Design Tips

Front garden design tips: What about the plants?

6 Written by Lisa on 7th Feb 2014 in Design Tips, Plants

Front garden design London Lisa Cox

This is the last post in my blog series about front gardens.  I hope you’ve found it useful and now feel inspired to tackle your own?

Today I want to talk about planting which, despite being the last segment in the garden design and build process, is very much integral to the overall look and feel of the garden.

Planting is the element that brings the design together and it never ceases to amaze me how it can lift a space.  It’s also the element that people often feel most connected to.

Lavender by old flint wall at Cherkley Court

Which plants you choose will of course very much depend upon the conditions you have on site.  If you have clay soil, for example, then you won’t be able to plant things that thrive on sandy soil.  But, rather than talking about soil, aspect and drainage in this post, I want to give you a few pointers to help you choose the right sort of plants.

Front gardens are the only part of your outside space that you’ll walk through whatever the weather, season and time of day so it’s important they look good all year round.  This is where evergreen plants come into their own.  Front gardens work best if the majority of plants remain in leaf throughout the year.

Pittosporum Tom Thumb leaves

Something like box balls or Pittosporum Tom Thumb look great framing a pathway or defining a change in direction and as they’re reasonably well-behaved, keep the front looking neat and tidy.  Larger shrubs can work too, especially if you need to screen off a bad view or want a bit more privacy.

You can also use scented plants in the front.  Sarcococca is an understated evergreen shrub which, at this time of year, has the most delicious scent.  Plant one near the front door and you’ll be greeted with perfume when you come home.

sarcococca confusa

Use bulbs or shrubs that flower at different times of the year to give bursts of colour throughout the seasons.  I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use herbaceous perennials or deciduous shrubs, but it’s important that your garden has some curb appeal in winter too.

Low maintenance plants are key too as, unless you’re a really keen gardener, you’re unlikely to want to spend hours tending to the front of the house.  Get to know the plants well so that you can be sure they’ll behave in the space their allocated.

All planting schemes work best if you limit the pallet of plants you use.  Repeat planting in groups or swathes creates a rhythm that leads your eye through the garden.  Choose one or two structural plants that hold the scheme together and your garden will feel balanced and look smart, the perfect welcome to you and your visitors!


(Images: Lisa Cox)


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2 Written by Lisa on 4th Feb 2014 in Design Tips

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As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, front gardens are predominantly functional spaces which means that there are things to accommodate that you don’t necessarily want to look at. Read more

Front garden design tips: Considering security

0 Written by Lisa on 31st Jan 2014 in Design Tips

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Front garden design tips: What surface is best?

0 Written by Lisa on 28th Jan 2014 in Design Tips

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Front garden design tips: 5 ways to keep it simple

0 Written by Lisa on 24th Jan 2014 in Design Tips

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0 Written by Lisa on 21st Jan 2014 in Design Tips

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0 Written by Lisa on 13th Jan 2014 in Design Tips

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1 Written by Lisa on 7th Nov 2013 in Design Tips

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2 Written by Lisa on 29th Oct 2013 in Design Tips

View of deck from under willow tree Lisa Cox Garden Designs Surrey

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A great front garden will make you love your home more

0 Written by Lisa on 22nd Oct 2013 in Design Tips, Inspiration

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I went to see a potential client in Clapham on Saturday. They live in a beautiful Victorian town house and are slowly restoring its original features. They’re very keen to improve the look and feel of the front garden first, the back garden will come later. Read more

Lisa Cox Welcome

I specialise in helping families to turn their gardens into an extension of their home and into a space that can be used and enjoyed all year round.

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