Don’t forget your front yard when you’re considering an upgrade.
You may want to consider adding a dreamy pergola or a lovely patio lounge, so you can put your feet up while you keep an eye on the kids.
Or you can grow a tall hedge to enclose your front space and make it more private.
“But probably the best benefit of extending your living space into the front yard is how it connects you to your neighborhood and promotes opportunities to interact with your neighbors,” Kent Mitchell, landscape designer.
Read on to see if these four outdoor living space ideas work for your front yard.
Create a Social Front Yard
Social front yard living spaces have been on the rise in recent years, said Alison Messner, CEO and co-founder of Yardzen, an online landscaping platform.
“Creating a social space in the front yard gives people the opportunity to wave to neighbors at a safe distance, to socialize, and to be a part of the community,” she said.
Historically, most socializing happened in the backyard where you can’t see your neighbors, Messner said.
“But there’s something really lovely about being in the front yard and socializing,” she explained.
A lot of homeowners also realize their front yard is unused space. In some cases, it’s half of your yard.
“And you want to be able to live in your entire yard,” Messner said.
Some homeowners in Southern California are replacing their lawns with xeriscape gardening – landscaping that uses little water - and creating more areas for social gatherings.Mitchell agrees.
“In areas like Southern California where real estate is anything but cheap, making full use of their exterior space is a way to make a small house feel bigger,” said Mitchell, landscape designer and owner of Outer Spaces Exterior Design.
Front Yard Lounge Living Space
It doesn’t take much furniture to create an outdoor living space; you just need comfortable seating, says Messner.
Instead of concrete patios, homeowners are opting to use decomposed granite or pea gravel because it’s porous.
Bring in four Adirondack chairs and a fire pit and you have a nice gathering spot. Or like in the image above, these homeowners created two areas: a lounge area and a seating area for others to sit and chat.
This a great idea for homes in coastal communities where gatherings tend to happen in the front.
“It’s an economical solution, and then you can inlay pre-cast pavers for a contemporary-looking path,” she said.
Enclosed Front Yard Space
For those who live on a busy street and have small children, adding a low-level privacy wall or even a tall hedge, can be the perfect solution to enjoying your front yard space and creating a relaxing ambiance. By creating this enclosed space, you can add a dining table or some lounge chairs.Consider adding plants such as horsetail, which can grow tall and provide natural protection.
“I have small kids, and we live on a street where cars tend to go by quickly, so we solved for that with vegetation,” Messner said.
Another benefit of adding vegetation, if you are near a busy road, is that it can help absorb a lot of sounds. It is typically much cheaper, and in some communities the height of your wall is limited by local ordinances. A six-foot hedge can also be friendlier than a wall.
Messner said Yardzen’s horticulturists are creative with designing privacy hedges.
“It all starts with what you want to do,” she said. “I think a lot of people start with plants they like. But we help you understand their growth patterns and what they are going to look like at maturity.”
Front Yard Shade Structures
Attaching a pergola to the front of the home or in your front yard is a great way to extend your living space. In the past year, more than a 1/3 of Yardzen’s designs have included a pergola, Messner said.
“They’re a great solution and reflective of what people are willing to do in their yards today,” Messner said. “People want a yard that’s reflective of their interior where they have rooms that serve separate and distinct purposes.”
A pergola is a great way to frame a space, she said. Install a pergola in an unused corner of the front yard or extend your front entrance. Create a comfy outdoor living area with patio furniture or a seating area with a fire pit for summertime s’mores.
For Messner, she loves putting a dining room under a pergola because “it feels like you’re walking into a new space.”
A custom pergola can be expensive. But if you’re looking for something affordable, you can buy a pergola kit online for under $1,000, and have a contractor assemble it in under one day.“There are lots of options and lots of styles,” Messner said. “They’re really great and only increasing in popularity.”
We hope this has inspired you to get creative with your front yard, and you’ll have a new space to enjoy this summer.
Read on for some backyard shade ideas to spruce up your space.