Every house presents a slightly different problem for the aspiring gardener. If the front yard is deep, there will be room for more planting than if the house stands close to the street. The locations of the driveway and garage are other factors to consider, as is the grade of slope of the front yard.
Really nothing is sacred about the scheme as is, unless some particularly beautiful specimens cannot be moved. And then there is your lawn. Most lawns need good fertilizing and reseeding of bare spots at least once a year.
If you are discouraged about weeds and crab grass, fertilizing will help the good grasses. Tarred paper, or an old rug or piece of canvas, will smother out crab grass. And the new weed killers are worth looking into.
Some prefer white clover in a lawn. It rovers bare spots, attracts bees, and the bacteria on its roots add nitrogen to the soil. Nor is clover so subject to attacks of beetle grubs. But it must have fall sun to thrive. When you have finished with your front yard, take a good look at the back yard.
It will usually include three important elements-the view from your living room windows; your outdoor living room or recreation area; your food garden. These days the food garden comes first, although it will often be placed at the back of the lot. Screen it in with a hedge or a flower border, if you like, but above all give it full sun and a fertile, well-drained site.
The outdoor living room might be a terrace, or a shady corner, furnished with benches or comfortable outdoor furniture, where meals or cool drinks may be served. A clothes-drying yard can be screened in with tall shrubs so that the family wash does not show from either the house or the garden. A good book on landscaping will give you good ideas on interesting outdoor arrangements.
The back yard can be the very heart and soul of the garden, and the spot the family loves best for six months of the year. Do not neglect the birds-have a birdbath where you can see it from the house or porch, and some bird houses and feeding stations. Some berried shrubs, including barberry, will provide food and protection for winged visitors.
What you see beyond the borders of your own place will naturally shape your plans for lot-line plantings. If your neighbors are close, plant them out, unless, of course, their grounds offer interesting and attractive views. A community of backyard gardens not set apart but blended together to form long vistas of lawn, trees and flower borders, is a landscaping plan deserving wider attention. Secluded nooks formed by plantings will provide the privacy that every family desires.