Jun 5, 2012

Dress up your yard now for long-term appeal.

With the arrival of summer, it's often a pleasant time to garden and update your yard. Here are a few ideas to add curb appeal, color, detail and a change that you'll love.

front door container garden

  • Play up an easy focal point – your front door! Paint the door a contrasting color complimentary to the house color. If you have a walkway, help it flow easily up to the front door. The front walkway should be a clear path  from the driveway to the front door. A soft curvy line is good - but you don’t want your guests wandering around and wondering if they took the right path to the house.Lead visitors to the front door by placing progressively smaller plants near the door, you frame the house and focus attention on the entryway.

  • Freshen up the foundation plantings Sometimes all that is needed is a good pruning and shaping to help revitalize your front landscape design. Soften the corners of the house with vertical plants and shrubs. If you need to replace some bushes and hedges-and want something different, then try tall ornamental grasses. There are so many new grass varieties that you’re bound to find something that you like in the right color tones. Grasses are a great way to add texture to your front gardens, without color competition, and when they blow in the wind it creates a feeling that’s very relaxing and soothing.

  • Create a container garden at the front door with flower pots flanking either side.Fill the planters with evergreens or low maintenance annuals like geraniums and petunias. Using large single plants in the containers is a trend that’s becoming popular. Transform these container gardens with different plants as the seasons change.

  • front yard landscaping ideas

  • Use outdoor garden furniture. Place a small sturdy aluminum table and chair set near the front door. Who said that the seating areas had to always be in the back yard? Clear out some space near the entry area by removing old shrubs that are past their prime. Add mulch or decorative gravel underfoot, a few outdoor cushions for the chairs and this tells visitors that they’re welcome to stay awhile. Adding an umbrella in coordinate with the cushions looks very festive from the street.

  • Choose one plant and flower color and repeat it .Plant flowers in the front of the house all in the same color family for an easy elegant front garden . Add mulch that is complimentary to the flowers without competing. Extend and bring the flower garden beds out towards the street using curving soft lines for a friendly look. Anchor the flowers with a single variety of shrub positioned in groups of 3.

  • Transition from the drive and walkway -especially if it’s long and straight. Add curves with pocket gardens filled with flowers, shrubs and small trees like Japanese Maples. They give an illusion of space, have a friendly tone and creating these transitional spaces break up the monotony. Adding boulders to these areas can tie the house, hard-scapes and planting beds together too.

  • driveway planting

  • Build an island garden in one corner of the yard in a weekend. This can be a simple project by adding a large mound of black dirt over a layers of newspaper. The newspaper keeps the weeds down and adding the dirt on top doesn’t require any digging.  Add a few shrubs and low maintenance perennials that are suited for the amount of sunshine the area will receive. Cover the dirt with mulch or landscaping rock .Use landscaping bricks or other edging around the perimeter for easy mowing, and voila!

  • Use garden structures like an arbor, trellis, or tall sculpture to add a vertical dimension to the front yard. If the plants and flowers are all growing at the same level, adding some height will break up the line and offer a secondary focal point.  A garden gate leading to the back yard on one side of the house could be used to balance round shaped shrubs on the other side. I like to use old wooden architectural pieces with vines growing up as a vertical garden accent. 

  • Plant Trees, Plant a variety of trees but don’t overdo it. The trees should frame the house and be used strategically to provide shade and privacy if you need it. Don’t buy trees that will overgrow and crowd out your front yard landscaping in a season or two.  Check with a nursery for height characteristics, pruning requirements and maintenance. 

  • Add outdoor lighting for security and also to bring your house and garden to life after dark. You can use solar lights for a quick and easy transformation in your front yard landscaping.Ideas like shining the solar lights on the paths and walkways or using up-lights underneath trees for a cool effect.
    Solar lights are easy to install- no wires or electrical hookup. This is one of the front yard landscaping ideas that you can complete in an afternoon.