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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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