A simple front yard overhaul to restore curb appeal can often be as much of a challenge as designing and building an entirely new landscape. It’s like a “not being able to see the forest through the trees” kind of a thing. One thing that’s helpful with this is to be clear from the very beginning about your budget and whether this is a simple clean up, a partial landscape, or an entirely new front yard landscape. However, even if you don’t want to do a full scale landscape, the end result is still a matter of following the same principles of designing a new front yard. Entryways, access, and parking areas should already be be designated in an existing landscape. If not, design them in if they are a necessary addition. Then you can focus the rest of the design, plants, and plating beds around them.
In restoring an existing front yard, assessment of the problem areas is always the first step. Use your camera to get a better perspective on this. Take a few pictures of the landscaping and entryway from different angles. From this you should see a whole different picture of what your yard really looks like. Make note of it and what you want to change. Make note of things like chipped and cracked concrete, overgrown weeds, dead lawn, dead plants, etc. Does your front entryway look tired and neglected? Look at all the details. A poor landscape is usually a combination of several elements combined.
Remove any dead or unwanted shrubs. You can always replace them with the same or similar types. However, for a fresher look in new and old landscapes, try using other intreresting textures like ornamental grasses in place of shrubs and hedges. Not only do they provide a new texture and shape, they also add motion and winter interest to the landscaping. Use them in the same spots as singular or in groups. Prune trees and tall healthy shrubs to restore their beauty. Often unnoticed, these are allowed to grow unchecked and make the yard look uncared for.
Add a little color, interest, and a whole new dimension by placing some large planting containers and pots on the sides of your front steps or on either side of your walkway. Fill these with a combination of trailing vines, ornamental grasses, and colorful flowers. This will brighten your entryway as well as make it look more inviting and welcoming. Planters are also great for using plants from different climates and seasons and being able to move them inside for the Winter.
When you add flowers and plants to your yard or front entry, keep in mind that less is sometimes more. Don’t try to add every color of the rainbow but focus on a simple color scheme. Pick two or three colors as well as a few evergreen varieties and repeat them throughout the landscaping. We’re only trying to clean up and create a framework to begin with. We can add more later if needed. This will help create unity and retain some of the existing balance until then.
Edging any walkways, driveways, and sidewalks will do wonders for making the entire yard look sharp and clean. For now you don’t even need fill everything with plants. A layer of protective mulch along the edges instead of flowers or shrubs can look really great. Make sure that any existing sidewalks, driveways, and steps are clean and in good shape. These areas are totally visible so fix any stains or cracks. Severely cracked concrete, brick, or stone sidewalks should either be repaired to good shape or replaced.
If your yard and entryway are too straight, hard, formal, and boring, soften the look by adding some curved flower beds. An island bed is also a great addition to add interest and shape to a front yard lawn area. Some beds can be used to line and highlight the front entryway helping it to flow from the street or driveway to the front door.
For some night time interest and safety, consider adding electric or lighting to the landscape. You can install low voltage lights yourself or let a professional contractor do the job. Not only do they provide a safety factor, but they also create a sense of elegance on the home at night.
And one more thing that is so often overlooked. Don’t forget the home itself. No matter how beautiful the landscaping is, no one will even see it if the home is in bad shape and in need of repairs. New paint if needed, repairing roof and siding, washing windows, hanging gutters, and repairing anything else that needs it will do so much for the home as well as help the curb appeal of the front yard rd landscaping.