Tag : front-yards-and-backyards-inspirations
Tag : front-yards-and-backyards-inspirations
Like a molding strip or a border on a wooden floor, creating a frame around a space, however subtle, brings it into focus.
You can make an edging using a border of boxwood or other low hedge, cobblestone or brick, pressuretreated lumber set lengthwise, roofing tile, plastic edging, or even just by spading an edge to separate bed from lawn creating a continuous and distinctive line around a pool of space.
right • A “river” of lawn edged by cobblestones is reinforced by a band of double white New Guinea Impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri).
left • A stone retaining wall acts as an edging between a hillside of roses and a sidewalk. An errant rose bough cascades down to the street level, bringing a delightful blurring to the border.
above • Extruded concrete curbing creates a clean, flowing edge for this stabilized soil walkway. Concrete is fed into an extruding machine, then compacted and fed out through the chosen mold with control joints cut every 3 ft.
Just as piping or a band of grosgrain ribbon provides a clean finish to a seam on a dress, so an edge in a garden acts as a way to detail a design.
• A spaded edge is the least expensive and often the most satisfying option you have for outlining your garden bed or lawn.
• Respade your edge as necessary to keep it looking perfect.
• Many stone edgings work best when built with a deep, long footing that keeps them from moving during winter’s freeze and thaw cycles.
• You can set them deeper by placing them on edge.
• A low boxwood hedge edges a formal garden, underscored by the strip of flat fieldstone at its base.
• Cut stone curbing marks a clear separation between the lawn and a hedge of geranium in flower.
A gateway marks an opening in an enclosure and a threshold into the landscape. Designed thoughtfully,it can beckon to a stroller to enter the realm within.
Sometimes gates are designed to look continuous with their neighboring fence, built of the same materials and patterns in order to blend in with the surroundings. Piers, special columns, or a change in height, style, or color are all ways to turn a break in a wall or fence into the highlight of an enclosure.
Building a pergola or trellis overhead can also help distinguish an opening from its surroundings. Also when planted with a flowering vine that tendrils above, a gateway provides visitors with a delightful garden experience.
right • Handsome finialtopped wooden posts interrupt this continuous line of pointed pickets. Diagonal bracing keeps a gate’s frame square to the post so it’s easy to open.
A subtle but important detail is to place a large threshold stone under the gateway opening to indicate that this is a place to pause and appreciate the landscape ahead.
In addition when possible, locate any steps away from the gateway opening since stepping up or down while operating a gate can be tricky.
right • An inexpensive splitrail fence backed with welded wire fabric provides a clean enclosure for this horse paddock.
right • The handsome wooden gate marks the entry to a stone staircase. The retaining walls are made of rough stone that contrasts well with the smooth painted finish of the gate.
below • The patterning of this fence and gate provide the structure for growing hops vines (Humulus lupulus). The path material flows out below the gate, indicating where to enter.
Finally, Fences need many posts in order to support them and keep them standing (especially when on a curve, as in the example shown).
Why not have them do double duty and use one, or even many, of them as a birdhouse as well?
Fences have distinct personalities of their own, whether they are mainly functional or more decorative. When a property needs a fence, it can be an opportunity to make it a feature something special in the landscape.
An open patterned fence is often used when separation is needed but privacy is not. Picket and split rail fences are light and delicate. Solid fences provide privacy and security. These no-nonsense enclosures don’t need to be plain; there are many materials, colors, patterns, and finish details for added interest.
Fences often emphasize straight lines vertically and horizontally in the landscape. Yet a fence needs to address the slope of the ground. Sections of fencing can either step up or down or slope to follow the grade.
Following a curve, like along a road, the sections can zigzag perpendicular to each other, for a crisp look. Fences with curved sections must be custom designed, and they add a tailored look to any landscape.
Patterns in fences vary, from the spindles of a wrought-iron fence to the tops of pickets to the toppers of stockade fences. Lattice, cutouts, or custom patterning in the topmost section of a fence can bring a decorative element to a landscape. A good rule is to have the top pattern be no more than one-third of the overall height of the fence
above • Add some bright colors to a simple pine board fence and you create an exuberant backyard that draws you outside while providing privacy from neighbors’ eyes.
left • This board fence moves down the slope in repeating steps, while the location of the decorative Chinese-style panel stays the same.
right • Wooden fencing steps up a sloping sidewalk in regular increments. Each panel is protected by a small roof over an openwork topper. Spacers between the boards allow air to circulate into the garden. A handsome gate, halfway up the hill announces the entry.
First of all you can add a living layer to your fence by planting a vine nearby that can twine its way across it. Also grape and hops vines are vigorous growers, as are flowering favorites like clematis, trumpet vines, and wisteria. When you plant climbers on a solid board fence, you’ll need to provide small nails or screws for twining; on an openwork screen, the vines will usually weave through openings on their own.
Another way to veil a tall fence is to plant an espalier often a fruit tree that’s been trained to a flat plane in front of it.
right • This fence, made of woven steel, emphasizes the horizontal and provides structure for climbing vines.
above • Grapevine, a vigorous grower, tendrils up this slatted fence. The crisp white posts bring a clean contrast to the 3-in. boards set ½ in.
Finally This espaliered tree is composed of different apple stock grafted onto a main stem. Over time, each branch can be trained to grow along the wooden fence, bringing beauty and delight to its owner.
Shed are little houses that serve a needed function in our backyard landscapes. Tool sheds, chicken houses, gazebos, meditation huts, even an outdoor workroom are
all typical uses of a shed. Often designed to be a mini-version of the larger residence, a shed can be located near the main house or at a remote corner of the property. When that happens, it functions as an eye-catcher as well as a destination that draws people into the landscape.
right • Linked to the main house by a shade structure, this tiny shed might function as a tool shed, a writer’s cottage, or a changing room. The rocking chair, hammock, and dining set all suggest that it’s a home away from home.
bottom right • A hidden door in a fence is the only giveaway that there’s a utility shed behind it. We all possess things to store outside but rarely do it so elegantly.
above top • Climbing hydrangea vine has overtaken this tool shed, showing the horticultural bias of its owner.
above bottom • This little shed was designed to be a mini version of its parent the main house. Sheds and little houses look best when something, whether trim or body color, roof pitch, or detailing, relates back to a larger structure nearby.
top right • A classical Greek garden house is an eyecatcher with columns, pediment, and windows; an elegant focal point in the middle of this veget
able garden of raised beds.
bottom right • Some people live or work in their sheds. This Japanesque structure, set in a forest, could function as a summer pavilion, meditation hut, or picnic destination.
As our globe continues to heat up and more and more people face drought conditions, regulating the light overhead in our open-air rooms is vital to our comfort while outdoors and to our overall enjoyment of nature.
For one thing, creating a “ceiling” for our outdoor rooms limits and defines the vast space above and creates a sense of intimacy below.
Retractable awnings allow homeowners to protect what’s beneath from the sun and when necessary from the rain; openwork pergolas baffle and break up the sun’s rays, while letting weather and cooling breezes through. Practical issues aside, there are plenty of aesthetic reasons to use overhead enclosures. Handsome patterns of dappled light are cast upon the furniture and floor below; when combined with leafy climbing vines, an overhead garden or orchard is created. Place your dining table underneath a grape arbor, and pluck away.
right • Although this pergola sits high above the tile-topped table, the close spacing of the boards overhead helps cast a deep shade over the whole.
bottom right • A shade structure can be made into a weather-resistant outdoor room by placing translucent fiberglass panels overhead.
below • Without this pergola made of cedar poles that rest atop stone piers, this high-walled outdoor room would be too hot for sitting.
This northern California landscape represents innovative design on a realistic budget. The owner wanted clean, simple lines in keeping with the modern Asian-inspired design of his remodeled ranch home. Landscape designer Patricia St. John created a sustainable, elegant retreat perfect for the client’s aesthetic sensibilities and love of entertaining. Creatively recycling materials from the existing deck, she flipped over boards to build a smaller deck, stained a warm, rich hue.
The concrete patio was sawn into strips and laid out in a geometric design of raked sand, black La Paz rock, and decorative stone mulch. Nylon “sails” overhead provide shade with dramatic flair, at a minimal cost.
At the back of the property, framed openings were cut in the back fence to provide a view of the creek beyond and to visually expand the space. Grasses were a natural choice as plant material: elegant, low-maintenance, and drought-tolerant.
top right • Strung from the posts of an old arbor, the “sails” can be retracted when more sun is wanted or when the portable firepit is in use. The steps are recycled rafters from the arbor.
bottom right • The open design is highly conducive to entertaining; the interior designer put wheels on the dining room table so that it could be moved outside for al fresco dining. The fence openings have 3-in. x 3-in.
wire inset for security while allowing views of the creek and vegetation beyond the yard.
A thirsty, high-maintenance lawn was eliminated, replaced by a geometric design of concrete, sand, and stone, punctuated by ceramic balls and plantings of cape rushes (Chondropetalum tectorum), Berkeley sedge (Carex divulsa), and other grasses.
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