By Holly Crossley published
Small front garden ideas are just as important as back gardens – first impressions are oh-so-important after all. And even if you've only got a very small space, there's still plenty of opportunity to make it count.
Our front gardens are often seen as functional – a place for the car, the wheelie bins, and the pathway between your door and the big wide world. But when done correctly, they can become a stunning scene that really sets the tone for your home.
Even very small front garden ideas can elevate a space with the likes of clever storage solutions, sleek landscaping, pretty planting, and vibrant color palettes. From mini wildlife havens to uber-trendy zones, allow the front of your plot to shine, no matter its size.
To help you get inspired, take a look at these gorgeous small front garden ideas, then take a look at our other front garden ideas for more inspiration.
1. Create a wildlife haven with your small front garden ideas
Small front gardens don't have to be all sleek and pared-back if that isn't your style. If you love a more natural look, then take inspiration from this flower-filled haven above.
This design by Fenton Roberts Garden Design makes the most of every inch of space with tons of beautiful planting. The striking stems of verbena topped with vivid purple tones makes for an impressive display alongside echinops and grasses, and pollinators will love them too. What's more, there's even a small pond, tucked amongst the plants in the middle of the zone.
Then there's the bespoke bin storage cupboard, painted in cream to complement the exterior of the home and the light-hued paving. 'The green roof enables you to introduce plants into even the smallest front garden,' says Garden Designer Jo Fenton from Fenton Roberts Garden Design. A mix of alpines is a lovely, low-maintenance choice.
Need more clever garden storage ideas? We have plenty in our feature.
2. Opt for chic details around your front door
The path up to your front door, no matter how small, will inevitably see a lot of traffic. So, it's worth opting for a design that's not only sturdy, but will also make a statement.
This sleek patterned style is a stunning example. See how the tones have been chosen to tie together the whole scene. The dark greys offset the containers, the creamy tones complement the gravel, and the softer greys make a pleasing accent to the bright blue door.
The gold bee door decor makes a characterful finishing touch and along with the potted trees either side, really draws the eye. The overall result is incredibly welcoming, but smart, too.
Take a look at our garden path ideas for more inspiration.
3. Get creative with paving
Playing with bold shapes is a great way to add a contemporary edge to your small front garden ideas. This circular design makes an impressive impact, whilst allowing plenty of room for shade-tolerant plants which are suitable for the conditions of the site. Once established, the scene will be full of lush greenery and flowers, including the likes of Liriope muscari. A central topiary tree takes center stage as a focal point.
Choosing your hard landscaping materials to complement the exterior of your home is crucial for a cohesive look – these dark grey and neutral cream tones work well in this scene. Take a look at our paving ideas for more inspiration.
4. Plant front borders full of flowers
Even small front gardens can be transformed into billowing borders full of life, color, and movement. This space above, designed by Outerspace Creative Landscaping, is a case in point.
Try classic cottage style plants for a romantic look – gaura, alchemilla mollis, and Erysimum 'Bowles' Mauve' are good contenders. Border with small, neatly-clipped evergreen shrubs to balance the sumptuous look. A small bird bath makes a lovely touch and will welcome feathered friends into your plot.
If you're a fan of our cottage garden ideas, then this may well be the small front garden style for you.
5. Make a sculptural statement
Sculptures and statues are a great way to draw the eye and provide visual interest throughout the year. Positioning one in the front of your plot will make a striking first impression.
We adore this weathering steel design which takes pride of place amongst a circular flowerbed and pathway. Pops of opulent, inky color from the tulips enhance the elegant scene even further, whilst plenty of evergreens means there will be plenty to admire even when winter comes around. Take a look at our flowerbed ideas for more pretty designs.
Providing a small bench at the far side creates a destination point, encouraging the whole space to be used.
6. Define the entrance with potted trees
Give your front door the definition it deserves by framing it with a duo of small potted trees. Silvery-leaved olives will bring a touch of the Med to your space, always look sophisticated, and are very low-maintenance too.
Opt for statement planters to match your individual style. These woven wicker designs add a rustic warmth to the scene, but you could go for galvanized metal planters for a more contemporary look. Take a look at our garden planter ideas for more suggestions.
7. Fill a walled space with pretty hydrangeas
Garden wall ideas are a good way to make your front garden feel more secure and defined, and this one looks fabulous as it mirrors the red brickwork of the house. Topped with grey-blue bullnose bricks, it also ties together with the path's edging and sleek tiles.
In terms of planting, shade-tolerant hydrangeas are a brilliant choice for north-facing front gardens, such as this plot. Prolific in blooms, they make a bold statement but are easy to care for. Mix with hardy geraniums for their jewel-like hues.
8. Watch the world go by from a bench
One of the best garden benches can make a great addition to very small front garden ideas. They'll provide a spot to sit and watch the world go by, and when decked out with pretty cushions, make a stylish feature too.
This wooden, curved design is the perfect accompaniment to a pretty cottage scene, but there are plenty of contemporary styles available if you're after a more modern look.
And if you're looking to add more greenery into your front garden, don't forget about the power of climbing plants. The likes of clematis, honeysuckle, or even wisteria will always look gorgeous clambering over the exterior of your walls. Take a look at our best climbing plants for more ideas.
9. Add structure with large containers
Smarten up your small front garden with structural containers, like in this stunning design by The London Gardener Ltd.
Positioned around the borders, they really lift the space, plus there's enough room to keep on top of maintenance easily. Although the planters look like wood at first glance, they're actually made from aluminium, which means they will withstand the outdoor elements.
An olive tree, taxus balls and lavender will provide foliage and structure to the scene all year. The likes of heather and cyclamen offer vivid color throughout autumn and winter, which can be swapped out with summer bedding as the seasons change.
Looking for more stunning designs? Take a look at our container gardening ideas.
10. Try a touch of symmetry for very small front garden ideas
Tiny spaces can be tricky be personalize, but there are still some worthwhile very small front garden ideas to try. Take this stretch of paving, for example. It has been given a pleasingly symmetrical look with the use of a double set of steps, a smart black railing, matching wall lanterns, and a slimline planter filled with foliage.
The result is orderly and visually pleasing, and the wisteria overhead only adds to the charm. Once in flower, its purple blooms will turn this smart scene into one of true wonder.
Fancy giving your steps a refresh? Head over to our garden steps ideas.
11. Add architectural forms with topiary
Topiary is a timeless choice for both front and back gardens, and although it's popular in traditional plots, it can be very contemporary, too.
In this scene, a range of evergreen shrubs have been clipped into balls of varying heights, adding a playful look and drawing the eye around the space. Surrounded by pale cream and dark grey features, it's a bold look that will last all through the year.
Want to give it a go? You might want to check out our best garden shears buying guide first.
12. Line your pathway with lighting
Every outdoor space can benefit from good garden lighting ideas to boost the ambience and practicality-factor. In front gardens it's especially important, to help you find your keys or greet guests when night falls.
So for part of your small front garden ideas, make your lighting count. Solar light stakes in eye-catching styles look fabulous when nestled in borders lining a pathway, and are low-maintenance too.
For very small front garden ideas that don't have a path, try weaving outdoor-friendly fairy lights around a potted tree by your front door instead.
13. Try a window box or two
Window box ideas are a great choice for pepping up a scene when there isn't much space. Even if you don't have deep windowsills to prop them on, you can still recreate the look with the help of supporting brackets fixed directly to the wall.
This duo is full of show-stopping color, and will bring cheer to any passers-by. Plenty of trailing greenery adds to the refreshing vibe, whilst sleek black shutters above give a modern edge.
What can I plant in a small front garden?
'If you’re aiming for a minimalist aesthetic then it's about avoiding clutter, keeping things clean and crisp and using just a few key plant species,' says Nigel Gomme, landscape designer of Cityscapers. Plant these densely to balance the hard landscaping elements, he recommends.
'But, you only need look to cottage planting to see how much variety and color can be crammed into a small space. So it depends on your taste rather than hard and fast rules,' Nigel adds.
'If space is very limited at ground level, I use the vertical axis,' Nigel continues. 'Plant upwards. Climbers trained up fences and walls provide wonderful vertical planes of greenery and many are scented and prolific bloomers. If the aspect is sunny there are few climbers more exquisite than Wisteria sinensis or more heavenly-scented than climbing roses.' Learn how to grow wisteria with our guide.
'Evergreen jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) is another great scent to add to the garden and is not bothered where you plant it. It flourishes in sun or shade, just don't let it dry out and it will reward you with perfumed white flowers all summer and shiny dark green leaves year round. I use climbers a lot to soften and balance hard surfaces and inject color and scent into small gardens.'
The team at Outerspace Creative Landscaping offers more words of wisdom: 'Front gardens tend to be smaller than back gardens, so choosing appropriately-sized trees, shrubs and planting is really important, not only to how the garden looks but also to how much future maintenance will be required.'
'Trees can also cause costly structural problems if the wrong specimen is planted too close to houses and boundaries, so select smaller varieties of trees that won't need regular trimming to keep them under control.' Front gardens also tend to be less private, so creating a low or easy maintenance space is often a priority, they add. Take a look at our low maintenance garden ideas for inspiration.
What materials should I choose for my small front garden?
'Materials are a key consideration within a front garden,' says the experts at Outerspace Creative Landscaping. 'The period, style and building materials of the property definitely have a bigger influence on a front garden than for other outdoor areas that may enjoy more privacy.'
Your choice of materials needs to complement the exterior of your home, the team explains, which will improve your plot's kerb appeal. Grass is often best-avoided due to the impracticalities of bringing your best lawn mower through the house. However, it's important to not focus on function alone – small front gardens, even very small front gardens, still need to feel inviting. This is where the planting comes in, to soften paved pathways and stone walls.
'Unlike back gardens, we pass through our front gardens every time we leave or return to our homes,' adds the Outerspace Creative Landscaping team. 'So, they should be feel welcoming and have the potential to provide as much pleasure and interest as a back garden.'
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion. But, she loves all things digital too. She joined the team at Gardeningetc after working as a freelance content creator for a web agency, whilst studying for her M.Sc. in Marketing. Now she feels lucky enough to combine both digital and botanical worlds, every day!
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