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Gardening in the Public Eye

Articles: Gardening in the Public Eye

The front garden has the considerable task of separating the public street from private space, while presenting a neighborly face to the world.
Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden, Bold, Romantic Gardens

When you drive down the street, what catches your eye—a sweep of turf or a riot of colorful flowers? Front yards are where first impressions are made. When you garden  in front, you garden in the public eye. So, what does your front yard say about you? Are you a conformist or an innovator? An introvert or an exhibitionist?

Garden makers typically focus on creating private, intimate spaces. Having a peaceful, secluded garden retreat is a worthy aspiration, but what about the rest of your property? Gardens can also relate back to their communities, creating milieus of welcome, safety, and interaction with the surrounding environs. That’s where the front yard comes in. Gardening in the public eye is not really new. We have been doing it since we planted the first foundation shrubs. Traditional foundation plantings are oriented to the street; originally they hid the open gap between the first floor and the posts or foundations that supported the house. Now, they create the “curb...


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