Need a Front Yard Facelift?

Try these design tips to increase curb appeal.

Circular Driveway with Centerpiece Garden

This stunning circular driveway with centerpiece garden gives this front yard presence and style.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Doug Myers, Fernhill Landscapes

Image courtesy of Doug Myers, Fernhill Landscapes

This stunning circular driveway with centerpiece garden gives this front yard presence and style.

Do you like the way your house and yard look from the street? Or does your home need some color, landscaping or creative redesign to make it more inviting or appealing to the eye? Here are several facelift suggestions from landscape designers and architects that can transform the mundane into something visually arresting and bring a fresh, new look to your property from the street.

Create Sight Lines

Entrance ways to homes are always a target area for improvement and usually the first feature that makes an impression on visitors.  If you think the front view of your home is either too regimented or scattershot, why not consider a redesign with a more organic approach that plays off key landscape and architectural features?  

A driveway, like the one above designed by Doug Myers of Fernhill Landscaping, could be your most alluring feature. Myers said, “We modified the driveway configuration with a circular pattern and within the circle we added the well head, cobblestone border and gravel paths as well as the plantings. Inside the boxwood hedging are white foxgloves and blush 'Knock Out' roses. The well head is set on an axis with the long entry drive to draw guests to the front.” 

Missy Madden of Bellwether Landscape Architects advocates a more minimal approach to the street view that removes visual clutter like poorly pruned shrubs and bushes in favor of an open, clean look that “leads the eye from the street straight to the front door.” A small, neatly sheared holly hedge as a border with stonework steps on a terraced hill leading to the main entrance is one idea. For those who favor a more lush, natural look, a rose-covered arbor with a crushed rock pathway winding through borders of flowering ornamental shrubs is equally inviting. 

Changing One Feature Can Be a Major Upgrade

You might have an inviting, beautifully landscaped front yard but the exterior of your house lacks a strong, distinguishing feature. Try these fixes:

  • Replacing a shingle roof with a slate or metal one could do the trick. 
  • Adding shutters to your windows or decorating them with window boxes is another option. 
  • Replacing your front wooden door with a more contemporary design made of glass set in a colorful frame could revitalize your front view. 
  • Redesigning the main entrance to your house with a portico instead of a porch is becoming an increasingly popular option and offers a wide variety of design styles and natural materials. Some porticos cover and protect the front stoop, which is often made of concrete. John Tabor of Tabor Design Build addresses this aesthetic challenge by integrating the stoop into the total design. “We set flagstone over those and make flagstone paths from the drive to the front door. It makes a big difference in the curb appeal. It definitely adds a lot of value to the house.”

Use Color for Accents

Sometimes changing the front view of your property could be as simple as changing the existing color palette. You can create a pleasing visual symmetry between your house and yard by reflecting the colors of the landscape. “In the South,” Madden says, “most of our clients like the whites, the greens and the purples. The hydrangea colors remain the most sought after colors in the landscapes. We really like playing up green itself: chartreuse, dark green textures.” Tabor mentions that in the Washington, D.C. area, “I see a lot of brighter colors downtown. A lot of red doors, purple doors. Out here in the suburbs I’m seeing more black and white than anything else. People are more conservative.” Some homeowners are moving toward warmer, subtler tones by reflecting the colors of nature in a new façade for their home constructed of stone or brick.

Think Like an Architect 

Don’t be afraid to add a new element to your yard that is a stylized component but melds with your current design while adding visual flair such as a piece of sculpture or yard art. An ornamental fountain, a wrought-iron sun dial or a functional structure like a white brick gateway with mounted gas lanterns can completely refresh the front view of your home. For example, architect Missy Madden added three orange, powder-coated metal balls as a visual accent for a driveway entrance. Although the house was traditional on the outside, the inside was more modern. “It’s got a lot of orange pops inside,” Madden said, “so we just pulled that out. It’s the first thing you see when you pull up to the house—these contemporary orange balls. It’s a repeated element but in a subtle way.”

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