By Jill Morgan
They’re often overlooked, but landscaping ideas for front of house can make a big impression. Not only do they say a great deal about the style of your home, but a clever design can also raise the value and saleability of your property.
A practical layout with well-chosen paving and beautiful planting can frame the entranceway and create a warm and inviting welcome, but with a few designer tricks these spaces can also offer much more.
No matter their size or shape, front garden ideas also have an important role environmentally. By swapping hard paving and larger driveways for clever permeable materials you can help combat localized flooding. And while plant and flower-filled borders not only add color and year-round interest, they also create nectar rich resources for pollinators, help form valuable wildlife corridors and boost our mental wellbeing too.
We’ve rounded up the latest and most inspiring landscaping ideas for front of house to help you personalize your front garden and make it a space to be proud of. After all, with a little thought it could provide a new favorite spot to catch the evening sun, catch up with neighbors or even sneak away to for a quiet cuppa and read. Sound good to you? Keep scrolling for lots of inspiration.
1. Soften a space with circles
The best landscaping ideas for front of house will create a welcoming vibe, and a circular design is perfect for the job. Ideal for introducing movement and for softening a plot that’s commonly square or rectangular in shape, it’s a design rule favored by many leading designers for their landscaping ideas.
In this elegant project, paving and planting are key. While the drive is clearly defined in smaller blocks, the secluded front garden features larger paving stones with a central paved circle. Neatly clipped Box spheres in various sizes highlight the theme, which is also echoed in a central parasol or roof shaped tree – try the Wedding Cake Tree (Cornus controversa 'Variegata') for similar – and a curving low clipped hedge wrapping around one side.
2. Plant up a retaining front wall
Bring a touch of elegance and softness to your landscaping ideas for front of house with raised garden beds of billowing plants in pale shades. This beautiful, raised brick border lends a cheery note to the driveway and looks good year-round.
A imaginative mix of evergreen grass, white flowering Leucanthemum and Valerian create a relaxed and contemporary feel, perfect for brightening a part shady spot. Hardy and happy growing in poor soils, they also need very little care and attention.
Find more ideas for the parts of your garden that don't get much sun in our shade garden ideas.
3. Intersperse paving with plants
Softening large, paved areas with just a handful of plants will boost your wildlife garden ideas and your wellbeing too. An issue long championed by the RHS as part of their Greening Grey Britain campaign, they have discovered that the UK’s front gardens are, 'disappearing at an alarming rate - more than 4.5 million of them contain no plants at all, and a quarter of front gardens are now totally paved over.'
Replacing a few stone slabs with sun-loving creepers such as ajuga, thyme, stonecrop or New Zealand burr can make a huge difference. Fast growing and drought tolerant, these miniature beauties all form dense, compact flowering mats that will handle being crushed occasionally and re-root easily in gravel. Covered in tiny blooms during the warmer months, they also attract insects and pollinators, turning an often grey and barren area of our homes into a valuable natural resource.
There's plenty more inspiration for your paving ideas in our feature.
4. Weave an informal path
If you love plants and informal style, then why not ditch the norm and try some prairie planting for your landscaping ideas for front of house. Full of movement and texture, it’s great for sunny aspects and lends a gentle air of laidback charm to any style of property.
Cover the ground in pea shingle and go for a mix of different ornamental grasses - feather reed grass (Calamagrotis), Mexican feather grass (Stipa tenuissima) and moor grass (Molinia caerulea ‘Windspiel’) are all great options - and tall architectural perennials such as globe thistles, sea holly and Perovskia to provide dashes of blue and silver.
Arrange the plants in irregular dense groups, leaving a meandering path to the front door. The beauty of this style of planting is that it needs little attention, and the effect constantly changes throughout the year. Taller grasses such as (Stipa gigantea) and Chinese silver grass (Miscanthus sinensis) also form an attractive screen handy for extra privacy.
You can find out how to grow ornamental grasses in our guide.
5. Create a Mediterranean courtyard vibe
Is your front garden a sun trap? Then why not use your landscaping ideas for front of house to transform it into a Mediterranean retreat? A lick of paint and some choice plants and accessories can be all that's required for a few simple Mediterranean garden ideas.
Treat walls to a quick coat of sand-toned masonry paint and cover the floor with co-ordinating gravel to help reflect light and create a feeling of space. Large ribbed galvanized containers are perfect for striking a smart fuss-free look for your garden planter ideas. Plus, they work beautifully with leafy giants such as Chusan, Pindo and Mediterranean fan palms.
Go for a few larger plants for maximum impact and arrange them to lift dull corners or mask less-than-lovely features such as pipes and drains. Add couple of comfy armchairs and an outdoor rug and you’ve a basking spot you won’t want to leave.
6. Hide your bins
Although not gorgeous to look at, your trash cans can be a good excuse to get creative. Bin stores are great for hiding these plastic hulks from view, but they are practical too, as they also stop bins being blown over in the wind or being raided by foxes or other animals.
A simple lick of paint is a good way to blend them in with the surroundings, but go one step further and crown them with a living roof. Plant with alpines and low growing succulents for year-round interest.
Head over to our guide to green roofs for expert tips on including one on your garden building.
7. Frame the doorway
Nothing says welcome more than a beautifully framed and styled front doorway. While straight, wide garden path ideas leading up to the front door create a formal impression, they can still be inviting.
Here, irregular stone paving complete with grass and moss-filled gaps oozes character and country charm. Two elegantly crafted outdoor wall lights enhance the timeless feel and finished in brass, they lend a softness to the sophisticated scheme.
A pair of tall, glazed planters, either side of the door, are planted with delicate miniature pink roses and work beautifully alongside a potted hydrangea and purple clematis.
8. Go contemporary with supersized planters
Make a striking impression at the very first glance with a distinctly contemporary garden. This bold design is all about clean, straight lines and industrial materials with architectural container gardening ideas.
Black painted timber cladding, grey engineered brick and sawn granite paving create a stark and formidable backdrop to pair of giant Corten steel planters. Planted with tough daylilies and Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, the rust-colored cubes zing against the garden’s cool tones and a small multi stemmed tree or shrub – try Persian silk tree or Himalayan birch – to make a stunning feature.
Find more inspiration for your modern garden ideas over in our feature.
9. Take a formal approach
Always a winning combo, clipped topiary and straight intersecting paths create a smart yet elegant impression. Stately no matter what their scale, they suit all types of property from country cottage to modern townhouse.
In this exquisite front garden, a grid of smooth pale stone paths forms a series of beds edged with Box and planted with hardy geraniums, Kniphofia and white and purple alliums. 'It was important to create a modern front garden with clean lines, to match the architecture of the house,' explains Claire Belderbos of Belderbos Landscapes.
As the framework of the design is evergreen, the garden looks great throughout the year with glamorous blooms popping up to make seasonal guest appearances.
Want a similar look? Our list of 10 best evergreens that are easy to grow in any garden is a great place to start.
10. Sharpen up your boundaries
No matter how lush or beautiful the plants are, a fresh, new backdrop can make all the difference. There are plenty of smart and contemporary screens and garden fence ideas out there, and they can make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your plot.
In front gardens, where perhaps appearances matter most, it’s worth seeking out a design and finish that complements your property’s exterior and any existing planting that you wish to keep.
Dark stained timber or composite fence panels immediately throw dark green and purple foliage into relief while Corten steel screens and rich toned timber – such as these cedar panels – accentuate lime and lighter foliage. Add in extra flowers and foliage plants – such as heuchera and carex – that echo the color of your chosen boundary to tie the finished look together.
Give your garden rear-round appeal with our pick of the best foliage plants.
11. Showcase features with evergreen planting
Simple planting makes a big impression. Sculpted evergreen plants not only add year-round interest but create the perfect backdrop for spotlighting stunning garden features too. This design trick works well in front gardens of any size.
Here, yew, box spheres and ivy combine to highlight the intricate lines of a white wirework bench. Not only is the result mesmerizing and timeless but creates a warm and inviting impression as well.
'We believe that every front of house should embody a statement of style that welcomes and inspires,' says designer Adrienne Hendy Curzon. The secret to making this trick work is to use planting both in front and behind the item and opt for a furniture design that you can see through too. French wirework garden seats and the best garden benches come in many highly decorative shapes, but a simple metal bistro set, or a timber Lutyens-style seat would also work beautifully.
12. Make seating the focal point
Largely underused, front gardens can often provide the perfect spot for a sunny read or sociable cuppa with neighbors. Planning your landscaping ideas for front of house is a great opportunity to take a fresh look at your space and see if there’s room to add an item of the best garden furniture – something like a comfy rattan lounge chair, small outdoor sofa or neat table and pair of benches.
Not only will it help maximize every inch of your home, but it could provide a fresh new viewpoint from which to enjoy it. You can spruce up an existing paved or gravelled area or level and lay new durable porcelain pavers. Robust and weatherproof these can be laid straight on to gravel, bare earth or grass and don’t even need grouting.
13. Design a front garden to reflect your home
Want a super smart design that makes your property standout? Then borrow aspects of your home’s front exterior and use them in your garden. A fail proof way to create sharply co-ordinated look, it could be as simple as continuing Victorian mosaic tiling from the hallway onto a new garden path or painting a garden wall or front gate the same shade as the brickwork.
This design by The Garden Builders is a stunning example with a cool palette of grey appearing in the slate paving, path edging, stone chippings and exterior paintwork. Cubes of planting include neatly clipped box and silver leaved lavender with a standard bay taking centre stage.
Head over to our garden path ideas for more ways to make a statement in your outdoor space.
14. Go up when space is tight
Faced with more of a ‘front border’ than a ‘front garden’? Don’t despair. The solution for your landscaping ideas for front of house is to take your planting skywards. The best climbing plants such as roses, wisteria, honeysuckle and clematis will add color and interest during the warmer months and can also fill rooms with delicious fragrance when the windows are opened.
Train and tie these plants onto tension wires or sturdy wooden or metal trellis. If this isn’t an option, why not opt for a cordon or espaliered tree instead. Planted close to the house, the outer branches are grown to radiate out from an upright trunk, at regular intervals, either horizontally or at 45 degree angle.
Hanging basket ideas and window box ideas, particularly those with trailing plants such as Bacopa, Creeping Jenny and lesser periwinkle are also effective for creating a lush, vertical garden that’s full of color and character.
15. Create a plant filled oasis
Packing a front garden with shrubs and perennials is perfect not only for plant lovers and wildlife, but also for distancing your home from a busy road or walkway.
The best foliage plants such as holly, Pittosporum, Robinia and magnolia when it’s in leaf will provide privacy and help muffle traffic noise, while the rustling leaves of bamboo can also be a pleasant distraction. Soft, swaying grasses such as Molinia and Stipa gigantea will add movement and height whilst still letting light flood through and weave in late summer flowering gaura, achillea and verberna bonariensis for extra dashes of color. Pop a neat garden chair or bench in amongst the planting and you have the perfect spot for some quiet contemplation.
16. Illuminate the way with subtle lighting
Don't forget to include lighting in your landscaping ideas for front of house. Subtle lights embedded in a path or dotted in amongst garden foliage will not only create a warm welcome when you return home, but they'll also make it less likely you'll trip over steps or paving slabs after dark.
If you don't have easy access to a power supply in your front garden, then consider adding a few solar lights to provide a soft glow at night.
There's plenty more ways to illuminate your outdoor space in our garden lighting ideas.
How can I landscape my front yard for cheap?
Gravel is a great ground cover option if money is tight for your landscaping ideas for front of house. Relatively inexpensive and readily available, it’s perfect for spreading over large and small areas, will help suppress weeds – particularly if laid on top of landscaping fabric – and will let rainwater soak through too.
Vary the look by adding in groups of large pebbles or boulders and plant grasses, houseleeks and low growing conifers for drought-tolerant planting that needs little attention. For less sunny situations, opt for decorative clump forming plants such as heuchera, Tiarella, epimedium and Japanese spurge.
There's more ways to add interest with rocks and gravel in our small rock garden ideas.
What plants look good for the front of a house?
Selecting the perfect plants for your landscaping ideas for front of house is worth taking your time over. It’s not just a matter of which plants capture your imagination, there are practicalities to consider, too. Which direction does the property face; does it bask in the sun or sit in shade for most of the day? If lack of sun is an issue, make sure you check out our shade garden ideas for some simple solutions.
If planting direct into soil, note whether it is free-draining or moist as this will all help decide which plants will thrive. Garden designer Joanna Archer has transformed many plots and has this advice, 'As space can be limited, I try to include climbing plants and hedges to green up the vertical boundaries. Scented climbers such as jasmine or climbing roses are so welcoming by the front door.'
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