Front gardens are often overlooked in terms of their design. To most, they are utilitarian, functional spaces, a place to park the car or two, and store the ever-expanding collection of wheelie bins. Worst still, paving is being opted for over and above plants, which is neither good for our mental well-being or for the environment (more on that in a later post).
However, you cannot avoid going into or passing through your front garden on a daily basis, whatever the weather. And for those of you who's house is on the market, if your front garden does not have kerb appeal it could hamper your chances of a quick sale.
Front gardens can and should be attractive and inspiring, and bring a smile to your face everytime you step into it. They don't have to resemble bland carparks with little or no planting. They need kerb appeal, really setting off your house and making it stand out. At the end of the day, your front garden is the window to your home.
So here are some suggestions for sprucing up your front garden:
(1) Choose attractive, preferably permeable, hard landscaping for your driveway so that it adds to, not detracts from, your house when there are no cars parked on it. Gravel interspersed and/ or edged with attractive, complimentary setts is a age-old favourite that can't be knocked in terms of attractiveness, functionality and permeability.
(2) Invest in attractive storage for items such as bins, wood, bikes. We all need to store our bins, bikes and so on somewhere. By include them in the design from the outset, they can become a feature of your garden rather than an eyesore.
(3) Make room for plants, whether they be in borders or within the paving or gravel. Adding plants to your front garden will soften the look of the garden and provide a frame for your house. Include lots of evergreen plants as well as plants with structure or interest in the winter months and the summer months, so your front garden looks good all year round.
(4) Add an attractive focal point, such as a bench, large pot, bird bath, or a sculpture. This will really give your garden the wow factor - something that draws your eye into the garden.
(5) And last but not least, don't forget to look after it and to enjoy it!
Rachel Bailey, a garden designer and gardener in Scotland.