A beautifully landscaped front yard can increase your home’s curb appeal while giving you a more appealing place to live. These front yard landscaping ideas offer creative suggestions for showcasing your plants, hardscaping and more.
Get Started on Your Front Yard
Consider the following front yard landscaping tips.
- Grow a variety of ornamental grasses, shrubs and flowers so you’ll have interesting colors and textures all year long. Use plants of different heights, but don't put large-growing plants in front of windows.
- Try a garden design that spaces plants as shown on their tags, so they won’t become crowded.
- To save money, start a flower bed from seeds, or divide existing perennials and replant them around your yard.
- Look for deals on healthy shrubs, plants and garden flowers that may be marked down near the end of the growing season. Be aware that they'll probably need more care than those planted during the season.
- Choose evergreens as foundation plants, rather than deciduous shrubs, so your landscape won’t look bare when the leaves drop.
- If you have pine trees, use the acidic pine straw as mulch in an island or garden bed of acid-loving plants. This could include azaleas, camellias, gardenias and ferns. If you’re planting underneath the pines, be sure your plants get enough light, since the trees will create some shade.
- As needed, trim the shrubs you're going to keep.
- When bulbs or perennials finish blooming, tuck pots of fresh annuals around them.
- Plant medium or large trees 30 to 50 feet away from the house, and small trees 15 feet away, so growing roots won't damage your home's foundation.
- Connect shrubs, trees, flowers or foliage plants in a border topped with chipped bark or other mulch.
Tip: Roots can penetrate tiny gaps in underground pipes and cause major damage. Know exactly where your electric, phone, cable and gas lines are located before planting. Call your local utility companies before you dig.
Ideas for Small Front Yards
With small front yards, creative landscaping can have a big impact. There's nothing like bringing in colorful plants and flowers to add to the overall quaintness of your front lawn.
- Use small shrubs, bulbs or annuals in containers by your front door, in hanging baskets on your porch or in window boxes. For best results, fill the planters and baskets with a quality potting soil. The potted plants will add color and interest at different levels.
- Think about proportion and look for plants that match the scale of your house and yard.
- If your small yard doesn’t feel private, grow ornamental grasses, flowering plants and shrubs of different heights. Use some evergreens so your yard won’t be completely exposed in the fall and winter.
- Grow vertically. Train vining or climbing plants on fences or on trellises close to, but not touching, your house.
Low-Growing Landscapes Enhance Ranch Style Homes
Match the front yard landscape to suit the style of your home. For instance, use low-growing shrubs, grasses and flowering plants to repeat the horizontal lines of a ranch-style house. Some low growing plants such as dwarf trees, small conifer trees and ground cover look amazing in front of ranch style homes. Choosing evergreen will ensure that you enjoy the lush green landscape throughout the year. It’s also a good idea to plant smaller plants in the front of flowerbeds and taller ones in back to create depth and dimension.
Tip: Be sure to check plant tags to know how big your shrubs or trees will be once fully grown.
Quaint Cottages, Classic Styles and More
Accent a Cape Cod house or cottage with classic details such as a white picket fence and cottage garden flowers like roses, larkspurs, dianthus, snapdragons and hydrangeas. Some houses lend themselves to landscaping, and cottages are at the top of the list.
Less is More with Modern Style Homes
A minimalistic or simple front yard fits well with a contemporary house. Grow plants with spiky leaves or sculptural forms and use concrete or other modern-looking containers. Instead of lantern-shaped lights along a walkway, add a glow with outdoor rope lights or choose sleek mounted lighting for a wall. Native plants are great if you want plants and shrubbery that are low maintenance. Since these plants live in places that match their growing requirements, they will thrive in the soils, moisture and weather of that region.
Get Creative with Traditional Style Homes
The traditional style home pulls from a variety of historical architectural periods. Details such as large front porches with overhanging beams, rafters and columns may be featured on these homes. Materials such as brick, wood, plaster, stucco and stone are commonly used as well. When it comes to lawn maintenance, it's great to start with shrubs and basic lawn care. This creates the perfect foundation to create a front yard you'll love.
Drought-Tolerant Landscaping Tips
Do you have a small yard in a hot, dry climate? Grow space-saving succulents and cacti or native plants that don't need much water. Instead of grass, cover your soil with attractive landscaping rocks, crushed stone, pebbles or gravel. Also, knowing your plant hardiness zone will allow you to determine which plants grow best in your part of the world. A technique called xeriscaping entails using drought resistant grass mixes, native plants and drought-resistant plants to keep your landscape thriving with little water.
Place an Arbor Over the Front Walk
Put an arbor over the walk to your front entrance. Plant it with climbing roses, Carolina jasmine, clematis or other vining plants. Consider attaching the arbor to a picket fence to make your front yard feel like a welcoming garden enclosure. You could also add trellises, pergolas and hardscape features like retaining walls or pathways to add visual interest to your landscape.
Add a Water Feature
Install a small water feature, such as a fish pond or a glazed pot with a circulating pump, and let the overflow splash into a bed of attractive rocks. Fountains are also a great way to add an organic touch to your yard. Allow the soothing sounds of the water to drown out the noise from street traffic. Outdoor fountains create a calming oasis in your yard, while a tabletop fountain can be used on your front porch to bring the zen right to you.
Line the Walkway
You can make your house the focus by planting a few trees or shrubs on each side of your walkway. Grow flowers under them and echo their colors in planters beside your entrance. Line the walkway to your front entrance with landscape lighting or low-growing liriope or mondo grass, sometimes called monkey grass. The walkway is also a great place for solar and LED lights to dimly light your path at night and impress onlookers. Our DIY Pathway guide provides all the direction you need to create a pathway you can be proud of.
Fill Window Boxes with Color
A window box is the perfect way to inject color and detail in the front of your home. Mixing and matching vibrant blooms and plants gives your house charming details that will increase curb appeal and distinguish it from other houses. Fill window boxes with colorful flowers, herbs or small shrubs. To enhance the effect, add the same plants in matching or complementary colors to flower beds below the windows.
Showcase Your Mailbox
We all don't have space for a garden, but a mailbox can be used to display shrubs, colorful flowers and climbing vines to showcase your taste. Whether you choose pavers to create a border or have your plants growing wildly around your mailbox, it's sure to add interest to your front yard. Dress it up with a new set of house numbers, too.
More Front Yard Ideas
Consider these other creative front yard landscaping ideas.
- Got an old stump? Make a hollow in it and fill it with potting mix and flowers.
- Make a butterfly island or border with a mix of plants, small trees and shrubs that attract butterflies. If you enjoy bird watching, use bird-friendly plants instead, such as coneflowers, dogwoods and native plants, and add a bird bath. Check out our guide on Flowers That Attract Pollinators to learn more.
- Do you have leftover bricks or stones from a building project? Use them to edge beds and borders.
- For extra color, tuck spring flowering bulbs between and around your foundation shrubs.
- Grow shade-loving annuals around your trees, but avoid adding a lot of extra soil, which can harm the roots. Leave a little room between the mulch and the tree trunks to discourage pests and diseases.
- Edge a path with outdoor solar lights or use a garden spotlight to accent a beautiful tree at night.
- Fill an old wheelbarrow with quality potting soil and colorful flowers. It’s fine if the wheelbarrow has rusty spots. They’ll let excess rainfall drain out. You can do the same thing with a child’s wagon or a bicycle with front and back baskets. Prop the bike against a tree or fence to display it.
- For a contemporary look, stack cinder blocks to make a planter or bed. The openings at the bottoms will let excess water drain out.
- Turn part of your yard into an edible garden with herbs, small fruit trees and vegetables.
- Save yourself some work and use informal shrubs that don't need much pruning.
- Cut down on mowing by creating a rock garden or substituting ground cover for some of your grass.
Tip: Since this is in front of your home, make sure your local zoning regulations and/or homeowners' association rules permit your landscaping ideas.
Lawn Care Tips
Make sure your front yard looks its best with these lawn care tips.
- Keep your lawn 2 to 3 inches tall, which is typically the highest setting on most push mowers. Removing more than one-third of the grass blades leads to shorter root systems and makes it harder for the grass to absorb enough moisture.
- More weeds germinate when the grass is not tall enough to shade them out, so mow only as often as needed to discourage them.
- Combat any brown, patchy spots by adding grass seed and fertilizer.
- Break out the lawn weed killer to attack dandelions or crab grass, so new weeds won't sprout up.
When choosing between the options for front yard landscaping, begin with a plan that sets priorities. Focus first on important things, such as a new walkway, shade trees or garden landscaping, and fill out the rest of the yard as needed. The right front yard landscaping ideas will boost your home's curb appeal from the sidewalk to the front porch.