Curb appeal is a phrase that’s often tossed around D.I.Y. videos and reality T.V. home remodels. It’s a term that means designing your front yard to be as inviting as the rest of your home. Although it sounds great, it can be difficult to find the right way to go about it. However, it’s simpler than it seems if you have some innovative front yard landscaping ideas to help get you started.
What Is Front Yard Landscaping?
Landscaping by definition is the process of taking a piece of land and making it more visually attractive. Although the name makes it seem complicated, front yard landscaping is simply the design of your lawn. This covers everything from how the grass is cut to the type of plants used and any additional decor. This helps to spruce up the overall look of your front yard giving it the ultimate curb appeal.
You can do this on your own or with the help of a friend or family member. However, if you’re not into doing it all yourself, you can call a landscaping contractor to come and handle it for you. The choice is up to you, but sweat equity put in by you will save you a ton of money on contractors and give an extra sense of pride every time you come home.
The average homeowner will spend about $3,000 on their front yard landscaping. This covers everything from lawn care maintenance tasks like grass cutting and seed planting to flower planting. With a little creativity, you can create beautiful works of art with your front yard, but it will cost you so be sure to shop around prior to settling on a contractor. Often, landscapers will offer free quotes and help give you some design ideas for your lawn or point out any trouble areas.
Do I Need to Landscape My Front Yard?
Gathering front yard landscaping ideas can be a lot of fun but could also make you wonder, “Do I even need to landscape?” The answer to this question is a simple yes! Not only does having a well-landscaped front yard look great, but it also increases the value of your home. Nothing adds equity to your home like having a well-styled front yard, and that means more equity should you sell your house.
Another reason you should landscape your yard is that it adds a warm and inviting atmosphere to your home. This counts double for homes that have front porches. Showcasing your front yard with a garden or a nice pathway can really make all the difference in the appearance of your home.
Landscaping your front yard is also a great idea because it lets you tackle those more troublesome areas of your front yard. By addressing all the lawn issues you may have and adding some flowers, you improve the overall soil on the property. Improving the soil means better grass and healthier plants so your home always looks bright and alive.
What If I’m on a Budget?
Front yard landscaping ideas don’t have to be expensive. If you’re looking to spruce up your front yard, you can add a few simple touches that will really make your home stand out. In fact, being on a budget could be beneficial for those who are looking for a more minimalist approach to front yard landscaping ideas. However, even if you don’t have a lot of money to spend but would like something fancier, you can always make up for it with sweat. Doing the labor yourself can save you a ton of money on projects like this.
Don’t let a budget discourage you because there are tons of ways to cut the costs of front yard landscaping. For example, you could avoid hiring a contractor and do all the work yourself. Most of the landscaping costs come more from labor than supplies. So if you do the labor, all you’ll need to pay for is the supplies to make it happen.
Search around your neighborhood or check the newspaper for old garden items you could re-purpose. Using re-purposed items is not only good for the planet but great on your budget. They even add a rustic feel to your front yard if you use them as-is. Of course, if you want to spruce your re-purposed items up you can add some paint and some extra fixtures to make it like new again. You can use this process for just about anything your front yard may need to help it look its best from pavers to fences and even flowers.
Front Yard Landscaping Ideas
We’ve compiled a list of some great front yard landscaping ideas to help get you started. Some of the ideas we’ve listed are simple and affordable, and some are more expensive and time-consuming. Keep in mind though, if some of these ideas are out of your price range, you can always adjust the design to suit your needs. For example, you can always re-purpose old garden items to add decor to your front yard.
Keep in mind some of these ideas will require some hard work on your part. Most of the ideas we’ve listed are geared more towards the do-it-yourself types but they’re also good to give you an idea of what you’d like your own yard to look like. We suggest that if you speak with a contractor, that you take some of the ideas and run it by them to see if it’s possible to create that design for your front yard. The front yard landscaping ideas we’ve come up with vary from the most expensive to the least expensive as well as the amount of work involved.
Put in Window Boxes and a Floral Border
A few flowers can go a long way towards sprucing up the front yard of your home. A beautiful floral border can give just the right amount of life and color to your front yard. Placing a floral border around the windows of your home is a great way to showcase the front of your home. It’s a good idea to mix it up with a few seasonal plants and some that last through the colder months. This will help to keep your front yard design looking fresh all year long.
Here are a few floral suggestions to help get you started:
- Moss phlox
- Sweet alyssum
- Lemon ball stonecrop
- Japanese anemone
To create a beautiful floral border, take some twine and play around with some border ideas you think would help to make the yard stand out. It could take you a little bit of trial and error but it will save you a lot of time should you do it wrong. Once you’ve selected your floral arrangements, place them in their pots at the desired borderline to see how they look before planting them. Adding some mulch to your floral border is also a good idea as this helps the lines look clean and also helps keep weeds at bay.
Installing a window box or two can really compliment the windows of your home and pairs well with a floral border. Window boxes can be purchased completely assembled at stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s or you can assemble one yourself. If you’re more of the do-it-yourself type then we suggest you make sure all of your measurements are perfect prior to assembly. This is important because if done wrong, the window box may not be functional. Or worse, it will look ugly.
To give your window boxes some extra pop, try painting a design on them and use flowers that grow in large clusters. The bush-like flowers draw attention from the floral border to the windows and the front of the home.
Plant a Rose Garden
Roses are gorgeous additions to any environment, so it’s no wonder that planting a rose garden is on our list of front yard landscaping ideas. These flower types come in a wide array of colors and fragrances. It’s important to note, however, that they require a ton of sunlight so be sure you’re planting them in the right place. Choose spaces in your yard that help to define your home’s property line or the front of the home.
Some roses you should consider for your garden are:
- Modern garden
- Renaissance English
- Iceberg floribunda
- Queen Elizabeth
- Pink parfait
- Floral carpet coral groundcover
- Peace hybrid tea
- Sugar baby miniature
- Swany shrub
A full disclaimer about roses, they are temperamental plants that require some time and energy on your part. It’s important to make sure you’re planting your rose garden in rich, well-draining soil. Additionally placing some coarse organic mulch around the roses will help to protect the roots. Be sure to water it directly on the soil and set a watering schedule. This will help to keep you from over-watering and killing your roses.
If you’re nervous about transferring your roses from pot to soil, try starting out by leaving it in the pot. You don’t always have to plant your flowers into the soil for them to grow; a well-fertilized soil in a decorative pot works just as well. An added bonus to potted plants is that you have the freedom to move them around and refresh the design of your yard. A great design tip would be to add a few perennials around the bottom of your roses to cover their long stems.
Cut Down on Mowing
The secret to lush green grass is less mowing, more growing. Cutting your yard regularly may seem like a must-do but you really shouldn’t. Mowing your front yard is actually a pretty delicate business and most people are often misinformed about the process.
If your front yard is beginning to mimic the color of a ripe banana, it’s a sign that you could be cutting your grass too often. When grass begins to turn yellow, it is a sign that the grass itself has stopped growing. By over-cutting your grass, you risk cutting it so short that the grass can’t keep growing.
However, if you feel like your yard is past the point of no return, here are few tips to turn your yellow grass green again:
- Water deeply into the soil
- Mow less often
- Raise lawn mower blades
- Add additional grass seed
Start out by considering how often you actually mow your lawn and then double the wait time. If you cut your grass once a week, try every two weeks instead. We promise giving your lawn more time to grow will definitely improve the overall look of your front yard with minimal effort. This is also good for those who are looking to start simple and have to landscape on a budget.
When it’s finally time to mow the lawn, try cutting in different directions each time you cut it. This helps to stimulate the grass into growing and gives it a great look overall. Each time you mow your front yard, you’ll achieve a fresh new look every time. Never underestimate the power of a nice patch of soft, green grass.
Furthermore, it’s just as crucial to make sure you’re paying attention to how much you’re cutting and not just how often. An important rule of thumb when mowing your lawn is to make sure you’re only cutting one-third of its growth. So be aware of how low your blades are on your lawn mower because that could be a huge setback to your lush, green acres. Most lawn mower blades can be adjusted very easily, so it’s an easy fix if you’re cutting your grass too low.
Add a Planted Wheelbarrow
A wheelbarrow may seem like just a yard maintenance tool but it has some decorative purposes as well. The look of an old wheelbarrow filled with flowers gives your home a comfy, cottage touch. One of the best parts about this idea is that you can leave the wheelbarrow as is or paint a pretty design on it. Wheelbarrows also double as pots for plants as well: just fill it with the right soil, transfer your plants and that’s it. They’re also mobile so you can place them wherever you like.
There are many different types of wheelbarrows you can choose from. Here are a few to help get you started:
These are just the very basic styles but the materials they’re made of vary from the handle to the bucket itself. Even the frame that connects the wheel and the handle can be different from the bucket and the handles themselves. We suggest you shop around to find the right one that fits the style of your home and the theme of your front yard landscaping ideas.
A great design tip would be to make the wheelbarrow the centerpiece of your front yard. Place a sign with your family’s last name on it to give it a more personal touch. Dressing up your wheelbarrow with little touches like paint and metal fixtures really gives your front yard a unique style.
Most wheelbarrows are about 2 cubic feet in size but that can vary depending on your needs. They can typically get as large as 6 cubic feet if you’re looking for something that can hold more plants. If you’d like to be eco-friendly, try finding an old one and clean it up a bit. The older wheelbarrows give your front yard a more laid back and rustic feel.
Be sure that whatever potted plants you place inside aren’t too top heavy. Small plants like marigolds or mums are good options as they produce a lot of buds but are fairly low to the ground. Use these types of plants helps to keep the wheelbarrow properly balanced so it never falls over. Top-heavy plants could tip the whole thing over and ruin your curb appeal if you aren’t careful. Adding some vines like English ivy can add to the rustic look of a wheelbarrow as well.
Consider a Desert Theme
If you’re looking to create something with more neutral colors in mind, consider using a desert theme for your front yard. Despite all the sand, desert plants are surprisingly beautiful and add just enough color without taking away from the front of your home. A theme like this is great for those who are looking for plants and a low-maintenance front yard design.
Some plants you should consider for your desert-themed front yard are:
- Aloe vera
- Desert willow
- Purple ice plant
- Snake plant
- Curve leaf yuca
Desert plants, for obvious reasons, are great at retaining water and therefore don’t require watering as often. More to the point, they don’t like to be watered too often, else they develop root rot. Be sure you’re using well-draining soil especially for plants that are succulent and belong to the cacti family like aloe vera plants. Using plants like these can allow you to really enjoy your front yard more often since it’s low maintenance.
Try adding a mix of bushy plants like saw grass and tall flowering plants like a hot poker for visual variety. A theme like this is great for homes that have staggering staircases or long walkways and they break-up the appearance of it. Plant these in a staggered layering way in order to achieve the ultimate desert oasis. You could even add a palm tree or two as a nice touch.
It’s also important to mention that any plants you choose to grow in your desert theme garden will require a well-draining soil. Plants like Aloe and Agave require a more alkaline based soil to thrive it. Be sure to ask someone at your local nursery to help you select the right soil for your plants. If you already have rocky or sandy soil then this theme might be just what your front yard needs to spruce it up.
Line Your Sidewalk with a Boxwood Edge
Boxwood is a type of hedge that can be placed along your sidewalk or property edge to create sharp visual lines that really help your front yard stand out. A look like this is great for creating a clean and classy look without spending too much money. Hedges are also super-low maintenance requiring little water and only some pruning now and again.
There are actually over 200 different species of boxwood hedges so there are a ton of options out there. Boxwood hedges are the plants traditionally used for topiaries, which is also something you could consider for your front yard. Since there are so many to choose from with 140 different types available on the market, it can be hard to pick the right type.
Here are few suggestions of boxwood hedges that will really compliment your home:
- American buxus
- Little leaf buxus
- Green pillow
- Green Hendricks Phillips
- Vadar valley
Planting hedges along the edge of your sidewalk gives your guests a visual cue as to where to go. Their eyes will naturally follow the hedges along the path right to your front door. This adds an element of comfort and makes your home appear more inviting. Make sure you aren’t letting your hedges get too tall though, or you could wind up blocking the view to the front of your house.
Mix it up by adding a color of mulch that really compliments that rich greens of the boxwood hedge like a rich brown or even a red. By complementing the hedges with mulch, you’re also adding more pizazz to the path that leads to the house. If just the hedges alone are not enough, try adding some lights or complimentary decorative features to give some extra appeal.
Be sure that when you plant your hedges that you’re giving them enough space to grow. These hedges grow mostly horizontally, so they can expand pretty quickly. Planting them too close together will result in the hedges becoming unified in appearance and can look overgrown and messy. This is more of a minimalist style, so if you’re looking for something fairly inexpensive and classy then a boxwood hedge edge is for you.
Add a New Walkway
This next idea is for those are looking to add a little hardscaping to their front yards. Hardscaping is really just adding fixed elements like ponds, garden paths, walkways etc to your yard. Hardscaping is a great idea, and it really makes your yard look brand new. Adding a new walkway could change the entire look of your front yard and really makes your home look amazing.
There are multiple ways of creating a new walkway that can range from easy and inexpensive to difficult and costly. It’s really up to you to decide what type of walkway you’d like to showcase the front of your home. You can place bricks or pavers down to define the path, or you can just pour concrete directly onto the new pathway. You can even use river stones or pebbles to define the walkway as well.
Even though it isn’t a floral arrangement, walkways can really add a sleek look to your front yard. One of the best parts about creating a new walkway is all the different ways you can achieve it.
Here’s a list of a few ways you could create a new walkway for your home:
- Decorative bricks
- Poured concrete
- Pallet wood
- Wood slices
- Mosaic pebbles
- Tumbled glass
A great idea would be to give the walkway a splash of color here and there by adding a colored paver or two along the path. Some pavers even come with unique designs that really compliment your front yard as well. Pavers are the easiest to place and are the most affordable choice when creating a new walkway. You can even create a mix of pavers and simple stones like gravel or crushed shells to give your pathway some depth.
Use Landscaping Rocks
Landscaping rocks vary from river rocks to pebbles to stepping stones and the list goes on. There are several ways you can use them to help your front yard stand out from the rest. The number of ideas that comes to mind is infinite so you have a lot of room for creativity when using a medium like this in your front yard.
You can use the rock to define a floral border and even create a potted plant border placing the pots just inside the rock bed. As suggested previously, you can also use them to create new pathways, or a walkway to your front door. You can even line the edge of the path with beach pebbles to give a visually pleasing border.
Another budget-worthy idea would be to locally source and collect your own landscaping rocks from rivers and lake areas when the stones will most likely be smooth. However, if you’re not the collector type, then you can always find affordable stones at your local home improvement store. Heading to the home improvement store for landscaping rocks can be a daunting task. Like most of the designs on our list, there is a wide variety of rock types to choose from. In order to make this a little bit easier for you, we’ve collected a list of rocks you could use in your front yard.
Landscaping Rock Types:
- Pea gravel
- River rock
- Rainbow rock
- Lava rock
- Decomposed granite
- Crushed granite
An extra design tip is to add some lights to help illuminate the border and let the rocks stand out. The best type of lights to use are solar powered as they save money and come on at night without having to be switched on. You could also add a small fountain for an extra touch of elegance.
Utilizing stones is great for those looking to complement their homes with more neutral earthy colors. You can also implement this design in some of the other designs we’ve listed here as well to help colorful flowers stand out. There’s really no end to the creative possibilities when using landscaping rocks.
Plant a Multiseason Flowerbed
A beautiful flower garden that lasts all year is the perfect way to add curb appeal to your home. Planting a multi-season flowerbed is a great way to ensure that your front yard is full of life and color all year round! There are so many options out there all you need to do is head to the local nursery and find which flowers will work best for your soil.
It’s a good idea to learn all that you can about the plants you’re using in order to make sure that you’re planting your flowers at the right time. Since these are multi-seasonal flowers they will need to be planted a certain time to grow and flower when they’re supposed to. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re planting each flower in the right space so it gets the proper amount of lighting. Be sure to talk to someone at your local nursery to get more information about the maintenance of your flowers and to learn when to plant them.
If you’re not sure where to start or which flowers to plant that’s okay. We’ve compiled a list of a few annuals and perennials to help get you started. Remember annuals last a year and annuals last more than two years before needing to be replaced. It’s important to understand that prior to planting so you can ensure you have fresh flowers throughout the coming years.
Perennial flower suggestions:
- Cone flowers
- Day lillies
- Cana lillies
- Black eyed Susans
- Bearded Iris
Annual flower suggestions:
- Tuberous begonias
Choosing hardy flowers and plants that grow all year is also another great idea. Pick plants that compliment each other in both size and color. Having plants that contrast one another helps to showcase the plants individually as well as create more visual depth to your flowerbed. Mix it up between succulent green plants and bright florals to really give some variety to your front yard.
Add a Fence Around Your Yard
Fences are just for keeping people out, it’s also a great way to design the layout of your front yard. Before you get started though, it’s important to note that you may need to talk to a professional prior to installation. It’s also important to make sure that you know exactly where your property line is before you get started so you don’t accidentally build a fence in your neighbor’s yard.
Building a fence will cost you a bit more than just planting some shrubs and flowers both in money and labor but when its complete it looks great. Fences create sharply defined lines of your property and add a bit of intrigue to your home. The style of fences can vary as well depending on your tastes and how much of the property you’d like to be seen.
You can choose from taller privacy fences to shorter more open fence styles. We recommend using a more open style as a privacy fence could make your front yard feel too closed off from the outside world. Remember you want to show off your front yard landscaping ideas, not cover them up.
Here’s a list of fence types you could use for your front yard:
- Wrought Iron
- Chain link
- Farm style
Remember, check with your HOA first before you do any fence building whatsoever. Make sure that you’re approved ahead of time before spending time and money on a project like this. Fences are not cheap and it would be such a waste to have to tear it down because of an HOA violation.
If you’re looking for a more cottage feel, we suggest a wooden picket fence in the color of your choice or leave it plain to give it a rustic look. Plastic fences are durable and great for homes that have children playing in the front yard as they’re less prone to damage. Remember to be sure to choose the best color that compliments your home the most, so it stands out. Sometimes a simple fence is all you need to be the best front yard on the block.
Make a Border from Potted Plants
Potted plants can be such a cheap and easy way to create a whole new look for your front yard. You can choose from a wide variety of plants and even the pots they’ll be planted it. Similar to some of our other front yard landscaping ideas, this one leaves tons of room for creative ideas.
For example, you could use simple terra-cotta pots that are neutral in color to keep the visual focus on your colorful flowers. You could also mix up the size of pots as well as placing the larger ones between the smaller ones to show off topiaries or other taller plants. The best part about creating a border from potted plants is that you can start off small and spend very little money.
An excellent design suggestion would be to use annual plants with your potted floral border. This is because perennials are best for being planned in the soil because they last so long. Since these plants are in pots, they can be exchanged with other potted plants so your border looks like new with every changing season.
Another design idea is to use some landscaping stones and place them around your potted plants. This helps aid the overall design of the border and really defines its line. Additionally, the color of the stones you select can really compliment the flowers you choose to use for your border.
Here are a few plants you could use for your potted plant border:
- Boxwood hedge
- Golden creeping Jenny
- Japanese pieris
- Emerald abervitae
- Verigated red twig dogwood
- Blue star juniper
- Marguarite daisies
Before you begin, use some twine and some garden stakes to line out your border path. Next place your plants down and take a good look before adding other elements like stones or garden decor. Potted plant borders are also great because you can move them wherever you need to, so you can always refresh the look when you need to. You can even exchange some potted plants with other ones so you always have flowers that are in season. This truly is a cheap and effective way to give the front yard of your home that extra pop it needs to look great.
We’ve given you quite a lot of information to work with so it should be too hard to decide where to start. Additionally, this information is great to use when meeting with your landscaper to discuss future projects as we stated earlier. Please be reminded that some of these ideas can be costly if you choose to hire outside help for your front yard landscaping idea. We suggest re-purposing and doing as much as you can by yourself to help cut expenses.
As you can see from the list, creating a stunning front yard landscape doesn’t have to be difficult or too expensive. That’s really a matter of personal preference if you’d like to go all out and be extra fancy then do so. However, if you’re on a budget or looking for something a little more minimalist, you can do that too. This really is a project that allows you the freedom to create a stunning new look to your front yard that truly compliments your home.
Remember, it’s always best to plan ahead in order to make re-creating your front yard as effortless as possible. Be sure to speak with a professional for more difficult hardscaping projects like walkways. You should also be conscious of the plants you’re picking, make sure that they can handle the soil your front yard provides. No matter which idea you choose to go with, we’re certain your front yard will be the talk of the town.