Colorful, low-water beach cottage in Manhattan Beach. Photo by June Scott Design, original photo on Houzz

By Annie Thornton | Houzz

There’s so much you can accomplish with a front yard, whether it’s cultivating curb appeal or creating an outdoor living space that encourages neighborly interactions. Although the backyard is often the priority when it comes to outdoor renovation projects, as the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscape Trends Study reveals, the front yard is in hot pursuit. See how four homeowners enhanced their outdoor living spaces by redesigning their front yards. Continue Reading the 2017 U.S. Houzz Landscape Trends Study.

1. Colorful, Low-Water Beach Cottage

Who uses it: Julie McMahon, Greg Fontana and their two young daughters

Location: Manhattan Beach

Lot size: 6,000 square feet

Before: The front yard of this Southern California beach house consisted of little more than crabgrass and some unmanicured shrubs surrounding a mature king palm tree. The homeowners removed the lawn and shrubs on their own before they hired landscape architect June Scott to redesign the space.

After: The landscape renovation also coincided with an update to the home’s exterior, as the homeowners installed HardiePanel board-and-batten siding for a more contemporary farmhouse look to complement the colors of the new plantings. San Diego-Based Siding Contractors.

The redesign of the front yard focused on creating a welcoming entry filled with colorful and textural plants that require little water. “The plants lead the eye from the home to the garden and back again,” Scott says.

The plants shown here include:

  • Grevillea (Grevillea sp.)
  • Foxtail fern (Asparagus densiflorus ‘Myers’, USDA zones 9 to 11, find your zone)
  • Blue chalk sticks (Senecio cylindricus, zones 10 to 11)
  • Silver carpet (Dymondia margaretae, zones 9 to 11)
  • Tree aeonium (Aeonium arboreum, zones 9 to 10)
  • Conebush (Leucadendron ‘Jester’, zones 9 to 10)

Entryway bench: West Elm, refinished in black; exterior paint: Green Blue, Farrow & Ball; door and window trim paint: Meadow View, Benjamin Moore

2. Enclosed Patio Retreat

Who uses it: A retired couple

Location: Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles

Patio size: 558 square feet

Before: The midcentury home sits on a busy street in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood. With heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic passing by every day, the exposed patch of lawn didn’t get much use or provide a relaxing outdoor space for the homeowners.

After: Architect Kurt Krueger transformed the front yard into a private outdoor living space during a whole-home renovation. He filled the double-sided Douglas fir fence with rigid insulation to reduce noise, and he spaced the planks at the top of the fence to allow in more light while maintaining privacy. The same siding for the fence covers the house, creating a cohesive continuity.

Inside the fence, the patio is outfitted like an extension of the home, with a steel-and-Sunbrella shade structure, porcelain floor tiles, luxe lounge furniture, subtle outdoor lighting and a water feature (which also helps muffle street noise). Soak Up the Sun From Outdoor Lounge Chairs on Your Front Lawn.

3. A Collection of Gathering Spaces

Who uses it: Sacha McCrae; her husband, Rob; and their son, Josh

Location: San Clemente

Total size of front and back yards: 4,600 square feet

Before: Homeowner and landscape designer Sacha McCrae of Living Gardens Landscape Design lived in a home steps away from the beach, but her overgrown front yard didn’t allow her to take advantage of the coastal views. It also didn’t appear all that inviting to friends and neighbors.

After: The front yard is now a space for gathering. Multiple seating areas — such as an elevated deck with chaises and a circle of chairs around a fire pit —offer different experiences and destinations. (This photo was taken looking toward the ocean from the house.)

Resilient, attractive and low-water plants like aeonium and elfin thyme (Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’, zones 4 to 8) edge the gathering areas, providing a soft break between the hardscape elements and adding color and texture to the design.

White armchairs: West Elm

4. Midcentury Welcome

Who uses it: James Judge and his husband, Andy Albrecht

Location: Palm Springs

Before: Although a driveway and a carport dominate the front yard of this midcentury modern home in the California desert, as is the case with many homes of the period, they didn’t preclude an opportunity to create a welcoming and attractive front yard that also tied in with the home’s era and location. “We had to bring it back to what it was meant to be,” says homeowner and designer James Judge of Flipping Diaries.

After: A new orange gate, front door and planters create a vivacious entry where all the elements play with one another and speak to the desert aesthetic. “Orange makes it feel very Palm Springs,” Judge says. Blue cools and contrasts the design, as seen in the frame around the frosted entry fence.

Although much of the yard remains hidden from view, the succulent plantings, matching container plantings, midcentury modern light fixture, and colorful new front gate and fence create a fun and attractive landscape that doesn’t require much maintenance to create a high impact.

Address numbers: Hobby Lobby; hanging globe light: Sea Gull Lighting

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