How to Make Your Front Landscape Look Cool

When it comes to home design, most people are shooting for average — but not you. You want every aspect of your home to be cutting-edge and interesting, and since it’s the first thing people see, you especially want your front-yard landscaping to look cool. To that end, here are a few simple, affordable and most importantly unconventional landscaping ideas to help your home look way better than good.

Outdoor Living

While outdoor entertaining wasn’t unpopular in the past, it is rapidly becoming mandatory that homes offer a well-developed outdoor living space. Your landscape should prominently feature an attractive outdoor entertainment area, where you and your guests can relax and enjoy the fresh air and weather. To make an impact, you can go over-the-top with well-appointed outdoor kitchen, dining and lounging spaces — essentially an entirely new home without walls. However, at the very least, you should have a covered place where visitors can kick back and enjoy the scenery. The décor of your outdoor living space should blend well with the style of your landscaping, which is to say it should be unique and interesting — not acquired from a big box store.

Lights Everywhere

People aren’t attracted to properties that turn pitch-black after the sun sets. To make your home inviting, you need to illuminate it — even on the outside.

There are several ways to add bright light to your landscape in a cool way. Perhaps the trendiest option is to hang large-bulb string lights around your property, especially where you want guests to congregate, like your lawn and seating areas. It’s a good idea to pair string lights with washing lights, which flood an entertainment area with ambient light. You should consider adding small, diffused path lights to prevent anyone from tripping as they explore your landscape as well as so-called up-lighting, which creates dramatic highlights on taller landscape elements, like trees.

Mixed Materials

In the past, it was common for one type of material to dominate style at once — like marble, brick or teakwood. However, right now it is the peak of fashion to mix all sorts of materials into your design. That means your furniture shouldn’t just be wicker; it should be wicker with metal and wood accents. You can carry this theme throughout your landscape with mixed material garden paths (think cement plus grass or sliced wood plus gravel), mixed material house siding and mixed material garden containers.

However, because material trends change rapidly, it might be wise to insulate your landscape against fading fashions by opting for styles that are closer to timeless. Typically, honesty in materials — i.e. using materials as they are, not using them to mimic another material — will stand the test of time.

Polar-opposite Greenery

To prevent your landscape from fading into the background, you need to go to one extreme or the other with your greenery — either you need to go commit to going totally wild and natural with your landscape, or you need a perfectly symmetrical, manicured landscape. To pursue the former, you should strive to decorate your yard with native plants, which might require some research at your local nursery. To succeed at the latter, you should take inspiration from famous formal gardens like those at Versailles in France or Kew in the U.K. In either case, you’ll need to invest in a professional lawn care service as well as comprehensive yard care — because you simply don’t have the tools, time or expertise to ensure your landscape stays in perfect condition.

Water Features

Water features are expensive to install and difficult to maintain — which is precisely what makes them so enviable in a landscape. If you have the space and budget, you should seriously consider adding a fountain, pond or pool to your landscape design. Any water feature reduces the temperature of the landscape, making outdoor entertainment more enjoyable. Plus, the gentle bubbling sounds of a fountain or stream make your landscape more relaxing.

The water feature you choose will depend on the size of your landscape as well as the perks you hope to enjoy, such as swimming, fishing or minimum maintenance. You should place it prominently within your landscape, so visitors can see and remark upon it — but you should also ensure that it is safe, so visitors aren’t worried about falling in.

If you haphazardly plant a lawn and a few shrubs, your home will look just like the other ones on your block. If you want to raise the value of your property and create curb appeal that stands out from the rest, you need to incorporate a few of these landscaping trends to make your front yard your own.