A front yard serves many important functions. We all know the concept of “curb appeal” and want to present our homes in the best way possible toward the street and the world. Whether your goal is to boost resale value, personal enjoyment, provide a welcoming entryway to guests, or simply to impress those passing by, a front yard can accomplish a lot for your home. While a long, grand allée of trees has its grandiose charm, here at Tilly, we know no yard is too small to make an impact. Here are some tips about how to design for a small front yard.
Planters on Your Front Stoop
Planters are a great solution for a small front yard. They create small, contained spaces that make it easy to change out annuals regularly. They also provide their own decorative touch and produce a multi-leveled effect that improves the visual depth of a space. Choose planters that work with your home’s color scheme and style. Simple, repeating planters work well with a modern aesthetic, while an eclectic mix of colors and shapes are visually exciting.
Use Your House as Landscape
If you have relatively little horizontal space in your yard, be sure to utilize vertical space to frame your home with landscape. This can be accomplished in a number of ways.
Always a cute addition, planter boxes can be updated seasonally and used to complement what is planted on the ground.
Again, use that vertical space! Think of yard as a room- if there is nothing in the room but nice carpet, it would look pretty boring. Climbing Vines can be supported by trellises, fences, or your house itself. We love evergreens and those that provide fall interest, like Boston ivy or Hedera helix.
Paint a fun accent color
Doors and shutters can add a splash of personality to a home, especially if there isn’t so much land to work with. If your small yard puts your house up close to the street, make sure it is accurately representing you! Check out our post on door colors for inspiration.
Arborvitae, Chamaecyparis, boxwood, and taxus. These plants are your reliable friend in designing a front yard. Evergreens give structure to a space, frame your foundation year round, and provide a visual transition between the hard edges of a building and the soft landscape plants. Do not skip over this step in your front yard.
Plan for Programming Spillover
We often reserve programming and recreation to the backyard of a home. But if your backyard is on the small side as well, it’s likely that some of this activity will spill over to the front. Utilize your front yard! The pandemic brought on the trend of “Social Front Yards” with people setting up seating out front to maximize their space and be social. This is something a small front yard can do well – add a bistro table and chairs, a cute bench or hang a swing from a tree!
Outdoor Equiptment Storage
Be sure you have adequate space for any kids’ toys, lawn games, or seating that may be used in the front yard. Along with that, be sure to plan specific storage solutions for anything you wouldn’t want to sit out each day. This will help your lawn feel clutter free and keep your curb appeal. There are nice looking outdoor storage boxes available or utilize your side yard, basement, or a closet inside. You can learn more about how to dedicate space in your space with our post on landscape priorities!
Walk around your neighborhood for inspiration
The great thing about front yard research is that they are right there in front of you! Even the best landscape designers do not always need to reinvent the wheel. We take inspiration from landscapes around us and adapt different components to a site. A quick walk around your neighborhood with a pen and notebook can give you clues as to what works for a smaller front yard. Jot down color schemes you like, take photos of your favorite plants and try to see what works vs. what doesn’t. Maybe one neighbor’s whole house is obscured by a big shade tree in front. Perhaps another was able to create a cute, cottagey feel by framing their front walk with a dense mass of perennials. Finding precedents is a huge and helpful part of design, so get out and take a look around!
What have you done to make your small front yard a welcoming entrance?