Have you lived too long with an entry you don’t love, vowing that this will be the year of the new front yard? Before beginning your project, you’ll want to consider all the elements and how they work in concert to create great curb appeal and a wonderful welcome to your home.
Project: Redo the front yard.
Why: Your landscape is one of the first things you, a visitor or a prospective buyer sees when arriving at your house. Renovating the front yard can renew your pride in your home, increase its value and, if desired, lower landscape maintenance costs.
Reasons to Redo Your Front Yard
1. Circulation is not functioning well. The main purpose of the front yard is to provide an entrance to your home. A good design strategy includes:
○ Planning for vehicle circulation and parking
○ Creating a welcoming walkway to the front door
○ Highlighting the front entry
2. Views need to be blocked or enhanced. Options for enclosing a front yard for privacy include walls, fencing and plants. Be aware that most municipalities have regulations governing the height and setback of front walls and fences.
3. You’d like to reduce watering or other maintenance costs. A front yard renovation can be a prime opportunity to consider which site elements can be made more ecologically sustainable. New plantings and lawn alternatives can help your new front yard conserve water. Strategically placed trees can help reduce cooling costs in summer by shading your home, and heating costs in winter by blocking wind.
Who to hire: Good front yard design is often about proportion, and a landscape designer or landscape architect can help determine the correct width and layout of paths, select the appropriate-size trees and place other elements in the landscape so that they are correctly scaled next to your home. Designers can also bring together all of the material and plant elements to make a cohesive design that complements your home’s architecture. Once you have a design, approach licensed landscape contractors next; they’re skilled in laying hardscape, grading, planting and installing irrigation and lighting.
Cost: The primary front landscape expense is typically paving, with costs ranging from $5 per square foot for concrete to $25 per square foot or higher for stone or brick. Gravel or decomposed granite paths are usually less expensive to install than concrete, stone or brick. If you will be replacing paving, this may also be an opportunity to make your landscape more permeable.
Sod is typically $3 to $4 per square foot. In addition, you can expect to spend an average of $1,000 to $3,000 on plantings and $2,000 to $5,000 on irrigation.
Typical project length: Two to four weeks for design plus one to two weeks for demolition and installation.
Best time to do this project: Spring in areas with cold winters; fall or winter in hotter climates.