Last year I had the chance to help a client redesign a front garden that had been planted when the house was built.
This house sits on a lovely size plot. There are Oak trees shading some of the area, which dropped large amount of leaves in Autumn, and large amounts of grass to mow. So the owners were feeling that the garden was a chore rather than the pleasure that this size of space should be.
They also felt that the borders were boring and lacked colour. They'd tried to perk things up with hanging baskets and pots, but they weren't working. Given that the garden was large, they also felt that the space for parking wasn't big enough.
Low maintenance doesn't have to be boring, so I set to work giving them a space that was easier to look after.
The mowing used to take a long time as there were "odd" areas to do, and places where the grass went right up to the building, meaning that strimming was needed. If hard landscape is designed to be at the same level as the grass, then mowing right up to the edge is possible, meaning that straight lines, - the fastest part of mowing, is possible all over the area.
Instead of overcrowded shrub borders, we put in large flower spaces, to break up the larger areas of hardstanding.
The overgrown conifers and foliage shrubs in the slightly shady spot in front of the living room were replaced with Dicentra, Fuchsia, Hydrangea and Sarcococca. Which could all be seen from the living room, as the view was no longer blocked.
For the entrance borders, we used easy to maintain bulbs, sedums, and geraniums, which complimented the smaller size shrubs and climbers that we put in to be the stars of the future in the coming years.
these photos were taken just 3 months after it was all planted
For my client, not only has she now got space to park, less time to spend mowing, and colour to look at, - she's also got admiring glances from neighbours and a topic of conversation to talk about.