We have all seen spectacular homes and gardens that catch our eye and cause us to pause during our busy lives.

Gardens that are so beloved that they become an essential stop on neighbourhood walks. Often, a sight that people both remark upon and remember.

Curb appeal is visual interest created at the front of a home through the use of decorative design elements.

By using the design elements found in house colour and co-ordinating trim, windows, doors, lighting, plantings, paths, finishing touches and fences, landscape designers create focal points to direct the eye to an area.

One way to create a focal area is by the use of symmetry. Another is with use of scale and line — a design concept used to create eye movement.

Start by defining the front entrance of the home and clearly highlight this area as the focal for the home’s landscaping. One should be able to clearly see the front door upon arrival at the home.

If the canvas is an open space, curb appeal will lack definition. Enliven an entrance using decorative urns. Marry this with a vibrant colour on the front door to add a punch of visual interest to a home.

Consider upgrading to a more attractive front door, possibly with leaded glass inserts or improve on an existing door by adding new hardware. An entrance can be easily enhanced by a welcoming wreath and seasonally inspired planters.

Walkways are another important feature in curb appeal. Walkways can be made of plain or coloured concrete, stamped or imprinted concrete, exposed aggregate and paver’s or stone which can be designed to be straight or curved.

Always, a walkway should be easy and safe to walk on.

The driveway is an important element for curb appeal landscaping. From installing lighting to planting borders, the driveway is sure to be noticed by passersby.

If your home has a porch, this is a great place to display long benches, narrow consoles and chairs. It is also a great showplace for statuary, garden art and treasured collectibles.

Try adding an eye catching element such as a fountain. The soothing sound and sight of running water is naturally calming.

Arbours are a great way to direct the eye toward more attractive areas of the garden and away for less appealing structures such as garages doors. Vines such as clematis ‘jackmanni’, parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘englemanni’ and ‘virginia creeper’ are hardy choices.

Does your home offer curb appeal? This summer, take a look at your home’s best and worst exterior features. Entertain new ideas to transpire your front entrance to offer greater curb appeal.

When streetscaping your home, consider this to be visitor’s first and last impression of your home. By creating an intimate space and enticing entranceway, you can offer personality to your home’s entrance.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. She is the owner and founder of Northern Elegance. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.

PHOTO: iStockphoto