Or what I saw on my walk this morning
This morning I took advantage of a break in the rain to head out for walk. Not surprisingly, my favorite aspect of this choice of exercise is the opportunity to see what people are up to in their front yards. Of course, most of my energy goes towards mentally redesigning the landscapes I pass by, but I often get ideas that are particularly useful because they are real world examples - not something out of a glossy shelter magazine. So, in the inimitable style of Glamour Magazine's Dos and Don'ts, here are some of my observations:
DO replace lawn with low water plants
A little dated, the phormiums to either side of the pathway have gotten too big, and this garden could use a bit more color contrast, however, this is an excellent example of a low maintenance, no lawn front yard. Scale and balance are first rate, something much more difficult to achieve in lawn-free environment. I sometimes forget the KISS principle - keep it simple, stupid- and this garden is a good reminder for me.
DON'T - create a fortress of green around your home
An oversized, looming wall is always unpleasant to be around - the fact that it's made of plants instead of wood doesn't make it any better. Regardless, Italian cypress is a horrible choice for this sort of thing as it gets way too big, looks shabby up close and can't really be pruned attractively. Leave it where it belongs; punctuating the countryside in France and Italy.
This one looks like some bizarre suburban game of hedge shearing one-upmanship.
DO make it easy to see the path to the front door
Another slightly dated lawnless front, but that just shows the owners were ahead of the curve. The path to the front door is easy to see and not overwhelmed by the plants, an important design objective in the front. Love the red accents.
DON'T make the front door the only feature there is
This much hardscape is expensive! Couldn't a little of the budget been spared for even one plant?
This is actually a charming entry and looks like it was recently done, but the no-plants look should have been a no-go and the funky path needs to be replaced. Although speaking of paths...
...at least there is one! I have the uncomfortable feeling I've somehow walked in on this house before it had time to dress.
FYI, if you're wondering about the black blindfolds, in true Glamour Magazine Dos and Don'ts style, this is my attempt to black out the house's "eyes" to ensure anonymity. And no houses were harmed in the photographing of this post.