Whether you’ve got a large front garden worthy of a Grand Designs-style driveway, or something more modest, planning a front garden needs careful thought. After all, this area of your property serves several purposes. It can be your driveway and parking area, the first thing visitors see and a place to express yourself with plants and design. If you’re planning an overhaul of your front garden, here are seven simple steps to follow to make it as perfect as possible:
- Consider the position of the driveway
When it comes to planning a new driveway, there are several aspects to consider. The size of your garden may limit your layout options, but it’s essential to consider the use of your driveway. Think about the terrain – is it on a hill or a slope? Will there be access problems in snow or ice? Allow a good width too – although some driveways are as narrow as nine feet, up to 12 feet is preferable. Don’t forget to locate your utilities before any excavation work takes place.
- Think about the best driveway surface
Consider the best surface for your driveway and whether your choice means you need planning permission. Non-porous driveways such as block paving, asphalt and resin-bonded don’t allow rainwater to permeate and can contribute to overwhelmed storm drains. Gravel driveways are permeable and installing Gravelrings to keep gravel in place is SuDS-compliant. Gravelrings customer Ivan Holding found a gravel driveway was ideal for his large, gently sloping drive.
- Plan for parking and turning
Before you commit too much of your front garden to lawn and planting, be realistic about how many cars need to be parked and how they will turn. It might mean making your driveway bigger and, but on a practical level, it could make everyday life easier. To park two cars side by side, you’ll need to allow around 24 feet to accommodate both vehicles comfortably. Gravelrings customer Michael Alderton planned for ample parking and turning spaces when he built his new home, with the large gravelled areas beautifully softened with National Trust-style landscaping.
- Plan other hard landscaping
Once you’ve planned the location and surface of the driveway and parking areas, think about whether any other hard landscaping is needed. Is a pedestrian path to the front door required? Will it be a gravel or brick path? Do you want any seating at the front of your home that needs to be on a decked or paved area? Think about whether you want other hard landscaping to be the same material as your driveway, or something complementary to provide more variety and definition.
- Gates and boundaries
Define your property boundaries with gates or walls to create distinct lines and delineation of your property’s boundaries. A picket fence may suit a country-style property, or perhaps a stylish wall for something grander. Fences and walls also serve a security purpose, so think about what your property would benefit from. If your home would suit automatic gates, now’s the time to decide what would work best.
- Soft landscaping schemes
Planting and soft landscaping in front gardens have many benefits. They can help soak up rain, provide homes to wildlife, absorb pollutants, and provide welcome scent when you return home. Symmetry and structure are fail-safe methods for achieving a good look, as are well-defined flowerbeds that look attractive year-round. Don’t underestimate the flexibility of pots – they’re perfect for corners, lining paths and flanking doorways. For more soft landscaping ideas, the RHS has plenty of planting ideas and design inspiration whether you want an abundance of rose bushes or something a little more low-maintenance.
Once you’ve mapped out the layout of your front garden and have a planting scheme in mind, consider the finishing touches. Outdoor lighting is a practical addition to illuminate parking areas, driveways, pathways and front doorsteps. Security lighting in front gardens is a sensible addition, particularly in more remote properties. And feature lighting, such as up-lighting trees can provide the final wow-factor to finish off your front garden.
Achieve the perfect gravel driveway with the Beauxfort Gravelrings system. Check out our website www.beauxfort.com for more information about the Beauxfort landscape systems and design inspiration, and to download the Beauxfort Distinctive Landscape Systems brochure and request a free sample. Or talk to our friendly team about your project by contacting us on 0330 055 2599 or firstname.lastname@example.org.