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A Sense of Welcome – Front Yard Landscaping
One of the key decisions when creating a garden design is how to approach the landscaping of the yard. Behind the house, in the back yard, you can hide millions of things that no one can see, but the front yard is, so to speak, the ‘public’ face of your home. Therefore, the question arises – how do you want others to see it – and therefore you? Another consideration is adding value. Quality landscaping can increase the value of your property by 5% – 10% – and this can benefit you if you want to borrow against your accumulated equity or, more importantly, if you are putting your house or property up for sale. Good landscaping doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – even if the front yard is quite large. Trees can fill large spaces in combination with lawns. They can also add a touch of cheerfulness or elegance.
Invitation and welcome
With their shape and foliage, trees can also be an additional architectural feature in their own right. This can also be true in small front gardens if you use trees like silver birches or Japanese maples or flowering cherries or almonds. Some simple indoor flower beds are easy to make and cheap – and with all the color you can get from annuals like marigolds, foxgloves or petunias and the like – you add a sense of welcome and beautify the front yard. The main goal is to create a feeling of invitation and accessibility. Since we don’t use the front end for much more, it doesn’t have to cost much. A simple design usually works best.
DIY front yard landscaping
Anyone can arrange their own yard if they need to save on the cost of professional landscape architects. If you don’t know what to choose, simply look around the better gardens in the street and in the neighborhood – to see what you like – and if they look healthy, then you know they will do well in your garden. Good gardeners love to talk about plants, and gardeners will recognize plant names if you don’t know them. They will also pass on advice if you need it. You can also take a plant leaf or a digital picture, and your local nursery should be able to identify the plant from that.
Care and maintenance
All plants prefer well-drained soil, mulching and occasional feeding with manure and other targeted foods from time to time. During the heat of summer, maintaining mulch will save water and keep your plants happy. Having said that, many plants will grow in sub-optimal soils and conditions. 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 lipstick! The better the growing conditions, the better the plant will be. Soil can always be improved, and mulching helps reduce water consumption in dry regions. Clay can be broken down with gypsum, and sandy soils can be built up with the usual mulch and manure. If you need information on how to plant (soil, mulch, etc.), your local nursery will always provide free advice. It will also tell you which plants are drought-resistant, hardy, insensitive, and how fast they grow and what maintenance they need.
Quality comes from the balance and careful placement of the plants you choose for your front yard. Simplicity works well, as do more complex designs that include a wide range of planters and features such as garden beds, hedges, trees, shrubs, arches, fountains and so on. Add to that the perception of order (in the sense of orderliness, not necessarily formality). Finally, adding subtle landscape lighting can enhance the beauty of your garden and make your front yard landscaping look good both day and night.
Watch out for “The Backyard: Trash-heap or Treasure?” (Landscaping for beauty and the environment – part 4)… and later the dirty talk (Soil is not dirt!)
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