Designingyour front yard and entry

Published on Thu, Mar 31, 2005 by Barbara Wean

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Designing your front yard and entry

By Barbara Wean

I believe a well-designed entry space should do more than just satisfy pedestrian movement from the street or driveway to the front door. It can display an attractiveness that complements the residence as well as providing a pleasant experience for the residents and visitors.

A sense of entry can be accomplished by providing a sense of enclosure for the front yard through low walls, fences, or plantings. This gives the feeling of a spatial enclosure along the street that separates the front yard from the public and establishes a greater sense of privacy. This will make the front yard more comfortable if used for sitting and relaxing.

Now you could think of enclosing an area near the front door and making a secret garden or special entry foyer. This is easy to do by laying out a surface of paving stones, a flagstone patio interplanted by creeping thyme. Then plant some interesting plants like a flowering cherry tree, some small shrubs like ilex cranata, which is a small holly, or maybe a combination of medium sized rhododendrons or azaleas around the edge. This also becomes a great place to put a birdbath and a chair in the summer to enjoy watching the birds.

Be aware that if you have a very small front yard it’s important not to block the view of the driveway entry. Also there may be restrictions on the location and height of walls, fences and plantings in the front yard. So be sure to check with city or country requirements about those questions.

Here are a couple of hints when you plant your front garden. The do’s. Do keep your shrubs and trees in an area that is continuous. If you have established plantings with lawn in between, take out the lawn and make a bed within which you can plant ground covers that will tie the rest of the plantings together.

If you have a small front yard consider all plantings and no lawn. If you want a lawn be sure to keep it as a mass. Don’t break it up with a tree or a shrub unless you establish an island bed. Trees and shrubs should go in beds. The reasons are – you will have a much easier time mowing your lawn, you won’t injure your trees and the planting bed will be easy to weed if you keep it separate and mulched.

I’m always commenting about the prominence of the garage and front driveway in the modern homes but here’s a hint for you if you are building now. Before the driveway is poured, consult with the contractor and have him score the concrete in a pattern, like squares or rectangles for instance. It will go a long way in visually minimizing the impact of all that concrete. It will make it seem shorter.

You can start planting your cool weather veggies now, peas, kale, lettuce, onions, spinach, swiss chard and beets. There are others but these are the most planted. You can start your warm season vegetables inside, check the label on the packets, some can be started eight weeks, some six weeks before planting outdoors.

If you planted them, your rhododendrons are blooming and the apple trees should be covered with beautiful flowers. Always make room for spring blooming plants and trees. It’s good for the spirit.

Next week we’ll talk about outside living and entertaining space.

Check out gardening sites on the internet. There are too many to list, but type in garden design and see what happens.

Vegetable Gardening by Sunset is a good basic instruction book with plans for a veggie garden.