Tag : front-yard-design
Tag : front-yard-design
When designed thoughtfully, your lawn can function as an open-air room that works as well for lounging and entertaining as it does for play. Grassy areas are a place where kids can kick a ball around, play tag, make a fort, or do somersaults. As with a glade in a forest, a lawn also serves to bring light and air into the property. Design your lawn as a “pool of space”– a continuous surface that is framed, like a swimming pool, by a clear edge. This will turn what seemed like leftover space into a handsome focal area of your landscape.
above • When crisply defined by a path, curb, or metal edging, a panel of lawn creates a geometric open space that provides a handsome frame for the house and a place to play in the front yard.
right • Grass underfoot can serve as a verdant terrace for garden furniture and al fresco dining.
above • A grass bocce court edged in boxwood serves both as playspace and verdant corridor terminated by a handsome Chippendale bench.
This grassy oval acts as a visual relief space in the midst of abundant plantings.
A swimming pool can be designed as a handsome horizontal focal point around which the surrounding spaces are organized. Most pools are formed from concrete shells topped by stone coping that acts as a frame for the water. If the pool is painted a dark color, like gray or black, the water reflects the sky; if painted turquoise to match the sky, then the two can seem to meld together as one. Both are attractive effects. These days, pools are usually formed using a concrete Gunite® method that allows different shapes and edgings to be created. Another important development in pool design is the automatic pool cover that works on a rectangular-shaped pool to keep children safe, intruders out, and evaporation to a minimum. Shallow wading pools and swim spas bring the right amount of water into small backyards.
Because chlorine by-products have been linked to higher incidences of asthma, miscarriages, and cancer, new greener methods of disinfecting pools are also changing the way people swim. Ozonators combined with in-floor cleaners keep water clean with a minimum of chemical treatment. Saltwater pools are also popular, designed to reduce micro-organisms to a safe level. Ultraviolet disinfection systems add a layer of protection by oxidizing organic contaminants.
Swim spas are small pools built for exercising against an artificially generated current. This pool is set into a freestanding limestone wall that supports a small raised terrace area.
right • With the press of a button, an automatic pool cover glides into action tion. Not only is increased safety a big benefit,but limiting evaporation also means water is conserved. Using less energy to run the circulation system and reducing overall maintenance are also pluses.
below • This swimming pool is designed to look like a natural pond. A hillside of shrubs and trees, with abundant plantings in poolside pockets, transforms this space into a verdant oasis.
For those living in northern climates, a hot tub is one of the best ways to relax in the out-of-doors, especially in the dead of winter. Others tout the therapeutic benefits from the spray jets that can be set to massage different parts of the body. With temperatures as high as 105°F, these small pools can be built of wood with staves (like a barrel), concrete Gunite, or one-piece stainless steel or acrylic and are powered by wood, gas, or electricity.
Solar hot water systems are also possible in certain climates. Whatever style hot tub you select, make sure to locate it close to an area in your house with a bath or changing room. While some people prefer to place it under cover of a roof or pergola, others like to use it as a nighttime retreat under the stars. When easily reached, a hot tub acts as a warm and comfortable “away room,” even in the most inclement weather.
The path to a spa should be easily maintained and shoveled. Putting hooks nearby for robes or towels is a small but important detail. It’s also a wonderful viewing position to look out on the rest of your landscape, so installing night lighting can enhance your hot tub experience.
top right • This in-ground spa, complete with automatic cover, incorporates hydrojets that ease back and neck pain. This mini-pool is also the focal point of a hedged garden room.
bottom right • Portable home spas are easily available and quickly installed onsite. Measuring about 71 ⁄2 ft. square, they can be eyesores in a landscape if not thoughtfully designed. This hot tub sits adjacent to the house on a throne-like deck and terrace.
There is a freedom that comes from showering in the out-of-doors. For those lucky enough to have a pool or pond on their property or a beach nearby, it’s helpful to have access to an outdoor area to clean or towel off before setting foot inside. A simple showerhead, some paving underfoot, a way to drain the water, and a screen or fence for privacy that allows air to circulate easily are just about all you need.
right • Placing an outdoor shower right under a porch ceiling and on an exterior wall is a great way to use leftover space while ensuring privacy, whatever the time of day.
botoom right • This charming spiral shower shields the body while allowing views out. And it looks like fun.
below • Air circulation is always important to consider when installing an outdoor shower. Slats break up one’s view while allowing cooling breezes within.
When you place a wall, fence, or hedge around your front yard, you turn it into something special.
An enclosed space along the sidewalk provides a protected place for sitting as well as an edge against which e. Such front yards present a useful alternative to traditional lawn-and-foundation planting fencingyou can plant your favorite flowers. Your front yard becomes your front garden and shows off a bit of your personal style to the world. Surrounding the front of your property with low hedges or what they se helps keeps the world out and children in, while still allowing passersby to peek in and enjoy designs, especially where space is at a premium. Why not use the front of your house for living, entertaining, and play, just as you do in the backyard, and enjoy this valuable piece of real estate?
above • This front yard sits close to the street, yet the protection of a thick stucco wall creates an enclosed space for family dining and entertaining.
left • An attractive wooden fence turns a front yard on a busy urban street into a private garden, yet the open design along the top of the fence prevents it from appearing unfriendly. A wide planting strip outside the fence means the view is as enjoyable from the street as it is from within the garden.
This stucco cottage would be as at home in a fairy tale as it is in a southern California beachside community, thanks to its ivy-clad walls and cottage garden. Romantic touches such as the picket fence and matching old-fashioned streetlamp enhance the quaint effect.
The gently swooping fence is set well back from the sidewalk, creating a narrow front yard but ample space for ferns, hydrangeas, and potted plants placed where passersby can appreciate them. Though enclosed with a low picket fence, this front yard feels open to the world. Visitors can peek in and imagine the hidden life behind the home’s façade.
top right • A curving brick walkway and gate left welcomingly ajar beckon visitors toward the front door. Typical cottage garden plants of English ivy, zonal geraniums, ferns, and hydrangeas cover the landscape.
left • The white chairs with their nautical blue cushions invite us to inhabit them even if only in our minds.
Depending upon your property, a side yard can be a narrow sliver of space between buildings or an area wide enough to house a garage or even a terrace. In either case, a side yard can feel oddly separate from the rest of the property if its design doesn’t include details like plantings or hardscape features that are repeated in the front yard or backyard that integrate the side yard into the entire design.
What unites most side yards is their function as passageway between front yard and backyard. It is important to design a path that flows easily between spaces. Do you want a functional walkway that serves as the shortest distance between two often-visited points? Or would you like a meandering stepping-stone path that slows you down enough to notice a lovely plant, an attractive framed view, or an interesting focal point? Hemmed in by buildings as these spaces can be, light and air circulation are often at issue.
The use of open styles of fencing, where fencing is needed, can let in more light and create a greater sense of spaciousness. Many useful and utilitarian items can be housed in a side yard, such as a tool shed, compost bin, dog run, or grill, because this space is often just out of public view.
In planning your side yard, don’t forget the neighbors. If privacy is a concern, erect a high fence or tall plantings to block visual and physical access between yards. By adding a gate, you can maintain a friendly relationship between the properties. Similar to a front yard, a roomy side yard can also function the way a backyard does: for entertaining, dining, or relaxing. And if your kitchen door opens onto your side yard, it’s a wonderful place to locate a grill or pizza oven. Just make sure to include a buffet table and some comfortable chairs nearby, so the grillmeister of the family can socialize while serving up the meal.
above • A narrow slit looks wider with the addition of a hydrangea hedge and tendrils of ivy that curl over a path of regularly spaced double stepping stones.
left • A diagonal path meanders from driveway to firepit terrace, located on the side of this property. A handsome covered porch adds yet another sitting spot.
above • This side yard doubles as a front garden and informal entry porch. Friends and family enter this way.
right • A path of limestone pavers leads to a gate to the back forty. Shade plantings fill the beds and settle the house into this handsome side yard.
When we want to get outside, we usually gravitate to the backyard, where all manner of outdoor living can occur. Behind our house, protected from passersby or neighbor’s view, we feel the freedom to do and be whatever we want. The best backyards enjoy a comfortable relationship between inside and outside, visual screening from neighbors for privacy, and an interesting view or focal point, either on the property itself or beyond its bounds.
Whereas a front yard creates the first impression visitors will have of your home and should make you and your guests feel welcomed, the backyard exists to lure people outside. It should look inviting from indoors, and it could serve any number of functions (and often several at once). Your backyard might be a space for entertaining and family dining, recreation and children’s play, relaxing and enjoying quiet time, hobbies such as gardening or painting, and just spending time outdoors (for all household members human and otherwise).
Even the tiniest backyard, thoughtfully designed, can accommodate most if not all of these needs for gathering, for play, and for getting away.
Unless you’re lucky enough to have a large property with grand vistas, you probably will want to enclose your backyard with a fence, hedge, or wall high enough to keep prying eyes out and children (and dogs) in. At the same time, adding large windows and French doors to the back of your house encourages easy visual and physical access between inside and out.
top right • A colorful tree bench hugs the old apple tree climbed by generations of kids.
bottom right • Big comfortable chairs set into a sunken terrace bring the inside out in this cozy backyard garden with an expansive view.
Categories: Front yard landscaping ideas
Front yards are taking on new roles to better support the life of the family. Rather than the typical broad swath of front lawn, the front yard has also become a welcoming entryway as well as a comfortable living space. No longer just made up of overgrown foundation plantings, now rain gardens, edible landscapes, and riotous perennial borders are planted in this valuable land at the front of the house.
The layout of your front yard also conveys the first impression visitors have of your home and, by extension, your personality. A lively, colorful cottage garden centered on a painted bench gives passersby a very different image of who you are than would a bland open lawn. There are special problems and opportunities that affect the design of a front yard.
When the house sits far above or below the street, getting to it requires thoughtful planning. Similarly, if a house rests too close to a street, it pays to enclose the front yard, not only for safety’s sake, but to increase usability as well. Reframe your thinking: what if you treated your front yard as though it were a backyard. How would it function differently from the way it does right now?
top right • A patio beside the front door can be an unexpected and welcoming touch. Here, the herringbone brick patio, inviting chairs, and bountiful window boxes create a friendly entrance.
bottom right • This suburban home enjoyed a nice large sweep of lawn, but the homeowners decided to create a more interesting space with lots of plantings.
below• A stately planting of river birches, ferns, and ground cover flank a bluestone walkway, leading eye and foot up to the front door.
At first glance, this planting looks like many other handsome front yards in this suburban neighborhood. But look more closely and you’ll see a host of edibles to harvest, including kale, artichoke, and lettuce, interspersed with herbs including basil and sage. Sometimes the best sun exposure is along the street edge. Why not put it to good use while also beautifying the neighborhood?
When you own a formal house, it can pay to extend its proportions right out to the street. This formal front yard was created to complement the designer’s own foursquare 1911 Colonial home in an older neighborhood in upstate New York. The boxwood hedge parterre is laid out in an Arts and Crafts design, which echoes a stained-glass window in the house. The garden is visible from several high vantage points (front and side porches and roof garden), so its intricate design can be fully appreciated from above. The owners, landscape architects A.J. Miller and Mariane Wheatley-Miller, fill the beds with evergreens and annuals.
right • Far more interesting than lawn, the parterre offers lovely views from inside the house. The property sits on a natural drumlin high above the level of the street; steps lead down to the sidewalk below.
Not everyone lives on level ground. Sloping front yards and houses that sit above (or below) the street require a series of stairs or steps to reach the front door. With thoughtful design, the experience of scaling a height can be exciting rather than arduous. Think of a series of steps and landings as being like a waterfall.
The front door is the “origin” of the falls; the front stoop or porch is where it “dams up” and then flows down the steps, pooling where landings occur, until it “spills” out to meet the road or sidewalk below. Make the steps wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side, complete with landings every few feet of rise so that visitors can catch their breath. For safety’s sake, place lights so that every step is well lit. Direct water runoff into adjacent planting beds or lawn areas so that the steps remain dry.
top right • Landscape steps look and feel good when the riser is low and the tread is long. Here, two offset stairways are linked by a long level walkway before reaching the front door. bottom right • These concrete stairs provide a handsome stepped walkway through a colorful garden. Note the location of the landings that provide visitors with a place to catch their breath every four risers. facing page • The wooden bollards on either side of this walkway echo the roofline and bring the architecture into the garden, while also scaling down the entrance to pedestrian traffic. Billowing grasses soften the house and walkway’s squares and angles. Concrete pavers and dimensional wall blocks combine to create inexpensive but handsome planters.
Categories: Front yard landscaping ideas