Design a front garden
Most houses have 2 gardens, a back garden and a front garden. Both have very different roles. In terms of creating a garden, how you design a back garden is not the same as how you would design a front garden. Back garden design is all about creating a space that can be enjoyed the owner. Front gardens don’t get used in the same way.
Front gardens are transited through, they are in essence the buffer between your home and the outside world. We don’t play, socialise or relax in a front garden. Consequently planning the design and look of a front garden needs a different approach
Obviously there are some elements of the design that will be the same for both types of garden. The weather, local climates, the aspect; north or south facing and your own personal likes and dislikes. But there are design specific requirements for front gardens too.
Every front garden is a pathway from the outside to your home. It is it’s primary purpose, so how you physically get from A to B is key.
The front garden is the ‘face’ of your home.
It sends a message to visitors, with clues as to the type of person who lives behind the front door. It also needs to fit with the style of the house.
Front gardens have to be practical too, for a small space, they get a lot of concentrated use. We walk the same route to the door from either the drive to the house or the pavement to the house. That route needs to be hard wearing, all weather and free of hazards.
Front gardens need to provide some privacy from nosy neighbours or curious passers-by. Without the screen feeling like it is enclosing the house behind a big green wall. Front gardens also add an extra level of security. A well placed rose bush is a great asset should any unwelcome visitors come snooping around.
The planning process for how you design a front garden is really important. There are a lots of different design elements to consider, and we haven’t even got to the choice of plants yet!
Choosing plants for a front garden
First and foremost, all the plants used should be happy in the growing conditions of the garden. Plants are very good at looking after themselves. They grow at their specified rate to their natural size and shape. Plants will flower, set seed, die down, re-emerge and flower again without any intervention from us. Consequently if all the plants used are suited to the conditions of the garden, they will do this all by themselves. Which means you don’t have to!
Front gardens should then be designed to be low maintenance. The plants used need to be well behaved, so no flopping plants, fast growing large climbers. And neither do you or your guests want to be pricked, poked or stung whilst walking up the drive either!
Other factors to consider when planning the front garden design are how the garden will impact the environment. For example, having a front lawn or converting that space to park the car. What materials are best to use to prevent adding to the surface water run-off, which is an increasingly serious problem for urban areas. Flash flooding is becoming more common as climate change affects rainfall intensity and frequency.
Planting the front garden
PlantPlots provides slots of brilliant simple but beautiful border design planting plans. We had done all the design thinking and worked out lots of planting combinations – so you don’t have to! Just choose a design from the shop and download it. The plan provides details of all the plants needed along with pictures different layout plans and an aftercare guide. Meaning you can plant with confidence making it easier to design a front garden.
Solving Garden Problems
Gardening can never be ‘no maintenance’, there will always be jobs to do as plants don’t know when to stop growing. Garden planning involves identifying potential problems and finding solutions. These problems can be design related like hiding an ugly shed or designing a sloping garden, or they can be planting related. Front gardens for example have a different set of planning issues to back gardens (they aren’t simply smaller sized back gardens). The garden can have issues with shade or wind turbulence, gardens can lack privacy or have really ugly views.
It may be you have very little space for a garden at all, instead you have just an outside space, or odd shaped courtyard, that is in need of planting – so there is advice on designing a tiny garden too.
How to be a better gardener
All gardens are part of a wider ecosystem, even if the environment is a city garden or in the middle of a housing estate. Nature and wildlife connect gardens to each other via pollinators flying about, hedgehogs foraging from one garden to another, or seeds being transported over the fences by bird poop or the wind. Consequently, what you do in your garden affects your neighbours and the interconnecting network of gardens has a large collective impact on the environment surrounding everyone.
How you garden matters
(as I sit here watching the Wren hopping up my roses eating all the aphids!)
Gardens should not just look good, gardens need to do good too, but many garden practices cause harm.
Nature is perfectly able to look after itself, the natural balances between prey and predator are all to easily disturbed by gardening more than you need to.
Being a better gardener is a vital part of the garden planning process, because if changes are made that ensure you do less garden maintenance because the natural world is doing it for you; it’s a win:win situation.
How to garden better means the plants and the garden look after themselves, leaving you more time to enjoy using it.