The front porch welcomes guests and provides a comfortable space and relaxation for homeowners. A front porch that displays the owners’ ideas of style and aesthetics while fitting in with the neighborhood is largely achieved through landscaping. Choosing and arranging plants that mature to contribute to the architectural style, comfort and value of the home will lead you to a successfully landscaped front porch.
Plants and Preparation
Climate suitability, including rainfall and sunlight exposure, largely determines planting success. A walk or drive around the neighborhood can reveal which plants thrive and which struggle in a given locale. Consider native plants wherever practical, because choosing natives minimizes the need for soil and irrigation adjustments. The plants’ sizes at maturity should also influence plant selection and determine placement, especially near the structure and under eaves. Installing necessary irrigation, soil and structural amendments before planting saves on future expense and labor. Choices made beforehand will determine maintenance requirements, aesthetic appeal and property value for decades to come.
Style and Basic Design of Front Porch Landscaping
The neighborhood’s general architectural style, and that of the individual home, ought to influence the choice of landscaping style. Different arrangements suit Victorian, modern, southwestern or ranch styles, with room for variations according to personal preference. A Japanese-style garden complements a modern-style home, but a cottage garden is not out of the question. While the homeowner’s pleasure reigns above academic correctness, a mishmash of even pretty plants generally pleases no one. Basic design principles of line, form, scale and utility apply to every style.
Foliage and Flower Color
Classic climbing roses (Rosa spp.) on porch supports or along balustrades colorfully frame entryways. Nearly thornless climbers include pink “Peggy Martin,” white or yellow “Lady Banks” and fragrant, deep pink “Zephirine Drouhin.” Brilliant clematis vines, available in species and hybrids for every temperate climate zone, complement climbing roses. Blooming “standards” or evergreen topiary, in-ground or potted, flank the front steps with importance; choices include roses and various conifers. Deciduous ornamental trees, such as Japanese maple (Acer palmatum), suited to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 8, visually meld the porch and surrounding garden with spectacular seasonal foliage color.
Read more about front porch landscaping at homeguides.sfgate.com