Curb Appeal Landscaping – First Impression Counts!

front yard entrance stone containers and flowers

Does your home and front yard have curb appeal?

First impression counts – especially in today’s tough real estate market.

Without front yard curb appeal, your house no matter how great it may be inside, may not get potential buyers to the front porch and in the front door.

Landscape Challenges

Curb appeal, landscaping and all it includes includes from the the walkway entrance, landscape lighting, trees, shrubs, edging, rocks, ground cover, pavers and the “approach” landscape plantings in today’s houses, can offer more of a challenge than many homeowners realize.

The “ancient” practice of setting out a few shrubs, a vine or a tree near the entrance of a house has been commonplace for centuries.
This seemingly artless custom, apparently traditional and without a design plan for any type of low maintenance garden, usually resulted in a picturesque effect which has enhanced with the passage of time.

But with the internet, and landscape ideas abounding, along with new trends in architecture, ideas for front yard landscaping and design plantings continues to change.

Not so many years ago the term “curb appeal” became a household phrase for every property owner who built a new house or remodeled an old one. Heck, there are TV shows dedicated to curb appeal.

As soon as the ground was ready for planting, an effort was made to put some pizzazz to make the front yard an entrance inviting.

Landscaping From The Past

In the past, these front yard landscaping plantings consisted mostly of evergreens, and very often they contained little variety. Usually, a staggered row of spruces, hemlocks or arborvitae in neat pyramidal or globular forms was typical.

For the first few years after planting, these evergreens looked rather pleasing, even though the effect was monotonous.

Then, as they grew, they were either “groomed” into grotesque forms or allowed to develop (after their heads were lopped off) in a dense mass, causing homeowners to play peek-a-boo with all who approached.

However, not all plantings fall into this class, but for the most part the poor ones far surpass those in good taste.

The influence of the low slung house, often referred to as a “ranch type”, changed the patterns for front entrance planting.

However, there is an opportunity for much greater ingenuity in the use of plants. As more low-growing plants and decorative containers become more popular, plantings will be greatly improved.

As the video from shows, not all design for front yards need to be “all plants.” Watch the video to see how the landscape architect uses concrete, steps and grasses.

In today’s contemporary house, the low hedge if used, is trimmed to keep the desired scale. The groups of shrubs along the walk may include dwarf spreading yews, potted azaleas and the red-leaved barberry.

Introducing Color Into The Landscape

Additional color has been introduced with tulips. During the summer months annuals, mostly petunias and geraniums, are used to achieve the same effect. The wall of the house may be softened with the small-leaved Virginia creeper.

The entire planting, decidedly tailored in treatment, needs to be kept in scale.

Tailored plantings require constant care and the skilled use of the shears to keep the plants pleasing in appearance and in scale with the property.

Furthermore, the clumps along the walk (potted or planted in the ground) will need resetting as the individual specimens develop.

Plantings like this speak pride and help to set the pace for better maintenance and more effective planting notions in the neighborhood.

Imagine your front yard entrance. Climbing roses used on a trellis or low fence, flowering shrubs and perennials, blooming at intervals throughout the season, add additional color.

A pair of English box on either side of the front entrance lend year-round interest to this delightful little garden.

The “slide show” below gives a variety of ideas for front yard entrances.

In selecting shrubs for entrance plantings, the ultimate size of the plant and its requirements most be kept in mind.

Providing proper space at time of planting is also of primary importance.

The manner in which these shrubs are pruned and cared for will determine their longevity and the way in which they will enhance the house in future years.

For the most part, where budgets are limited, it is best to start with a few carefully chosen key plants and add to the planting as income allows.

Image: JAGwired

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