even years ago, Sally Effron
found herself in a common
homeowners’ bind: She was
running out of room. But
it wasn’t the typical lack of
closet space that caused her frustration.
Rather, it was her garden. Sally had
created a woodland sanctuary in her
backyard, full of shrub-lined paths and
beautiful greenery, but now there was
simply no room left to dig.
So she took a second look at her
suburban Cincinnati, US, garden.
Bulging maple tree roots were tearing
up the driveway, and poisonous shrubs
next to the house—a fixture in many
suburban neighbourhoods—did little to
create an inviting picture. “I decided to
rip everything out and start over,” says
Sally, who dug out almost everything
by hand. Still, the huge truckload of
soil that was dumped in front caused
a momentary panic about what the
neighbours would think. After all, this
was the suburbs.
“Your front garden is your face to
the world,” says garden designer Julie
Moir Messervy, author of
Creating the Landscape You Love.
often a lost piece of landscape, as many
people don’t want to show that much
of themselves.” Messervy encourages
gardeners to break away from suburban
conformity. The first step is easy: Just
imagine what your front lawn would
look like if it was your back garden.
For Sally, a woodland gardener who
is more interested in leaf texture than
flashy colours, that meant creating a
forest-like environment out front.
To begin, she needed to change the
exposure from sun to shade. Planting
fast-growing trees for shade, such as
false Acacia solved that problem.
But bloom is secondary for Sally; she
chose her trees based on leaf texture,
scale, and personality. Low-maintenance
greens provide striking textural contrast
in her garden. “Texture for me is not
just about coarse versus fine,” Sally
Sally Effron integrated her
creek bed into the greenery with a
creeping Juniper, and begonia.
Bromeliads, such as this spiky
pink variety, make excellent accents.
The three succulent gardens at
the lawn’s edge bring the garden right
out to the street.
If some part of the
house, is visible, tall trees keep the