Many people think of exterior space like a mullet: business in the front, party in the back. The front of most homes is where people park their cars and grab their mail before stepping inside, while the back is where households gather, play, and celebrate. When you don't have a front porch it's easy to miss out on the recreational and social potential of that space out front. Here are a few ways to make it fun for the whole family and foster more community interaction.
1. Hang a swing from a tree. Go old school with a tire swing, hang a porch swing, or get a platform swing.
2. Set up a Little Free Library. Hosting such a mini-library will not only be offering a service to the community, but will present plenty of opportunities for interacting and conversing with neighbors.
3. Install opportunities for creative play like a fairy garden or a garden race car track.
4. If you're hardscaping, consider concrete instead of pavers. It might not look fancy, but concrete is where it's at for skateboarding, rollerskating, and sidewalk chalk. Mike Lanza of Playborhood replaced his and it greatly expanded the play potential for his sons.
5. Borrow another page from Mike Lanza's front yard family playroom by making your front yard the focus of children's play. His family's front yard includes a 30-foot expanse of whiteboard on the fence and a box of dry erase markers, a big picnic table, a water feature, basketball hoop, and sandbox.
And homeowners shouldn't have all the fun. Apartment and condo dwellers, talk to your landlord or association if you want to make changes up front.
What's in your front yard?
(Image credits: Marcia Prentice; Leah Moss; Little Free Library; Better Homes & Gardens Australia; Marcia Prentice; Mike Lanza)