7 Great Structures For Front Yard
Your front yard is the transition from the rest of your neighborhood to the inside of your home, so its features are important. It’s also what your neighbors see when they are out in their own yards, what passersby look at when they drive by and, most important, the first thing you see when you come home. Large structures for front yards play an integral part in how a the front of your home is organized and laid out, so give them some thought for an entry that works best for you.
1. Arbors. There is something very charming and quaint about a front-yard arbor. It not only says, “Welcome”; it seems to holler, “Come on in and visit for a while!” Arbors can accent a cottage, but they can also set off a more contemporary house — it’s all in the materials. A rose-topped white lattice looks very traditional, while angular steel with clipped evergreen ivy lends a cool, contemporary vibe. The arbor and plant material offer a one-two punch.
2. Fences. Not every front yard needs a fence, but sometimes it helps to create a separation between the sidewalk and the garden. Front-yard fences should not be the same type of privacy fence as in a backyard; they should be more open and friendlier, setting off your garden rather than sealing it off.
3. Gates. Gates can be built into a fence to signal your visitors where to enter, or they can be added to an arbor for a charming effect. A well-placed and thoughtfully constructed gate sets off the entry while creating a bit of separation from the rest of the world. While not a necessity in most cases, gates provide a thoughtful transition from one space to another.
4. Artwork. Why should artwork be relegated to the backyard? And by artwork, I don’t mean small, kitschy pieces you pick up at the craft store — I mean honest-to-goodness artisan-crafted pieces. Tuck in some that are made to withstand the elements, like these stunning glass curlicues. Also look for unique pieces like framed prints that are made for outdoor display, interesting wood pieces that start conversations and forged steel art that can stand alone in the middle of your front lawn.
5. Statues. Statues go under the heading of artwork as well, of course, but they have a stronger presence than many other art pieces do. Statues lend an air of timelessness and grace to a garden, whether they’re custom made or prefabricated and readily available.
6. Fountains. Water features create a sensory experience for you and your visitors that is difficult to create in any other way: the sound of trickling or splashing, the movement of falling water and the visual coolness that water provides on a hot day. Fountains can be grand “look at me” features or out-of-the-way accents tucked into a garden, waiting to be discovered.
7. Retaining walls. If you have a front yard with a steep slope, you may need to install some retaining walls or terraces to make it more accessible and to keep soil erosion to a minimum. Retaining walls can be a series of low walls, like the ones shown here, to create a gentle step-down effect, and can be made from a variety of eye-catching materials. Rock cut into stackable blocks has a very clean appearance, while larger boulders nestled into the soil look more casual and cottage-y. Steel retaining walls are more contemporary and have a rustic elegance.