Landscape the Typical Lot

Many homes -- like as shown -- sit on a rectangular lot with a drive and entrance in front and a larger area in back.

Landscaping problems for typical lots include lack of privacy from the sides and rear, narrow side yards where space is difficult to use, and lack of access from front yard to backyard. Also, such lots often offer only a small, open area for outdoor living. Plantings generally include a few foundation shrubs and one or two trees in the front as streetscape. (Lucky is the homeowner who has older trees.) Many times, these homes look unflatteringly similar to one another.

To create an inviting individuality out of such a home, add plantings to one or both sides of the drive, along a portion of the property line, and around the front door. Construct a distinctive entryway. Use structures or plants to subtly divide the backyard into activity zones. Finally, to make sure the yard doesn't end up with a split personality, join the front to the back with a side walkway or other connecting feature. Learn how to use paths to add drama and interest to an ordinary yard.


In this improved site, a tall fence around the backyard transforms public space into private grounds. The play area is in full view from the house for supervision, but far enough away to give parents peace and children freedom.

With the garage a good hike away, a small shed near the gardens saves steps while offering super storage for tools. Shrubs screen it from the patio. The backyard now offers two service areas (the second one is near the paved side yard), an outdoor living area, an outdoor playroom, and gardens, all neatly divided into zones.

The front yard extends a warm greeting, and a side walkway makes the transition from front to back a pleasant journey.


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