Everyone knows that curb appeal makes the home, and if your front yard lacks much appeal at all, maybe it’s time to spend some energy making it a bit better. A front yard makeover—whether it involves landscaping, new decorative structures or even just a creative approach to planting—can give your home an enormous transformation in a short timeframe, be relatively inexpensive to accomplish, and even be fun.
1. Plant Trees!
Nothing makes a home, and a neighborhood, look homier than healthy trees. As a boy, I can remember going out into the country with my dad and digging up a few young trees (we couldn’t afford to go to the nursery—but don’t do that now, or you might get arrested). We replanted them in the front yard, and I was amazed at how they transformed it. Ask your nursery staff for recommendations that fit your climate and your preferences.
2. Put it in a Cool Fence
I’m not talking white picket fences or chainlink—instead, try some of the decorative fencing options out there now, or make your own. Think about hedges and living fences. Lots of creative, interesting and rustic shapes, sizes and materials can make your yard into a more defined space and set it apart from the neighbors, too. The ambitious and handy can do this on their own but some may want to consult a professional.
3. Rock and Roll
Try one of my favorite weekend activities—drive down to your local rock quarry, sand and gravel store or stone emporium, and check out what’s available. You’d be amazed what a few large, irregular boulders can do for a yard if they’re placed properly. If that doesn’t appeal to you, take a look at the small, smooth stones called river rock, and think about ways to incorporate it as a ground cover. You can use organic shapes, circles and curves bordered by grass or flower beds or colored gravels—use your artistic talents!
4. Running Water
Nothing beats the sound and the beauty of a gurgling stream, and with the new generation of low-cost recirculating pumps and pond liners, it’s pretty easy and inexpensive to dig a meandering brook, line it and decorate it with rock and plantings, and have your own little river right at home. Build or buy a simple bridge to span the stream and you’ve got a romantic spot every neighbor will envy. Hiring a water feature contractor is the quickest and easiest way to turn this idea into a reality.
5. Arbors and Trellises
Whether they’re used as part of the gateway to your yard, or as vine-covered entryways over your front door, an arbor, pergola or a trellis can lend a touch of sophistication and grace to any front yard.
6. Yard Art
Sculptures or even found art can really make a front yard stand out. Get ideas by visiting scrapyards and recycling centers, and let your imagination run wild.
Use lighting in unexpected ways. Go beyond the standard walkway lights by using rope-lights or LED holiday lighting in unexpected places—hidden under the eaves or tucked under horizontal fence stringers, they can have a very beautiful indirect lighting effect that illumines your plants, your walkways, the entryway of your house, and all of the creative work you’ve done!