Standout Front Yard Curb Appeal

Ilona

Why Worry About Your Home’s Public Appeal?

frontyard view

Your front yard can be unique, easy to care for, and inviting.

People know what they like and what they don’t like, but they don’t always analyze those impressions. If you don’t know what “curb appeal” is, and just think it is a term bandied about by Realtor types, there might be something useful in finding out just how to raise the ante on your own home’s front yard curb appeal.

First, what is it?

Simply your home’s initial good impression on visitors is all that this home improvement provides. How attractive and welcoming does your home appear from the street? The front yard is often a very big part of what happens in both positive and negative first reactions to your home.

Next, why is it important to create?

Usually, people think of the importance of this feature when trying to sell their home, but a pleasant environment is important to those who live in the home, too! When you think of guests, and neighbors, it is easy to see why an attractive yard and entry would be of great benefit and worth improving.

Top Reasons to Improve the Front Yard

  1. The first impression counts. The front yard is the part of the landscape that everyone sees.
  2. It is the invitation to each guest, and the welcome that each member of the household experiences.
  3. Front yard curb appeal makes a big difference to the potential buyer.
  4. The front landscape gives the whole neighborhood a sense of identity.
  5. Adds value to the home, in real dollars and in homeowner enjoyment.

Make a Neighborhood Focal Point

The Williamsburg Estate Mailbox System, style 688
The Williamsburg Estate Mailbox System, style 688

Bring your home front and center in the neighborhood with this rust-free aluminum mailbox. Its classic good looks are always in good taste, complementing most every home style with an inviting, attractive design.

Accentuate the Positive

Bright red canna brings out the charm of this home.This is front yard curb appeal personified.

Your Yard Improvement Plan

If you belong to a Homeowners Association (HOA), then many of the choices for front yard landscaping and gardens are going to be made for you. Find out what the rules are. There are improvements that can be made within the parameters of the acceptable plants, fence lines, and other restrictions that might govern your property.

If you have a carte blanche and can do whatever you like, what then? Then the fun can begin. If you own your home and see the need to improve the front yard landscaping, there could be two things that take the fun out of the project. One is that many people do not like to work in their yard; they simply don’t like gardening. The other is that when the budget is tight, about the last thing needed is a big expenditure on the front yard. A curb appeal makeover doesn’t have to be costly in either effort or money, if it is done wisely.

Increase Your Home’s Value

Wise ways to improve your front yard:

  • Use plants that are purchased on sale, or given away from friends, family, or friendly neighbors.
  • Reuse and re-purpose materials for garden building materials.
  • Cut down on the mowing, increase the permanent plantings with plants that require little maintenance or watering.
  • Choose flowers and plants that come back each year, don’t need coddling (like dividing too often) or extra water, are tough and disease free.
  • Create a focal point with an attractive mailbox, surround it with eye-catching flowers.
  • Use container plantings to easily refresh your yards look.

Lots of homes in American neighborhoods have lawns, foundation shrubs, and a tree or two. Yawn, very ho-hum, even when well maintained. To put more pizazz into your front access bring color into play for exciting front yard curb appeal. The easy way to add color is by filling some containers with beautiful, all season blooming, annuals. If the containers are movable, the color can be moved to where it is most becoming. If the containers are imposing, that can be an attractive asset in itself. Flowers in urns on pillars, inside large pots, hanging from porches, all can add colorful accents that bring the front yard’s face alive. They add some of the homeowner’s personality and beckon visitors to enjoy the view.

Have the Ideas? Make the Plan

Before I get ahead of myself, I want to suggest that creating a landscaping plan and working from it is one of the best ways to keep on track with the project and with the budget. There are so many landscaping software programs and books with guides to create your own landscape plan that you really will find it easy to accomplish.

Here is one from BGH.com, Plan a Garden

Landscape Plan Example

Landscape Design Advisor on Flickr

Landscape Design Advisor on Flickr

 

Tips for Improving Curb Appeal of your Home

Create Front Yard Curb Appeal

GARDEN IDEAS TO TRY

First, what are some of the easiest ways to improve the initial view of your property?

  1. Clean up the place. We get a sort of “blind eye” when we see things everyday. Try cleaning up anything that doesn’t belong, anything broken, any broken tree branches, or fencing gone awry. Clean it up and fix it up.
  2. Remove trash cans from view, keep it neat and tidy- no toys or garden tools strewn about.
  3. Use an edger to make a clean edge around walks and driveways, you’d be surprised how that can improve the overall look of the place, and it helps keep grass and weeds out of the shrub and flower areas.
  4. Time to prune and shape overgrown shrubs, decide if they stay or go, clear pathways. Prune the crossing branches and take out anything dead .
  5. The walkway is important. Repair broken materials, edge the sides of the walk, perhaps include decorative bricks or plantings to accentuate the path.

Second, use low maintenance plants for accenting your property. Some suggested additions:

  • Grasses make great accents. Use ornamental grass in combinations that harmonize with your other plantings.Pennisetum, Helictotrichon, Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’,Panicum virgatum, Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’, and more can really light up the look of your front yard.
  • Grow some blooming shrubs. Those will add flower color and power without the work of putting in and caring for flower beds. There are shrubs of different seasonal interest, a variety of bloom colors, and plant heights and spread. Add three of a kind and be amazed at the way your mowing is reduced and the beauty of your home is increased. Hydrangeas, azaleas, landscape roses, and more are available in garden centers and might be just what you need.
  • Use groundcovers underneath trees and bushes. They can give a unified look while decreasing the workload of keeping your yard beautiful.
  • Daylilies are tried and true solutions for bringing color into the yard without a lot of work. These are garden flowers for those who don’t garden, since they need little care and bloom during their season with showy flowers.

Create a garden focal point with your mailbox, lantern, or a bird bath. Keep it close to your entryway and plant some flowering vines like Clematis or Confederate jasmine around it. Mulch the ground around your focal point to keep weeds at a minimum. Let your personality make its mark in this area, and let it say “Welcome” to your guest.

Front Yard Ideas

Do’s and Don’ts for a Classy Entrance

Just some attention to cleaning and fixing up the things that need maintenance, a judicious addition of some plants that bring high visual impact for little money and care, and perhaps the addition of a personal feature that expresses your personality are about all you need to greatly improve the curb appeal of your home.

In summing up there are a few Don’ts.

  • If you already love to garden, don’t overdo your front yard space. That is, don’t try to cram every feature that you love into your entry space. Keep it simple, keep it well maintained. Too much for the eye to take in is more disturbing than delightful.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make steps to your garden plan, give the work some breathing space, and have an orderly schedule of accomplishment for the best results.
  • Don’t have lots of competing garden ornaments.
  • Don’t have messy trees, if you have the choice. Trees that produce lots of litter aren’t the best choice for walkways or driveways, and make more chores if you want to keep the front yard neatly cared for.

If you keep in mind these “don’ts” and implement some of the suggested tips, you will be improving the enjoyment and attractiveness of your property. That might be worth more than money in the bank, and maybe help toward that goal as well.

Love Gardens? Front Yard Flowers

When you add annuals it is inexpensive and easy. Seed the path edges for full bloom all summer.
When you add annuals it is inexpensive and easy. Seed the path edges for full bloom all summer.

Get Inspired to Improve Curb Appeal

Taunton's Front Yard Idea Book: How to Create a Welcoming Entry and Expand Your (Taunton Home Idea Books)
Taunton’s Front Yard Idea Book: How to Create a Welcoming Entry and Expand Your (Taunton Home Idea Books)

Lots of illustrations and tips fill this book. Inspired ideas for fantastic front yards that not only have appeal for the public view, but make better use of this important space for your family’s enjoyment as well.

Easy Home Improvement

Garden books are especially helpful when they give advice on designing with plants that might look awkward when placed wrongly in the yard, or when you need a little help in knowing the bet way to plant them to help give the required light and moisture.

Ornamental plants, groundcovers, and other features will set your landscape apart from the rest- to give you more than everyone else’s lawn and ho-hum foundation shrubs.
Front Yard Gardens: Growing More Than Grass
Front Yard Gardens: Growing More Than Grass

Seventy five landscapes to show you just what to plant and what can be done with the front yard. The author leans more towards creating a gardened space with a “more plants and less mowing” philosophy. If that is you, you will love and benefit from this book.

Front Yard Improvement Links

High Points in a Nutshell

  • Keep it neat
  • Keep the look simple
  • Easy annuals in a seed packet or flat brightens it up
  • Edging and pruning makes it well-groomed

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.