Centipedegrass and Carpetgrass are often planted in the more humid states.

Parking spaces and gardening

In order to get a really good looking parking space with an integrated garden, there are a few steps to follow to use the space as well as it can be used, and to ensure that you make the most of the area you need to landscape.

- Before you start, make sure to actually zone the space. Look at the levels of the ground,  straighten out very uneven terrain.

- If you have paving stones, demarcate the area you’ll be parking in, and then plant small shrubs or sweet smelling flowers between the stones outside of that area.

- Create a suitable curve. A nice curve around an area gives a slightly more interesting aesthetic to the paving, so if you have the space, make the most of it.

- A very easy way to spoil a good design is to make it too complicated. Avoid this, and keep it as simple as you can. Often times simplicity is key.

- Find a door which suits the colours and design you have chosen in order to really make the most of your space and garden ideas.

Walkways and paving

Walkways can be made of a variety of things, including shaped cement, stone, brick or even wood chips.  Outline them on the sides with long wooden offcuts, stone or pebbles, or plant shrubs or bushes along the sides. If you are in a warmer climate or do a lot of entertaining outside, then consider finding a way to light the walkway, either with low foot height lighting, or hung lighting from trees along the pathway.

How to make the most of your front yard

The best way to make the best of your yard is to design it well. Simplicity in the garden, well placed blossoms and shrubs with trees in the right place can make all the difference. Use plant boxes to accent the areas of your house where you don’t want grass. For the front porch, plant flowers and flowering shrubs in front of it to accent your home, and lay a path to the entrance with a colour and style which fits your home. Make sure to use mixed textures, stone and pebble with wood and grass, wood lines with flowering plants, etc..

If you’re thinking about what to do in your garden, get hold of a professional who can help you decide what it is you need to do to get the most out of this rewarding space.