All curb appeal design relies on the size and shape of the house. This is the canvas on which you apply your function. If the house is very tall and a great distance from the road, it doesn't matter how much you like annuals as you will never see them from the street. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate an annual bed, but you may have to consider some islands or raised beds to break up both the horizontal distance and the vertical space. Use massings and repetitive groupings as individual specimens will not be viewed by passers-by. Consider where larger shade trees and foundation anchor selections will be placed first. The larger trees and shrubs should properly frame and/or accent the lines of the house. Hardscapes can further break up vertical lines and shift focus. use raised beds, pillars, large pots or decorative fountains to set up your functional spaces.
In many Madison area neighborhoods, the front yard functions more like a typical back yard. While it may be due to the small size of the backyard, it's commonly a desire to attain a shorter social distance to nearby neighbors passing by. In today's landscape designs expanding front walkways into full-fledged patios is more and more common. Your first consideration should always be how the space will be used. Is this just an entrance or do you want space for a small bistro table to have your morning coffee at? In the end, all curb appeal design is about leading you to the front door but this doesn't necessarily mean the shortest and most direct route.
A Room with a View
Consider all of the viewing points, not just the view from the curb. If you plan on a small patio area you may want some screening. What rooms have windows facing the front of the house, do any of them need screening? Perhaps you want to include an offset island planting on which you can plant an annual massing visible from inside the house. While your goal is curb appeal, don't forget your view is most often from the inside.
Don't Over Do It
Design and install only what you know you can take care of. You don't want to create a monster you can't keep in control and you don't want to turn off potential buyers when it comes time to sell. Buyers want to see beautiful entrances yes, but you don't want them to interpret it as a maintenance nightmare either. Most importantly, don't forget about the house! Complete all facelift work on the house first and then finish the landscape. I can't tell you how many costly repairs and replacements we have made after home improvement contractors damaged the landscape trying to complete their work. Maybe it is a fresh coat of paint, new siding or some planter boxes, shutters, gutters or replacing some windows. No matter what it is, it will require free access to the front of the home. Always complete this work first