One of the best ways to achieve instant curb appeal, according to the experts, is to effectively layer shrubs, plants and flowers in your front yard. Doing so can create a cohesive visual experience that naturally guides visitors to the front door.

Landscape designer Doug Scott describes plant layering in art terms: “Just like in a painting, you need to have a background, a middle ground and a foreground. Each layer serves a purpose, and there’s no more important place for them to be on full display than your home’s entrance.”

To help homeowners understand the purpose of plant layering and identify the best types of plants for each layer, Scott has joined forces with Exmark, a leading manufacturer of commercial mowers and equipment for landscape professionals and serious DIY-ers. Here they break it down for you:

  1. Background: The background layer should consist of taller evergreen shrubs to ensure that no matter what’s in front of them, you and your visitors will always have something green to look at. This layer provides a cohesive backdrop and a bit of living color in every season.
  1. Middle Ground: Here’s where to step it down a notch in height and add interesting shapes, colors or stripes that provide contrast against the darker green of the background layer. Herbaceous perennials, like lavender, are a good choice for this purpose.
  1. Foreground: Finally, the foreground layer should help transition the planting beds to your lawn space or sidewalk, and should therefore be lower than the back two layers. It’s also where you can keep things fresh and get your hands dirty throughout the year by changing out annuals with the seasons. Or, if you want a lower-maintenance entrance, you can choose smaller perennials, evergreens or creeping ground covers. Use the foreground layer as an opportunity to add pops of color at ground level and draw attention to your home’s entrance.

Scott lays out a few other important tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose plants consistent with your home’s style. For instance, if you have a craftsman home, you should probably skip tropical plants. Or, if your home is more minimalist, avoid an overabundance of different plants.
  • Don’t obstruct views of your front door from the street with plants. Likewise, visitors shouldn’t have to maneuver around plants as they make their way down the sidewalk. Neither is convenient or welcoming, so you’ll either need to keep pruning plants to size, or choose plants that won’t overgrow their space without a ton of pruning.
  • To make your entrance “the star” it should be, the plant material in the rest of your front yard shouldn’t be distracting. Rather let it frame the intended view.

Scott offers more plant layering tips in “Making an Entrance,” a recent episode of “Done-In-A-Weekend Projects,” an original series from Exmark. To watch the video, visit Backyard Life, which is part of a unique multimedia destination with a focus on helping homeowners make the most of outdoor spaces. There you can also download additional tips and view other Exmark Original Series videos, including “Dream Yards,” “Living Rural,” “Prime Cuts” and “Done In a Weekend – Extreme Projects.”

Through effective plant layering, you can boost curb appeal and give your home the grand entrance it deserves.