Although some erect privacy fencing to screen out prying eyes from the street, not all fences are meant to furnish privacy. Fences sometimes serve mainly an aesthetic purpose: to define a property. Think of some of the post-and-rail fences you've seen: They provide neither privacy nor security; so what role do they play?
Their function is visual definition. Borders play an important role, visually. A defined area catches the eye better than an open-ended one. To test this idea, go out for a drive, and make it a point to note which properties look more "finished." I can almost guarantee you that you'll find properties tastefully set off by hedges, fences or stone walls to be more attractive than those that aren’t.
For more ideas for borders, please see this article on landscaping property lines.
Many have a walkway that cuts across their lawn to their home's main entrance. Its layout will vary, according to its purpose. If its purpose is to lead visitors from the street to the door facing the street, then it should be straight.
But if you'd rather have visitors enter via a side door or back door, there's no sense in encouraging a frontal assault by furnishing such a path; perhaps you, yourself hardly ever use your street-facing door. In that case, if your front-yard landscaping is to have any walkway at all, a better idea might be a winding flagstone walkway that invites you on a leisurely stroll through points of interest (Don't have any points of interest? Keep reading and we'll fix that!).
If you've chosen to implement a formal style, then the lawn will probably play a critical part in your design. Then again, displaying a nice green lawn is a common goal that cuts across many different design tastes.
There is a growing, vocal minority who are striving to eliminate -- or, at least, minimize -- lawns. They intentionally kill grass to make room for plant life that they find more interesting. Some employ xeriscaping techniques to conserve on water as part of a green living approach.
Even front-yard vegetable gardens are gaining in popularity. Edibles used to be strictly relegated to the backyard, but it's no longer one of the 7 Deadly Sins to allow them to be seen, given the proper design.
But points of interest needn't always consist of plant material. Hardscape can also form or be part of a focal point in your design. I'm particularly attracted to an arbor or pergola design used to support vines. When deployed with discretion, unusual yard art can make your front-yard landscaping pop.
Even if your design scores well on all of these ten points, you may still have a bit more work to do....
Sometimes, for a design to be effective, you must deal with problem areas in the yard or other challenges presented by a particular site. On my own site, e.g., I made a small, formerly unusable area under a large pine tree usable by installing a floating deck there. You ignore steep slopes only at your peril: Rather than a business-as-usual approach here, accept the challenge and tailor your design accordingly. If your home lies close to a highway, you may wish to erect a noise barrier to drown out the cacophony.
In addition to such special cases, always decide on flower location based on sun, shade and other environmental factors. You must play the hand that you're dealt!
Nobody ever said it would be easy! For inspiration, please see my landscape design photos.