First impressions count! With more pressure than ever to make the most of our space, with less on street parking available, and new homes being built without driveways, many households have swapped their front garden grass for concrete.
The Royal Horticultural Society estimates that over a quarter of the U.K.’s front gardens have now been paved over.
Whatever space you have available there is always something you can do to create some kerb appeal for yourself, passers-by and your neighbourhood.
If you have a garden gate, consider changing the style or colour to compliment the render of brickwork of your house. Add an arch above the gateway to give you some instant height to grow a scented climber, like the pink rose Shropshire Lad or an evergreen like Trachelosperum jasminoides.
An existing tired looking path can be rejuvenated by using a pressure washer to remove grime and, maybe you could add some new edging to the path - decorative, rustic or contemporary in design?
If you have an existing gravel path you could add some stepping stones at regular intervals to add interest. This will also help to stop gravel being transferred into the house on shoes.
Use the vertical space that is available. Trellis or wires added to the front of the house can be used to train a climber like Lonicera x tellanniana – a honeysuckle that lacks in scent but has an abundance of vivid orange flowers or perhaps a Wisteria Sinensis with its gorgeous lilac or white scented flower.
There is a plant that will suit all aspects, but remember they will need to be pruned and maintained from time to time so be prepared. No standing on a kitchen chair on one leg with a pair of secateurs!
Frame your front door – here is your chance to add some wow factor! Lollipop style trees like laurel or bay look great either side of the door and under planted with some seasonal colour, and dare I say it they will look magical at Christmas time with some fairy lights!
Hanging baskets and window boxes are a great way to inject some colour at any time of the year. If the front of your house is shady and does not get much sun, you could always use ferns like Asplenium Scolopendrium the Hart’s Tongue Fern or Polystichum Setiferum the Soft Shield Fern.
If you have the space, create a small low maintenance border. For a shady border you could use hellebores, Astrantia and ferns and for a hot sunny border your could use grasses and lavender.
If you have to have a hard standing at the front of your house to accommodate a vehicle or the bins consider removing alternate paving slabs to create a chequer-board effect. Plant up these squares with low growing plants like Ajuga or thyme that can stand being stepped or driven on from time to time.
And then you could use pots – the heavier the better to stop someone walking off with them! These will look striking planted up with grasses or perennials.
If your property faces onto a busy road consider planting a hedge, such as Hornbeam carpinus betulus or Escallonia with its pink, red or white flowers. A hedge acts as a natural green barrier helping to control levels of dust and pollution. In addition it will provide you with some privacy and a home for insects.
Until next time