In our urban cityscapes, a garden is the only way to connect with nature. Even the smallest of gardens can be soothing to the eyes. Gardens are known to have a calming effect on people and help fight stress and other such urban health hazards. Having your own garden also channels energy towards developing gardening as a hobby. This has both mental and physical benefits of gardening being an outlet for creative thinking as well as a form of physical exercise. Watching a patch of bare ground be transformed into a lush garden with flowers blooming and trees laden with ripe fruit also brings with it a certain satisfaction of having created something.
The space between your house walls and the plot walls can either be paved or used to grow a garden. Paving the area is low maintenance but does not add value to the house. A garden, however, requires timely maintenance but enhances the beauty of your house. Residential gardens are mostly of two types; front gardens and back gardens depending on which side of the house they are on. Front gardens are usually ornamental while back gardens can be designed as regular lawns or alfresco dining areas and herb gardens. Some houses may not even have a back garden at all. This makes designing an attractive front garden all the more important. Here are a few tips to get you started.
A front garden can be taken to be an extension of the house and hence should be treated the same way as the house interiors. Thus, front yards must be designed in a style that is reflective of the interior design scheme. Formal layouts are best suited to classic and art deco themed home interiors while informal gardens are well suited to bohemian styled interiors. Other ways of ensuring that the garden style is reflective of the interior style are through the use of materials and garden accessories. A front garden can also be planned in such a way as to frame the structure of the house and accentuate its architecture.
This creative arrangement is a work of art by Argentina based landscape designers Jardines Verticales
Planning a front yard involves not only looking at what to plant where but also how the height of each plant will complement the look as a whole. Thus, gardens need to be planned both horizontally and vertically. Most front yards are planned with the tallest plants near the perimeter of the plot and the shortest plants near the entrance of the house. The height of these trees needs to balance with the size of the plot and thus, should never be more than twice the length of the plot. To ensure that the plants look their best throughout the year, pruning and maintenance are a necessity. Hence don’t bite off more than you can chew and plan a garden that you can maintain.
Each plant has unique needs in terms of soil type, water conditions and weather conditions. Also, the soil and weather in each area can support a specific type of plants. For example, no matter how hard you tried it would be almost impossible to grow orchids in the desert. The first step to planning a garden is to identify the soil type and average weather conditions and the plants that will grow well in it. Secondly, tall trees can dwarf the house in a small plot while short stubby shrubs may look inadequate in an expensive plot. Thus, the relationship between the size of plants and size of the plot is a key consideration while choosing plants for a front garden.
When planning the layout of a front garden it is important to visualize how the plants will look next to each other. Tall plants need to be placed at the back of flower beds so that shorter plants can be layered against them to hide their stalks and provide a double level of blooms. Also, consider the width of the plants. A tall slim tree placed next to a short wide shrub will look jarring and break the harmony of the garden. Colour is another aspect to be kept in mind while planning a garden. Like interior colour schemes, choose primary, secondary and tertiary colours for your garden. Having flowers of every colour in a garden will look chaotic and too much for the eye to take in.
Flowering plants can be divided into seasonal plants and plants that flower all through the year. To ensure that your garden always looks its best, plan a garden with a mix of seasonal plants and evergreens. Thus, there’s never a time when your garden is bare.
Symmetry is an important aspect of planning a garden that looks harmonious and balanced. Formal gardens are designed around a central axis with the garden planned as a mirror image on either side. For informal gardens, symmetry can be achieved even without duplicating elements on both sides of the garden by ensuring that the visual weight of elements is equal on both sides of the garden. Thus, a tall tree on one side can balance a wide shorter shrub on the other side of the garden.
Planters go a long way in defining the style of a garden. For small front gardens, planters become all the more important as a container garden is easier to maintain and requires less space. The arrangement of planters is another important aspect of planning a garden. Ideally, planters should be arranged in such a way as to create a visual path from the curb to the entrance of the house.
Every plot has the potential to house a beautiful garden when planned well. A well-designed garden highlights the plus points of your house and mask’s its drawbacks. Not only that, a beautiful garden adds value to your home and shows off your personality even before guests step into your home.
For further creative ideas read The homify guide to a fabulous front garden