Think you need a large, private backyard to unwind after work? Think again!
Architect Michael Hricak and Design Psychologist Susan Lee Painter agree. Whereas backyards promote solitude, both think of the front yard as the “edge,” the in-between zone of public and private space, and the place where we can feel connected to our neighborhood.*
If you want to enjoy your neighbors again you don’t need a great backyard and you don’t need to install a basketball hoop in your driveway. Sometimes simple changes go a long way in making friends and family feel welcomed to your home.
Here are 5 ways to revive a sense of community around your front yard.
1. Front Porch Hangin’
Front porches are a great place for neighbors to come over, enjoy a glass of lemonade and watch a thunderstorm roll in. You can even install screen netting around your front porch to keep the bugs at bay, or storm windows for year-round use.
If a front porch isn’t possible, see if you can create an enclosure that would serve as an extension of your home. A small fenced in courtyard would be a great place to hang out with small children. As an extra bonus, it could improve the property value if you’re able to increase your home’s square footage potential.
2. Sit and Stay Awhile
Creating inspiring places to sit and relax will bring kids and adults from the neighborhood over to your place. Depending on how many visitors you want will help you select the right seating options for your space.
Our favorite outdoor seating options include:
- Movable Adirondack chairs for large groups
- A hanging porch swing for couples
- A small picnic table for kids
- A cozy bench for friends to chat
- Two wicker chairs and a table to share tea
- Barstools paired with a bistro table for cocktails
- A hammock for the independent lounger
- A circle of rocking chairs for family gatherings
Don’t be afraid to utilize your driveway space too if you have a large, unused area. Recapture that space with permanent or temporary outdoor seating.
3. Personalize Your Style with Decorations
Your yard is an extension of your family’s home. Complement the rest of your house with similar decorations outdoors.
If you’re contemporary, hang a modern clock on the wall near a front porch swing.
To continue a farmhouse look, reclaim an old barrel that you can plant pots on near the garage.
If bright colors are your style, transform your front door with a vivid paint.
Got a favorite color? Look for exciting chair covers to bring a pop of your flavor to your space.
Don’t forget to welcome your neighbors into your front yard with unique welcome flags, welcome mats, welcome gnomes, or other splashes of your personality.
4. Stop and Smell the Roses
With the right plants, you can make your neighbors stop and smell your garden as they pass by on a walk.
- Clematis is a scented climbing vine that loves to grow up the post of your mailbox.
- Fragrant smelling butterfly bushes have robust summer flowers and the deer don’t eat them.
- Sweet Alyssum is a flowering groundcover that can be added to beds near the front of the home.
Other delicious smelling plants are lilac, roses, wisteria, peonies, lilies, and viburnum.
As your guests come closer to the front door, capture their eyes with groupings of annuals, window boxes full of flowers, and containers overflowing with blooms.
5. Keep a Night Watch
Lighting your home at night is important not just for your guests, but also for emergency response teams. Here are a few tips for night-time use of your front yard space.
Use small solar lights to mark the path to the door you want guests to use. Lights should be placed anywhere a trip or fall could happen such as a step.
Make sure your house number can be well identified. Reflective stickers for your mailbox and large numbers on your home will ensure that guests or emergency response teams can find you easily.
Moonflowers are a unique plant that only bloom from sundown into the night. Try using them to climb up a fence, trellis or arbor.
On second thought, if you don’t want your neighbors coming by, might we suggest the following pranks:
- Throw toilet paper up into their trees
- Let your dog use the bathroom in their yard without picking it up
- Mow your lawn very late at night or super early in the morning (or don’t mow it at all!)
- Paint your house an obnoxious color
- Blow all of your leaves into their lawn this fall
But, if you need help sprucing up your front yard to attract visitors and increase your curb appeal, then give us a call at 412-835-1035 or click here to request a quote.
You’ll receive a complimentary site visit from one of our experienced team members who can help you with recommendations and budgeting tools for a complete year round landscaping plan.
*Source: Valigursky, M & Vail, L (2009). Creating Curb Appeal. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd.