Front Garden Design tips to make your home more welcoming and inviting
A lovely front garden is a delight to see and whatever gate or doorway you pass through en-route, it should heighten the anticipation of arriving home. Pausing to dip under an archway of greenery or brushing past a deliciously fragrant shrub is all part of the appeal, and they can easily be incorporated to add both character and charm.
It’s important to make the way through the garden obvious, but this can be signalled in the subtlest of ways – by symmetrical placing of box balls to mark the path, for instance, or by putting in focal points to aim for.
A reasonable proportion of evergreens will ensure all-year-round structure and should cut down on maintenance. A relatively limited colour palette of both plants and paint colours will help keep the overall look harmonious but don’t forget the element of surprise as well. Front gardens are potentially sociable places that encourage interaction with neighbours and passers-by, so make the most of that, too.
1. Plant a climber
Walls offer the ideal planting opportunity, especially where space is limited. A climbing rose is the ultimate cottage-garden favourite, enhancing a pretty property or helping to disguise less-than-attractive architectural features. Clematis armandii and wisteria have sweetly scented flowers, while on a sunny wall you could try star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) or the flamboyant trumpet vine Campsis x tagliabuana ‘Madame Galen’. For autumn colour, consider Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia, right), the crimson glory vine (Vitis coignetiae) or Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata).
2. Entranceway potted charm
Containers can bring the garden right up to your doorstep, providing colour and interest exactly where you want it. Rustic baskets are great for growing herbs to keep handy by the door, and because they are lightweight they can be easily moved or swapped about. Line the baskets with plastic cut from old compost bags and punctured with a few holes to improve drainage. Oregano, mint, rosemary, thyme and sage all thrive in pots.
3. Add a seasonal table
If you have a veranda or a space by your entranceway that is under the protection of a porch, add interest there with an old piece of painted furniture such as a table or dresser base. It’s a great opportunity to create an outdoor display, mixing vintage pieces with small pots and containers showcasing plants that deserve to be admired at close quarters.
In winter, this could be miniature cyclamen or a collection of heathers, to be exchanged in early spring for some choice hellebores or favourite snowdrops. Later, diminutive ivory narcissus ‘Elka’ or dwarf Iris reticulata would be good choices. In winter, incorporate some scented plants that will catch you unawares as you pass, such as sweet box.
4. Walk under an arch
There is something compelling about an arch – place one over a pathway and you will always feel drawn to pass under it. Choose a ready-made version (see suppliers below) or train hedging plants such as yew to make an evergreen arch. Deciduous beech or hornbeam also adapt well to being trained – either as a single arch or repeated to form a tunnel. In winter their bare branches add strong structure to an entrance.
5. Go for a quirky gate
An unusual rustic gate is a good way to stamp individuality onto a garden. Greenwood, where the natural grown shape of the wood has been left unchanged, makes for an original and organic effect that sits well in a country garden. Durable sweet chestnut and oak are the timbers most frequently used.