When you think of attractive landscape structures, odds are you envision gazebos, fountains, fireplaces and other hardscape designs found most typically in a backyard. Your front yard, however, may also be begging for a little structural attention and curb appeal.
5 Ideas For Creating a Gorgeous Front Yard This Spring
Creating a gorgeous front yard is always a good idea, whether you are planning to sell your home in the near future or are simply ready for a front yard facelift.
- Show off your blooms. A beautiful arbor, draped with spring’s bountiful blooms, is an iconic garden visual. Arbors and pergolas can also make a wonderful entrance to your home, focusing your guests’ attention on landscape highlights, the walkway, and the front door. Combined with a fence, they can also create a sense of privacy and mystery.
- Demonstrate your artistic side. Lawn art is often confused with tacky gnomes and ceramic deer when, in fact, high-quality garden sculptures can create focal points that catch and surprise the eye. Invest in a local artist, and add a new piece of sculpture to your front yard.
- Optimize the corners. Cut out the corners of your lawn (hooray for water conservation!) and plant them with drought-tolerant plants and shrubs that will provide colorful interest year-round.
- Install a water feature. Those corners you just cut out are also a great place to install a water feature. It will help to mask traffic or neighbor noise and is attractive to passersby, porch sitters, and bathing birds alike.
- Update your front yard lighting. Does your front yard lighting consist of a porch light or a few flood lights? Start thinking more holistically, and add front yard lighting for both safety and ambiance. Choose welcoming lights for your porch, entrance way, and to light the path(s). Consider uplighting to highlight a tree or two, the aforementioned art or sculpture or to illuminate your newly installed fountain.
Are you ready add a new structure or two to your front yard? The team at Lifescape is ready to design, build and maintain a front yard that heartily welcomes spring.
Geometric designs have been used in landscape designs for thousands of years. Greeks and Romans used boxwood hedges, which were manipulated into the shapes and arrangements they wanted, whether it be a manicured plant in the shape of an animal or part of an intricate labyrinth. Stone tiles were laid in perfectly executed diamonds, or linear walkways ended in circular seating areas complete with a fountain.
Ideas for Garden Hardscaping with Geometric Designs
Garden hardscaping with geometric designs has continued into the formal English garden, as well as contemporary gardens, providing a tidy aesthetic. Look how the following gardens have included geometric shapes into their hardscaping plans.
Circles. We mentioned the idea of linear walkways that lead to a circular open area, often containing a water feature or planter bed. Here is an example of this from the Lifescape gallery. This lush garden proves that you can blend the formality of geometric designs with a more casual landscape to find a happy medium. The gray gravel is less formal than pavers, and while the plants in the center follow the shape of the circle, they are loosely pruned for a softer edge.
Source: Lifescape Associates
Squares. Squares are the most popular geometric shape used in landscapes. They are easy to achieve, whether it is a square of lawn bordered by a plant bed or square pavers arranged in specific design. Here is an example a more formal installation where square pavers are set with smooth river stones in between for contrast. You can achieve an informal version of this using wood dividers and rock, like we see in this West Coast garden. This idea would work very well for a Colorado Xeriscape.
Photo via Houzz
Geometry on the lawn. One way to apply geometry, and minimize water hungry lawn square footage, is to implement pavers with your lawn. The pavers create both movement and contrast. They can lead the eye to a focal point like your home, a bench, or a beautiful plant bed.
Would you like assistance using geometry as a foundation for your hardscape design? Schedule a consultation with Lifescape Colorado.
Ideally, landscape design is about creating focal points in gardens and yards. The hardscape and plant materials used are carefully selected and implemented in a way that takes visitors on a visual journey.
A meandering path may lead to a quiet seating area or a water feature. Perhaps an arbor or pergola frames a carefully placed piece of garden art or sculpture. Focal points are often the difference between an average backyard and one that is remarkable.
Source: Lifescape Colorado
Tips for Creating Focal Points in Gardens and Yards
The following tips can help you to think about how and where your Colorado landscape can benefit from a thoughtful focal point or two. As always, Lifescape is always here to assist you with your outdoor design conundrums.
Look for – and eliminate – competition. Evaluate your current landscaping to see if there is any competition in your various plant beds. You might find that a little pruning and/or transplanting is required to help your feature plants truly shine. Look for a balance between complementary colors (those that are opposite one another on the color wheel) and contrasting hues, which will also add visual interest.
Optimize your corners. What’s lurking in the corners of your yard spaces? You may find the answer is a big, fat nothing – or nothing worth speaking of, anyway. The corner is a perfect spot to add an outdoor sculpture by a local artist, from which you can compose the rest of the plant bed. They are ideal for placing small outbuildings or sheds that are painted attractively. Corners also make a wonderful niche for a seating area and perhaps an outdoor fire pit or water feature.
Plant smaller ornamental trees. Ornamental trees that do well in our Rocky Mountain climate create attractive focal points. A Wasatch maple (Acer grandidentatum) does well in drier soil while a Rocky Mountain Birch (Betula occidentalis) thrives in moist soils, perhaps the perfect host for your shade garden.
Is your landscape beginning to feel more like a hodgepodge than a well-planned living canvas? Contact Lifescape Colorado and we’ll help to highlight its natural focal points.
Need some colorful garden fantasies to help while away these grayer winter days? Get out your scratch paper and begin sketching the plans for colorful container designs that will add instant color to your spring gardens. We love container gardens here at Lifescape Colorado; they’re beautiful, portable (helpful when late spring storms arise) and also offer a fun and creative way to add focal points to your outdoor landscape.
Colorful Container Plants for Spring Gardens
When choosing colorful container plants for your spring garden, make sure to pay attention to:
- The plants’ heights/widths
- Foliage versus bloom colors
- Growth direction (is it an upright stalk or more of a draper?)
This will yield containers that are well balanced, so each plant has its own space to shine.
Here are three container plants that will add interest to your spring garden as well as some creative container ideas for their display.
Source: Lifescape Colorado
- Snapdragons. This is a perky, upright grower and snapdragons can be found in practically any shade you desire, as well as a few different bloom shapes. They prefer the sunnier side of life. If well-cared for, you might even be able to coax snapdragons through a hot summer and into the fall. They make a great center-piece in your container, surrounding by lower or draping plants around the edges.
- Petunias. There are many reasons to love petunias, from their bright and bold color displays to the way they attract beautiful moths after dark. Look how the red, pink and purple petunias contrast with this green-blue vessel. Once the sun sets, safety lighting built-in to the hardscaping will attract beautiful moths to their blooms. You can also keep it simple by using a monochromatic palette, like we did with this container arrangement.
- Flowering Kale and Cabbages. Since spring weather can be touch and go, flowering kale and cabbages are a safe and colorful bet for containers because they can tolerate colder temperatures. Use them for lower-profile areas and keep an eye out for ornamental varieties that add reds, pinks and whites.
Don’t let your creativity end with the plant selections. The containers you select are just as important as the blooms and dimensions you create inside them. Rather than purchasing new pots and vessels, we recommend looking around or shopping at thrift stores for unique items that can be converted into containers. Just about anything can be re-purposed into a container if you put your artistic mind to it.
Lifescape is here whether you would like help designing your containers or to provide regular maintenance so they look their best year-round. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Energy-conscious homeowners have already made the switch to more efficient interior lighting sources but many are slow to follow suit with their exterior lights. LED lighting for gardens and landscapes is a cost-efficient and sustainable way to provide ample task and mood lighting while simultaneously reducing energy consumption.
Add LED Lighting to “Light” Your Gardens and Landscapes
Source: Lifescape Colorado
Planning to make the “switch” from traditional to LED lighting options for your Colorado landscape design? Here are some facts to “spark” your inspiration:
- LED lights consume up to 75 percent less energy than halogen or incandescent versions.
- The average lifespan of a high-quality LED fixture is 12 to 14 years.
- With the use of timers and/or photocells, you’ll glean approximately 40,000 hours of light from your fixtures (that’s about 1,667 days or 4.5 straight years of light!).
Use the following suggestions to facilitate the conversion to LEDs in your garden landscapes.
- Take a step-by-step approach. LED lights are a more expensive initial investment, but the expenses are recouped, and then some, via lower electric bills and significantly fewer bulb and fixture changes over the years. There is no need to replace everything all at once; instead, create a multi-step approach, replacing the fixtures one area or need at a time over the course of a year or several seasons.
- Go big with the transformer. You always want to be thinking ahead, so use a larger transformer than you require now, so you can continue adding to your lighting plan as needed in the future. Consider buying a transformer that can handle at least two to three times the wattage you need now. You only pay for the electricity you use, and the extra watts will come in handy later on.
- Buy the highest quality fixtures you can afford. It’s tempting to opt for the greatest savings, but this isn’t the wisest course of action if it means purchasing new fixtures every few years or more. Scale back your LED replacement plan if needed, so you can always purchase the highest-quality fixtures to yield the optimal return on your investment.
Source: Pegasus Lighting
Schedule a consultation with Lifescape Colorado to begin transitioning your lights to energy-efficient LED alternatives. We can assess your current outdoor lighting plan and help you to design a multi-tiered approach in alignment with the way your family uses your outdoor living spaces. Contact us to learn more.