Landscaping Tips for Townhouses

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The challenge in landscaping a townhouse lies in creating a design that frames a tall, narrow home and suits your needs. This house design lends itself to a symmetrical garden with neat and organized plantings. Townhouse landscaping can involve the walls, front yard, sidewalk, back yard and deck. When dealing with a small area, think big when considering outside décor and a layout that will create a lasting, beautiful outdoor environment.

Basic Design Tips

  • Townhouse landscaping differs from single family home outdoor design at the most basic level: space. With so little space, townhouse owners need practical, innovative accents that complement your home. Forget big trees, shrubs and towering ornamental grasses; there isn't enough room. In addition, rows of townhouses create dramatic differences between sunny and shaded areas throughout the day. Always consider available sunlight before landscaping your townhouse.

    Any design accent such as a patio, terrace or edging should never overpower the home in color or design. Starkly colored bricks that differ from the color scheme of the house create too much contrast. Choose muted colors for brick patio pavers or edging. Avoid shaping gardens in sharp lines or geometric shapes. A loose wave to your front yard garden softens the front of the house instead of reinforcing the stacked and compact feeling.

Backyard Townhouse Landscaping

  • Carefully choose a focal point for your townhouse back yard. The focal point could be your patio or deck, a bush or a small fishpond. Once you've made this decision, decorate around this item. If you have a lovely wooden deck over a small back yard, let the deck be your focal point. Extend wood posts above the railing level and hang iron plant hooks from these posts. Fill coconut fiber-lined baskets with trailing annuals and vines to soften the lines of the deck.

    It's tempting to create neat little rectangular gardens along the fence or property line. Resist this urge. Semi-circles or free-form garden shapes enhance a rectangular back yard to provide visual interest. Consider adding small 2- to 3-foot-wide terraces to create depth in your backyard. The terraces will make it look larger and give you more planting area. Blend your choice of retaining wall bricks in the terraces with your home's exterior color scheme.

Front Yard Townhouse Landscaping

  • Low- and slow-growing shrubs and flowering perennials provide the most groomed look for the front of townhouse. If you choose to keep a lawn, consider adding a small garden to complement your front porch or walk. Visit your local garden center and seek the advice of a professional on slow-growing shrubs and plants. Choose plants that require low maintenance to prevent overgrowth in a small front yard. Some suggestions include dwarf Alberta Spruce and small box elders. These evergreens grow very slowly and require minimal maintenance.

    Flowering plants that remain groomed should be considered for your front yard. Hostas provide a vibrant green perennial that requires little maintenance. Edge gardens with complementary stones or bricks to delineate and draw attention to your flowers. Remember not to overpower the garden with an elaborate edging design. Keeping your landscape simple will create an effective look that requires minimal maintenance.

Use Height Carefully

  • Hang planters and hooks on the side of your home and place hardy plants in baskets. Consider creating a collection of various size plant pots arranged in a corner to give a feeling of height to the yard. Purchase a freestanding wrought iron plant hook for your garden and hang a basket filled with annuals. A pot filled with domesticated bamboo placed at the corner of your fence provides height. Consider planting climber roses or clematis to wrap around deck posts, softening the sharp lines of your home.

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