Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens

– Posted in: Garden Design

House front with Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ early July 05

There’s a lot to be said for having peace, solitude, and privacy while gardening. In the back yard or behind walls or fences, sheltered from prying eyes, we can dress for comfort rather than style, bend and twist into awkward positions, sing loudly and off-key while we’re working, and get plenty dirty and sweaty without caring about what anyone else thinks.

TDF border late Nov 06

Eventually, though, we end up in that most exposed of garden spaces: the front yard. There, we’re exposed to all sorts of indignities: beeping horns and jeers from passing drivers, not-so-clever comments from passersby (“Are you having fun yet?” or “When you’re done there, you can clean up my yard”), and stares from nosy neighbors. Stay out there long enough, and folks may begin to mistake you for the latest version of a “fat fanny.” (Er…please don’t tell me that “fat fannies” – wooden silhouettes shaped to look like a bending-over man or woman’s back end – are just a Pennsylvania thing….)

Besides the social challenges, front-yard spaces offer many other difficulties, such as kids, pets, and mail carriers cutting through the beds, and nasty sub-humans stealing or destroying plants and ornaments.

Even with all of these potential problems, though, the front yard can be the perfect space to let our garden-freak flag fly. Yep, we love plants, and we’re not afraid to use them! We’re proud to show off our gardening skills, give our homes that ever-important “curb appeal,” and make our whole neighborhood a more beautiful place to live.

So, let’s talk about the front yard and the various spaces within: walkway and driveway borders, foundation plantings, entryways, and so on. Do you limit yourself to just a few pots by your front door, or have you abandoned all pretense of a lawn and turned the whole space between your house and the street into a garden (not mentioning any names, Pam and Kim)? Are you looking for ideas on how you can spruce up your oh-so-ordinary front yard, or searching for suggestions on reworking a boring foundation planting? You post, and we’ll respond!

If you’re new to the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop, here’s how it works: Write a post on any front-yard-related topic on your own blog and leave a link here (already-archived posts count too), or jot down your thoughts in a comment below. At the end of the month, I’ll gather all of the links into one summary post for easy reference. If you’re interested in checking out previous GBD Workshops, you can find them here:

Paths and Walkways
Fences and Walls
Arbors and Pergolas
Color in the Garden
Container Plantings

And for those of you who like to know what’s ahead, here’s the list of proposed topics for the next six months of Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshops:

* Stone in the Garden (gravel, rocks, slabs, and boulders for paths, walls, accents, and other features)
* Decks, Porches, and Patios (bringing plants into your outdoor living spaces)
* Garden Whimsy (plantings and accents that are clever, quirky, or just plain fun)
* Trellises and Screens (and vines, too)
* Water Gardens (ponds, waterfalls, bog gardens, and container water gardens)

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Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.
Nancy J. Ondra

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