Front Garden Design Ideas
Your front garden has a lot of work to do. Is it performing as well as it should? Here are some front garden design ideas to change the way you think about your home.
Each and every one of us who is lucky enough to have a front garden will pass through it, potentially dozens of times a week, without really appreciating its value. Your front garden plays several different roles in your life, but you probably don’t even realise it.
- Creating kerb appeal
- Adding value to your property,
- Protecting your privacy,
- Providing car parking space
- Welcoming you, your friends and your family
- Guiding deliveries to your door
- Potentially enhancing the environment
- Improving the perception of your whole street
My approach to front garden design
Every garden, every property and every family is different and that’s why I like to approach each one with an open mind.
My first thoughts are always about functionality. How does this family want to use their front garden and which features will make that possible? Are there any challenges to work around such as slopes? Traffic noise? Planning restrictions? Mobility issues?
Next, I think about the style of the property and the surrounding area. A super-contemporary garden in a street of predominately country style houses could look completely wrong.
Finally, the sketch pad comes out and I start to play with different concepts. My favourite ideas will be developed using computer software that helps me to visualise and refine the design.
Many of my clients want to be able to park their cars in their front garden. There are planning regulations regarding dropped kerbs and using impermeable surfaces, but I’m quite used to that.
If space allows, I’ll try to think of a way to create turning space for the car. One idea I can’t wait to implement is a turntable – how cool would that be?
Garaging is not always possible, but how about a car port with a living green roof? It will help to offset the environmental impact of all those hard surfaces AND provide some very low maintenance wildlife habitat.
A beautiful driveway will certainly improve the kerb appeal of your property and, should you ever wish to sell, could also add value. Discover more about driveway design here.
A welcome at your door
Your front door should not only feel welcoming, it should feel safe too.
When thinking about front garden design, I want to make sure that the entrance to your property is easily accessible. My job as a landscaper often involves carrying bulky materials through small gates and so I’m highly sympathetic to furniture removal gangs, delivery people and anyone driving a pram.
If the garden slopes, I’ll use sturdy steps or a ramp that will be easy to use. Carefully designed hand rails and balustrades can be subtly incorporated to your front garden design and will be helpful to anyone who is unsteady on their feet.
Lighting can be used to guide visitors to your front door after dark and to help you feel safer when answering the door to strangers. This can of course be automated with timers and/or sensors and set though that it won’t annoy the neighbours.
To complete the designer look, why not add some beautifully designed pots and planters? Topiary shapes are superb for a contemporary look, or go floral with billowing bee-friendly blooms.
Coping with traffic noise and privacy issues
Front garden design can be used to solve many common problems. Including helping to reduce road noise and keeping prying eyes at bay.
If your front garden is overlooked by neighbouring upstairs windows – I might recommend planting pleached trees. They look a bit like a hedge on stilts and will improve the privacy for your bedroom windows without reducing natural light downstairs.
A standard hedge will help to absorb road noise and make it harder for people to peep into your front garden. Or, why not get clever with fencing, walling and screening? The trick is to build a barrier without making your home feel like a prison.
Planting ideas for front gardens
Whenever possible, design ideas for front gardens should always include living plants. Unless you are a keen gardener who loves tweaking, aim for a low maintenance planting plan. Use lots of mulching to keep weeding to the minimum and install an irrigation system – nobody wants to see a garden full of dead plants!
If you have room – plant a tree or two. They’re great at providing shade on hot days and will change throughout the seasons. You could even decorate them with twinkling lights at Christmas time.
Ornamental grasses are super-easy to care for and look good all year round. Play around with different heights, colours and textures and perhaps add some ferns into the mix for even more interest.
If you want colour, cottage garden favourites such as hardy geraniums, achilleas, cat mint and sedums are reliable performers and again – are easy to care for.
Help with your front garden design
Investing in the services of a garden designer will introduce you to ideas for your front garden that may never have occurred to you. It will certainly change the way you think about the appearance and functionality of the entranceway to your home.
Case study: Front garden makeover in Wembdon.