Creative front-yard makeovers

Two landscape designers use some of the same great ideas, yet each garden ends up with its own distinct look

Photo by Jennifer Cheung


A new fence, a path, and the understated plantings that replaced the lawn add huge curb appeal. The beauty of Ginny Mellinger’s new front garden is that the plants look good all year with minimal care. It now has two parts—a public one and a more private one—separated by fencing. In the woodsy “public” section, shapely Arbutus ‘Marina’ trees are underplanted with mounded deep green Carex tumulicola, which spills onto the entry path in a haze of fine, soft leaves. Closer to the house, scattered around the patio, an exuberant mix of plants adds some color—yellows, blues, and deep plum-chocolate. “I don’t think I’d ever again have a lawn in my front yard,” Ginny says. “Why would I, when there are so many other things you can plant?”

Design: Jared Vermeil, VermeilDesign, San Francisco (


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