Designing your home or landscape on a corner block comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities. They are often particularly large, approaching a corner block for your future home and/or garden is all about perspective. There are pros and cons to a corner block that can be enhanced or diminished through design. Corner blocks can offer flexibility in design, they can provide extra access or entertaining area due to their (usually) larger size. For some people utilising these spaces can be difficult, and due to their size landscaping the area is often more expensive. These are our tips for making sense of these unusual blocks, creating privacy, limiting noise, and making the most of the opportunities presented by your corner block property. If you’re designing and building a new home, we’ll talk a bit about designing your landscape alongside your home. If you’re in an existing property, we’ll touch on how landscaping can make the space much more comfortable. Let’s get into it.
Privacy & Openness
One big advantage of a corner landscape is that the front garden can feel more open and expansive, this is particularly beneficial if you’ve got a nice view or a quiet street. The downside of this openness is that some people begin to feel overly exposed and begin to have privacy concerns. Corner block properties might also be more at risk of noisiness and light from the street. Fortunately, landscaping and planting can help to create privacy and dampen street noise and light.
On a corner block, building a fence to screen out the world might be complicated by council requirements or the shape of the boundaries. If that’s the case, the most important thing to do is to identify the key areas you would like to keep private and focus on those spots. This depends on the layout of your home as well as your surroundings. Most people are not excited to have their bathrooms or children’s bedrooms easily visible from the street, but some areas like the kitchen and lounge areas garner mixed opinions on what constitutes appropriate privacy. Consider the elevation of the home when thinking about this as well. If your home is higher up relative to your surroundings, lower screening might go a long way towards making the space feel private, while preserving your light and views.
When it comes to building structures or hedges around your property, it’s a good idea to learn about the requirements of your local council. You may have to compromise on the height or opacity of some sections of screening.
Take a look at this project for example:
TDL was engaged towards the end of the build period to assist the builder with both the landscape and to detail the front entry and pool courtyard. On this project, we were able to extend the landscaping to the verge, creating the illusion of a much larger property. This could be achieved in part thanks to the elevation of the home and to the screening we were able to provide closer to the property through planting. This solution also helps to overcome truncation or shape issues caused by the unusual boundaries of the property.
Working with your boundaries
If (as is sometimes the case) your corner block boundary has an odd shape, it usually helps from an aesthetics perspective to de-emphasize the odd shape and resist aligning to it exactly. Try to keep the visual borders looking visually comfortable even if the actual boundaries are not. As mentioned above, one way around this is to avoid building clear structures or hedges around the boundaries of your home. Another option is to build them closer to the home and along a more expected shape, you may sacrifice a bit of space for this but it may be much more usable and visually agreeable.
Defining the entrance & Orientation
For some properties on a corner block, there is an opportunity for making the most of the “front” of your home. There’s no need to compromise the impact of the pedestrian entrance by introducing a garage or carport, however, two frontages can introduce the challenge of defining a clear visual entrance. The aspect of your home is something you’ll likely discuss with your builders if it’s a new home, and it’ll consider the surrounding areas, the slope and dimensions of the block, and council regulations.
When it comes to landscaping the property, try not to obfuscate the main entrance, guests (and food delivery drivers) should be able to find the front door with ease. This can be done by making a big splash with the design of the ‘true’ front, and making any other access ways less busy or formal. Lighting, pathways, and structures all contribute to a sense of arrival.
In this corner block, the ‘rear’ entry is marked by much more subtle and informal landscaping and structures. The property’s true front is defined by how open it is to the street, the driveways and decisive paving, and the structure of the home itself.
Why landscape design is especially important to plan ahead on a corner block
While there may be more room to work with at the front of the house, corner blocks often have smaller backyards. This means that if you want to incorporate significant features like a pool or alfresco area, you may have to do it in the complicated context of the front of the home. Another good reason to plan your corner block landscape well in advance and carefully is that landscaping this area can be more expensive. Fencing is the obvious big expense for a corner block, twice the frontage means twice the fencing. It also means less negotiating fencing with the neighbours, meaning you may have a bit more freedom when it comes to design. As well as being a major expense, fencing on corner blocks may be more complicated (and more important) than others. If your streets are tree-lined, a corner block might also benefit from twice as many trees you can carefully fold into your design. For all these reasons and more, it’s worthwhile to talk to a designer or consult with your builders about the unique characteristics of your corner block.
Need more advice? Contact us for a garden design or pool landscaping consultation and we’ll give you personalised tips on how your landscape can be created, overhauled, or improved by careful design. Reach out today for a chat.