Designing a small urban front yard can be a challenge, but the results are very rewarding. By carefully choosing materials and considering possible uses for the space you can maximize any space’s full potential, no matter how small.
Remember that in a small urban front yard, there is only room for one focal point. Pick a single tree, a plant with dramatic foliage, a trellis, a statue, a fountain, or a small seating area. Then build your design around it. All other elements in the yard should frame and complement the focal point.
A coordinating color scheme is important in a small urban yard. Consider the colors of your home, and either contrast the color scheme to draw attention to both elements, or coordinate the colors between the house and yard in order to create a more expansive and cohesive feel. Cool colors seem more expansive, and white and pink flowers will capture the attention of people driving by.
Space in a small urban front year is precious. Do not waste it by planting plants that only bloom once a year. Use repeat bloomers and interesting foliage for color in your urban yard. Choose smaller plants and dwarf specimens that look good close up, since your yard will be easily scrutinized by anyone passing by. Avoid messy plants: ones that constantly drop leaves or blooms or otherwise look ragged and create messes. Small-foliaged plants may create the feeling that the area is larger than it really is.
Consider adding vertical plants: climbing roses, vine, and tall thin plants like cedars. Even if all you have is a couple square feet, vines can add much-needed greenery. Plants will dress up your entrance and make it more inviting. By adding greenery to the front of your home, everyone who walks by will benefit from the soothing effect and, let’s face it, extra oxygen if you live in a truly urban environment! Even if you have no bare ground at all, pots can be added to steps and planters to the front stoop.
Boundaries can create a large impact in a small urban garden. By establish clean boundary lines you can demark the place as a special garden and make the yard seem neater. On the other hand, if you are friends with your neighbor and they are also a gardener, blurring the boundaries between the two yards can make the whole space seem larger.
Layer plants in your small urban front yard in order to create a sense of depth. This also creates an exciting sense of discovery and intrigue when a visitor or passerby cannot see the whole yard from the street. A sense of whimsy can be created by placing an unexpected item around a corner or peeking from behind a large element in the yard.
Slightly obscuring the windows and entrance with plants will create privacy. But some residents may wish to maintain clear sight-lines for safety. Privacy can also be created by building walls, erecting fences, or planting hedges. You can create a courtyard with any of these options. Consider adding a seating area. Especially if your space inside is limited, use the extra real estate for entertaining or reading.
Space is limited in a small urban front yard, and as a result the space is all the more precious. With careful planning (and planting) a small urban space can be both inviting and useful. A well-thought out solution can increase the quality of life for the current resident, and add resale value to the home.
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