Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens

Here’s my post for this month’s Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens

Front-yard garden in June.
front garden

I’ve got big problems with my front-yard garden. Oh, it’s actually not all that bad. The path leads to the front door. There are lots of interesting plants along the way — some small that cause you to pause and bend over, others that release fragrances as you brush by them. And it’s not as wild as some of my plantings.

The big problem is no one uses the path to the front door except for the occasional deliveryman who’s new on the route. We’ve had packages sit for days between the front doors, unnoticed.

Those doors open directly into the living room. No mud room. No entryway. You come in that door and you are standing next to the sofa. That just doesn’t work in this climate. During winter, you can’t even get to the unshoveled walk because the Christmas lights block the gap in the fence you’d have to walk through to follow the path.

Despite the fact that no one uses the front walk, I maintain the illusion that this is the way into the house. The proverbial Bible salesmen knock out front, giving away their lack of familiarity with the daily patterns of life in Ellis Hollow. But anyone who knows us goes right to the back door to be greated by Jade and Fred.

Clematis and hosta flowers on the way to the front door in August.
clematishosta flowers

Another June shot out front.
front bed

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21 thoughts on “Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Front-Yard Gardens”

  1. You know, I might (might) be a sinister fellow, but I love the idea of a beautiful walk to the front door and it’s not in fact a front door. I think it’s charmingly funny. Witty. Beautifully cruel. I might have to adopt this policy as I’m always out back in summer, and the doorbell rings, and I never know it. Just come round back y’all, the gate’s open (or, leave me alone, good luck finding a way to get to me, because if I liked you I’d let you know the secret knock / walkway).

  2. Oh Benjamin. I think you just put your finger right on some deep-seated, repressed, dark thoughts that I share with you. Every time I wrote problem, this little voice in the back of my head said, “What problem? Problem for who? The delivery guy? The Jehovah’s witnesses?”

    And when I got to the end where I’m supposed to write about how I plan to solve this problem (spend $100K on the remodeling plan that goes through my head daily), I just clicked publish.

    jeanniethedreamer: Just keep clicking on previous posts and you can see the whole year. Or just keep stopping back and you can see it all over again with better pictures.

  3. Solve? Problem? Count me in with the bunch who see no problem here… just a beautiful walkway. Of course, I don’t really blame the delivery guy or the Jehovah’s witnesses. I’d be tempted to walk down that path just because. Especially when that huge goatsbeard is in bloom. I’d probably take the “escape route” to the right instead of turning left to the front door, though… looks like some more interesting gardens to see around that way… :)

    I also like how you offset the straight path with those curving beds and arcs of lawn in front of them, Craig. Really nice.

  4. nhnursery:

    We get a good deal of foot traffic. But the house is pretty close to a busy rural thoroughfare. So I’ve got a spruce and willows mostly screening this area from the road and shoulder where people walk. You have to walk down the driveway to get a really good view.

  5. Cool. I love the plants along your path.

    I am on a corner lot, and have mock terraced both sides of the corner, 3 beds on one side, and 4 beds on the other, with a trianbular bed of roses at the actual corner. It is so much nicer than just having a boring yard full of grass and weeds.

    I still have weeds, but they aren’t nearly as noticeable, with all of the flowers growing.

  6. Are you Italian? Nobody uses my parents’ front door except strangers & delivery people, even though the front door opens onto a perfectly good entry hall. No, my family prefers to open the door to the garage, walk through the garage & just walk into the house in the entry near the kitchen. (Maybe we’re led by our noses.)
    Your front walk is quite a treat to those ignored Jehovah’s Witnesses. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  7. My front door is also never used, partly because, like yours, it opens right into the living room, and partly because the side door opens right onto the driveway, so everyone getting out of a car (99% of our visitors drive a car to get to us) naturally gravitates to that door. Unfortunately, the side door opens right into the kitchen, so it becomes the de facto mud room–and looks it. Doesn’t help that the driveway isn’t paved, either.

    My faux front door only has lawn for a pathway so is not as tempting to strangers.

    See you on Saturday.

  8. The back door goes right into the kitchen. But know, I’m not Italian — at least not by blood. I think I could live in Italy, though, were it not for Berlusconi.

  9. Not that I think you need a “solution” for such a beautiful area in your garden, but I know someone who also doesn’t use her front door either and she just puts out a giant pot of fleurs on the stoop that effectively dissuades anyone from using it. Come to think of it, I have the same “problem”…! (and I’m not Italian either)

  10. I agree with the others that “problem” isn’t really the word. I think you have a solution-to maintaining peace and quiet when you’re out back. Kris’s idea is good, too…maybe a large planter smack in the middle of the porch would make the appropriate statement. :)

  11. I love your problem. We have four doors that come into our farmhouse, but none of them have any problems like your front door! I am inspired to get going with some trouble-making.

    I will get lost in your blog, and won’t want to be found!

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  13. Back door guests I like the best! Your front path is lovely. I haven’t done much with my front garden because very few come to the front door and we don’t spend anytime there.

  14. The people who lived in our house before us outlawed use of the front door and never let anyone set foot in the living room. They basically lived in the kitchen. I’m not sure it’s an Italian thing.

    I don’t do that, because there is a perfectly good vestibule and hallway. I love your walkway.

  15. Craig, you’ve mentioned lack of light before…maybe seal off that door for good and make a nice big fat window there that looks onto the fabulous plantings? Looking forward to seeing it this June!

  16. I’d keep the path as it is just for the photo opportunities. The setting is so charming, and it looks like you get some lovely light effects there as well.

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