Landscaping for guests

We’re in our 2 weeks where it’s warm enough to want to garden but the mosquitoes aren’t bad. I’ve decided to pull out the roses that are struggling in the front yard and put in shade tolerant plants.

It occurs to me that I could design part of it so it’s kind of a secret garden, only fully visible from one of the guest spaces (but also from the front door). This makes me happy.

Has anyone else designed some or all of their garden with hosting/guests in mind?


Not garden but the front parking/porch yes. I had considered giving the guest a sort of dedicated private yard space when I made the changes I’ve implemented but decided the cost was prohibitive for the kind of guests I have. As it is I go in and out through the garage 99% of the time and don’t use the front door/porch so the guests have some privacy. Some guests do enjoy sitting out front.

If I ever switched to long term tenant I might make some changes then to give the tenant more of their own space.

We put dolphin and manatee floats in the pool that’s just outside the cabana door – does that count?


Whatever type of landscaping you decide on please keep in mind the safety of you and your guests. In my mind I am seeing tall hedges with a garden which could possibly hold a safety issue, also if you allow pets please keep that in mind and not choose toxic plants.

I just bought a tall rubber plant and 2 scheffleras from an old man on craigslist who was quite charmed by me and wanted to know all about tiny tiki. So, another 70 bucks for guest landscaping… to replace others (fake) that faded horribly or that the bunnies ate.

1 Like

I’m far more motivated to do spring cleaning and plant annuals than I ever was before hosting!

I’d love to have a spot in the yard just for guests, but have few places that are well-suited to it. Most of the time it’s no problem if guests take over the main sitting area and fire pit. It occasionally gets awkward when I’ve planned to have friends over, though.

If you do invest, remember to hang onto those receipts for tax time!


I think a garden nook would look swell in your photos AND will attract bookings – just don’t be surprised if nobody ever sits in it. That’s one of those guest-attracting fantasy things, they imagine themselves sitting out there with morning coffee, when in reality they’ll be rushing off to get to the matinee or their business meeting. I get lots of nice comments about my pretty and peaceful back yard, but I know of only two guests who have ever actually sat in it. And no one has ever used the grill.

1 Like

The old croc next to the summer house always gets a good reaction


This is our dedicated guest space now. We fenced it off to keep our dogs from pooping there and jumping on guests. Waiting for the grass to grow in and do plantings. Then will have a table, seating, and outdoor fireplace. That path goes from guest parking right to their private door too.


Unfortunately my back garden is in a swale where it’s horribly buggy in the summer unless the wind’s blowing. My grandparents had a huge vegetable garden there until the 70s and I’m slowly restoring it. My front yard will unfortunately probably be either deck or parking if I remodel, and it’s right on the street with just a fence.

Guests do sometimes join me for a beer on the front porch in the early evening while I’m tending the barbie. If the charcoal’s already lit, they’re welcome to throw something on, too.

1 Like

Absolutely. My property has many elements of mostly landscaping that are meant to add privacy, reduce noise and add beauty year round.

Currently I’m working on cultivating English Ivy in pots to grow up a nylon net that will be stretch between my neighbors home and mine. Its a narrow space between our homes and right now when you look out a window, you see the neighbors siding. Soon, you’ll see ivy and its there all year.

I’m making hedge rows using boxwood bushes and privet. These help corral the guests to the front door and keep them off the garden. Otherwise they tramp right up through the grass and track leaves and mud into the house.

I planted about 95 Arborvitae trees of 2 varieties to create a privacy fence around the whole property. I despise regular fences. I’m planning on keeping them trimmed to be low and thick, maybe 3-4 meters tall.

I’m planting catnip, lavendar and one more ‘weed’ in pots around the property to keep away mosquitoes. I’ve heard reports these help repel those insects.

Thats about all I can do for now. Until my fence and shrubs grow up, I won’t be able to do much else.


The backyard is wide open and in the summer stargazing and a small firepit is a must. The front has muskoka chairs where people can chat with the neighborhood and smoke. Lots of florals to put in their rooms.

We’re beside the Lancaster Canal so our garden is 55’ from side to side but only 3’ from back to front - it’s like gardening a motorway verge! However we’ve a nice seating area where people can sit with a glass of wine and watch the swans and the ducks.


Yes. I planted more flowering plants in the garden so that guests can see more colorful flowers from the window.

I am puzzled to find out some guests keep the window closed all day despite that there is a beautiful view and they chose my place because of the garden.


For sure! We live where it is about 75-80 year round, so plants practically grow themselves, which makes what we did easy. But, we planted 9 papaya trees in a dirt area right off their lanai, so they have a steady supply of fruit they can pick in the morning. There was also room for a vegetable garden (just for the guests - ours is elsewhere) and it has pick-your-own kale, peppers, tomatoes, basils, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, parsley, and chives year-round. This brings a lot of delight and happiness, especially when parents see their kids going for the fresh sweet parsley they picked themselves. Just an idea of what you might do seasonally. Here I plant the vegetables among flowering perennials, so the garden is beautiful to boot. We practice the Ruth Stout square-foot gardening method, so weeding is just about non-existent.


I guess I may need to say that I hadn’t thought O would necessarily say yes to landscaping for guests but I currently find myself in the middle of a sod installation and slight driveway renovation project at the moment at my separate whole house listing. I also have guests staying there currently for a month (they wanted to stay longer but it was already booked). Luckily they seem ok with the project since it is improving things for them. Also, their dog is just the sweetest thing and is well behaved and trained off leash so I don’t have to worry about any issues with the gate as I’m doing it. They are there if the dog is out but it’s such a pleasure to see good dogs and people that are respectful of it. They are keeping the dog out of the freshly prepared topsoil where I haven’t yet laid down the sod yet.
Strangely though, even with the $50 parking on the lawn fine and the newly, well defined driveway (I thought that revamping the delineation between gravel drive and lawn would help prevent lawn driving which seems an odd recurring problem I have, as discussed in other threads) he parked on it today stating that he thought someone other than me might be bringing the sod this time. Not that that made much sense as instill had to ask him to move his truck to open the gate he blocked in order to pull the load up to the top of the driveway as I had had it just two days prior. I just so don’t understand why people continue to drive and park on the lawn. I guess I will have to install landscape timbers or railroad ties as a physical hurdle to be scaled. I hate to do that through for fear someone may trip on it and get hurt or sue me. Any other suggestions on how to adjust my landscaping other than planting a row of bushes or a fence along the driveway (that would really be an expensive pain in the butt and look weird).

If they are parking on the lawn, create driveways where they are parking…

I once read about an architect who designed a group of buildings with no sidewalks. he planted grass everywhere and after a year he put in sidewalks where the grass was worn down.


1 Like

Thank for the suggestion. I’m very familiar (and a proponent of) that study! However, this is a home with a single straight driveway on a cul-de-sac in a residential neighborhood with approximately 1/2-1 acre lots with only one drainage pipe location for a driveway and I’ll be damned if I’m going to put a haphazard mishmash of driveways all around a residential lawn. I work hard on having a green lawn and improving it all the time.

I hope that you have a blender. Papaya says smoothie to me!

1 Like

Not that likely, but they do have to be big enough that some big mudtruckfattire idiot won’t drive over them. I would suggest using some kind of low (12-16 inch) evergreen shrub, or cactus if you’re in dry country.