Outdoor Living

Tips to Create a Front Yard Social Space

Front Porch Rocker Set by Polywood

Turn Your Front Yard into a Gathering Spot

During the warmer months, our yards, patios, and gardens become our socializing areas where we gather for family parties, cookouts, and after dinner cocktails on the deck. But if you are only utilizing your backyard for these gatherings, you're missing out on some valuable space in your front yard.

Although our backyards afford us more privacy and in some homes access to a pool, patio, an outdoor barbeque area or kitchen, why relegate your outdoor social get-togethers to just this location? Your front yard is an opportunity to welcome neighbors and connect with your community. We take pride in our front yards for adding curb appeal, so we should also turn them into enjoyable social spaces. Here are some ways to make it happen.

Add a porch swing like the one shown here by Polywood.

Make your porch a welcoming place

Porches say "welcome" more than any other structure of your home's exterior and have a long history of being used as the main way people would regularly socialize with their neighbors. If you are lucky enough to have a front porch on your house, you already have to perfect location to create an intimate spot for sitting down to enjoy coffee or a cool drink, invite friends up to take part in conversation, or simply wave to people passing by. Add a few chairs, benches, or a porch swing and a small table to make a chat area. An outdoor area rug will make it cozy, give it color and texture, and help define the conversation zone. Install a ceiling fan to help keep the porch cool and deter mosquitoes and other flying insects.

Build a deck or patio

Who says decks or patios can only be in your backyard? You can build one in your front yard too or extend an existing one from your side yard into the front of your house. Another option is to incorporate brick or flagstone pathways or gravel areas as natural and organic spaces that invite people to move about and mingle. Define these landscaped areas with edging material to prevent the surrounding grass from encroaching and plant flowers or ground covering greenery to add color and soften the border edges.

Mayne Nantucket planters add privacy.

Add some privacy

Although you want your front yard to be friendly and open, adding a little privacy makes it more inviting as a place to sit and chat awhile. You can so this by screening in your porch or creating a little garden spot to conceal some parts of the yard. This can be accomplished by adding some fencing, decorative walls, a pergola or gazebo, an arbor covering in flowering vines, or simply planting taller varieties of shrubs, flowers, or other vegetation in planters that blocks the world from view. Make this spot into a relaxing oasis by including a water fountain and some seating.

Keep it open

Conversely, you can opt to keep your front lawn an open space that allows more room to roam and more people to gather. An expansive, open space makes it perfect for hosting a block party and makes it easy for people to stop by to visit and come and go at their leisure. Sitting in your front yard and engaging with neighbors as they walk past is a great way to get to know the people who live nearby. Inviting them for a drink or sit and chat can have a positive effect on your whole community and promote the development of lasting friendships.

A few simple changes can convert your front yard into a great social space to hang out with family, get to know your neighbors, or entertain friends. Don't let your front yard go to waste. Get out and discover its true potential.