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  • Front gardens are often the overlooked unfortunate relative of the much-loved back garden. However, with some solid design a front garden can also be a place of beauty, provide you with a welcoming retreat from a long day at work and increase the value of your home. This guide shows what Garden Ninja can do with a boring unloved front garden with this fantastic makeover.

    Front Garden ‘Grey to Green’ Makeover

    It’s a shame that so many of us just block pave or tarmac over it as we as a nation don’t really know what to do with front gardens. I’ve written an article on things to consider with a front garden makeover which gives hints and tips. This front garden was a sea of unloved black tarmac. It had an odd shaped bed that didn’t match the proportions of the house and a rhombus shaped sloping bed full of gravel and a tricky half dead tree stump. It pooled water when it rained and looked like a car park. The owners were keen to breathe some new life into it and help reduce the build up of surface water.

    Front garden makeover 1

    Before an ugly sea of car park tarmac

    Green to grey front garden makeover 1

    After a functional green space with room for cars, access and bins


    The owners still needed parking for three cars so the first step was to map out the turning circles and sizes of their vehicles. There also needed to be accessed across the gardens for wheelie bins and the postman which was factored in and a must have. Once this was done I created a mood board with the look and feel they wanted for the garden. The clients wanted something quite contemporary that would provide year-round colour and structure to the garden.

    One of my new contemporary ideas was to use Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’, instead of a clipped box, to provide a framework low hedge around the lawn and borders. This can be clipped once a year in spring to keep it neat in shape. It provides a formal evergreen hedge that is also something out of the ordinary!

    Front garden makeover Manchester garden design 1

    Front garden makeover drawing

    Hand drawn front garden redesign

    So I created a formal brief to give some clean defined lines, that mirrored the strong architecture of the 1930’s house. The lawn, for example, mirrors the exact width of the bay window. Small borders have been used to break up the boundary with the neighbour and soften where the house meets the tarmac.

    I encouraged keeping the front border with the stump but creating a rectangular raised bed made from timber sleepers.  The inclusion of wood matched their fantastic oak gates but also softened the hard landscaping and tarmac. It would enable the creation of a small path that’s wide enough for a wheelie bin and a postman.

    Front garden makeover Manchester garden design 2

    Planting Chosen

    • Miscanthus zebrinus – Bright green and yellow grass blades
    • Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ – Tall grass with oat coloured seed heads
    • Gillenia trifoliata – Stary white flowers
    • Euphorbia polychroma – Bright acid yellow bracts
    • Liatris spicata ‘Alba’ – Long lasting white summer spikes
    • Veronicastrum virginicum album – Large erect spikes of white flowers
    • Carex laxiculmis ‘Bunny Blue’ – Green blue evergreen grass
    • Carex oshimensis ‘Everest’ – Green and white striking evergreen grass
    • Uncinia ‘Rubra’ – Red and brown variegated striped grass cultivar
    • Milium effusum ‘Aureum’ – Millet style acid yellow grass cultivar
    • Sesleria nitida – Blue green matt stems and strap-like leaves with white grass heads
    • Hebe ‘Eyecatcher’ – Green and yellow variegated evergreen structure plant
    • Hebe ‘Sweet Dreams’ – Purple and dark green variegated evergreen structure plant
    • Hebe pinguifolia ‘Sutherlandii’ – Green with occasional white flower evergreen structure plant
    • Hebe ‘Sparkling Sapphires’ – Green and yellow variegated evergreen Hebe with purple spike flowers

    Gallery Click on a thumbnail to view full size

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    2 thoughts on “Front Garden Makeover

    1. Great to see a front garden being rejuvenated instead of completely paved over. Wish more people would do that. Lovely job, Lee.

      1. lee says:

        Thanks Weeding the web, I’ll soon be updating the after pictures to show the transformation. Let’s get greening grey!

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