7 Ways to Create a Neighborly Front Yard.

Many of us find ourselves living in communities defined not by common acquaintances, knowledge and culture, but by geography or economics. Rather than knowing our neighbors from childhood, we may not know our neighbors at all. To create a sense of community, it’s often necessary to bring people together so they can get to know one another. By creating spaces where members of a neighborhood can mix naturally (at a safe distance), communities can become communities in the true meaning of the word — places where people not only live together, but care about and watch out for one another.

Here are some ideas to help foster interaction with your neighbors on your sidewalk, in your front yard, on your walkway and on your front porch.

Ogawa Fisher Architects
1. Shade the Sidewalk

Consider placing a tree where it will shade the sidewalk to help create a pleasant environment and encourage walking and visiting among neighbors. Trees provide rain and sun protection, and temperature differentials of 5 to 15 degrees are felt when walking on tree-canopied streets. In urban areas trees help mitigate the heat-island effect and provide a connection to nature.

Most cities require permits for adding trees to a parkway (or hell strip), but permits are not usually required for planting on private property.
10 Trees Landscape Designers Love

Sean Papich Landscape Architecture
2. Set the Fence Back

Placing a low fence or wall back a few feet from the edge of the sidewalk allows room for planting, and plants provide visual interest for pedestrians. In addition to cheerful daisies like these, velvety plants such as lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina; USDA zones 4 to 9; find your zone) would work well.

June Scott Design
3. Try the Funnel Effect
Increasing the width of your home’s central path or stairway can help create a welcoming path to your door. Here, tiled stairs are double the width of the home’s porch opening to help direct movement upward. The stairs’ deep risers also double as seating. Full of color and texture, low-water greenery is planted at an angle and carefully tiered to keep the views to the neighborhood open.
4. Light the Way

This one is a no-brainer. A means of welcoming visitors to your home at night, good lighting also adds to safety and to the attractiveness of a front garden.

When lighting the front walk, take care to eliminate pools of light and darkness, which can be a hazard, particularly for older visitors. The goal is to have the walk evenly illuminated.

Shop for step lights and other outdoor lighting

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC
5. Create Interest With Plants

What you would like the experience of your front garden to be for your friends and neighbors? Richly textured planting designs help define the mood of the garden. Consider using plants that are either native or adapted to the region in which your home is located. This can help tie your garden to your region, giving it an all-important sense of place, and make it more sustainable at the same time.

Learn how to grow plants native to your region

Stephanie D Poole
6. Create a Hangout Space
Do you like the idea of relaxing on the porch, watching and talking to neighbors who pass by, but don’t have a front porch? No problem. A seating area in the front garden, perhaps nestled amongst mature trees, can be a welcoming spot in which to greet family or neighbors.
Shop for outdoor furniture on Houzz
BCI Custom Homes
7. Add Social Seating

Outfit your porch for sociability — the more comfortable you are, the more likely you are to linger. Tables that can hold food and drink provide another element of comfort. Space out seating so people can socialize at a safe distance.
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