Before & After

Making an entrance with a well-designed front yard


A lovely new home on a bare to create an inviting landscape that compliments the house. 




A generous front yard usually offers plenty of possibilities for a welcoming garden. A good starting point is to consider ways in which existing circulation routes, materials, and shapes in the available space can be used to maximum effect.  

On this site, the path to the front door is relatively narrow and somewhat out of proportion with the adjacent spaces. It also divides the site in two distinct areas; the house, garage and paths on the left, and the lawn with boundary fence on the right. Nevertheless, it is functional in that it provides a direct and clearly visible route to the front door. Keep reading if you would like to know how to landscape a divided site like this with one or more disproportional, but otherwise perfectly acceptable, existing elements.




In general, linkage between different areas in a garden can be achieved by repetition of shapes, colours, textures, surface materials, and plants. Pictured here is an example of a scene where all these elements are repeated throughout the space. Plants with purplish red foliage are used on both sides. Loropetalum chinense 'Burgundy', Hebe 'Pretty in Pink', and purple-burgundy Heuchera cultivars can be used to this effect. An informal hedge next to the sidewalk is repeated in the narrow planting strip against the house. Flax-like plants are grouped in a zigzag pattern from the front of the site towards the entrance area.

The path to the front door can be made to appear wider by means of rectangular concrete shapes in the lawn on either side.

Screens near the front door area reduce the length of the lawn on the right. There is potential here for a vista to the rear garden, visually linking the front and back of the site, by leaving a gap between the screens. A special specimen tree or an attractive group of plants could act as the focal point at the end of the viewing line.

In the planting area to the right of the letterbox, a single ground cover, such as Coprosma acerosa (sand coprosma) is used for colour and textural variety. Alternatively, an ornamental tree could be planted in this bed for the same purpose.

Several trees throughout the garden strengthen the link between house and outdoor environment by echoing the vertical dimension of the building.