Full Frontal – Landscaping Ideas for the Front of House
Gardening is often seen as a therapeutic pursuit – a discipline whose reward is a personal sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of modern living. However, this perception tends to concentrate more on back gardens and to neglect those spaces that are not gifted with privacy, i.e. front gardens, and this has led to swathes of concrete driveway that serve neither your aesthetic nor the surrounding locale. After all, the best kitchen in the world only works if the food gets to the table, so please enjoy our landscaping ideas for your front of house.
Since any garden space has practical considerations, in front gardens there may be a necessity for parking areas, however, these need not exclude a dynamic design nor planting to soften the feel.
In the case of surfacing, there are several alternatives to concrete and these can diminish the environmental impact of your space while also providing long term benefits.
One of the pitfalls of concrete paving is its water retention, which on both large and small scales can contribute to localised flooding, however, resin bound surfacing or gravel are permeable and thus eliminate this problem and thereby comply with sustainable drainages regulations. Gravel can be laid in a honeycomb stabilising system if required, which will prevent movement and also heels sinking in. Block paving is also an option, however, whilst it’s still permeable as it laid on sand, it can be liable to move and can also be a problem with weeds.
If you live on a busy road then privacy and reduction of road noise will be a consideration, but rather than go for walls or fences, hedging or living walls will add some life and colour, whilst also providing a green corridor to local flora and fauna without occupying valuable parking or garden space. This also contributes to the ‘Greening Grey Britain Campaign’ – an initiative aimed at re-integrating flora into urban domestic spaces.
When considering planting we ought to reflect on the feelings we crave when approaching our homes, those of tranquility and familiarity – as no-one likes returning to a messy house, a waning flowerbed can be equally unwelcoming. Therefore, we’d recommend choosing evergreen plants that are low maintenance and whose habits can be counted on all year round. Choisya ternata, Hebe, Rhododendrons and Viburnums for example, are all easy to look after and need little pruning. Lavender would make a wonderful border to a path.
Finally, we’d like to close with a reminder that your front garden’s duty is to welcome both you and your guests and so should be treated as a beautiful frame to the picture of your home. Light the space warmly as you would a gallery to welcome your guests. Treat your home as the postcard it is, use a picturesque path to guide visitors to the door and if space permits we’d recommend flanking it with some pots of mixed flowers, perfumed climbing plants and fragrant herbs (if you’re a chef you could customize these to the style of cooking your family and friends know you for).