Did you know that the front door and surrounding details can make or break a first impression? Even if your front garden is nothing more than a narrow strip of land to separate a house from the curb, here are eight ideas to steal for your own façade to make sure elegance and generosity are not mutually exclusive.
Curb appeal is about your home’s first impression — the face it presents to the world (and to you, when you come home every day). And while you may think of your home’s exterior as something that’s difficult to change without investing a lot of money and time, there are actually quite a few simple, things you can do to enhance your home’s curb appeal.
All too often, people equate formality with a need for privacy, putting up high hedges with the effect of throwing indoor rooms into gloom. A light screen of roses or shrubs will not only mitigate the view toward the street, it also spreads happiness.
1. RAILINGS TO SUPPORT PLANTS
Use your railings (or wall) to good effect. An iron fence is sturdy, and low enough for roses to spill over, and doesn’t need painting very often.
2. PLANTS THAT FLOWER FOR MONTHS
Choose reliable roses such as ‘Iceberg’ to provide a long season of flowering. Just remember to deadhead them and they will flower for months and months. Plus, iceberg roses are easy, don’t need much watering and are disease-resistant. They are not actually a climber but will lean on the railings and do not need tying in. Other plant possibilities besides roses: wisteria, and jasmine—carefully trained.
3. CONSIDER THE FRONT DOOR
If you’re on a budget, give doors a face-lift with a fresh coat of paint and a new or recently polished handle and door knocker from your local or online hardware store. Paint can be bought for less than $200 depending on the brand, and a really elegant door knocker or handle starts at $40. Of course you could replace the door altogether with something more dramatic. An distinctive door with classic lights will knock the socks off any visitors (potential buyers) and you everytime you come home.
4. EMBRACE SYMMETRY
Repeat shrubs and planting schemes on opposite sides of the front door, to make an outdoor space feel deliberate and restful. Or try a pair of boxwood balls stationed by the door for added texture.
5. CONTAINERS TO CONSIDER
Whatever you happen to plant, a planter’s size, colour and material is vital. Don’t go for anything too special because of theft. Seek out matching vessels made using inexpensive, powder-coated steel, in a colour that tones with your front door.
6. SMALL TREES, EVERGREENS OR OTHERWISE
Trees are important to give height but the wrong choice can look out of scale and cast too much shadow. You can choose shrubs, and cut them into a “rough standard,” to bring out their character. Which brings us to another point: Don’t get rid of everything when you move somewhere new.
7. KNOT GARDENS
Elizabethan knot gardens were designed for enjoyment from above, via an open window or even the roof. This approach is still relevant, since the view down to the garbage cans in the basement is seen daily and is usually a missed opportunity. Try turning bin areas into a matrix, with box framing the roses and plenty of gravel to keep down weeds and retain moisture.
8. IMPOSE CONTROL OVER YOUR EXTERIOR
Add a tailored element to an otherwise messy exterior. A tightly clipped ball of boxwood, say, or a gravel path that turns at a right angle will convey the deliberateness of your intentions even if you let a few plants go shaggy.