Well, I feel that way about houses and other buildings like boutiques, galleries, workshops...any building that says on its facade "I'm interesting - come inside and see what I'm all about."
This is what we've been focusing on, this week, with our new house/art gallery. Changing the trim and door colors was a huge improvement in making the place look warmer and more inviting from the street. but that still wasn't enough. This week, we ripped out the hedge, which had been half covering the walkway, in front of the building. We hemmed and hawed over this, as it's not easy for either of us to uproot a healthy growing plant, unless it's clearly a weed. However, it turned out to be a great decision. It "opened up" the front of our building to passers-by. Instead of looking like a fortress, it is now approachable. Several people have commented on how clean it looks and I enjoy seeing the angular architectural features under the bay windows, which had previously been hidden by the yew hedge.
... and AFTER
Now, the new question is: what to put in its place? Clearly, the dirt cannot and should not stay as is. Grass is a simple choice, but frankly kind of boring. I want something that beckons visitors, something colorful like Jack's art, and cheerful like those who live here (OK, we're cheerful most of the time!) Since the front of the house gets morning sun, but shade the rest of the day, I'm thinking of impatiens, in lots of different colors. They thrive in indirect sunlight.
Another option would be to go with a classic Cape Cod border of hydrangeas, which is so charming and bright. I remember, as a child, being enthralled with hydrangea borders we would pass on our way to shop or to visit friends on the Cape. To me, they just say "welcome". They form a lovely border, and gracefully walk the line between casual and formal. My preference is for a combination of different shades of blue, purple, lavender and light pink.
paucity of green and floral color in New England. Should we put back some evergreens for this reason? Perhaps a combination of evergreen and deciduous shrubs, like boxwood and hydrangeas.
Despite the indisputable fact that it's what's inside that counts, the facade is incredibly important in drawing people to a house or shop, and conveying a feeling for what might be inside. So...we're off to visit garden stores. (I may have to visit a chocolatier, and contemplate some creamy filled chocolates as well, to help me through this state of deliberation.) Stay tuned to find out what we decide.