Tag Archive for: Front Garden

Exploring My Front Garden: More Than Just a Yard

Do you have a front garden adorned with perennials and succulents, or do you simply call it a front yard? Personally, I prefer not to refer to the front area of a home as a mere ‘yard’. The definition of the word ‘yard‘ is “a piece of ground adjoining a building or house.”

A Burst of Color from Perennials and Succulents

Now, while I do have a piece of ground adjoining my house – it is so much more than that.  

The piece of ground is filled with trees, shrubs, perennials, and succulents, which in my opinion makes it not a ‘yard’ BUT a ‘garden’.

So, I thought that I would show you a little of what is growing in my front ‘garden’….

 firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) perennials and succulents

Blooming Beauties: Firecracker Penstemon and White Gaura

This time of year, my firecracker penstemon (Penstemon eatonii) is in full bloom, much to the delight of bees and hummingbirds.

This tough perennial blooms January through April in my zone 9a garden. In cooler climates, it will flower in the summer.

white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) perennials and succulents

Underneath the front window, lies a row of white gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), which flowers in spring and fall.  This perennial is hardy to zone 5.

Embracing the World of Agave, Alongside Perennials and Succulents

artichoke agave perennials and succulents

Agave are my favorite type of succulent and I have several different types in my garden.

This one is near the front entry and is called artichoke agave (Agave parryi ‘truncata’).

It is a medium-sized agave and can grow in zones 7 and up.

As you can see, it has produced some offsets (babies, pups, volunteers). They are attached to the mother plant by a underground stem.

I have taken several of the offsets and replanted them around my garden…

artichoke agave perennials and succulents

This one was planted 2 years ago from the mother plant.

It is easy to take offsets and plant them in other areas in the garden.  I wrote about it a few years ago and you can read it here.

The Charm of Globe Mallow in Various Shades

globe mallow perennials and succulents

In late winter, I am always impatient to see my globe mallow begin to show the first glimpse of color peeking through.

I have several globe mallow plants and each one produces a different-colored flower.  

pink globe mallow perennials and succulents

Here is my pink globe mallow.

white globe mallow flowers perennials and succulents

And it’s neighbor, which has white flowers.

red globe mallow perennials and succulents

This globe mallow has vibrant, red flowers and is located on the other side of my front garden landscape with other perennials and succulents.

While I love all of my globe mallow flowers, I think that the pink are my favorite…

hot pink globe mallow perennials and succulents

The most common color of globe mallow is orange.  But, as you can see, there are other colors available.

Agave Wonders: Octopus Agave and Victoria Agave

octopus agave perennials and succulents

I mentioned that I had a few different species of agave in my garden.

This is my largest one, which is called octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana).  

octopus agave pups perennials and succulents

I raised this agave from a tiny pup (bulbil) from the flowering stem of its mother, who I had grown in a large pot.

This agave has a tropical look with its curvy leaves and does best in areas with filtered or afternoon shade.

Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae)

Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae) was named for Queen Victoria.

This smaller agave has a very distinctive look and is highly-desired, which makes it rather expensive.

I was given the largest one in the photo, above, by a client and it has since gone on to produce many babies for me.

A Twist on Lantana with a Splash of Color

lavender lace lantana

Some people may think that lantana is overused in the landscape with perennials and succulents, but I like to put a twist on the traditional lantana.

There is a lantana called ‘Lavender Lace’ that produces both purple and white flowers on the same plant.  BUT, it can be hard to find and is expensive.

So, I create the same look by planting both a purple and a white trailing lantana in the same hole.

Succulents Adding Texture to the Garden

desert spoon (Dasylirion acrotriche)

My favorite types of plants are flowering shrubs and groundcovers.  However, I like the different textures that succulents add to my front garden.

So, I have green desert spoon (Dasylirion acrotriche) on both sides in the front.  This species of desert spoon has a darker-green color then the gray/blue leaves of regular desert spoon.

Valentine: A Favorite Flowering Shrub

Valentine shrub perennials and succulents

Finally, I’d like to finish with my favorite flowering shrub, Valentine whose red blooms began to appear at Christmas and will last through April.


I hope you enjoyed this partial tour of my front garden.  I do have trees and other plants growing, but because they are dormant in winter, I will show you them in the future, once they are looking their best.

Garden or a Yard

Garden or a Yard ;An example of a “front garden”.

 What word do you use for the area surrounding your home?  Do you call it a ‘yard’ or a ‘garden’?  

I looked up the definition of the word ‘yard’ regarding the land surrounding a house and here is what I found:

1. A tract of ground next to, surrounding or surrounded by a building or buildings.

3. An area where railroad trains are made up and cars are switched, stored, and serviced on tracks and sidings.

4.  A winter pasture for deer or other grazing animals, or an enclosed tract of ground in which animals, such as chickens or pigs, are kept.

Now, I don’t have any trains in my yard or deer, chickens or pigs either.  I do have animals in my yard, but my dogs spend most of their time indoors.

Of all these definitions, the first one best describes my ‘yard’.  But it is so much more than a “tract of ground surrounding a building”.

Garden or a Yard

My back ‘garden’ in the summer.

So, I looked up the definition of the word, ‘garden’.  Here is what I found:

1. A plot of land used for the cultivation of flowers, vegetables, herbs, or fruit.

2. Grounds laid out with flowers, trees, and ornamental shrubs and used for recreation or display.

3. A yard or lawn.

Now some people may not feel comfortable referring to their ‘yard’ as a garden.  They may feel that their landscape is inadequate.

Garden or a Yard

 Kilkenny Castle, Kilkenny Ireland

Well, I don’t see anything in the definitions of the word, ‘garden’ that means that you have to have beautiful, formal, extravagant landscaping around your home.  You don’t see the word ‘castle’ mentioned in the definition, do you?

I think the definition(s) of the word, ‘garden,’ describe the landscape around my house much more accurately than the word ‘yard.’  I have flowers growing in containers, I have a vegetable garden, I have flowering plants, ornamental shrubs, and trees.

Winter Annuals

 Winter Annuals

Okay, you may be asking, “What if I only have a single tree and a couple of shrubs in my landscape?  Does that mean that I only have a ‘yard’, or can I call it a ‘garden.’  Well, if you look at the definitions from the dictionary, I think the word, ‘garden’ certainly applies.  But, it certainly couldn’t hurt if you decide to add more trees and plants in my opinion 😉

A few years ago, I stopped referring to the area surrounding my home as a ‘yard’.  I didn’t think that the term ‘yard’  described the landscape surrounding my house.  (When I managed landscapes, we had a ‘maintenance yard’ where all of our equipment was kept and our offices were also located there as well.  The term ‘yard’ did describe what we used that parcel of land for – a specific business or activity.  But it certainly was not a term that I wanted for the area around my home.)

My side vegetable 'garden'

My side vegetable ‘garden’

Now, my landscape is not particularly fancy…it’s rather simple, filled with plants that I love.  And so I decided that I did not have a ‘yard.’  To be more specific, I did not have a ‘front yard’, ‘backyard’ or even a ‘side yard’.  I had a garden.  Today, I refer to them as my ‘front garden’, ‘back garden’ and ‘side garden’. 

Pink Beauty (Eremophila laanii)

 Pink Beauty (Eremophila laanii)

When I meet with clients, I like to refer to their landscape areas as their front garden and back garden.  My hope is that they will see their “yard” as what it really is…..a garden.

So, what do you have?  A ‘garden’ or a ‘yard’?