Many houses in Calgary have mundane front yard landscaping – mainly because it’s not usually a top priority for home-owners. However, some residents understand the importance of “the first impression.”
As a full-service landscape design and construction company, we often find that front yards are usually more challenging to design for than backyards. Solely because of scale: front yards have a much smaller area to work with.
However, if you keep the following tips in mind, you can come up with some pretty awesome front yard landscaping ideas to accentuate your biggest investment: your home.
Tip #1: Front yard landscaping has to make sense
During my landscape design studies, one of the underlying concepts we learned was relationships of forms. The dominant, sub-dominant and subordinate design forms, to be exact.
Think about it, when you look at a front yard – what’s the most dominant factor standing out? You guessed it: your house.
You now have this hunk standing on top of your property dominating the space. You have to surround the rest of it to make it make sense.
If there is a slope, I always recommend doing a small retaining wall. To some, spending $3000+ on a tiny front yard may seem crazy, but trust me when I tell you that slopes should always be taken care of with retaining walls in Calgary. This would be your sub-dominant form.
The subordinates are, most often than not, your softscaping: plant materials, groundcover and grass.
Add colour. Depth. Scale. You have to make sure you’re doing this. Otherwise, it’ll look just like another boring front yard.
They seem minor, but they make a big difference!
Tip #2: Clarify access
We’ve all been there. Walking up to a house and pausing for a minute and saying to ourselves: “Wait…Which way is the entrance?”. Sound familiar?
As someone who goes to the homes of Calgary all the time for landscaping consultations, I come across this issue often.
Make sure you direct people to where the entrance is. If you need to build steps because of slopes, do so – but the key is to make sure it’s easily readable because no one likes to walk on your grass. This goes especially when there’s snow or mud on the way to the front door.
By creating clear and concise access for the user, you will have hit the functional part of the front yard landscaping that many often miss.
Tip #3: Frame your house
There is something about the human eye that tends to enjoy symmetry. When I go to a house and want to design a grand entrance or give it an estate feel, I often use big trees to frame in the house. This gives symmetry to the front and invokes an emotion of comfort that smoothes to the space.
By using plant material to bring verticality to the space, your front yard landscaping ideas will start to follow in rhythm. Now, you are understanding the importance of the forms in conjunction with one another and complimenting them accordingly. In this case, with trees.
Tip #4: Borders and edges
This is very similar to the idea of framing but on the ground. Even if you have no grass and only plant material, you must define your groundcover borders.
I love poured decorative concrete curbing. It is not just aesthetic; it makes the planting beds more pronounced. Also, it acts as a very functional element in the landscape by holding in your ground cover. It’s also durable enough so that your lawn-mower doesn’t come in contact with the plant materials.
By investing in curbing, you are now highlighting the subordinate form within your landscape. This can have the front yard looking more vibrant than ever before!
Tip #5: Feature pieces
At Tazscapes, one of Calgary’s leading landscape design companies, we like to propose a feature piece when considering front yard landscaping ideas. Implementing a feature gives the eye something visually appealing to observe.
Often, due to budgetary constraints, I recommend an address boulder.
You can also do something a little more creative, such as front yard privacy landscaping. Use miniature privacy screens – maybe to hide a utility box – and have your address number plated on it.
The lowest-cost option, however, is selecting a specialty tree. Pick something that blooms vividly, like a flowering crab.
Whatever the case, I personally always put something in the front yard to draw the eye to a ‘wow factor.’
And if you need something truly creative, you can reach out to Tazscapes to come by and give you a few incredible proposals!