One of the best pleasures of life is enjoying time with the family on a summer afternoon in the front yard of the house. Front yards are usually described as the patch of land between the main road and the front facade of the house. Contrary to the backyards or other landscape around the house where users tend to develop vegetable gardens or tool sheds, front yards are more decorative in nature with water fountains, ponds, and manicured lawns. Front yards also feature decorative trees, walkways, access to parking, etc. developed with a view of aesthetically complementing the main residential building.
Where do we start with?
Start with a general analysis of the available space, position of the house and its orientation. If the property has not yet been developed, you can consider both the elements- the front yard and the living spaces, and develop a plan which effectively complements them both. You can choose to face the living and dining room to the front yard or design the house in a way that both these spaces face the backyard for more privacy.
Next decide on the location of hard and soft surfaces. These include lawns, driveways, pedestrian ways, gravels, outdoor decking, etc. It is recommended that this be done before starting with planting of trees. Once you have completed this step, you can begin toiling the soil and add organic matter in order to provide a suitable environment for vegetation growth.
Next, it is recommended that you do basic study of the type of trees or shrubs that you would like to plant in your garden. Keep in mind the various parameters such as local climate, local vegetation, soil condition, availability/cost of plants, maintenance, etc.. We highly recommend that you consider hiring a landscape architect. Although professional advice might seem unnecessary for many, this will be a onetime investment that will certainly be worth the efforts in the long run.
Lastly, think about adding a personalised touch to the entire space. There is nothing like the feeling of living in a space surrounded by your favourite potted plants, statues, water features, etc. These things demand very little investment but their returns are huge and extremely positive.
Which type of trees should we opt for?
Plants and trees are one the best means to add texture and colour to any open space. Hence, before opting for a particular type, it is important that you do a basic research in order to understand the benefits or downsides that it will bring to the overall space.
Trees - These will be the tallest of the lot and will provide shade, act as buffers, as well as attract birds and other small tree-dwelling animals.
Shrubs - These are small plants generally averaging around a metre in height and demand regular maintenance. They are mostly ornamental in nature and can also be used as space separators.
Annual plants - These are species that need to be planted every year and require proper care and maintenance. They are mostly ornamental in nature, for e g. Sunflower, Marigold, Fuchsia, etc.
Perennials - These are low maintenance species and are mostly available locally. They are highly resilient and do not require excessive maintenance.
Lawns - Lawns can be described as patches of land with evenly trimmed grass, mostly found in the front or backyard of a house. They often demand proper care and maintenance in the form of adequate irrigation, fertilizers, moving, etc. Lawns, however, are one of the best means to provide an extremely graceful and high-end feel to the entire space. You can opt for growing lawns the conventional way or directly install lawn tiles that get attached to the soil shortly after you place them.
How to build the driveway?
While deciding on the parking spot, it is important that you consider your current and future requirements of space. Apart from parking, you might also want some space for a small tool area. It is recommended that you do not position the drive way such that it cuts through the centre of the front yard. However, this a general recommendation and the actual solution might vary from one site to the other. Currently, the market can offer you a multitude of options for the main driveway with tarmac being the most commonly preferred material. However, rather than going the conventional way, you can opt for a more sustainable option that involves paver blocks that are interlocked with tiny grass patches to form a large grid pattern.
How to build the pedestrian way?
Pedestrian walkways offer a chance for more creativity than driveways. You can opt for brick paving, paver blocks, rammed earth, natural stone, or even a bed of river rocks to walk upon. You can also consider mixing two elements such as river rocks and natural stone to achieve an even more artistic appearance.
Lighting design for front yards
Lighting done correctly has the potential to completely transform the appearance and feel of your front yard. To begin with, you can look into bollards which are short columns that emit light and are usually installed along a walkway or driveway. You can further opt for ground mounted halogen lamps that can be installed near a tree to give it a beautiful dramatic appearance after sunset.