Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Driveway Landscaping Ideas

A driveway isn't just a place to park cars. The driveway functions as the largest entryway into your home. This necessary appendage to your home might seem like an eyesore, but it doesn't need to be. Driveway landscaping helps the starkness of concrete or asphalt blend in with your home's exterior design. Landscaping should always add style to your home's exterior and draw visitors straight to the front door mat with gradual nuances to accentuate the very best features of your home. Does this Spark an idea?

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal refers to how your home looks from the road. Adding even the smallest landscape elements to the apron area of your drive draws attention to your home. Your front yard will look polished with manicured grass leading to a simple but dramatic garden that, for example, contains groomed topiaries framed by large-leaf hostas. Adding landscape features such as decorative boulders, retaining walls and strategically placed gardens creates a great first impression the moment a visitor enters your driveway.

Landscaping Elements

Driveways require transitional design elements to blend each individual landscape element seamlessly with the next. Consider the driveway landscape the appetizer to the main course landscaping of your front entryway. Designing a driveway landscape plan involves drawing attention away from the large expanse of pavement or cement to the front of the home.

Use basic landscaping principles such as balance, color, repetition and lines to create smooth transitions that link the elements of your landscape. Symmetrical design involves balancing landscape elements equally on both sides of the drive. An unbalanced design may be more interesting: create irregularly shaped gardens and features that contain similar plants, mulch and edging to create unity within the entire yard.

Using repetitive plants for color or setting a particular shrub and flower color scheme ties the whole design together. This unity of design adds a polished look, especially when blended into the landscape choices for your front walk and entryway. Some choices include mixing variegated leaf foliage with deep maroon shrubs for dramatic contrast or repeating clusters of the same annual randomly throughout the landscape.

Adding gravel to a portion of one garden along the driveway and repeating this feature near the home links widely spaced landscape elements. Use the same color landscaping bricks in different designs to create pockets of interest in your landscape. Create a border for one garden with bricks placed on edge and border another by placing bricks flush with the surface to keep the design fresh and inviting.

Simple Additions

Any addition to your driveway landscape doesn't need to be a 2-week project involving cement mixers, paving stones and hard manual labor. Consider simply creating a small garden on each side of your driveway apron. A half circle or free-form small garden will frame the end of the driveway invitingly. Fill these gardens with low-maintenance, hardy plants that don't require constant care, since convenient access to water may be difficult. Flowering hardy plants include aster, shasta daisy and black-eyed susan. Low ground covers and ornamental grasses are attractive and require very little maintenance after planting.

If you're tired of edging your driveway every week after mowing, create a linear garden to line the sides of the driveway. Plant hardy low shrubs or ground cover interspersed with flowering annuals to add color. Pattern the plantings in similar groupings to tie the design together.

A straight driveway doesn't necessarily mean the garden needs to be in a straight line. Circular drives don't mean you absolutely have to stick a garden in the center of the circle. Curved or straight driveways benefit from pocket-type gardens along the edge. Use your imagination and create an irregularly shaped garden. Make sure to tie the plantings in with other shrubs, trees and flowers in your yard to create unity.

Elaborate Additions

Maybe you've noticed a lovely brick entrance to a driveway on your street. You can easily incorporate this landscape option into your design. Add carriage lights to the top of the walls and landscape with bright annuals around the base. These fancy brick or stone walls look best with longer driveways. If you can only park one or two cars in your drive, an imposing brick entrance will look out of place.

There really isn't anything as inviting as a tree-lined drive leading up to a beautifully landscaped home. Consider planting multiple hardy trees to delineate your driveway. Choose a tree that retains a rounded shape such as a cherry blossom or Bradford pear. Hedges are also an option to separate the driveway from the front yard. Another design involves creating a raised berm garden above the level of the driveway. Like a bump in the yard, a berm garden draws the eye up and away from the pavement toward eye-catching flowers, trees and shrubs.

Tags: your home, your driveway, driveway landscape, landscape elements, away from