The ideal front lawn landscaping may accentuate any house, particularly one using the easy lines of a traditional ranch. Landscaping can soften edges and angles, provide a welcoming entry to the house and even delineate garden spaces. The secret to making fantastic landscaping picks is to recall proportion, keying landscape components to the magnitude of the house and lot. Other important considerations include budget and the availability of cash and time for upkeep of landscape components.
Hardscaping is one of the first elements included in almost any landscape plan. A straight walkway gets people to the front door effectively, but a curved walk softens the angularity of the house. In a neighborhood of older homes, for example, a curved walk of brick or stone may fit the area better than a direct concrete walk. In either case, the walk may be flanked by garden beds or borders of small shrubs, like Korean box (Buxus sinica), sturdy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 4 through 9.
Tall shade trees may keep a house cool and accentuate property value and appearance, but make sure the tall tree contains enough root room. Position the trees or tree so that roots won’t interfere with the home’s foundation or using front walkways or sidewalks. When there is not room for a large tree, consider smaller sections offering several seasons of interest. One good number is western redbud (Cercis occidentalis), which features purple-pink spring blooms and bright yellow fall color. It grows to 15 feet tall and is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 10.
Among the most common landscape mistakes is planting shrubs also close to the house and letting them develop large enough to confuse windows. Foundation plantings could be written completely of well-chosen shrubs or contain mixed groupings of shrubs, perennials, annuals and even grasses. One good evergreen shrub is Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquifolium), hardy in zones 5 through 10 and featuring blue fruits and leaf that is red in winter. Another fantastic flowering evergreen is flannel bush (Fremontodendron californica), which features yellow spring flowers and gray-green leaf. It’s hardy in zones 6 through 10.
If you’re a gardener, replace front yard lawn grass or groundcover with lawn areas. These may take the form of perimeter beds using undulating or curving borders to soften the angular lines of the ranch house. A corner bed, anchored by a shrub or small tree and planted with colorful annuals, like California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), hardy in zones 6 to 10, can serve as a landscape accent. If the front lawn is sunny and you want a herb or vegetable garden, then integrate it into the overall scheme, even mixing edible and ornamental species.