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1. Foundation Planting

Great foundation planting along the front of your house will make good architecture look even better. Allowing wide beds at the base of the walls provides the space needed for a tiered planting effect that helps two story facades more gracefully transition to the ground plain. Think of foundation planting as you would the right frame for a beautiful painting that enhances its natural beauty.

2. No Lawn

Omitting a lawn isn't just for regions where water conservation is essential. Front yards designed without lawns will not suffer when water prices rise with dwindling supply. Moreover, there is no lawn care required, eliminating the cost of a gardener. That means more time to enjoy your outdoor living spaces all summer long.

3. Lighting

Ambient lighting is the art of illumination without visible fixtures. Think of it as a theatrical approach, in which you highlight certain elements in your house’s front landscape. When designed for overall illumination, the visitor passes through a magical nocturnal environment before they ever reach the front door.

4. Accent Color Tree

A small tree with bold color is a powerful front yard design tool that provides strong visual interest in landscaping the front of a house. Accent trees with bold color can provide your front yard with three seasons of exciting change. In spring, use a flowering cherry, summer is shown with crape myrtle, and in autumn try a vivid Japanese maple for vibrant foliage color.

5. Side Entry from Driveway

It's not uncommon for odd shaped lots or unusual homes to present challenging front yard problems. This rather unorthodox site plan does not bring guests in from curbside, but from the driveway. The decision to use a larger driveway space to access a side pedestrian entry provides plenty of off-street guest parking without blocking access to the garage gate.

6. Natural Planting

The great old shade trees at this home provide the perfect environment for naturalistic landscaping that asks for little care or water. When designed with native plants such as these ferns, large prairie grasses and woodland perennials, they are already well adapted to the local climate. This green approach can create a beautiful environment for birds and other forms of wildlife while protecting the root health of the trees.

7. Pilasters

Masonry pilasters are both a problem solver and a space definer. Here the stone matches the house facade, offering a light value hardscape that contrasts significantly with the all-green landscape. The darker hues of cycads and Mediterranean fan palms create the perfect blend of light and dark that punches out the special paving at the front door.

8. Portal or Structure

An entry portal is often used when the front door is not highly visible or located in a counter-intuitive location. This simple lighted arbor provides more illumination at curbside to help visitors find the door without the tackier solution of lining the walk with fixtures. Portals can be built out of any kind of material from wood to stone and metal, so long as it blends well with the facade palette and style.

9. Hardscape Color

When the architecture calls for a color palette on the facade, this should be extended into the landscape for all hardscape structures. Here is a great example of a front yard privacy wall and gate column composed of architect selected hues. Whenever possible, maintain a very precise palette for your front hardscape so that the entire site is visually integrated from front curb to back fence.

10. Urns

Large urns are among the most powerful art elements in a front garden. Uniformity allows a pair of them to flank this front porch. Note how they are perched on iron stands and how light sources are placed behind to make them pop out after dark. Whether left empty or filled with bamboo rods or living plants, urns can become chameleons that adapt to almost any style with a wide range of glazes, forms and textures.

Landscaping Network

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