Yards provide endless projects and there’s always room for improvement – especially when it comes to front yard landscaping, your curb appeal. Upkeep and addressing your front foundation is sort of like… picking a hairstyle! You have to think about your face shape, what’s on trend, your personal style, texture, and what kind of maintenance you are up for… Selecting plants for your foundation is subject to the same level of decision making. If you live in a shingle style house on Cape Cod, a row of blue hydrangea might be all you need, while your Georgian colonial in Michigan would look totally bare half the year with only hydrangea.
We often get comfortable with our home exterior – you see it every day and eventually you just accept whatever shape it’s in. However, there are some very simple tips you can take to make your front door more inviting.
We asked our Tilly design team what were some of the most important yard landscaping concepts to consider when updating or adding curb appeal and have broken it below.
Think about layering when placing plants. Tall in the back, then mid height, and short in the front. It may seem obvious, but we find many people only do two of the three, leaving an empty space in the middle. A tall evergreen with a little perennial in front might look out of scale while a tall shrub with a medium one in front would look so much more finished with a little splash of ground cover in your garden beds below.
Remember this when thinking about your front yard landscaping ideas. Walk around your neighborhood and consider what types of plants you like the look of and what you don’t. Make note of this and fill in the layers with what you like when thinking about your front yard design.
It’s always safest to start simple for a front foundation planting. Use evergreen shrubs to build the framework and fill in the flower beds with flowers or textures. Don’t go too crazy with a large selection of plants, which can be distracting and look messy. There are certain styles which embrace a wide variety of plants (think a naturalistic or cottage garden), but if you aren’t a master gardener, simplicity is an easier look to achieve. This brings us to our next point: repetition.
Don’t feel like you need to plant every cool plant from the nursery in front of your house. Choose a few varieties and use them in blocks or rhythms. This appears clean to the eye and has a sense of purpose. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at the nursery when shopping – but instead pick your 2-4 favorite plants and focus on those. Again, make sure they will mature into different heights so they aren’t competing for space.
Don’t forget the trees! It’s not just about shrubs, a few well placed shade trees will lend significance and grandeur to your property for years to come. Significant trees help establish a neighborhood. Even if you need to start small and be patient, planting a beautiful tree will pay off in the long run.
Selecting your Front Foundation Plants
Here are some things to consider when selecting your plants:
- Are they evergreen or deciduous, meaning seasonal plants. The most successful foundation plantings have a blend of both types. This provides seasonal interest throughout the year.
- How quickly do your plants grow? There has been a lot of work done in the nursery industry to develop smaller, more compact versions of many shrubs. By selecting slower growing plants you will likely be limiting your maintenance work. This is great for busy families who know they need low maintenance front yard landscaping off their front porch!
- When do you want your curb appeal to be at it’s best? There is a certain ebb and flow to all plants with winter being the slowest season and spring having the most colorful flowers. If season long color is a goal for you try to select plants with different bloom times. If you really love lilacs, then build out the beds to show these off and then have simple structure during the rest of the season. Considering seasonality – as we mentioned above – is an extremely important part of landscape design and doesn’t come naturally to those not familiar with the landscaping world.
- How much time/money do you want to spend every year on annuals? Annual flowers and bulbs are a great way to add punch and color to your curb appeal, but they do require refreshing every year… or even several times a season. If you plan your yard around annuals just be sure you’re up to the yearly task!
Curb Appeal Decor Features
Remember there are additional ways to add to your curb appeal through landscape decor. For example, do you have a sweet cottage home that will look extra charming and cozy with a window box filled with your favorite flowers? Will hanging baskets add wonderful interest to your front porch and outdoor space? Do you live in Florida and a great water feature will compliment your tropical entrance?
Landscape lighting is another way to highlight your landscape design features and your architectural style. From lighting your home to moonlighting in the trees and pathway lighting to showcase your front walkway – lighting elevates the look and literally highlights what you want to showcase in the night.
Also make sure your exterior house paint is in good shape. Nothing ruins curb appeal like your exterior paint chipping off the side of your home.
While these are some of our favorite points to share, here are a few others if you’re up for the challenge! Feel free to comment with any questions!