During the winter months, often the only part of your outdoor patch you really notice is the front garden. It waves you goodbye on your way to work or school, and welcomes you home at the end of the day. It’s a space for your cars, bikes and bins, but it should also be a space for paths, plants and trees. It’s the spot that shows off your home to its best advantage, so whether you need the kerb appeal to sell your house, want to impress the neighbours, or just want to enjoy the space yourself, here are some great ideas for improving your front garden.
Keep things simple
We’ve all seen big parking areas outside houses like this – and modern families often need this amount of space to park and manoeuvre cars – but the planting in this garden is what makes it such a success. By choosing just a few species rather than lots of different ones, and anchoring the whole scheme with some new trees, the planting becomes more of a feature and detracts from the big driveway.
Make a statement
A large, stylish front door like this can be hard to work with because it’s quite a design statement in itself. This homeowner has made the entrance really inviting by using big planters filled with lots of seasonal flowers and foliage to either side. This is an easy idea to replicate, because of its simplicity. Any planter will do, as long as it’s big and simple, like the door itself, then simply fill it with your favourite combination of flowers. Geraniums like these create great seasonal colour and will last from spring through to late autumn – ideal if low maintenance is a priority. There are lots of different colours and varieties to choose from, including trailing geraniums, and they all have great scent. Ring the changes in the autumn with some evergreen skimmias underplanted with spring bulbs.
Pick the right style
Cottages need cottage gardens and this front porch and planting has style in buckets. We love the stacked logs in the porch, which also work practically, because they’re right where you need them when you get home, plus they’ll keep out some of the wind! The colourful planting is pure cottage style, and even in winter there are some species there to give you a little bit of winter fragrance. The rosemary by the door, for instance, will provide year-round foliage and scent from early spring, while the terracotta pot could be planted with a variety of bulbs and annuals through the year, such as spring tulips and summer lilies, to keep the flowers coming.
See more beautiful country gardens on Houzz.
Pick your perfect paving
Think about the type of paving you use, both for the look of your garden and how it functions. It’s important to incorporate efficient drainage to avoid flooding. There are various ways to facilitate good drainage, including laying porous pavers.
Sit out front
We love the idea of people sitting out in their front gardens. If yours is set in a secluded space and it gets the morning sun, it’s perfect for a small terrace and an early morning breakfast. If it’s a great evening spot, then sit out front with a glass of wine and chat to the neighbours!
Add some contemporary structure
The architectural trees in this garden look fantastic, and match the modern structure of the pillars and house. It’s a simple trick to have one or two structural plants within a contemporary space and give them room to breathe. Light them at night-time for added drama.
We all know a lawn will go brown in a drought and needs lots of attention to keep it free of weeds and moss. But what if you ditch it for ‘waterwise’ planting, as in this front garden? Waterwise planting is a method of good soil preparation and planting densely and with mulch to create ground cover. Choose ground-cover plants that will quickly do the work for you of retaining soil moisture and beating back the weeds – it’s a simple way to cut labour and have a more beautiful front garden. Grasses such as Stipa gigantea and Hakonechloa macra are great waterwise plants.
It’s common to fall into the trap of using the same local style for your front garden as everyone else in your road, but this garden in Scotland is bolder and uses stone and gravel to create a contemporary Asian look that, in true Arts and Crafts form, works well with the property’s brickwork. A very simple planting palette, pebbles and a characterful rock give a distinctive look easily replicated with very little construction knowledge. It’s a style that would look good with both modern and traditional homes.
Light the way
What better way to welcome evening guests than with some lighting up the garden path? A simple progression of three uplighters against a boundary wall creates a simple effect that’s both practical and dramatic. You could even try this with simple, solar-powered path lights, which are low-cost and low-maintenance, but a great way to direct your visitors to the front door.