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 for a quiet cuppa.
Get inspired to make a stunning first impression with these 20 landscaping ideas for front of house
Whether you love a contemporary or cottage-style scheme, these looks will get you inspired for a front yard update.
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 landscaping idea favored by many leading designers.
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 and a curving low clipped hedge wrapping around one side highlight the theme, which is also echoed in a central parasol-shaped tree – try the wedding cake tree (Cornus controversa 'Variegata') for similar.
2. Create a pretty seating space surrounded by planting
Welcome guests into a botanical haven as soon as they step onto your plot by filling your front yard with plants. It's ideal for a more laid-back, cottage garden scheme.
'Don't fill the space with evergreens which can become oppressive if overused,' advises garden designer James Scott MSGD of The Garden Company. 'Use specimen plants and underplant them with textural varieties to create long-lasting seasonal interest.
'Embrace the change in the seasons. Cut back herbaceous plants late and enjoy the emergent growth in the spring. Add bulbs to increase early color and create layering.
'Avoid narrow borders around the garden edges,' James continues. 'Pushing planting to the boundaries of a small front garden will accentuate any lack of space. Instead, keep the eye in the garden. Also, fill in "extra" spaces (e.g. corners between house and garden wall) with beautiful planting to add more depth, interest, and softness.'
You may wish to consider adding one of the best trees for small gardens in your front yard, too. Ones with pretty springtime blossom make a particularly lovely choice, adding beauty and structure to a space. And don't forget to add some seating – perhaps a bistro set – for making the most of the view.
3. Opt for a low-maintenance dry garden
If you want your home to make a smart impression all year round but don't have much time for outdoor chores, a dry garden could be the way forward.
Drought-tolerant plants, such as ornamental grasses, won't need much attention to thrive. They work well planted directly into gravel and will add texture and color.
We like the arrangement of paving for this pathway, too – it's a design feature that's subtle yet stylish. Add some larger stones or boulders to the scheme, too, for a naturalistic feel.
4. Greet guests with a lush lawn
This front garden, designed by James Scott, complements the home's Edwardian architecture, continuing and softening its geometric lines with neatly clipped evergreen hedges. We love the addition of a luscious lawn here, too – it's always a soothing sight and a great way to utilize a larger space at the front of a house.
With a front yard, you'll need to think about practical considerations as well as the aesthetic appeal, including car parking. 'It is entirely feasible to combine a parking space with an attractive front garden,' says James.
'Usually, planning permission is not required if you are going to use permeable paving,' he adds. Gravel is another effective choice to add to your driveway ideas.
If you don't want too much hard landscaping or want to cut down on the costs, you can minimize the paving required by positioning two tracks within the space, situated under the vehicle's wheels, as James suggests.
5. Pair pavers with pockets of plants
Level out your front yard into sturdy, paved tiers and make access to your home easy. There are tons of styles of slabs to choose from – from cool, gray porcelain pavers to warm-toned natural stone and reclaimed red bricks. Just ensure you opt for a type that's non-slip.
Break up the hard surfaces with pockets of bright planting, as shown in this scene. Geometric-shaped flower beds symmetrically positioned on either side of a path will keep the appearance neat and orderly, or go for more natural forms for an organic look.
6. Up the level of security with a chic gate
This front garden was re-designed to create an elegant space more in keeping with the architecture of the house and the flow of people and cars.
The existing front wall was replaced with more delicate iron railings that add character while keeping security levels up. The matching garden gate makes the perfect finishing touch to mark the plot's boundary.
Note, too, how planting is used to blur the boundary between the house and the gravel driveway. 'This creates a softer, more pleasing effect which links the house to the landscape,' says garden designer James Scott.
7. 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 brick border lends a cheery note to the driveway and looks good year-round.
An imaginative mix of evergreen grasses, 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.
8. Mix up the textures underfoot
Softening large, paved areas with just a handful of plants is better for wildlife 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 gray and barren area of our homes into a valuable natural resource – ideal if you're looking for a more wildlife-friendly garden. Plus, the contrast in textures looks gorgeous, too.
9. Weave an informal path through prairie-style planting
If you love plants and an informal style, 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 a great approach for sunny aspects and lends a gentle air of laid-back 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 will 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.
10. Create a Mediterranean-courtyard vibe in sunny front yards
Is your front garden a sun trap? Then why not use your landscaping ideas for front of house to transform it into a Mediterranean-style 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 coordinating gravel to help reflect light and create a feeling of space. Large, ribbed, galvanized containers are perfect for striking a smart, fuss-free look. 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 a couple of comfy armchairs and an outdoor rug, and you'll have a basking spot you won't want to leave.
11. Find a stylish way to disguise 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 from 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 green roof. Plant with alpines and low-growing succulents for year-round interest.
12. Frame your home's entrance
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.
The pair of tall, glazed planters on either side of the door, planted with delicate miniature pink roses, make a gorgeous addition. They work beautifully alongside a potted hydrangea and purple clematis.
13. Make a stylish first impression with supersized planters
Make a bold impression at the very first glance with a distinctly contemporary garden. This design is all about clean, straight lines, industrial materials, and architectural container gardening ideas.
Black-painted timber cladding and gray engineered brick and sawn granite paving create a stark and formidable backdrop to a 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.
14. Take a formal approach at the front of your house
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 small front garden, a grid of smooth, pale stone paths form 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.
15. Sharpen up your front yard's boundaries
No matter how lush or beautiful the plants are, a fresh backdrop can make all the difference. There are plenty of smart and contemporary front garden walls and garden fence ideas out there, and they can make a huge impact on 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.
16. Add a cute and colorful bench for watching the world go by
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.
17. Design a front garden to reflect your home
Want a super smart design that makes your property stand out? Then borrow aspects of your home's front exterior and use them in your garden. A failproof way to create a sharply coordinated 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 gray 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 center stage.
18. 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 a 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.
19. Create a wildlife-friendly space
Packing a front garden with shrubs, perennials, and perhaps a small pond 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. 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.
20. Illuminate your front yard with subtle lighting
Don't forget to include garden 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.
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 some small rock garden ideas. Groups of large pebbles or boulders mixed with grasses, houseleeks, and low-growing conifers will create a stylish setup that needs little maintenance. For less sunny situations, opt for decorative clump-forming plants such as heuchera, tiarella, epimedium, and Japanese spurge.
What plants look good for the front of a house?
Selecting the perfect plants for your front garden is worth taking your time over. It's not just a matter of which plants capture your imagination – there are practicalities to consider, too. For instance, 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, choosing shade-loving plants is a good move.
If planting directly into the 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.'
Jill puts her love of plants and all things garden related down to the hours spent pottering around with her Nan and Grandad when she was little. Today she is lucky enough to have a garden of her own in Surrey, England, and spends much of her time writing about them too.
- Holly CrossleyActing Deputy Editor
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