A sloped front yard can frame a home dramatically or devolve into a big fail of browning patches of sod. If the slope goes toward the house, constant repairs are needed to compensate for dampness. Take charge of the slant of your front yard with landscaping that exploits its good qualities and replaces its shortcomings.
Sunken Rain Pit
Create a front yard slope that's a rain depression to capitalize on nature in a drought zone. When water is scarce, lose the lawn and replace it with river rocks, winding paved pathways and drought-tolerant plants like grasses and mesquite trees. Dig out the former lawn space to slope the yard into a shallow bowl -- 6 inches at its deepest -- that will hold rain and draw it away from the foundation of the house. In one simple landscaping maneuver, you prevent foundation damage and flooding and capture all available rainfall to irrigate your front yard for free.
Swing on a Slope
Sloping front yards are as often slanted toward an old house as away and will cause constant flooding without remedies. A bungalow remodel retains its front arbor with a vintage wood swing. The charming entry makes a porch and a spot for socializing, and an update paints the wood structure to match a soft gray house siding. Beneath the arbor, the ground is sloped away from the house, and rain gutters are extended to deposit roof run-off farther from the house. A final patio of weathered brick supports the arbor and hides the drain pipes. Ferns, potted flowers and climbing vines integrate the swing arbor with the front yard landscape.
Concrete Skateboard Yard
A yard that is a paved slant is an invitation to skateboarders but not much of a graceful welcome to your home. Give your house some new curb appeal by ripping out that concrete and landscaping with foliage, decks and a graduated garden. A low stucco wall with central steps is bordered by dense dark green plants above and below it. The levels of plants lead the eye from the street to a taller wall closer to the house and a façade of natural wood trim. Behind the second wall, a treated wood deck edged with tree aloes and yuccas or plants appropriate to your growing region provides an outdoor "living room" hidden from the street. The front of the home retains its steep slope, but now it is softened by the dark green foliage and graduated levels of plants that capture rain run-off and disguise the privacy wall.
Reinvent a dried out old turf lawn and a Spanish-style house completely covered by tall pines and overgrown shrubs. New landscaping restores the obscured character of the house and yard. Retain the sharp lawn slope to the sidewalk, but replace water-hungry grass with aloes, agave and a variety of other succulents. Remove heavy foliage masking the front of the house, and paint the façade a soft shell pink with accents on the architectural detail. Add dark awnings for more definition. Steps leading up the slope to the front door get a new facing of hand-painted blue and white tiles. Pilasters replace handrails on the steps. Atop the pilasters, glazed blue ceramic pots hold more succulents. Now the dried, dead brown slope is a mass of lively colors that need almost no maintenance or watering -- and you can find the house.
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