Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions

Jane Austen began her second novel, Pride and Prejudice, before she was twenty-one. It was originally titled First Impression because the appearances of the characters created the plot of the novel. The two main characters formed immediate impressions of one another that set the entire story in motion.

"Pride and Prejudice" From

Imagine the power that your front garden has on the first impression your guests might have about YOU or your HOME. Does it say anything about how the visitor might find the condition of your interior? What could your landscape be saying about your personal style? Does it say anything at all?

No matter what your landscape and climate might be, you have the opportunity to place your own personal stamp on what a passerby or first time visitor may think of you and your home. Small space or large, there are many ways to make it your own.

Even if you don’t have a landscape, some containers can create a big impressions.

Curb appeal or the first impression =  A homes CHARISMA

“Landscape your outside entrance–Add a few new flower pots, small shrubs or hanging plants to spruce up the outside. Spending just $400 to $500 on fresh landscaping, according to the survey,can boost your home’s value by $1,600 to $1,800.”
Home Gain Survey 2007

Here’s a list of Fourteen Ways To Make the Most of Your Homes Curb Appeal

As a former high end Real Estate Agent, I could go on and on about improving the first impression of your home. But, I thought some pictures of some landscapes that I’ve worked on changing over the years might be a good illustrator for you too. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original “BEFORE” shots on these homes, I was too eager to just jump right in and get started and forgot them. But, these are all taken over the course of a few years, all of them starting in the second or third year. Enjoy!

Originally, this front yard that blends into the main yard, had a very steep slope of lawn here that was impossible to mow and very little landscaping. The curving wall cured many ills here.

This is the third year, where we just wanted to add inexpensive but bold color until the larger plants
began to fill and mature.

By the fifth year, trees, shrubs and ground-covers began to mature and give a sense of scale.

This was into the second year of improving the “Builder Special” landscaping.

Third year and done up for a magazine here, not bad!

Second year on this side too. Still lots of inviting color and personality.

One year later. I’d say that’s a pretty WOW first impression!

Here is the number one piece of advice that I give my clients when we talk front yard landscape design- You should be able to pull up to the front of your home in the worst weather of the whole year and say WOW! If it looks great for the months that you are not out gardening actively and fully, then THAT is a great front yard!

For more on “First Impressions” from the Lords and Ladies of the Roundtable, please visit the links below. Enjoy!

Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Jocelyn Chilvers : The Art Garden : Denver, CO

Debbie Roberts : A Garden of Possibilities : Stamford, CT

Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA

Shirley Bovshow : Eden Makers Blog : Los Angeles, Ca.

28 thoughts on “Garden Designer’s Roundtable – First Impressions

  1. Pingback: First Impressions! « Garden Designers Roundtable

  2. Hi Christina!
    You want a ‘Wow!’?
    You’ve got one! That is just seriously impressive.
    I always admire your boundless enthusiasm and that comes across here. Real curb appeal!

  3. Pingback: Garden Designers Roundtable: First Impressions — J Peterson Garden Design

    • Thank you Rebecca. This was a CLASSIC Bachelor pad landscape, nothing but lawn and six Ilex. Yawn….. Anything I did here would have been an improvement! LOL

    • Chartreuse in a my cold gray climate is the color that binds everything together. I owe it all to Dan Hinkley and Heronswood (may it rest in peace). Thanks Jenny!

    • Thanks Jocelyn- Here in the gray world that is the maritime NW, we have to rely on small victories. If it’s awesome in late January, I call it a winner winner chicken dinner! 🙂

  4. Wonderful examples, particularly the progression of the “Builder’s Special”. Sadly, that’s one I encounter quite frequently as well – giant house looming over a tiny front garden. Your pictures are giving me fresh inspiration!

  5. Christina, You certainly do have a unique perspective on this topic with your background in real estate. I’m going to ‘borrow’ that comment about year round curb appeal, it really does drive home the point since most homeowners think curb appeal = color. But it’s so much more than that.

  6. Pingback: Curb Appeal: Five Inexpensive Front Yard Enhancements | Eden Makers Blog

  7. Pingback: Garden Designers Roundtable ~ First Impressions « A Garden of Possibilities

  8. Beautiful. wow. I have done my front garden in a perfect circle. It’s so interesting that people are drawn in and gather right in the exact center. Someday I hope for it to have the colours and forms shown in your stunning photos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s