Everybody Needs Good Neighbours (With Great Taste In Front Gardens)

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours (With Great Taste In Front Gardens)

I imagine we're all in agreement that the best design inspiration these days is to be found online, but when it comes to dealing with the embarrassing jungle outside your property, it turns out the best design inspiration is to be had from wandering oh so casually around the local streets and taking surreptitious photos of your neighbours' front gardens like some kind of driveway-obsessed paparazzi. Don't worry dudes, I've photoshopped out your house numbers and names. And I only took photos of driveways I liked, as opposed to naming and shaming the peeps who really need to try harder.

This house has taken a modern approach, with black spiky plants on either side of the front door, and slate chippings. However, while I love pairing contemporary furniture with period architecture, I think we need something less severe that will soften up our currently rather forbidding-looking Victorian facade (we're north-facing so it's a bit darker on our side of the street than the property shown below). I like the large flagstones, though.

This house is very pretty. Being newly festooned with daughters, I don't have time for the upkeep, but I think the romantic effect is more what we need.

I love the circular placement of these setts, but does it perhaps detract overly from the main feature?

Liking the lavender - it would smell delicious when you brushed past it on your way up the front path.

This is my favourite local front garden - it's an actual garden, with grass and planting. I love the grass. I kinda want to picnic on it.

This front garden has grass too, and a weeping willow tree.

So here's my thinking so far. We want a front garden with space for cars, rather than a driveway with a few flower beds. The planting needs to be simple, to avoid overwhelming the architecture, but pretty enough to soften up all that brick - and scented (and evergreen) would be ideal. We want grass to create a lush effect, and we need trees to provide privacy from all the local bloggers walking past and taking sneaky photographs.

So, thoughts on flowers, please! We already have a dwarf cherry tree, and we've planted a scented climbing rose that thrives in north-facing gardens. We have a white-flowering rhododendron that will be staying. I love eucalyptus, and grew them successfully at our old house, but would the roots be a problem so close to the house? We also grew clematis armandii at our old place (evergreen, scented and very fast-growing) so that could be a good option for training over the front door. And lots of lavender. Anything else? Of course it's probably going to be about twenty years before we get around to doing anything about it, but hey, this blogger likes to plan ahead.