front yard gardening

mamimo(Sunset 16)April 26, 2006

Someone on the perennial forum said this:

"...It takes real guts to garden in the front yard, especially if you're not just planting meatball shrubs and petunias..."

What a great summary of how I feel about my front yard. I've played and experimented in the back and side yards but the front yard? I've left that alone with the original meatball shrubs and trees that the builder put in. No guts. Maybe next year when I've more experience under my belt.

How about you? Do you garden in your front yard?

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missspoiled25(7 LI, NY)

LOL, Call me crazy (everyone does ;]) but we have a corner house, so my side yard is basically like the front yard, there is no fencing or anything blocking the view from the street, it can be seen from the front and the side streets, it is also the best "full sun" spot on my property, plus I wouldn't have to worry about my dogs trampling it, as they are never on that side without a leash... so last weekend, I dug up a bed about 30' long by 7' wide, 60 percent of that space is full sun, so I will be putting in a butterfly garden, the rest is shade so I will be adding a shade garden, and hopefully a fragrance garden some where in there too. I know it's a ballsy move, since this is my first year seriously gardening, to let my neighbors actually see my successes (and failures, which hopefully there won't be too many of LOL) but I've got to work with what I've got... I will also be adding some pretty plants to the "original meatball shrubs and trees" that came with the house just to brighten things up a little bit... and oh yea, the backyard's on my list too, probably raised veggies beds and whatever else my crazy mind can come up with and I can get DH to do LOL.
It's like a reflection of my personality I think, I'm a very outspoken, do-what-I-want kind of girl =) and I'm pretty (at least my mom tells me so), so hopefully my garden will be too! -teehee

They're coming to take me away soon....
-Millie

Millie

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 4:55PM
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putzer(z4 WI)

I am quite introverted, but still garden in the front yard :) I simply don't care...and I am convinced that most people secretly DO want more flower beds in their front yard! Of course, I like to joke around that the neighbors think we are done making new beds...but we haven't hardly begun yet! muahahaha.....

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 12:11AM
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Valiche

I have a corner lot too. Up until last year, all of our yardspace was "front" and center. We put up a fence just for that reason. During campaign season, one of the candidates thought it was okay to just walk up to us during dinner. He didn't get my vote. Any-hoo, I added a garden to the nowfront yard much to my hubby's dismay. He liked the stark white fence (YUCK!!!). We have azalea meatballs near the door so we get the best of both. On one side (my front yard is lopsided) there was a "garden" when we first moved it. The only thing that was in there was some Phlox and Lily of the Valley. In that same space, I have dahlias, peonies, daylilies, oriental lilies, butterfly bush, maximillian sunflowers, tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths, anemonies, daisies, cosmos, calendula, verbena b., Iberis, columbine, chrysanthemum (1), spiderwort, maltese cross and I think that's it. I'm pretty impressed with this list, myself. But I will be moving alot of these to my new beds on the outside of the fence. My newly winter sown babies just won't fill in the gaps the way I need them to so they'll go in as replacements. Always a work in progress.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2006 at 3:57PM
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nemophila(z5 OH)

Um....okay, I don't really think this is what you meant, but here goes!
I decided early last spring that since my front yard is the only place that gets full sun and I don't use it for anything else that it should be my vegetable garden. I did get some really weird looks from some of my neighbors, but all in all it turned out pretty good.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 10:34AM
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mamimo(Sunset 16)

wow, I really like you guys' attitude! Am already a little emboldened by your posts -- I put out some ceramic pots on the front porch today and will fill them with some WS'ed annuals later. In this way, if I'm uncomfortable with the look, I can move it easily.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 5:38PM
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brighteyes(7)

When I bought my home 3 years ago the front yard consisted of grass one HUGE tree and shrub by the road and 2 sad little shrubs by the house.

One of the first things I did was was get rid of most of the grass (it wasnt growing under the tree anyway) and make beds. large beds. lol My neighbors thought I had lost my mind.

It has been trial and error but it has been getting better every year. Funny thing is in the beginning when I thought it looked horrible (never dealt with clay before)My neighbors commented how they thought it looked pretty good.

Now they all love it but their response is usually, "Im not a good enough gardener to do that in my front yard". If they only knew. I had never taken on such a gardening challenge (or any gardening challenge for that matter)and the more you fool with it the better it gets.

I got so tied up with doing the front yard that I am just now starting to do the back yard! But I probly got so tied up in it cause everyone sees it and that makes you worry about it more.

Carey

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 10:24PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

My entire front yard is a garden. Like most of you, my neighbours thought I was nuts. We tore out all the grass, and the we smashed up the pathway which was off kilter. Then I used the smashed cement as stepping stones and put gravel around it. There is a teeny patio (everyone asked me if it would be the basis of a HOT TUB. A hot tub in the middle of my front yard? I said I'm nuts, Not insane!!! Anyway, it is a place to land a few pots and the wheelbarrow.
Our yard is not large, but it looks much bigger now. It's CRAMMED with plants, a few trees, shrubs, arches with roses, a picket fence, a sunny rock garden.
We purchased the house next door a year ago. There is sun in that yard too, but a huge maple tree makes using most of the yard difficult. So I built three raised vegetable beds there and put mulch paths around them - now i have a tiny potager. People also think that's kind of odd, but you'd be suprised at the number of people who stop and ask a lot of questions about the vegetables. It's been a learning experience for many. So is the front yard garden.
Since we started, there are now several front-yard gardens in a radius of a few miles.

Last week I had the nicest comment from a woman passing by. She took one big whiff of roses and closed her eyes. She said it smelled like France. It seemed to make her very happy.

GGG

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 11:00PM
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gauralady(z5 UT)

I have a Labrador who, despite her advancing years, can still make gardening in the back yard a challenge so I, too, have made my front yard my focus for now. It was an all-grass wonder with one climbing rose by the front porch and a Russian olive next to the driveway. Now we still have some grass but it is surrounded by beds all the way around, plus along the walkway and the driveway, plus a picket fence in progress. I am constantly changing it and some years things look better than others (depends on how many classes I am taking!). Hardly anyone who walks by when I am out fails to say how beautiful it is so if you want to do it, you most likely will have many admirers as well!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 11:36PM
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pitimpinai(z6 Chicago)

Ha! What do you think of my frontyard?
This Spring:

Last Fall & Summer:





    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 12:06AM
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mamimo(Sunset 16)

Pitimpinai--I like your front yard, it's crammed full of life!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 10:14PM
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brighteyes(7)

ok, now im jealous. lol

Your front yard is absolutly beautiful.

Carey

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 11:39PM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

You know, it never occurred to me NOT to have a flower garden in my front yard. Of course, we had a blank slate, one crabapple tree and grass up to the foundation all the way around the house when we bought it, so there was no place to go but UP from there, LOL. The grass in our front yard has been vanishing in increments over the past 9 years. Now there's a nice deep mixed border down one side, and a narrow perennial border on the other (by the retaining wall dropping down to the driveway). The grass on either side of the centered-on-the-front-door walk is the same width - a little symmetry in an otherwise free-form yard. There are also deep beds right up against the front of the house, crammed full of flowers and a couple shrubs.

As I've gotten older I've grown to care less and less what other people think about how I landscape my yard. So it's a front yard - why NOT enjoy a wide variety of plants there? My modest neighborhood is very diverse in respect to how the yards are used and landscaped/gardened. I suspect, though, that I would NOT "fit" in a planned development with restrictions on how/what I could plant. Grass is optional, variety is the spice of life, diversity is GOOD in the garden, and my pet obsession/hobby just happens to be in full public view. . . .

I enjoy it when people out for a walk stop to look and stay to chat - it's a great way to meet people in the neighborhood.

Laurel

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 9:14AM
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krystine(5AOntario)

Funny you should ask this question :)

I garden in my front yard...last summer DH and I made a HUGE flower bed berm smack in the center of our lawn. I Rounded-up the grass twice to kill it all and in the fall, we put in an eco/no-mow lawn and had installed a flagstone path to the front door.

I posted in the GW landscaping forum and asked what I could do to improve on what I had already done. (dumb move on my part). Basically, I was told I was breaking every design principle and to take out the flower bed, put the lawn back, make the path smaller, etc. etc. They had actually used the word 'hideous' to describe my front yard. (Ouch! LOL)

The lesson I learned from this is, "Life is short, it's your yard -- do what you want with it!" LOL

I have lots of plans for my front yard this summer. I'm putting up a huge trellis in the blank space between the 2 windows on the right and growing sweet autumn clematis; I'm going to curve the flagstone bed around the garden and am thinking about even putting in more beds in front.

Spring in the garden...

Last September in the garden...

Here is a link that might be useful: Krystine's Garden Blog

    Bookmark   May 6, 2006 at 9:45AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Krystine,

Well, "hideous" would NOT be my choice of words for your garden! I think you have a nice beginning on your yard. (And how many of us have NOT made changes, and more changes, and even MORE changes as we refine our style and design abilities?) I like your idea of a trellis on the house, with clematis. (Sweet Autumn can be very vigorous - use a TALL trellis, and you might still need a ladder to prune it back each year. . . .) I think a small tree (a river birch? a flowering crabapple? whatever your taste is?) would make a nice vertical accent in your large flower bed as well, perhaps on the left side of the bed, to visually balance out the trellis behind the bed on the right. It would eventually provide some nice shade/privacy for the windows on that side, too.

Laurel

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 8:36AM
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krystine(5AOntario)

Thanks very much Laurel :)

Yes, the trellis will go all the way to the roof of the house. I found a roll of wire at the dump (yahoo) and will be attaching it to the brick using the method linked below.

And I planted a little Royalty crabapple tree on the left last fall... it's just hard to see in the pics because it's a Charlie Brown kind of tree :) I think you may be able to see it best in the first pic.

Thanks again Laurel, I like how you think! LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Az West Valley Rose Society

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 10:47AM
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laurelin(z5a/4b Upstate NY)

Whoops, you're right - there IS a tree there! LOL I need to get my eyes checked again. So, great minds DO think alike!

Recycling - it's a beautiful thing. This year I made temporary clematis trellises out of last year's 8' bamboo bean poles. . . .

Laurel

    Bookmark   May 8, 2006 at 8:42PM
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