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A front garden is a wonderful space to utilise regardless of the type of house you have, whether that’s a terrace, semi-detached or detached property.
There are, of course, a few things to consider. You should choose plants that flower in every season, plant tall foliage to provide colour, privacy and a place for insects, but make sure these plants won’t block the front windows. You also aim to use as little paving as possible. If you need to use part of your front garden to park your car, you can limit paving to only two strips of bricks.
- Front garden essentials
- Parking space vs front garden
CHOOSING PLANTS AND SHRUBS FOR THE FRONT GARDEN
• Waist-height hedges mean you get the most light streaming through your windows.
• Lavender smells wonderful, while bamboo adds a modern look, offers privacy and is easier to look after than most perennials.
• Small lawns can be hard to maintain, so try a ground cover plant. The evergreen Campanula poscharskyana (trailing bellflower) or Fragaria moschata (musk strawberry) will cover bare earth quickly.
• Climbers help brighten plain walls. Provide support for rambling or climbing roses, clematis and honeysuckle.
• Grouped plant pots and containers can add interest to a paved garden. If you’re worried about thieves, add broken bricks to the bases to make them too heavy to move.
Anne Green-ArmytageGetty Images
COMBINING PLANTS AND PARKING
If you have a terrace house
• For a parking space, lay two strips of bricks or permeable paving the correct distance apart for the tyres to rest on.
• Cover the ground with a permeable membrane and a layer of gravel to prevent weeds and keep it tidy. Cut a hole in the membrane to plant bushes, flowers and ground cover, such as creeping juniper, which can then spill across the gravel.
• Flower pots and planters can create a focal point away from the car and help brighten a hidden corner.
• Make the most of any walls or fences by planting climbers.
• An elegant topiary bay or olive tree positioned either side of the front door will help frame the entrance and guide visitors.
• Keeping the bins in the back garden may not be an option, so use a simple trellis or fence construction to keep them in place and hide the plastic from view.
If you have a semi-detached house
• Most front gardens of semi-detached homes have space for two cars, but you don’t want it looking like a pay and display. Without room for a lawn, consider using two different types of eco-friendly paving solutions.
• Around the edges, use gravel or slate chippings, which are perfect for planting into and keeping weeds suppressed, and also offer security, while the main driveway could be laid with long-lasting permeable brick or resin-bonded gravel, which can blend seamlessly with the planted-up gravelled areas.
• Hedges not only define your boundary, but also provide shelter for wildlife and a breeding ground for bugs and insects.
• Small trees mingled with bushes and low-level planting help attract birds, can shield a window from glare if positioned carefully and create natural privacy from neighbours.
If you have a detached house
• Use tall plants to shield parts of the garden, hide a car from the house or create a secluded area to enjoy the sun.
• Construct hard surfaces using permeable paves, which allow more water into the ground than traditional paving.
• If you still like to have grass, consider reinforcing the lawn with a matrix paving system. The grass will still look good and won’t get churned up by wheels.
• A sweeping driveway in permeable block paving or resin-bonded gravel with soft verges will give a natural finish.
• Take pictures inside the house looking out to help you position trees and bushes. Avoid blocking the view and frame it instead.
5 tips for creating a harmonious look
Garden designer, Paul Hervey-Brookes, offers this advice:
1. Think vertical. If you have to park a car but still want green spaces for birds, wildlife and seasonal colour, consider planting climbers for house and boundary walls, along with open canopy trees, such as birches, to create the feeling of more space.
2. Lay permeable paving for the car and your feet, taking care to work out how much you really need. A permeable driveway solution allows water to drain away between the blocks, making it a perfect choice when you need to satisfy the strict legislation you can sometimes face when it comes to installing a driveway.
3. You could even lay just two rows of paving for car tyres, then plant low, fragrant hard-wearing plants such as thyme, mint and oregano to aromatically green the space when the car is not there. This will allow you to create a safe and solid space to park your car, without losing the plant life that you enjoy having in your front garden.
4. Use a combination of aggregates and paving to give the sense of extra space. The gritty gravels are perfect for hard-wearing scree natives like rosemary and lavender which enjoy the drainage, rewarding you with fragrance as you walk by.
5. If you have space, include shrubs which have flowers and interesting autumn colour to help give a sense of privacy and create seasonal interest. Some old fashioned fruits like medlar, usually grown as a small tree, are ideal for this as they give flower, fruit and fantastic autumn colours.
Front garden essentials
Garden Lavender Tree
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This beautifully scented lavender tree in a keepsake hessian bag is perfect for any doorstep.
Round Hanging Basket with Liner
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This hanging basket – complete with a chain and hook – comes with a natural coco lining which is great for absorbing and maintaining moisture of flowering plants.
Riveted diamond trellis
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Made from high-quality hardwood, train up climbing plants with this super-strong expanding trellis.
Smart Garden Boxleaf Artificial topiary ball
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Ideal for hanging on hooks by archways and doorways, this artificial topiary ball is durable and strong and is ideal for front gardens – plus no maintenance required.
Addis Outdoor Round Dustbin with Lockable Lid
BUY NOW £29.54, Amazon
If you need an outdoor dustbin for your front garden, a design with a lockable lid is ideal. This dusky grey shade is subtle and stylish enough and won’t be much of an eyesore.
The House Beautiful team From the team at House Beautiful
Parking space vs front garden
If you live on a busy street where a residents’ parking permit costs nearly the same amount as a fortnight in the Maldives, then you may be tempted to turn your front garden into a parking space. You are not alone: according to a report carried out by the London Assembly, if you were to join up all the front gardens in London that have been paved over, it equates to the same area as 5,200 football pitches. Before you order a truckload of tarmac, though, there are a few things that you should consider.
Preserving the front garden is not just a matter of aesthetics.
- Flash flooding is probably the most contentious issue, where rainwater that would have steadily seeped into the soil rushes over the paving and floods into the land drains.
- Losing those precious pockets of green also significantly reduces the habitat available for wildlife.
- It lowers air quality, making city streets much hotter at night when the heat absorbed by the paving during the day is released; this is known as the ‘heat island effect’.
It is possible to create parking and still maintain a front garden, but it requires careful planning. You need to find out if there are any restrictions in your area – for example, if you live in conservation zone or a listed property – and if so you will have to apply to your local council for permission. In general, planning permission is not required if you intend to use permeable paving, but if you are using impermeable paving then the area concerned must be less than five square metres.
With permeable paving you must ensure that the sub base will also allow water to drain through – this is known as ‘open graded’. The sub base must also be of substantial enough depth to support the weight of vehicles.
The most effective way to create parking and use the least amount of paving is to lay two tracks into the garden, positioned under the vehicle’s wheels. The pavers must be suitable for vehicular use, with each track typically 300mm to 600mm in width – the wider the tracks the easier it is to drive on to them. This solution looks extremely effective if the tracks are laid into gravel or a dense matt of low planting. If you have to drop the pavement kerb in order to safely drive out into the road, the local council will have to grant permission and would carry out the work at your expense.
Here are some examples:
Things to consider when choosing permeable paving
- Gravel – this is generally one of the cheapest options but can easily scatter and is not great for use on a sloping site.
- Land-based gravel, rather than pea shingle, is larger sized and may be more appropriate, because it is less inclined to scatter.
- Reinforced grass – this is where grass is grown through a plastic honeycomb matrix. It can look effective but good ground preparation is essential and you will need to select a very tough variety of grass.
- On a heavy clay soil you may need to install additional drainage such as a soakaway, because the soil will not drain as well as a more sandy soil, making it prone to surface run-off and flooding.
- You need to keep permeable paving clear of fallen leaves, debris or soil to ensure that the water is able to drain away effectively – this is especially important with block paving where the gaps in between the paving stones can become blocked.
Words Annie Guilfoyle is a garden designer and former director of Garden Design at KLC School of Design
When you are building your new home, designing a front garden with parking area is one of the most difficult tasks. Front Garden must comprise of a large area with parking facility as well. When someone enters your home, it is the first place they come across with. A front space neatly filled with flowers and having a parking area with it can increase the value of your home. Plant your garden with the type of flowers that grow well in every season. As far as parking is concerned, use little paving. If you need to use part of your front garden for car parking, limit your paving to two strips of bricks. Other than flowers, you can also decorate your front garden with grass, rocks and many other creative things.
Also read: Best Curtain Rail for Bay Windows UK
Front Garden Design Ideas Low Maintenance
You live in a modest home and want your front garden size to be a modest one. Front Garden Design Ideas Low Maintenance requires great thought, care, and strategies. A proper front garden requires an equal balance of grass, vegetation, and fencing etc. You can reuse creative materials that are low maintenance, cheap or free. You can also use plants that require little water or care. Another cheap design can be created by the use of ornamental grasses for a contemporary garden.
Small Front Garden Ideas with parking
Although in small spaces, it is so hard to create a front garden as well as a parking lot. Small Front Garden Ideas with parking can also make your home look appealing. You can build a curved driveway leading a path to the front door. You can also create a mix of lawn on one side and planting area on the other side. In this way, you can create a style, energy, and movement to your front garden.
Front Garden Driveway Ideas UK
A Driveway is a short road connecting the entrance of a home. Driveway paving is so popular in the UK these days. Front Garden Driveway Ideas UK provides a space for you to park your cars and improve your home’s outside look. These driveways look so stylish. These are made from a variety of materials. These include asphalt, concrete, cobblestone and decorative bricks etc.
Contemporary Front Garden Design with Parking
Contemporary Front Garden Design Ideas with Images is an art form that will reflect style and individuality. These designs emphasize on crafting an organized space. Plantation ideas bring with themselves playfulness and liveliness. Another positive aspect of these images is that you get a clear idea of what type of front garden you want to create.
Decorating a front yard takes a lot of work. But decorating a front yard with rocks is hassle free and requires little upkeep. A rock yard looks attractive and does not need mowing. Well, there are a lot of flowers plants those which actually take small space. flowers like Busy Lizzie, Fuchsia, Geranium, Petunia grand Prix, Heuchera heavenly, Geranium burgundy, Tomato tumbling tom and Geranium red are best for making your front yard look beautiful. Outlining the flowers plants with stones increase their beauty.
For more click here: Front Garden Design Ideas
Question: Parking has become very difficult in our street so we would like to build a driveway on our front garden. However, we live in a conservation area — so would this be allowed? If it is possible to go ahead with it, are there any other factors we should consider?
Answer: You will most likely need to build a vehicle crossover — ie a dropped kerb — so that your car can be driven safely from the road across the pavement and on to your driveway.
If you live on anything other than a private road, you will have to apply for permission to do this from your local council, and the council will have to come and build it for you.
Expect to pay £1,000 to £1,400 and remember that permission is not automatic. The council will only agree if planners are convinced that you can enter and leave the driveway safely, and if you are on a busy road or opposite a bus stop, or your house is sited so that visibility to oncoming traffic or pedestrians is obscured by bushes, walls or a bend in the road, you’ll have a job on your hands.
Expect to pay up to £1,400: you’ll need to foot the council’s bill for installing a drop kerb to allow safe access to your new garden parking space (Alamy)
You will also need to show that your front garden is big enough to accommodate a standard vehicle (minimum 2.4 metres by 4.8 metres) without it overhanging the pavement.
Once you have obtained permission for your crossover — or after your council has confirmed such permission isn’t necessary — you can convert your front garden into a driveway under permitted development rules, subject to certain conditions.
You will need planning permission if your council has made an Article 4 direction removing some or all permitted development rights from your property. Assuming no Article 4 directions exist, you must construct the driveway using porous materials such as gravel, permeable block paving, porous asphalt or concrete to ensure rainwater soaks away into the ground rather than running into the street.
Without this, water will collect on the surface and could contribute to urban flooding, including to any nearby basements, and even cause structural problems to your own property.
Keep it green: some plants will tolerate being parked on, and create a good-looking space. The RHS tips thyme, bugle and creeping Jenny (Marshalls)
The Royal Horticultural Society recommends retaining a green driveway surface by planting species of creeping Jenny, bugle and thyme which can tolerate being parked over.
You may also need to demolish a portion of your front garden wall, fence or railing, to provide enough width for your car to enter. In a conservation area you can demolish a front boundary wall without planning permission if it is no more than a metre high.
Should you need to remove any trees, you must notify your council, but I would advise against removing too many flowers or shrubs. A recent Barclays survey found most house hunters typically try to knock 10-20 per cent off the asking price if a property lacks kerb appeal, so it makes sense to keep your front garden as green and pleasant as possible, while keeping any hard landscaping to a minimum.
If you would like planning advice, contact [email protected]
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I live on the east end, down on the Danforth, and am very well aware of the crazy downtown rules when it comes to parking. I’m one of the lucky few that actually has legal front pad parking which was grandfathered in the day. Here are some key points for you to consider:
– it’s expensive to apply
– it’s close to impossible to get approved
– when your neighbors get asked (on your appeal) you have to canvas them, and give them stamps to send the request back to the city (city doesn’t cover postage). You have to have 100% approval. Anyone that says ‘no’, or doesn’t send their form back, you automatically get denied.
– you will probably be next denied due to change in rules – too close to house, too close to sidewalk, not enough grass/tree area in the front. Using today’s bylaws, I don’t think ANY front pad parking would be legal!
– you have to pay for everything – after permits, multiple appeals, construction, land survey, city inspector, gift to city to plant trees elsewhere to cover this loss .. you’re looking at 5,000$+ (a friend of mine just went through this in Lea Side!)
And then comes the kicker .. since technically it is city property (6′ away from the sidewalk) .. you get to pay for the privilege of parking your every year (I believe it cost me ~200$ for the year this year). And if you skip payment, guess what happens! Permit revoked, and you go through all that hell and expense AGAIN. This is why legal front pad parking adds 10,000-20,000$ to the value of a house in downtown TO!
Your best bet .. if you don’t want to fight it… get street parking. I’m paying about 10$ per month for our 2nd car to park on the street in front of the house.
Some things to note:
– if you do decide to break the law, and widen it .. there’s parking enforcement guys driving around all the time.. they will see it, and call the city inspector (happened to my neighbor). He was told that he can finish it .. at which point the city will bring a contractor and rip it out at the home owners expense. He ended finishing it, but installing big, unmovable planters next to the sidewalk which permanently stops cars from parking on this spot. Another house down the street had one of those concrete curbs installed right on the sidewalk side! Talk about a permanent eye soar! Good luck with the resell!
– in the picture you provided .. something doesn’t look right. Why is your neighbor parking in front of the lane way? Lane ways in Toronto are shared between 2 homes, and legally can’t be converted to parking spots/shared between neighbors (Even though Realtors will try to sell you on the idea when shopping for a home!) The property line is right between the 2 houses, extending to the street. His car can’t be on/past the line!