Most of us only take our front yard landscaping to the curb appeal zone. We make sure that it is eye-catching and well-maintained. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, there is an opportunity to take that landscaping to another level by creating a social front yard. A social front yard becomes a functional space to gather with friends, family and neighbors. Social spaces are trending as not only an added place to gather outdoors, but also as a way to elevate the value of your home.
Better Homes & Gardens cites that “According to data from Yardzen, a virtual landscape design service, requests for functional front yard designs have increased by 150%” in their article Why Functional Front Yards Are Spiking in Popularity. They are more eco-friendly than traditional lawns, can build a sense of community and add more functional outdoor space to your home.
If you are considering what Food52 calls The Front Yard Design Trend That Puts Friendliness First so that your front yard becomes a spot for happy hours, neighborly chats, dinner parties and family fire pits, here are three ways to bring it to life!
- Landscape with Purpose
One of the most important things to consider is ensuring your home does not feel closed-off or imposing, so planting should allow views from the street to create an inviting feel. If you have a smaller yard, avoid large shrubs. Instead, plant near the edges of your yard to create the illusion of a larger yard.
Create semi-private zones with tall grasses. Because of their height and airy texture, they are excellent for partially obscuring views to create semi-private zones that still feel welcoming to passers-by. Small canopy trees or tall ornamental shrubs like redbuds, dogwoods, or desert willow can define the edges of social spaces without a closed-off feeling.
If you have small children or pets that will join you in the front yard, you may want to incorporate front yard fencing with your planting design. MyDomaine has 21 Front Yard Fencing Ideas Sure to Increase Your Curb Appeal.
2. Gather by the Fire
Fire pits are in major demand. They are a natural social hub and allow for style flexibility. They look equally at home in a modern or rustic setting. Architectural Digest has 29 Outdoor Firepit Ideas That Are Lit to find a perfect fit for your space and aesthetic.
Placement, size, and fuel are key when considering a front yard fire pit. Front yards are generally smaller than back yards and offer much more limited storage. If you are considering a built-in front yard fire pit, gas may be the way to go. It is controlled and eliminates the issue of smoke and the need to find a place to store wood to burn.
3. Make a Room
The design of an outdoor room starts with the key happenings you intend to take place. Consider whether you’ll be planning on doing more than hanging out for a chat. If you need to, carve out space for dining, entertaining, or family activities from the beginning of the design process. The strongest designs make social or functional spaces feel like integral parts of the design instead of disconnected fragments within the front yard.
Create a sense of oneness with cohesive planting and by sticking to material palettes, as well as keeping edges open with limited obstacles that would impede sightlines and circulation. Consider clustering potted plants and larger planters to frame out separate seating areas, so the implication of a room is there, but the yard still feels very much connected. Lastly, prefab seating instead of built-in custom seating is a great option for front yards, as they can easily be moved around for multiple functions. This Old House has 39 Budget-Wise Ways to Create Outdoor Rooms for more ideas.
Wishing you a fall filled with love, laughter, and festive front yard gatherings!
Kelly Jourdan, REALTOR®