I know there are many folks with new homes who are currently surveying their snow covered front yards, looking for inspiration on how to make it attractive enough to fit in with other front yards in the neighborhood.
It’s almost turned into a competition in some areas. Gone are the days of the foundation planting — half a dozen assorted evergreens sold as, yes, the foundation package. Toss in a few red and white geraniums and a lush lawn that had to be mowed weekly and the landscaping was complete.
In older neighborhoods there are still plenty of examples around of the featured design of the sixties. If maintained, they’re neat and tidy, but when old plantings of junipers, cedars, and a giant maple that was once the size of a drinking straw become overgrown, the result is a front yard with the life sucked out of the soil.
By summer, the lawn looks as though a herd of caribou passed through, but leaving untouched the gout weed, a plant sold originally as a pretty little ground cover. As many have learned, it’s a plant that even a bulldozer can’t kill.
Of course, this can happen when any garden is neglected, but nowadays, the availability of plant material and the skills of a landscape designer mean it's possible to have a low-maintenance, attractive garden. This, however, too often results in a presentable and oft repeated design that's sure to include at least a pair of whacking big, expensive rocks plunked in the middle of the lawn and surrounded by clumps of ornamental grass with at least one Stella d'Oro day lily -- and a small tree.
Even though design options are unlimited, I do think the big rocks are an overused feature — the foundation collection of the current decade. See amazing designs here.