In creating a convenient, inviting, and attractive entryway to your home and property, you should first think about functionality and then plants and materials later. With the main function of front yard landscaping generally being access, our first design focus would be how and where we enter and exit our homes.
To what extent you can plan the front yard may be limited by some landscaping circumstances that you can’t control. The size of your lot, how your home faces the street, and property lines can all be limiting factors. However, with some careful planning, you may be able to reach a medium of functionality and beauty in the front.
By first laying out your needed or desired access paths, you could possibly be laying out the framework of your entire design. Not only will it take up a lot of space, but will also create shape, areas to design around, and a visual direction for your thoughts.
Generally, the most predominant access use is for vehicles and parking. So our first focus should be where we and our guests are going to park and drive in the front. Also, walkway access from these areas to the front door, side door, or any other entry points of the home needs to be considered.
Most folks need a driveway that not only leads to the home but also allows room for offstreet guest parking. So if this is a needed or desired landscaping element, we should start designing with that in mind.
The driveway entrance should be wide enough to comfortably move in and out of. It’s not required but a lot of times it is desirable to also have a way to turn around inside the driveway. This is an added safety factor to keep from having to blindly back out onto busy streets.
If you have room, a circular drive usually provides the best access to entries along with the safety factor of drive through. It also provides some shape and an opportunity for landscaping inside of the outer circle of the driveway.
Many times when a complete semi-circle drive isn’t possible, there may be room for a simple cutout addition. This area can also be used as additional parking when needed. It doesn’t necessarily need to be paved as it won’t receive the same amount of use and traffic as the rest of the drive.
Simply widening the driveway in an area can provide additional parking as well as enough room to turn around. Again, this area doesn’t have to be paved or totally improved. It just has to drain well and support the weight of a car.
By first addressing your vehicle access to your home, you’ll have one necessary element taken care of and less area to have to have to plan for. Then by adding foot access from driveway areas to the home, you’ll possibly have the entire framework of your front yard landscaping created.