Most families live in their back yards so that’s where they concentrate their landscape efforts. Consequently, the front yard often consists of a rather boring mix of lawn and foundation plantings. That could be changing, according to the 2022 Garden Trends Report by the Green Media Group.
The report notes that there’s renewed interest in curb appeal. Homeowners are making the approaches and entrances more welcoming to visitors. Perhaps the months of few visitors during the pandemic has made people so eager to share their space with friends and family that they’re showing their appreciation as soon as someone pulls into their driveway.
Some sources are suggesting paving driveways with material other than blacktop – specifically concrete or pavers. The same sources suggest planting the borders with perennials. In our upstate New York climate, though, they would have to be very hardy perennials to withstand snow being piled on them. It would also be a good idea to install curbing between the pavement and plant border to keep your shovel, snowblower or plow from damaging the plants.
If you don’t have any trees in the front yard, consider a shade tree. Select a deciduous tree rather than a conifer. The crowns of deciduous trees are above the line of sight from the street. The foliage on most conifers extends all the way to the ground, obscuring your ability to see the street. Under overhead wires, the only tree to plant is an ornamental that grows no more than 20 feet tall.
Obscuring line of sight presents two concerns. The first is security. Blocking the view gives potential burglars cover to do their illegal activities, and it could be disastrous for your family. The other concern is that you would be blocking the view of your house and yard, reducing the curb appeal that you’re striving for.
Front porches also are trends. People are going back to the tradition of sitting on the front porch. Those with porches are rejuvenating them and many without our building them. Be sure plant material is part of your plan. Place containerized plants on the porch, attach hanging baskets of annuals from the porch and/or install window boxes to the porch rail.
The same plants as suggested for a porch can be part of the curb appeal even if you don’t have, or want, a porch. Two large containers, one on either side of the front door, would be your first opportunity to welcome guests. Baskets can be hung from the eaves and window boxes can be installed under the front windows. Remember, though, that you’ll have to water these plants more often than those in-ground.
How about giving your front door, shutters and any woodwork a fresh coat of paint to complete your front yard makeover? Some people are even installing curtains on their front porches for privacy and shade.
If your home’s curb appeal needs some attention and you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, we have landscape designers who can help you with the planning and landscape installation professionals who can help you with the planting and hardscape construction.
Heck, when I lived in town, I grew what I wanted in front. It was the sort of neighborhood that generated complaints no matter what I tried to conform to. My garden was one of the best in the neighborhood anyway. I was not trying to sell the house, and even if I was, such houses are considered to be ‘tear downs’ here (in the Santa Clara County).