It's easy to get sucked into the idea that having a show-stopping front yard is a must. Many homeowners spend thousands on landscaping fit for a botanical garden as they try to outdo the neighbors. By starting slow and using key exterior design concepts, beginners can spruce up their frontage while also building a knowledge and structural base for future improvements without breaking the bank, and back right off the bat.
Keep in mind a front yard's reasons for existing and take your landscaping cues from those. No matter if the space is primarily used for recreation or gardening, its job is also to make the home itself more welcoming. A front yard, considered the most public space of a property, also leaves the first impression on visitors and should be visually appealing enough to draw them in. Make it easy and enjoyable to get through the yard and to the front door with structure, such as a walkway, and plants that please the senses. Above all, make the front yard landscape a reflection of who you are by choosing plants and materials you like.
The house itself should remain the focal point, with plants framing and enhancing it. Having too much vegetation around the front of the house is overwhelming and may camouflage the residence itself. Aim for unity by grouping the same plants together and repeating them throughout the landscape and for balance by not having too much of a focal point on one side of the yard. Consider how large plants, grasses, shrubs and trees will grow. Place larger vegetation at the ends of the house and smaller plants near the entrance to draw people to the front door. Extend planting beds near the house farther into the yard to better integrate vegetation into the whole space.
Incorporate a sufficient entry walk that will safely guide people through the landscape and to the front door. Make it wide enough for walking and ensure that it does not become overgrown. Consider having it curve once or twice to make it blend in with the landscape and add interest.
Flowers are an integral landscaping element, particularly during the summer growing season. But the University of Minnesota claims homeowners often overdo it when it comes to front yard flowers. Most have a short blooming period and should therefore be used sparingly as a bit of embellishment. Beginners should choose two or three coordinating or contrasting colors and stick with those.
Design elements of a front yard landscape should mirror the house itself rather than clash with it. A more colonial, formal home can get away with straight edges and strict symmetry while a cottage with gingerbread trim looks better with landscaped features that have curves and some random variety.