10 Things to Consider When Planning Your Front Garden

0 Written by Lisa on 11th Feb 2011 in Design Tips

1. The People – Who lives in the house, what do you use the front garden for, are your children old enough to learn to drive which might mean that you will have more vehicles to accommodate?  Do you have young children to get in and out of the car?  Do you have more than 1 or 2 cars in the family so you have to shuffle them around when one of you goes out?  Do you have other people bringing cars in on a daily basis, a carer for example?

2. The Driveway – How many cars need to be accommodated, how do you unload the car?  Does the driveway need to accommodate other things such as a trailer, caravan or horse box?  The driveway will eat up a big chunk of your front garden budget so it’s really important that it’s fit for purpose.  The surface you choose is also important, will gravel be suitable or is the driveway on a slope, in which case something like tarmac, block paving or resin bonded aggregate might be more appropriate.

3. The Dustbins – We all have them and these days most people have at least 2 to accommodate.  This can be really challenging if you have a small front garden or, like me, your house is landlocked and they have to be stored at the front of the house.  If they can be seen from the windows of the house, you might want to think about screening them away or building a bin store that will look more attractive.

4. Water Source – If you have a car, the chances are that you’ll want to wash it in the driveway and will therefore need access to water at the front of the house.  Think about the possibility of harvesting rainwater – if the diggers are in anyway, you might want to consider a tank for water storage under the driveway.

5.  Lighting – Garden lighting in a front garden needs to beautify the scene, but its main function is to provide safety and security.  If you have a very small space then a light outside the front door might be enough but for larger gardens, and those will long driveways, you will need to consider other lighting solutions.

6.  Privacy – If you are overlooked by your neighbour or live on a main road with passing traffic (people and cars) you’ll need to consider screening.  A fence or trellis might be too imposing at the front of the house so perhaps use evergreen shrubs instead which can be kept in check if required and give a much softer feel to the space.   If you live on a main road, street lights might be a problem.  Strategically placed evergreen plants can really work in this situation.

7.  Security – Although you’ll want privacy, be careful that any screening doesn’t compromise security – you don’t want to create any dark corners where someone might be able to hide.  Shrubs and trees should be chosen carefully to ensure that they are appropriate for the site at all times of the day or night and throughout the seasons.  Good lighting will obviously help here.

8.  Plants –   It’s best to put together a planting scheme consisting predominantly of evergreen plants – try not to make it look too flowery as this will require more maintenance, save that for the back garden where you will want to spend more time during the summer months.  Keep the planting scheme simple, choose a limited number of species and repeat the planting so that there is harmony and connection throughout the space.

9. Access – comfortable arrival to any house is crucial for the owners or their visitors.  The route to the front door should be clear so that visitors who have not been to the house before know where to go – this might seem strange, but some pathways can be confusing and I’m certain that you wouldn’t really want strangers wandering into the back garden.  You might also need to consider access for oil/gas tank deliveries.  Think about where you live – if you are situated on a main road, is it dangerous to reverse out of your driveway?

10.  Curb appeal – The front garden is always on show and is the public face of your house so it should be neat, tidy and attractive all year round.  The materials you choose for the hard landscaping elements should tie in with the house.  If you’re choosing a paving stone, get some samples and make sure they work with the house.  There are literally hundreds of different bricks available, so if your house is brick built and you are using bricks in the garden, use a brick sourcing company to help – it’s really worth the effort.

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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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