Just how you intend to utilize your space will decide how you design your front and back yard. Usually the front yard is reserved and formal, whereas the backyard is typically homey. That is, the entryway of the front yard is concerned with visitors while the backyard offers an open space for family fun and leisure.
Before you start designing your front yard, cross the street and try looking at your front yard as a stranger would see it. Consider its appearance versus that of neighbors' as well as its curb appeal. Curb appeal is a term to gauge how nice your home looks from the curb. It shouldn't be so eye catching that it is incongruous to the neighborhood, nor should it be so dull that it fades into the background. If your house falls under either of these categories, we have some tips for making-over the impression your house gives.
Take into consideration the accent points to your house. Make sure the walkway to the front door is clear and that any plants that line it do not reach into the walkway to create a hazard. Also, remember to keep your front yard well lit. This will be inviting to your guests and a deterrent to burglars. You might try the popular landscaping option of planting several mini-gardens that lead the eye up walkways. Your front yard plants should fill the spaces under trees and be low-maintenance. Pachysandra, for instance, keeps its green hue through the winter.
Landscaping in the backyard is a more diverse affair and depends on the way you'd like to spend your leisure time. Good lighting is a necessary aspect of the backyard for extending playtime or barbecues. With savvy lighting arrangements, the family will be able to play into the night safely and comfortably. Use boundaries and spaces in your backyard landscape to accommodate your favorite pastimes, such as soccer, lounging, barbecuing, etc.
While the front and backyard are different animals, the front shouldn't be so formal, nor the back so casual, that the two seem disconnected. You can create resonances between the two by repeating materials. The front and back should be variations on the same theme.