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The front yard is the first section of your property that your guests and neighbors see. How it looks makes a quick but loud statement about you. It’s like product packaging—it can intrigue people, leave them indifferent or scare them away. Besides exterior appeal, a lovely front yard inspires productivity, draws out your nurturing side, brings a homey feel to your porch and makes coming home an exciting experience.
Front yard remodeling requires sound planning and execution. However, desert landscaping is by no means simple. In this blog post, we explore front yard ideas that can make your Phoenix home look more welcoming and breathtaking from the outside — for both you and your guests.
Your front yard has different landscaping requirements from your backyard. Most homes have smaller front yards than backyards. Additionally, this part of the property is the most public and, oftentimes, tends to be the most formal. The front yard is important in kindling human connections, though often, it has fewer activity spaces than the backyard.
One way to get inspiration for your Phoenix landscape is to go to desert ideas on Houzz, or to browse through our Pinterest. But what you only get in this article are the context and guidelines that explain how to take your yard from good to great.
Also, in Arizona, landscaping regulations are implemented more strictly in front yards than backyards. For example, water conservation rules may limit your options for your front irrigation system, vegetation and water features but not as much in the back. You must make clever tweaks to make your front yard as hospitable as the rest of your home. Front yard projects in a desert region are more complex than they seem unless you work with a reputable landscaping service.
When creating a front yard landscape design, think of this area’s two most important functions. First, it is your home’s facade. You’d want it to make an impact, endure environmental conditions and look neighborly. Second, it is the gateway to your property. The entryway and doorstep must be easy for your guests to find without compromising your privacy and safety.
With these in mind, the following should get your creative juices flowing:
Most homes have driveway-dominant front yards. We get it—cars need more space than people, but such a design is both inconvenient and visually unappealing.
A too-wide driveway leaves little space for people heading to your doorstep. Groups fleeing hurriedly from the rain or deep in conversation may find your entry path too snug for comfort.
Also, a driveway-dominant front yard shifts the focal point of this part of the property to your driveway or garage. Vast areas of gray or other plain colors don’t make for great aesthetics.
There are plenty of things you can do to make your entry path as prominent as your driveway. If you have enough space, widen your entryway. If you don’t, pave it and use boulders, pebbles, or plants to accentuate its sides. The important thing is to not leave it as an ignorable dirt road.
If you have a sloping entryway, slip-proof steps can set it apart from your driveway. A few well-placed lights can make night strolls safer.
Hot summer days are a given in the Sonoran desert. If you’re inviting guests over for a pool party, why not make the trek to your home friendlier by shading your entryway or doorstep?
Covering these parts of your property ensures your guests’ comfort as they walk to your home or wait at your door, regardless of the weather conditions. Strategically-placed seating areas and other fixtures can also help expand your living space in this direction. A well-designed roof can likewise complement your home exterior and boost curb appeal.
You have many shade options for your entryway or doorstep, but lattice roofs, closed roofs and trees are the most popular.
Pergolas are examples of lattice roofs. They provide only partial shade by themselves. Flowering vines can add to their beauty while increasing overhead protection.
A closed roof shields you completely from both rain and sunlight. Put it where it doesn’t block good views of your landscape.
Lining your entryway with tall trees is another approach. Besides providing shade, trees also cool the surroundings, clean up the air and make your home wildlife-friendly. Palo verde, southern live oak and smoke tree are some drought-resistant types you can plant in your front yard.
An easy-to-find front door makes your home inviting to first-time visitors. Additionally, by tweaking your “arrival area,” you can make trips to your house unforgettable even before guests set foot in it. Some ideas to consider are decking, lighting and adding a front door enclosure.
A deck enhances curb appeal and gives a great view of the outdoors. It can also expand your living space if you protect it with a roof or put furniture in it. This part of your home can serve as a waiting area, conversation nook, recreation space and others.
Front porch lighting can make your evening guests feel welcome and increase your property’s security. The right pieces can add drama to your house and highlight a uniquely-styled front door if you have one. Play with different light colors, heights, styles and sizes if you want your house to match the moods of special holidays.
Day and night views of an Arizona property. In the daytime, passersby can see the colorful garden. At night, the lights create a theatrical effect around the house—a soothing sight when coming off of a busy workday. This is one of our projects.
A front door enclosure not only makes your foyer easy to locate but also protects the privacy of the people entering and leaving your house. Front door enclosures create vestibules of various shapes. You can tailor them to your home’s architecture and make a unique front porch design.
Examples of vestibules. The left photo shows a rectangular vestibule, while the right one has a round type. These enclosures weren’t done by Straight Line Landscape, though they served as canvases for our projects.
To make these home improvements work, clear your front porch of overgrown, view-obstructing shrubs and trees.
Vegetation is essential to the artistic aspect of front yard landscaping. Plants and trees, especially colorful ones, break the visual monotony of desert roads and wide driveways. Besides their charm and environmental benefits, cultivating greens can also be a worthwhile recreation.
In arid places like Phoenix, Arizona, residents widely support water-conserving landscaping ideas. Front yards may have low-water-use lawns, container gardens and xeriscaped full gardens.
You can have a low-water-use lawn by limiting the area occupied by natural grass. Resilient varieties like Bermuda grass and St. Augustine grass are common in Arizona homes.
Alternatively, you can use artificial turf as ground cover. Consider adding a putting green, too, as long as you have enough space and it won’t ruin your facade’s architectural feel. Front yard putting greens are currently trending because they’re fun and help with fitness goals.
Potting and using planters are forms of container gardening. They can help you cultivate tropical plants in places where water and good soil are scarce. The right pot and planter choice can reduce your watering needs. Check with your HOA and local nursery for tropical plant variety restrictions in your area.
If you want a full desert garden in your front yard, it’s best to fill it with desert-adapted greens. This is one way to “xeriscape” or create a drought-proof landscape. Arizona’s native plants, like the saguaro cactus, desert marigold, and bougainvillea, thrive even with little water. You can also plant drought-tolerant palm trees and non-cactus succulents like aloe vera.
When greening up your desert landscape, complement low-water-use plants with an efficient irrigation system. Also, put tall plants where they don’t make lawn mowing difficult or obstruct views from your front door and windows.
Water conservation is a pervasive concept in desert landscape designs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have water features at all on your property. Water features attract wildlife and make lovely focal points. However, for Arizona front yards, choices are limited to smaller, more water-efficient types. Fountains, pondless falls and birdbaths belong in this category.
Fountains are structures that shoot narrow streams of water in a trajectory. They not only create a mesmerizing sight, but their relaxing sound serenades anyone walking to your doorstep. They can set the stage for formal gatherings at your home. Built-in water recyclers can reduce their water use.
Waterfalls are similar to fountains but with a wider stream and lower trajectory. Some are built with ponds so they can support both aquatic and aerial life forms. Making them pondless and attaching them to recyclers enhance their water efficiency.
A birdbath is a shallow, stylish water container where birds can drink and cool down. Unlike fountains and waterfalls, birdbaths don’t have their own water source. You have to replace the water manually every few days or so so they can continue to attract birds.
Many front yards are unexciting, not because landscaping regulations are too strict, but because homeowners don’t want to be too different from their neighbors. A front yard water feature is a subtle way to give your property a unique charm.
If you have enough space for an outdoor living room in your front yard, consider adding a fire feature. Sonoran desert nights can become rather cold. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit can keep conversations going even during temperature lows. Fire features can also enhance your front yard lighting.
Some trending front yard fire feature ideas in Arizona are combo fire-and-water features, minimalist designs and garden fireplaces.
Combo fire-and-water features inspire both passion and serenity, making them fascinating to look at. Flaming fountains have water flowing gracefully on the sides of fire pits or bowls. Fireplace fountains are fountains or falls attached to fireplaces. The concept of mixing fire and water elements in landscaping design is an old one. The modern twist is the addition of water-efficient technology.
Fire feature designs can be anything you fancy. Luxurious, curvy styles can give your front yard a majestic character. However, minimalist designs are currently popular due to their low maintenance requirements.
A fireplace can expand your living space by warming up a deck or stone patio. But surrounding it with a colorful desert oasis gives your front yard class. Evening entertaining in this part of your home becomes a unique experience when you have a garden with a fireplace as a backdrop.
Keep in mind that, in Phoenix, gas fireplaces are preferred over wood ones due to environmental regulations.
Some people spice up their front yards but are uncomfortable leaving them exposed to the public eye. If you feel the same way, consider enclosing your front yard with a fence or wall.
Enclosures separate your property from the street and your neighbors. Built properly, they can enhance your home’s curb appeal without losing your privacy and security. If you live on a busy metro street and have a recreational space in your front yard, a fence or wall can prevent street accidents. However, enclosures can make your home less wildlife-friendly, depending on the type.
Some enclosure ideas to consider are solid walls, lattice fences and gabion walls.
Solid walls completely block the view into your property and stop intruders if high enough. You can make them from sturdy materials like natural stone, metal or wood. The thing about solid walls is if you build them around a small piece of land, they can reduce ventilation and wildlife movement, especially when they’re made too high. Tall solid walls become less of an issue when built around larger spaces.
Lattice fences are wood or metal fences with a netted pattern. They provide only partial screens unless you plug the holes with climbing vines or strategically positioned tall plants. Lattice fences provide better ventilation. If you have plants growing on them, they can keep your home wildlife-friendly by providing a resting place for migrating wildlife. Picket-style fences are a classic choice, though they may be less secure.
Gabion walls are metal cages filled with landscaping rock materials. They can stand alone and make a solid screen around your property. Alternatively, you can integrate them into a wider lattice fence to conceal only specific areas of your home from outside view. Gabion walls are a flexible in-between option, though they tend to look less stylish than other enclosure types.
Front yard enclosure styles depend on homeowners’ preferences. The property on the left photo has a solid wall and iron bars in the front gate. The one on the right has a metal picket fence. Both have flauntable landscapes. These are some of our creations.
Typical front yards are non-functional and unattractive. In Phoenix, they can also become inhospitable spaces due to exposure to harsh environmental elements. From the design point of view, the above landscaping ideas can address these issues. Working closely with a good landscaping team can help you decide which improvements suit your home best.
Front yard landscaping requires a careful approach—a misstep would be costly to fix or mask later. Make sure to discuss the following with your landscape designer during their initial visit:
Your front yard represents your tastes and values. A good landscaping idea lets you stand out without breaking local building codes or looking overdone.
Desert landscape designs are xeriscaping-heavy—the most practical approach in Phoenix. Maximize your resources by choosing features and materials that can help you cope with drought, daytime heat and cold nights.
Think of how much time and money you’re willing to spend on upkeep. Landscape design complexity and garden care are important factors to consider.
Who does your front yard also matters. A good landscaping team can make enduring masterpieces out of any project. That’s the kind of work Straight Line Landscape is known for.
Stricter building regulations, less space, less privacy and the greater need for orderliness limit what you can do in your front yard. Prioritize for the long haul. Keep in mind that it’s easier to style up a less busy front yard for special occasions than a loaded one.
A magazine-worthy front yard reflects a homeowner’s character. Straight Line Landscape understands this. That’s why we’re a trusted name in Phoenix, Arizona.
Front yards provide a glimpse into their homeowners’ tastes and sense of community. With the right renovations, you can make your home look stunning and inviting while protecting your privacy. An excellent front yard design inspires pride and makes coming home an affair to look forward to.
Finally, Arizona backyard and front yard projects are especially complex due to environmental and regulatory limitations. You’d want to devote your time and resources to perfecting your landscape, not sorting out mistakes. If you’re thinking of giving your home exterior a makeover, your best move is to leave it to the pros.
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