Most front yards are strikingly similar. A sea of turf grass dominates the scene. In one corner is a shade tree or two, and along the house are a neat row of bushes and perhaps a few flowers. In such a homogeneous mold, even a minor variation in landscaping can give your front yard an interesting, distinctive appearance.
Most homes use bushes and sometimes low trees for what is known as foundation planting. The bushes are placed along the edge of the house, growing larger the farther they are from the doorway. This design is tidy, but it doesn't do much for wildlife. Turn your foundation planting into a wildlife garden to make your front yard into a miniature refuge.
Plant a variety of shrubs, vines and low trees along the front of your house instead of planting a single thin layer with one or two species. Include plants that attract birds such as red osier dogwood and Boston ivy, plants that attract hummingbirds such as dwarf fothergilla, plants that attract insects such as winterberry holly, and plants that attract butterflies such as Clavennae yarrow. Although attracting bugs may not seem like a good idea, insects are important because they pollinate plants and serve as a food source for birds, bats and other animals. By providing a habitat for diverse species, your front yard will help preserve biodiversity in your area.
Ornamental Grass Landscaping
Rather than relying on hedges for your foundation planting, relax and soften the borders of your house with clusters of ornamental grasses. Ornamental grasses range from several inches to several feet in height and come in red, purple, tan, golden and other interesting colors. If you live in a wet environment, select a high-moisture ornamental grass such as Japanese sedge or flame grass. For a drier yard, use a low-water grass such as buffalo grass or blue grama. Plant your grasses in landscaped beds along the front of your house. Use one favorite grass, or try a variety of species at different heights to create a layered effect.
Your front door is the focal point of your yard. Use plants to decorate this space and make your front yard really shine. Grow vines around the door, either up the side of the house or on a garden arch in front of the entryway. Use interesting small specimen trees such as bougainvillea or Japanese maples to frame the front door. Plant flowering or berry bushes near the front entrance to help draw the eye to the center of the landscape.