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  • Graham Cox

Five ways to make the most of your front garden and improve its kerb appeal

When you think about it, you probably spend more time walking through your front garden, to and from the front door, than you do in the back garden, although it's usually the back garden on which we focus more of our energies.

It's an area which we see so often, we don't actually 'see' it.

If your front garden area is looking a bit neglected, needs updating or lacks kerb appeal (which is particularly important when you're trying to sell a property) here are some handy pieces of advice from Shrub & Stone.

1. The path to your home gives a key first impression to visitors and it's particularly important to get it looking good if you're planning on selling your home.

What state is the pathway up to your front door like? Cracked concrete isn't going to give the best first impression and is a magnet for untidy weeds. We've upgraded outdoor paving and pathways for several clients - using Victorian tiling and modern slate to create a remarkable difference.

Victorian tiled exterior pathway
We've restored Victorian pathways to several front doors as well as creating more modern looks.

2. Formal and neat is the best approach when it comes to a garden, particularly if you're pushed for time. Think about structure, space and height. You want plants that will work well winter and summer.

Wall climbing plants need expert pruning and can look untidy if not maintained.

3. If you're short of light inside your house, then look at any bushes or plants that are climbing up the exterior front walls. Straggly climbers can get out of hand quickly and look untidy, as well as creating unwanted shade in interiors. Specialist pruning of climbers like roses, hydrangeas and wisteria can give plants a new lease of life and keep them where they belong. It's best to leave pruning like this to garden experts as they have the right equipment to do it safely and will leave the plant in the best shape.

pruning wallclimbing shrub
Heavy pruning of wallclimbing shrubs is best left to experts, who will do it safely.

4. Plants under windows can create focal points and scent on summer evenings. At Shrub and Stone we're big fans of decorative mulches - like slate - to keep watering to a minimum (and stop neighbouring cats using your beds as their convenience.)

5. Dustbins are a necessary evil, but often need to be part of a front garden design . We've advised several clients on how to disguise them - whether it's behind a trellis or a low wall.

front garden ideas
Neat and simple often works best for front gardens. Here slate paving is enhanced by a grey front door.

6. Your local council planning department will probably have strict rules on what you can do outside your house - particularly if you live in a conservation area. At Shrub and Stone we've advised several clients on what is possible (and what isn't) and have guided them through the planning process. The council will have rules on heights of walls, fences and sometimes even the type of door you can use, as well as paving surfaces.

7. Lighting the outside of your home provides for better security and will create a really welcoming atmosphere. You can have solar lights embedded in the pathway and lighting that focuses on exterior features which you wish to highlight. Good lighting is definitely a key part of garden design and makes a subtle but telling difference.

8. Finally, think about the front door. Could it do with a coat of paint? Your front door is a real focal point and should fit in with the style and design of your home. According to Houzz, the most popular front door colours are black, white, grey, natural, blue, red and yellow.

Don't forget the door furniture either. Maybe you need a new door knob, knocker or letterbox? In addition, it's relatively easy to change existing glass panels in a door. You can swap unattractive glazing for something more modern or something decorative and traditional. For security, it's best to make sure that whatever glazing you choose has a level of opacity.

At Shrub and Stone we've advised plenty of clients on how to improve the kerb appeal of their front gardens and carried out several projects. Get in touch for an informal chat to see how we can help you.

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