First impressions are lasting, which is why it was so important for the contestants on The Block to nail their front yards this week. It doesn’t matter whether you call it street appeal, kerb appeal or just a great front yard the truth is, a home’s exterior is the first and last thing buyers are going to see when they’re walking through.
So how did the Blockheads fare? All managed to deliver tidy front gardens, but the only teams with budgets big enough to really take a shot at the win were Leah and Ash in House 2 and Steph and Gian in House 4. Steph and Gian may have had a secret gnome up their sleeves, but ultimately Leah and Ash’s “understated luxury” garden and facade captured the judges hearts and took home the win. “The moment you walk into this property you just feel there’s so much thinking, so much finesse, but it’s not overdone,” said Marty.
1. That fence
The Block’s resident architect Julian Brenchley designed the unique, undulating front fence, which was created using 3D printing technology. It hints at the home’s personality-filled interior, and placing plants along the top to soften the look even further was a true stroke of genius.
2. A nod to the old school
There’s so much innovation in Leah and Ash’s front garden, including a driveway turning circle, the curvaceous front fence and all of the angles and curves that make up the front facade, but guest judge and landscape designer Dave Franklin saw past all of the flashy features to get to the heart of the garden’s design. “This is an old school style landscape,” said Dave of the garden’s tiered layout.
So what makes a tiered garden so great? In a single-layer garden, most of the planting is at ground level. By raising up some sections of the garden into ‘tiers’ a garden designer elevates some plants towards eye-level, which creates interest and depth. Tiered gardens are also an excellent choice for sloped sites, as it maximises the available planting space and helps reduce soil erosion.
3. The water feature
It’s easy to bring a bad day at work home. But that’s a problem Leah and Ash’s front water feature may help mitigate. The sound of running water is known to calm the brain, and by placing the water feature next to the footpath, it helps you ‘shed off’ any of that negative energy as you walk up the garden path toward the house.
4. Mixed materials
One budget-savvy move Leah and Ash made during front yard and facade week was to alternate granite stone pavers with concrete pavers. “This is how you do concrete,” said Dave. The large-format pavers also created a grand, welcoming walkway towards the house.
5. Planting ahead
It’s a well established fact: kerb appeal matters when you’re trying to sell a home. Leah and Ash were clever in their decision to plan ahead with their plant selection. Silver birches are dormant in winter (which is when The Block finished filming) but come alive with flowers in spring (which is when the houses are going to auction). It was a smart move, and one that will help buyers fall in love with their home even more on auction day. “Come springtime, for the auction, this is going to be booming,” said Dave.
Runners up: Steph and Gian
Steph and Gian may have given Kyle and Leslie $5000 for a secret gnome, but at the end of the day it just wasn’t enough to nab them the win. Dave Franklin was excited to rattle off a laundry list of plants selected and said the planning that had gone into the selection was incredible.
Shaynna said the garden looked “expensive” and all judges loved the generous travertine pavers. “‘It has a sense of grandeur, a sense of texture,” said Shaynna.
But it was Steph and Gian’s dark hallway that let them down this week. The choice of a hardwood door prevented light from penetrating the corridor and blocked any view of the garden beyond. “We’ve just come from one of the best yards on The Block this season,” said Dave. “I’m with Darren on this one, you want to see a bit of that front yard.”