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Although we spend a lot of time planning out the hidden delights of our back gardens, space at the front of the house too often becomes a neglected wilderness. Broken paving, overgrown borders, and a general air of scruffiness take over quickly. But the space at the front of our houses is vital – a transitional space between public and private areas, giving your front garden a makeover is usually a very low-cost way to give a home a sense of identity and ‘kerb appeal’.
Potted Plants and Window Boxes
When it comes to the front garden, instead of thinking about a planting scheme, why not consider using potted plants and a few window boxes on a bed of slate chippings or mixed gravel? This approach has a few unique benefits – firstly, it allows you to create a micro-environment for each individual plant type where you can control the soil type and the hydration a lot more. Second, you have the ability to move plants around, either to create different looks and ensure that you have greenery all year round or to swap positions to allow plants to rotate in patches of the best light. Lastly, the pots and containers themselves all tie into the type of look you want to create – rustic wood can suit an older property, while ultra-modern zinc containers can give a much more contemporary look. Make sure containers are weighted to prevent any opportunistic greenery thieves!
Makeover the lawn
If you have a lawn space at the front of your house, too often it gets overlooked and allowed to grow wild because it’s not usually big enough to serve as a functional space – we tend to keep parties and barbecues to the back garden! Building up the lawn using a quality lawn seed, making sure it gets enough water, and considering using ornamental grasses like pampas can all turn an unloved patch of grass into an eye-catching feature.
Think about concealed storage
It’s a fact of life that there are some more functional aspects of a front garden that might not be aesthetically pleasing, so consider hidden or disguised storage options. For example, many older and terraced houses must store their bins at the front of the property, which looks unsightly. Consider constructing a wooden bin store, which not only disguises bins but keeps the contents safe from rodents. You can even create a lowered recess behind a wall or a hedge for the containers to make them less visible. Other functional inclusions such as electrical meters can also be screened off with removable trellising.
Draw attention to the house
One of the primary uses for a front garden is to enhance the overall appearance of the front of the house, and they are many ways to harmonise the space. First, think about the age and architectural design of the house. If you live in a cottage, something rambling with soft flowers would be a suitable scheme, while symmetrical Georgian properties with large windows work better with sharp hedging and linear design. Also, consider the use of solar-powered lighting to draw attention to architectural features and provide a warmer welcome to guests – spotlighting can easily be installed along borders, or LED fairy lights added into shrubs and small trees.
Mark your boundaries
The front garden needs to provide a sense of separation between the house and the street – easily achievable in larger detached properties, but a few simple design tricks can also bring that feeling of transition to even the most modest home. A clear pathway marked out with paving stones or gravel, and some potted plants around the doorway guide people towards the house and give a sense of definition. Alternate higher and lower planting to define windows and doors – but whatever you do, don’t be tempted by climbing plants which can quickly affect the structure of a house and cause lasting damage – not to mention decreasing the value of your home.
Creating a beautiful structure, adding in a few well-chosen but low-maintenance plants and some lighting, and concealing the ugly necessaries can all help to makeover your front garden. Remember, a good front garden actually draws attention to the house and enhances the appearance of the home itself – it should be a supporting actor rather than trying to bag the starring role. Follow this quick and easy guidance and your unused front space could soon be looking stylish and even raising the saleability of your home. Have fun with your new home makeover project!
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