An attractive front yard makes a huge difference to the street appeal of your house. Ideally, a front garden should be well designed and properly cared for. Over time though, even the best designs require some tweaking and replanting. Without regular maintenance over an extended period of time, the garden will eventually outgrow the original design, and a complete overhaul is then the way to go.
The brief for the photographed area is to create a formal entrance to the front door, preferably retaining the existing exposed aggregate slabs.
The house owner would also like to see a clear separation between the sidewalk and his section. Currently, the exposed aggregate slabs are connected to the sidewalk, as is the front lawn. The lawn on the other side of the sidewalk (in the foreground of the photograph) is public space.
The existing plants have grown to a size where they are out of proportion with the planting beds and the surroundings. Most are beyond the point of pruning to a more suitable size without risk.
The exposed aggregate slab next to the sidewalk lines up with the front door. Subsequent slabs increase in width towards the house, eventually lining up with the entrance porch. The house owner considered the possibility of a hedge on either side of the slabs from sidewalk to porch and along the sidewalk, but realised that would not be desirable from a practical point of view since it would leave no access for lawn mowing. An additional problem with following the current line of the slabs is that this would introduce small shape changes that are not in proportion to the house and the rest of the section. A relatively cost effective solution is to use pebble infill to create a straight path, with a uniform overall width that is the same as the porch width.
A low hedge along the sidewalk, possibly Buxus sempervirens (English box) or Lonicera nitida, reinforces the formal look and separates the section from the adjacent public space.
Two trees on the lawn, one on either side of the path to the front door, visually reduce the height of the house and integrate the building with its surroundings. Deciduous trees such as Acer palmatum cultivars (Japanese maple) with a relatively open crown, will show parts of the wall behind, and let in the afternoon sunlight during winter.
It looks like a retaining wall is required next to the house on the right of the entrance porch. Selecting materials and colours that match those used for the house will ensure that the retaining wall appears to be part of the house.
Some accents of brown and orange tones in an otherwise mainly green planting scheme will further link the garden with the house.