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5 Best Front Yard Landscaping Ideas for Elegant Curb Appeal

Posted On: July 24,2018 By: Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Front yard landscape with paver driveway and walkwayWhen guests pull up to your home do they feel that wow factor? Do they feel welcomed by your beautiful and inviting front yard landscaping? Or are they instantly turned off because of overgrown shrubs and outdated hardscaping?

If you feel like your front yard needs some more landscaping curb appeal then you might be considering some changes. It might not even be that there’s overgrowth or any specific problems—it might just be that it’s just really...well...boring.

It can be pretty jarring when the landscape in front of your home doesn’t match the caliber of the house or property type. If you have a beautiful and customized home does it really make sense to only have a few average shrubs in front of it?

It’s a wise move to be invested in the beauty of your front yard. While it may not be as exciting as a backyard project—such as a pool or an outdoor kitchen—it has a direct link to the overall value of your home.

You may even intend to sell one day and making choices regarding your front yard landscaping could be the difference between getting top asking price—or not. Plus, chances are, you’d like to have a front yard that you can feel proud of. If that’s the case, then you’re going to love these front yard landscaping ideas that will deliver maximum curb appeal.

 

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1. Upgrade Your Walkways and Driveway

It’s a common scenario in our region. A contractor builds a beautiful and customized home and then when it comes time to incorporate some hardscaping in the front they add a builder’s grade poured concrete walkway and an asphalt driveway. Not only does it look cookie-cutter—like everyone else’s on the block—but it also looks out of place. It doesn’t match up to the grandeur of the rest of your property.

Upgrading your front walkway and driveway is going to add instant landscaping curb appeal to your home. You could create a front walkway using pavers or natural stone that adds a lot more beauty to your front yard. When re-doing a walkway we can also make important changes that may have been overlooked the first time.Flagstone walkway and porch

A front walkway really should be wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side toward your front door otherwise it feels as though everyone is marching into a single file line. It’s awkward. But most builders make narrow little walkways as it’s an afterthought for them.

It’s also common for contractors to take the walkway right onto the front stoop with no landing area. But a landing is really important not only to the overall look of your front walkway but to how it functions. It’s the “greeting area.” It’s where you’ll step out to say goodbye to guests or where your guests will all congregate if they show up in a group and are waiting for you to welcome them in. It’s an important area that should be added to your front walkway if you don’t have one.

Similarly, you could also upgrade your driveway by having it re-done in pavers instead of standard asphalt or concrete. A paver driveway can be a beautiful addition to your home and gives you a lot of options such as creating patterns or even adding your house number in the design. It can become something truly your own.Paver driveway in Pennsylvania

On top of that, a paver driveway eliminates many of the hassles and maintenance that are commonly involved with asphalt or concrete. You won’t have to worry about re-paving the driveway in the years to come or about fixing cracks that appear.

2. Add Plantings that “Pop”

Most front yards have the bare minimum when it comes to plantings—a couple kinds of shrubs and a few typical shade trees along the front foundation of the house. It’s the “same old, same old” and it’s usually done as an afterthought. But choosing the right plant material is really important the overall look of your front yard landscaping.

We often see a lot of mistakes that were made with plant selection for front yards. For instance, plants that are installed in front of windows should be given a lot of thought as chances are you do not want your window blocked. But we often see shrubs that are completely blocking the natural light (or view) from a front window. It’s not just a matter of being overgrown—it’s a matter of having chosen a poor plant, to begin with. Think of the plants in front of your front windows as a “necklace.” You’re not trying to cover up your window but rather to accentuate that window by framing it.Front landscape wall and plantings

Another mistake we see with choosing front yard plants is a lack of variety. You want to have a nice mix of plants—not all of the same thing. It’s common to see lots and lots of evergreens in the front yard and they certainly do make a nice backdrop, but you also want some color in front of them to add that wow factor.

Layering is really important when it comes to creating a beautiful landscape. Your evergreens might create a background but you have room to add a mid-sized flowering shrub in front of them and maybe even some annuals in front of that. Definitely think in terms of layers to add some visually appealing dimension.

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You also want to think about plants that bloom at different times of the year so that you always have some interest going. You don’t want your front yard to suddenly look barren.

Finally, also think about the color of your home. If there is some red or purple in the stone, for instance, it can really enhance the overall look of your front yard by choosing plant material that has some of those same tones. It’s going to really make your front yard “pop.”

3. Structural Additions

Front pillars by the driveway are a structural addition that can give an extra special feel to your front yard entrance. Sometimes we even attach a gate which not only adds a layer of safety and security but adds some grandeur to your entranceway.Stone wall front yard entranceway

Sculptures can also be a nice addition to your front yard. They enhance your landscaping by adding some individuality to your space. A fountain can also be a feature of the front for guests to enjoy as they walk up to your home. If incorporating a statue or fountain we often think of placing it in a spot where it can be enjoyed from a window or by you as you come and go from your home each day.

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4. Incorporate Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting is a critical element of your outdoor space that should not be overlooked. It’s a great way to add landscaping curb appeal in the evening hours. For instance, uplighting your trees and shrubs and even some of the architectural features of your home can make your front yard look impressive after the sun goes down.

Boulder wall in front yard with landscape lightingOf course, adding landscape lighting also enhances the safety and security of your front yard. With your steps, walkway, and driveway well-lit, you reduce the possibility of trip and fall hazards. In addition, having a property that is well-lit is a deterrent to thieves. A burglar is much more likely to just move on to a property that is poorly lit than to try and break into your well-lit home.

 

5. Enhance Your Front Porch

While you might think of spending time outside in terms of your backyard, a front porch makes a wonderful space to enjoy time out front. Adding or expanding your front porch can be a great way to enhance your front yard landscaping. Imagine having a space for some beautiful rocking chairs where you can sit and watch the kids ride their bikes or you can enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a lemonade on a hot day.Flagstone porch with rocking chairs

A beautiful front porch is also a great space to add gorgeous containers of colorful flowers which will add even more curb appeal to your space.

Choosing the Best Front Yard Landscape Design For You

While there are many ideas for front yard landscaping, in the end, you must choose a design that works best for you. Making your home look special, and truly different from all of the other homes on the block comes down to finding the unique solution that will work best for your property.

Hollinger-front-walkwayAchieving that goal can be done by working with a company that takes a thoughtful approach to landscape design. After all, if you’re trying to get away from a boring or cookie-cutter front yard, the last thing that you want is to wind up with a landscape contractor who doesn’t think outside of the box.

There is no reason you should have to go on living with an ordinary front yard. With beautiful front yard landscaping, people will drive past your house and do a double take. Your home will finally have the curb appeal that it truly deserves.

If you’d like to discuss front yard landscaping that will turn heads at your Harrisburg, Lancaster, York, Hershey, or Reading, PA home, then contact us for more information on our landscape design services and a free consultation.

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Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Written by Mary Dresser, RLA ALSA

Mary Hatch Dresser is a Registered Landscape Architect with a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Georgia School of Environmental Design. Mary has designed landscapes for 32 years and joined ETW exclusively in 2009. Mary is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA); and also serves on the Shade Tree Committee in Strasburg Borough where she resides. Mary prides herself in carefully listening to her clients to professionally meld their ideas and personal criteria with sound, experienced design practice.

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