The old saying you only get one chance at a first impression is so true for so many things in life and your front of house is no different. It may be that you’re putting your house up for sale or just having guests over for an afternoon or dinner soirée; having a well-designed and impressive front of house will set the tone for the whole property.
I like to think of the front garden as a place where aesthetics can rule over practicality. Most houses have smaller front gardens, and the rear garden is where the lawn, entertaining space, pool and other private matter take place. As such your front garden can be a real showstopper where appearance is everything, it can create a sense of drama and intrigue to slow your guests down and to change the energy before entering the house.
Paint is everything when it comes to bang for buck impact as it can revive a properties appearance and make it look loved in no time. White on white colour schemes gives fresh beachy or Hamptons vibes whereas a dark house can add to the drama of a contemporary abode. Muted sage greens are versatile and work well with white or black trims. If you are worried about picking a house colour, try to stay traditional and muted and don’t go too crazy as this can put a lot of people off. If you do want to add a splash of colour and inject some personality your front door is the place to do it.
Having a colourful door is a great way to make the property your own, combine it with some individual door furniture like a brass knocker and it instantly personalises the whole entryway experience. I like to paint front doors in a high gloss finish as this makes it stand out and adds a sense of luxury.
Ensuring you can see the front door or at least have a clear and define pathway to the front door is key to making guests feel comfortable and relaxed when entering the space. If you don’t know which way to travel through a space it leads to confusion and a feeling of unease. A smooth and even pathway is also a great addition to the front of your property as you want to feel confident as you move through the space, and you want the focus to be out onto the garden and not down at your feet worrying about tripping over.
To create an open and inviting space remove planting that may clutter the view or interfere with the architecture of the house. This ties in with highlighting the front door – when you arrive at a property you like to feel welcomed and should want to walk inside not be confused or apprehensive about approaching it.
Plants are a very important part of improving the aesthetic or street appeal of a home, but you need to be careful to not get too cluttered, particularly around the house. Try to tie the style of planting in with the architecture of the home, traditional federation cottages suit a more formal style of garden so line pathways with hedges and introduce some aromatic flowering shrubs such as lavender or a feature bed with roses. Contemporary homes can be lifted by sculptural Australian natives such as grass trees and swathes of ornamental grasses like Lomandra.
Taking your front garden design to the next level can be easily done by the introduction of a water feature as it will give you a focal point, some movement and the introduction of sound as the water moves around. Simple plug-in units can be cost effective and really elevate a design to more than a standard front yard.
Lighting is also an important factor when improving your front garden as many guests will arrive under the cover of darkness. Have practical lighting to line pathways (again to highlight the front door) as well as feature lighting to pick up some key elements, maybe a small feature tree or the new water feature to help to slow the traffic through the space making it more of an experience.