This is the first in a series of articles on the Ten “Must Have’s” in your Landscape. Have you ever passed by a house that doesn’t have any – not one – foundation shrub? It definitely looks out of place, it looks lonely, and it is just not right! Foundation shrubs serve the purpose of joining the house to the land. They provide symmetry, perspective, softening and beautification. There are several things to consider when you are selecting what shrubs to use for the foundation planting.
- Foundation Plants for Eye-Catching Front Yard Curb Appeal
- Front garden essentials
- Best of 3: Climbing plants for front gardens
- Designing a front garden
- Front garden dos and don’ts
- Low Maintenance Front Garden Ideas
- Small Front Garden Ideas
- Further Reading
- What type of front wall would best suit your property?
What Make’s a Good Foundation Shrub?
It is simply, the right plant in the right place. Firstly, it should be evergreen. Therefore it won’t go away in the winter time and the landscape always looks “put together”. When we are preparing a landscape design, we always think about what is the landscape going to look like in the winter? Secondly, it should be an appropriate size. Often shrubs look awfully cute at the Nursery, but you bring them home and give them some lovin’ for a few years and they turn into a giant! Read labels carefully and select shrubs that are not going to cover your windows or doors.
Is Color important to you?
Some people don’t like a lot of color in their front yards, but instead prefer the landscape to be completely green. This is perfectly o.k. but it you go with only green foliage shrubs, you should change it up a little by selecting shrubs that have some textural differences so that the landscape doesn’t become boring. If you are not afraid of a little color, there are many wonderful foundation shrubs with colorful foliage, or foliage that changes color with the seasons. The secret to adding a little color is to add a “little” color. Don’t go overboard with a lot of different color choices as then the landscape becomes very busy and confusing on our eyes. Instead, pick one or two accent colors and repeat those colors throughout the landscape.
Do you like Meatballs?
Yes please, but not in my landscape. Meatballs (or continually pruning shrubs into balls) results from shrubs that outgrow their space and therefore we have to continually prune them to keep them in bounds. Over the years the plant industry has developed many size appropriate shrubs, so we have a lot more choices these days to select the proper plant.
Some of our Top Foundation Shrubs
Below is a list of the foundation shrubs that we use over and over again. These are tried and true, and don’t have many issues, and tend to do well in our climate. This is just a small selection of the shrubs we offer at the Nursery, so come on in and see the vast array of colors, textures, and shapes that are available.
| Soft Touch Holly
Naturally forms a rounded shrub that stays
small, 2′ tall x 3′ wide. Can take full sun.
Also look at Carissa Holly, Dwarf Yaupon Holly,
and Compact Japanese Holly
| Crimson Fire Loropetalum
A fairly new Loropetalum that only reaches
2-3′ tall x 2-3′ wide. It keeps its burgundy
color year round! Can take full sun. If you
need a larger version, look at Purple Diamond
| Creeping Gardenia
Another low growing shrub reaching 2′ tall
by 2-3′ wide. It flowers in July with fragrant
white blooms. Can take partial to full sun.
Another great Gardenia is Frost Proof if you
need a taller shrub. It gets about 5′ tall.
| Georgia Petite Indian Hawthorn
Another small shrub that flowers in the
spring. It reaches 2.5′ tall x 3.5′ wide. It
can also take full sun. It does have one
drawback, the deer seem to like it!
| Kaleidoscope Abelia
Great colorful foliage and it only reaches
2.5′ tall by 3.5′ wide. It can take full sun and
looks great with Loropetalum. Also look at
Mardi Gras Abelia which is a newer
| Winter Gem Boxwood
One of the hardiest Boxwoods. Makes a great
small hedge and will reach 4-6′ tall by 4-6′
wide. Winter Green Boxwood is another
one that stays slightly smaller at 2-4′ by 3-5′
| Vintage Jade Distylium
Only reaches 2′ tall but will spread 5′ wide.
Adds great texture to the shrub border and
adds another shade of green. Can take full
sun also. Also look at Blue Cascade
Distylium and Coppertone Distylium.
| Flirt Nandina
A great low growing groundcover type
Nandina that turns Red in the winter. Drought
tolerant, loves the sun, and low maintenance.
Also look for Blush Pink Nandina and
| Sasanqua Camellia
The dwarf varieties of Sasanqua Camellia
make excellent foundation shrubs when you
need a little bit more height. They have the
added bonus of flowers in the winter time too!
Check out the October Magic series.
If you are still not sure where to begin, come in and see us at the Family Tree. We also offer a free Quick Sketch or a full Landscape Design Service that will help you get started.
Check out the rest of Tracy’s list of the top 10 ‘must-haves’ for your landscape!
#1 Foundation Plants
#4 A Welcoming Front Entry
#5 Pops of Color
#6 Focal Points
#9 Entertaining Areas
#10 Animal Friends
Foundation Plants for Eye-Catching Front Yard Curb Appeal
Boxwood is a traditional shrub that’s often used as a foundation planting. Evergreen foundation plants provide year-round foliage. These broadleaf evergreens are compact by nature and grow well in full sun to partial shade. Full winter sun can cause damage, making boxwood varieties excellent landscape plants for north side of house planting. Adequate drainage, plenty of organic matter, regular fertilization and light mulch will keep your boxwoods rich and green. Heavy trimming can weaken a boxwood and introduce disease. You want to choose a variety that fits your height needs instead of trying to heavily trim to size. Pruning should be simply for thinning purposes.
Holly is a popular foundation plant due to its low maintenance. One of the best evergreen shrubs for front of house curb appeal, the pointed, shiny leaves seem almost indestructible and stay a brilliant green all year. Small flowers and bright berries create color. There are over 400 species of holly in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. The berries range in color from deep red to bright orange or golden-yellow. The key is to choose a variety that will fit your intended space. With options ranging from 5 to 60 feet tall, holly is quite versatile in terms of space. It takes pruning well, too, so if you want thick, low growing shrubs for front of house spaces, it can be perfect. It can even be shaped into creative, whimsical designs.
There are endless classes of roses, from groundcovers to climbing roses – you can choose from thousands of varieties, in every color and size imaginable. Roses are good landscaping plants that can form hedges, accent shrubs or climb up a trellis for height. I think roses are one of the best landscape plants for color, and they’re incredibly versatile. They work well as an accent in almost any style of landscape – traditional, cottage, woodland, eclectic and many more. It’s best to plant your roses in the spring or early fall. They thrive in well-draining and well-fertilized soil. It may be tempting to plant roses closely together to get an instantly full look, but this can lead to unhealthy, diseased roses. Give your roses plenty of room to spread out and grow. Most varieties require at least 3 feet of space.
As a front yard bush, this gorgeous showstopper is ideal. Hydrangeas add softness and color to your landscape. These woody foundation bushes feature large blooms in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Once established, hydrangeas are extremely easy to maintain. You can plant them in groupings, as a hedge or as individual focal plants. Hydrangeas thrive in full sun to partial shade and they love rich soil with good drainage. The key is to allow enough room between them to allow plants to grow to their fully mature size.
This short perennial features thick, succulent leaves and clusters of star-shaped flowers. My favorite for four-season color is Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Only growing 2-feet tall, this variety features tiny rose-colored flowers in late summer and early fall. The faded flower heads add an interesting touch during winter months. Cutting back in early spring encourages new, vibrant growth. Sedum grows vigorously in full sun, but will tolerate light shade.
Depending on the variety, arborvitaes range in size from shrub to tree. A great option if you’re looking for shrubs for front of house planting that will quickly fill in for maximized coverage, they’re a fast-growing option offering year-round foliage. Many tree-sized arborvitae varieties grow in a unique conical shape perfect for evergreen foundation plantings standing alone or in hedges. Low-growing varieties can create an attractive mound. Many take on a bronze cast in the fall and winter. Despite being low-maintenance, arborvitae does not do well in dry conditions. Your soil must be moist, rich and deep.
With blooms varying from white to pink or even red, flowering dogwoods provide a lovely touch to your landscape. The early spring bloom is followed by rich green foliage in the summer. Many varieties turn reddish purple as colder weather approaches. Brilliant red berries are a nice winter surprise. Foundation plants for shade can be difficult to find. But these compact trees grow best in partial shade. Well-drained, slightly acidic soil creates the best growing environment for this small foundational tree. Growing at the rate of one foot per year, dogwoods take a bit of patience to reach their full mature height of between 20 to 25 feet.
If you’re looking for a unique texture and brilliant fall color with your foundation plants, front of house placement is perfect for the Japanese maple. From 3-foot dwarfs to slow-growing 15-footers, this foundation tree will tuck neatly into your landscape. Depending on the variety, fall introduces yellow, purple, red and bronze colors to your garden. Delicate, lacy leaves cascade over the low, graceful domes created by arching branches. Pruning for form can help create an open center and highlight the shape of the tree.
Front gardens are special and very different from rear gardens. They are often for show not for relaxation, and for kerb appeal, not for parties and play.
There are lots of ways to create instant impact and maximise space out front, all while adding value to your property in the process, and no matter how small your front garden, is, with careful planning you can make it both a beautiful and useful space.
Before your house comes into view, your front garden is the first thing visitors will see, and a neat exterior will most certainly create a warm welcome. A well-maintained, flower-filled front garden also adds to the overall look of your neighbourhood, and most importantly, ‘A front garden full of plants also means a home and food for wildlife,’ says Leigh Hunt, horticultural adviser at the Royal Horticultural Society.
In reality, for much of the year we’re likely to see more of our front garden than our back. Every time we walk to our car or out of our house, whatever the weather, we’ll be immersed in this garden, so why not give it the attention it deserves?
Martin LeighGetty Images
We’ll start with the seven golden rules – follow these and all will fall into place.
1. Fit in with the street scene. Every road has a ‘look’ and if you take your front garden too far away from what’s normal for your street, you will create a ‘wow’ but not in a good way. But you can still raise the tone, if other front gardens in your street are neglected you can go for quietly smart, and if every other garden has been made over like a daytime TV programme, you might have to work a bit harder. If in doubt go for low key, neat and formal.
2. Symmetry and structure will give a great look, so look for well defined flower beds, straight lines and solid planting. The hardest look to pull off in a front garden is a wildflower meadow with plants flowing everywhere – go for the opposite of this and you’ll be on the right track.
3. Structure like this will also work in winter as well as summer – and winter is a key time in the front garden. This will likely be your one glimpse of greenery on your way from house to car, so getting the winter look right is crucial. The shapes of the flower beds will be seen, and the structural bones are visible in winter, so it’s essential to make sure those bones look good.
4. The layout – the bones of the garden – needs to signal where people should go. It’s an obvious point but one that’s often forgotten. When folks walk to your house the front garden needs to show them the way to the front door; it’s purpose, if you like, is to direct. The easiest way to do this is with a clear path and a big signal to mark the front door. Big pots either side of the front door will do the job.
Paolo ParadisoGetty Images
5. When you’re putting in the structure, work with the house and the windows. So planting is high between the windows, low in front of them. Accentuate the patterns of house, don’t work against them. This will often give you a good pattern to copy around the rest of the front garden. The pace of the lower and higher planting can be used at the sides and alongside the road. Use the same spacing and the whole thing will come together like a symphony.
6. You may not think about selling right now, but it’s likely to happen at some point, so if you’re putting money and effort into your front garden think about kerb appeal to buyers. What would you like to see if you were thinking about buying this house? It’s another really good reason to avoid anything whacky at the front. Kerb appeal is about looking neat, well maintained and cared about. Case in point: Dustbins can be a real eyesore, so screen them with shrubs or trellising, or, as horticulturist Alys Fowler suggests, ‘Make your garden so pretty your eye won’t be drawn to the bins at all!’
7. Finally, watch out for planning rules. These are often specific to front gardens and can cover anything from the height of your front fence to the colour of your house. To find out what applies in your area, the planning department of your local council will be a good place to start.
* SHOP THESE FRONT GARDEN ESSENTIALS *
Front garden essentials
Garden Lavender Tree
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This beautifully scented lavender tree in a keepsake hessian bag is perfect for any doorstep.
Round Hanging Basket with Liner
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This hanging basket – complete with a chain and hook – comes with a natural coco lining which is great for absorbing and maintaining moisture of flowering plants.
Riveted diamond trellis
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Made from high-quality hardwood, train up climbing plants with this super-strong expanding trellis.
Smart Garden Boxleaf Artificial topiary ball
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Ideal for hanging on hooks by archways and doorways, this artificial topiary ball is durable and strong and is ideal for front gardens – plus no maintenance required.
Addis Outdoor Round Dustbin with Lockable Lid
BUY NOW £29.54, Amazon
If you need an outdoor dustbin for your front garden, a design with a lockable lid is ideal. This dusky grey shade is subtle and stylish enough and won’t be much of an eyesore.
Formal front garden with box topiary and mixed edible planting. ’City Harvest’, Hampton Court Flower Show, 2009, designed by Adam Frost. Matt AnkerGetty Images
The main requirements for plants in a front garden is that they give structure and don’t take too much looking after. They need to be steady, not glamourous. As a general rule, choose plants that flower in every season, that way, you’ll always have something new to welcome you home, and window boxes are great for adding a splash a colour.
1. Evergreens: Shrubs which stay green and have a good bulk all year round are key to front gardens. Try box or yew, hebes or sarcococcas. Choose the size you need to create your look and one of these will fit the bill.
2. Climbers: If your house isn’t pretty there’s a great temptation to grow climbers up the front. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad idea is to grow self-clinging climbers. So, say no to ivy, boston ivy, climbing hydrangeas – these all have suckers and will find their way into the guttering, the mortar and, eventually, the windows. The climbers that are less likely to damage your house are ones which need support to grow up, so wisteria, clematis, roses. These can’t get a hold themselves so are a lot less scary. A good tip is to grow them up sturdy trellis which is just hooked on to the wall. The trellis (and the climber with it) can be removed for cleaning or painting the walls.
3. Trees: Pretty much inevitably, if a tree is growing in a front garden, it’s going to be close to the house. Even small trees grow into big trees and you might think, ‘Oh we can take it out if it gets too big,’ but no, you might not be able to. Once the roots go down under the foundations, taking a tree out can cause as much damage as leaving it in. It’s just safer all round to avoid trees anywhere near your four walls.
Loop Images/Andrew BaskottGetty Images
Best of 3: Climbing plants for front gardens
Wisteria sinensis ‘Prolific’
BUY NOW From £14.99, Thompson & Morgan
These beautiful, scented pendants of lilac-blue flowers have a prolific flowering habit that makes it the ideal specimen plant for training onto sunny walls.
Clematis ‘Frances Rivis’
BUY NOW £14.99, Crocus
These delightful purple-blue bells blooms reliably each spring, no matter what the weather, and is perfect for a sunny trellis.
Potted Rose – Perpetually Yours
BUY NOW £16.99, Marshalls
Provide walls and fences with a veil of these gorgeous lemon-yellow roses each year.
Seasonal changes and affordable updates
The biggest joy in gardening is to ring the changes: to herald spring, to celebrate summer and to the bask in a winter wonderland. And there’s no reason not to do this in the front garden, in fact it’s possibly more important since it’s the front garden that you see pretty much everyday without fail.
1. Front gardens are perfect for pots. And those pots can bring colour to every season. Violas for winter, tulips in spring, alliums in summer and agapathus in autumn. As you get more confident you can start to get more adventurous with your containers and combine colours to make really bold and wonderful statements.
2. Keep eight big pots on the go in the rear garden and plant them up in pairs for each season. Wheel them out as they begin to shine. The great thing about this is, if an experiment goes wrong and doesn’t look good, a quick trip to the garden centre for some emergency flowering plants will fix it in an afternoon.
3. Battery operated, warm, white fairy lights, wound around the structural plants like box balls will make the garden wonderful in winter. You don’t have to wait until Christmas and they don’t have to come out in January, keep them going until spring for a really magical look which will make you, and the neighbours, smile.
Keeping it low maintenance
Yes, it’s worth some effort to make and keep the front garden nice, but often life is just too busy to be out there every week toiling away. There are some surefire ways to get a great look without having to tend to it like a baby.
1. Lawns are green all year round but when you think about the amount of effort it takes to get the lawn mower round to the front garden and then how much effort to mow what’s often a poxy scratch of grass, the most likely outcome is that you’ll resent the grass from day one.
2. Go for gravel or paving for low maintenance options; the rule is that the more hard landscaping you have the lower the maintenance will be. The easiest solution to look after is paving – bricks, slabs, driveway pavers – but it can prove to be expensive to put these over the whole of the front, even if your garden is small, so gravel is a decent halfway house. It’ll need an occasional bit of work to rake it back into place, but still, a lot easier than grass.
3. Use evergreens in the borders, these will quietly get on whilst giving you shape and structure. They don’t grow too much, don’t need staking and once they’re established, usually after one season, they don’t even need watering. OK you won’t get many flowers from them, but they tick every other box.
Janet JohnsonGetty Images
1. Going whacky. I’m sure you’ve seen the front gardens with big personalities. They stick out like sore thumbs – don’t join them. The place for expressing yourself in your garden is in the back. In your rear garden you can paint your fence blue, grow tropical plants, fill it with all the wonderful ornaments you like. At the front, tone it down and think of the way the street looks as a whole – your neighbours will silently thank you.
2. Don’t make life more difficult than it needs be. If you need access to your windows make sure there’s a path there and the plants aren’t too big. A winding path might look lovely for a few days but you can be sure of two things – firstly, that you will curse having to go around and about just to get to your front door, and secondly that people (including you) will cut the corners.
3. Not thinking about security is a mistake we all can make. Big pots or ornaments are lovely but will they go walkies? Plants to hide the view to the road are great but will they also hide burglars trying to get into your property. There’s a very good argument for keeping anything expensive hidden away at the rear. If you do want to use expensive pots they can be secured.
It’s not a good idea to put anything too expensive in the front garden, but there is a way to introduce luxury without that danger – think about the flooring you use. There are some beautiful (and expensive) options. For example, if you live in a Victorian house have a look at reclaimed or replica tiles – these come in that classic chequerboard black and white or other geometric shapes. In a modern house the luxury options for paving are things like travertine or reclaimed York stone.
The House Beautiful team From the team at House Beautiful
Designing a front garden
Front gardens play an important role. Planted up, they breathe life into grey streets and help us to feel good about where we live.
Creating a front garden requires careful thought. You may well need to find space for wheelie bins and off-street parking, which can limit your planting choices.
However, this doesn’t mean that front gardens can’t be beautiful spaces that benefit wildlife, too. The key is to keep things simple, and ensure any plants and materials work well together.
- How to cut a window into a hedge
- Six ideas for garden screens
- Planting ideas for garden walls
Check out some of our top tips for designing a front garden, below.
Don’t give up on a tiny front garden – it’s amazing how many plants can be squeezed in.
A clean slate
This front garden is both beautiful and practical. Climbing roses soften the house walls, while a mulch of slate chippings allows rainwater to soak into the ground. This ties in nicely with the paving material, too.
Our tip: always lay landscape fabric under loose materials – it’ll stop weeds coming up but let rainwater through.
Save money: loose materials are far cheaper than solid ones, so keep paved areas to a minimum if your budget is tight.
Front garden with slate paving and chippings, planted with hostas, grasses, irises and climbing roses 2
A welcome change
The entrance to a front garden can immediately set the style of the space. This welcoming white wooden gate, surrounded by cottage-style planting, signposts that there’s a fabulous little garden waiting to be explored.
Our tip: white can be quite dominant. Here, it matches in with the house, but try various colour samples before choosing.
Save money: look out for reclaimed or second-hand gates, and spruce them up with a fresh coat of paint.
White garden gate surrounded by cottage style planting 3
Raise your profile
Bins and recycling boxes are often the first thing you see in a front garden. This raised mini landscape is a great way to hide them, while reclaiming the lost landscape beneath. Sedums and sempervivums don’t need much soil depth and are drought tolerant.
Our tip: cover the base with plastic membrane to stop it rotting, then fill with a mix of multi-purpose compost and grit.
Save money: make it yourself from off-cuts of wood and decking planks.
Sempervivums with a gravel mulch planted in a blue wooden wheelie-bin cover 4
Go totally potty
Don’t give up on a tiny front garden – it’s amazing how many plants can be squeezed in. All these are in containers, which are totally hidden by the lovely trailing flowers and foliage.
Our tip: the bigger the container the better – it means you can combine several plants together, yet reduce the amount of watering required.
Save money: try to recycle and upcycle containers – virtually anything can be used, from old sinks to large olive oil tins.
A tiny front garden packed with plants in containers 5
Stand to attention
Simple is often best and you can’t beat a formally framed front door. These bay lollipops in terracotta planters are a classic combination. Other alternatives include yew, box and privet. For something that draws the eye a bit more, you could opt for a cloud pruned shrub or tree (pictured).
Our tip: turn the pots around occasionally, so the plants can grow evenly.
Save money: there are some very convincing faux terracotta and faux lead planters on the market – they cost less than the real thing and are also lightweight.
An eye-catching cloud-pruned box beside white house walls 6
Get the hang of it
Hanging baskets help to break up a harsh brick wall and soften the front of the house. Change the plants seasonally to keep the display looking cheery and welcoming.
Our tip: choose flower or foliage colours that work well with your house bricks or front door.
Save money: raise your own bedding plants from seed, or buy as plugs early in the season, then grow them on. Keep summer bedding plants indoors until after the last frost.
Red begonias and purple petunias in a basket hanging from a red-brick wall 7
Cheap and cheerful
You don’t have to spend a lot to make a difference. Here a random collection of vibrant plants in pots of various sizes has been brought together by using the same terracotta finish.
Our tip: this display works well because the pots have been arranged by size, with the tallest at the back and a row of dianthus along one side.
Save money: look out for small plants and multi-buy deals – you can often make great savings by buying seasonal plants in quantity.
A display of flowers growing in terracotta pots 8
A fern favourite
Shady corners needn’t be tricky. These ferns show that even a few plants in pots can break up an otherwise harsh junction between a wall and concrete path.
Our tip: for year-round interest, choose evergreen ferns such as the hart’s tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) or the soft shield fern Polystichum setiferum).
Save money: you can often buy multi-packs of young fern plants, which are great value for money.
Container-grown ferns in a shady spot beside a house wall 9
Add a touch of grass
Grasses are a great option in a sunny front garden. They have a long season of interest and many keep their form all winter. This miscanthus is the ideal height to provide a little privacy indoors.
Our tip: let ornamental grasses stand tall through the winter months. Wait until spring to cut them back and tidy them up.
Save money: grasses are usually fast-growing and will quickly bulk up, so don’t waste your money on large specimens.
Advertisement Tall miscanthus fronds forming a semi-screen in front of a window White honeysuckle and mauve sweet rocket flowers
Front garden dos and don’ts
- Do choose surfaces and plants that will tie in with the colour and tones of the house
- Do try to get some height into even a small space. A single small tree or large shrub will make all the difference and can be grown in a large container
- Do ensure your design works from indoors too. Look out the windows and think about what you want to see, what you’d prefer to hide, and where you’d like to create more privacy
- Do use surfaces that let water through, such as gravel, permeable setts or grass sown into heavy-duty plastic modules (that cars can be parked on)
- Do add fragrant plants for passers-by and visitors to enjoy
- Do consider a formal layout if you have a symmetrical house with a central front door
- Do include some evergreens, as the garden will be seen daily throughout winter
- Don’t create an awkward route from the pavement to the front door – postmen and visitors will always cut corners
- Don’t use a loose surface such as fine gravel right up the door, as it’ll get trodden through the house
- Don’t build up paving or soil levels against the house wall, as it can cause damp issues
- Don’t pave your front garden with an impermeable surface, causing rainwater to run into the street. Planning permission may be needed for paving
Front gardens can often be neglected in favour of focusing on the wider space of the back garden. However, the front garden is the first thing people visiting your home see. So, it’s important to spend time thinking about what your front garden looks like, and how it is designed. Read our front garden ideas guide to find your inspiration.
In this guide, we’ll explain which flowers work well in small front gardens and why you should think carefully before you start planting climbers. We will also discuss low maintenance front garden ideas, so you can create a gorgeous garden with minimal effort.
Low Maintenance Front Garden Ideas
Low maintenance front garden ideas are perfect if you don’t have a lot of time to cultivate your front garden. The following front garden ideas are cheap and easy to implement. The best bit is that you won’t need any special skills or equipment to get started!
1. Be Bold with Your Flower Choices
If you are looking for low budget, low maintenance front garden ideas, you can’t go wrong with updating your flowers. When you are choosing the right flowers, you should think about colour and fragrance, and find choices that combine well together. Freesias and jasmine have strong fragrances, which will create an inviting and welcoming entrance to your home.
If you are creating a front garden in the UK, you need to consider which flowers work well in a colder climate. Hyacinth and gardenia are good choices.
Don’t be afraid to opt for bright colours and bold colour combinations. Why not try an interesting flower choice like rosa glauca? The petals of the flower combine silver/grey and purple, which is a stunning mix. The brightness of the purple looks great next to green plants, lawns, and trees.
2. Focus on Straight Lines and Structure
Most popular front garden ideas focus on clean, crisp lines, for good reason. If you are designing a small front garden, you shouldn’t over complicate the space. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a crowded and cluttered front garden. In larger back gardens, you can get away with planting more relaxed, wild, flower beds. However, if you use this tactic in a front garden, you run the risk of overwhelming the space.
The best way to design a front garden is to split it into sections and divide these areas sharply. Gravel and stones are ideal for this purpose. Before you start to plant or arrange anything, you need to make sure that you have a clear plan for how you are going to create your front garden.
By creating a garden that focuses on structure, you can also add additional privacy. Tall, fast growing plants such as bamboo, viburnum, and juniper are ideal options. They will create a natural wall which looks great and also gives you extra privacy. You can also use tall plants to create a border wall along the front of the garden.
3. How to Make the Most of Perennials
We have already covered why you should choose beautifully bold flowers and plants for your front garden. However, if you are new to gardening, or if you are short on time, you’ll also want to pick flowers that don’t require too much maintenance.
If you are looking to keep your garden looking fresh in the long run, you’ll want to plant a mix of long life and shorter life plants. Perennial plants last over two years, so they won’t need replacing as often as other flowers. Often, because they live longer, perennials can grow to a significant size. So you need to make sure that you give them the room they need.
Lavender is a fantastic option if you are looking for a strong perennial that will last a long time. It is a great choice if you are looking to add some privacy to the front window of your home. If you are looking for something more unusual, Russian Sage also grows in a similar way. Either option is good if you want to create a border between different areas of your garden or if you want to add privacy.
4. How to Create an Exciting Entrance
No front garden is truly complete without a beautiful doorway and entrance area. It’s easy to make a dramatic impression here. Remember, you want to make a strong first impression, so it’s worth investing some time and money in planning your doorway properly.
The first tip is to use a consistent colour scheme, like in the example featured above. Clashing colours can look cool when they are done right, but it’s a risk. Neutral tones like slate grey look modern and sophisticated. They also tend to be easier to maintain than brighter shades, which can fade.
If you are looking to repaint an old front door, be careful when you are choosing your paint. You need to make sure that you are using the right paint for the job. A front door is exposed to a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions. Exterior masonry paint will make sure that your door is robust and long lasting. It should also give you an attractive finish.
Often, people neglect to add any natural features to their steps and doorways. You can create a striking entrance by combining plants with concrete or gravel leading up to your front door. Combining natural and manmade textures is an easy way to make an attractive doorway.
Small Front Garden Ideas
Small front gardens don’t have to be boring. All you need to do is to think carefully and plan accordingly. Read our top tips for working with small front gardens.
1. Stick with Minimalist Design
Coming up with small front garden ideas can be tricky, as you are working with limited space. However, there are certain things that you can do to use your space creatively. Proper planning is essential here. Although you might be tempted to add lots of interesting features, if you are not careful you could create a messy space.
The trick to creating a fantastic small front garden is to avoid cluttering the space. Keep flowers and shrubbery to a minimum. Not only will this make your garden look uncluttered, it will also be easier to maintain in the long run. Overgrown plants and flowers can quickly ruin the look of your whole front garden.
Many successful small front garden ideas focus on a particular spot and make it the central feature of the space. Trees can work well as your central focal point. Just make sure that you keep the surrounding space fairly neutral. Mix up your colours and textures by using gravel and paving stones around your natural features.
If you are designing the space from scratch, you might want to hire a landscape designer. They will be able to advise you and show you which small front garden ideas will work well with your space.
2. Think Carefully About Climbers
Many stunning front garden ideas make climbers a key feature of the design. Climbers, which are plants that grow up the side of your home, can create a whimsical fairytale look. Whether you opt for an evergreen or a colourful climber, they can add a lot of colour and texture to your house.
They make look beautiful, however, if you are not careful climbers can cause a lot of issues. Structural damage and roof problems can easily arise. So, how can you avoid this?
Firstly, certain climbers can cause more damage than others. Self-clinging climbers are stronger and more persistent than other climbers. This means that they can support themselves as they grow up your walls. Their strength can cause significant structural damage. You can tame self-clinging climbers by pruning them properly throughout the year. However, if you don’t have much time, you might want to avoid them.
Thankfully, even if you have to avoid self-clinging climbers, there are other options that you can explore. Roses and wisteria can work particularly well if you are worried about structural damage. These plants cannot support themselves. So, you will need to add support underneath them.
A stainless steel trellis will work perfectly. The key benefit of choosing a climber that isn’t self-clinging is that you can control its growth far more easily. A trellis can be easily removed if you want to paint or clean the walls underneath it later on.
3. Always Consider Your Surroundings
Adding colour and personality to your front garden is no bad thing. However, it is a good idea to bear in mind that your front garden is perhaps the most public area of your house. You need to make sure that your house isn’t the one on the street that is standing out for all the wrong reasons.
If your neighbours all have neutral, well-maintained gardens, you should definitely try to fit with the overall style of the street. Having an off the wall front garden can be expensive in the long run. Fixing mistakes or making repairs can be tricky if you have used obscure materials or crazy colours. Ultimately, if you choose to sell your house in the future, a wacky front garden could put off a lot of buyers. So, think carefully before you make any big decisions, otherwise, you might have to waste time and money later on.
4. Create a Clearly Defined Pathway
Sometimes, it can be easy to get carried away when you trying to design the perfect front garden. It can be tricky to find the right balance between including exciting features but also retaining elegant simplicity. One way that you can achieve this is by clearly defining the pathway leading up to your door.
Your front garden should be designed to clearly show visitors where they need to go. A winding, complicated path can look lovely. However, it will quickly become an annoying inconvenience. Inevitably, you and your visitors will end up choosing the quickest route to the house.
Protect your lawn and plants by sticking to direct, straight paths. They are easier to maintain and they are often cheaper to install. Planting a border of flowers or shrubs parallel to the path helps to break up your garden into zones. You’ll just need to make sure that you trim and maintain these plant regularly so that your path stays clear.
Just because you stick to a straight path doesn’t mean you can’t get creative in other ways. Instead of experimenting with shape, you can work with different materials. A slate grey stone path like the one above will look very modern. Using simple planks, surrounded by gravel, this path is easy to install and maintain.
Using a darker coloured stone in the middle of the path clearly signposts to your visitors where the entrance is. It will also retain its colour without becoming too discoloured or damaged over time. Finally, whatever kind of path you choose, make sure that the material you use is appropriate for most weather conditions. Slippery surfaces should be avoided.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our front garden ideas. If you are interested in revamping your back garden or front garden, we have plenty of how-to articles to help you get started. Click on the links below to check out our top tips.
- Our Top 10 Tips for Hiring the Best Local Gardener
- Prepare Your Garden for Rain in 5 Quick and Helpful Steps
- Superb Garden DIY – 5 Steps to Make a Pallet Into a Planter
- 7 Tips For Maintaining Your Garden Through the Harsh Winter
- Garden Screening Ideas – Find Inspiration to Transform Your Garden!
- How To Whitewash Wood Floors (Your Step-By-Step Guide)
- 13 Garden Wall Ideas That Will Create a Blissful Outdoor Oasis
Featured Image Credit
What type of front wall would best suit your property?
Once the four walls of a home are built and a fence is installed around the backyard, many homeowners view their private homely abode as a completed product. But to create a truly finished look that will differentiate your house from all others, consider installing a sleek, modern wall at the front of your property. A front wall will add interest and flair to your entryway, enabling you to express your creativity whilst making the most of your outdoor space.
If security or privacy is your highest priority, a tall boundary wall is the best option. Made of sturdy materials and built to the heights you require, they offer a safe perimeter for children and pets alike. To look less foreboding, consider incorporating some design elements or garden beds to soften the aesthetic.
If you are hoping to create a clean outline to your property, but privacy is of minimal concern, a low-levelled wall may be the ideal choice for you. With this option, the front of your house will be on display to neighbours and visitors, showing off your grand and inviting home.
If you are after a more natural, creative style, consider constructing an undulating wall that curves gently among the greenery and flowers in your front yard. It is a beautiful, classic option that adds a sense of timelessness and romance to a space. It can be done with traditional masonry materials, rough stones or cement blocks, each offering a slightly different aesthetic. Lined with foliage, it adds a beautiful front boundary with a softening touch of country elegance.
For added interest, consider including a gate within the walled structure. A grand gate will break up the monotony of a front wall and welcome visitors into your private sanctuary. Designed with ornamental touches and patterns, gates made from corrugated iron or steel will provide a unique and interesting addition to your property. You can also place large pot plants on either side of the front gate to draw attention to this key focal point.
There are many landscaping ideas you can add to your front yard space to further embellish your entrance. Construct a path of cobblestones, stepping stones or slabs that leads visitors from the street to the front door. If your yard is on a steeper slope, think of incorporating some steps and tiered gardens to soften the entrance. For an easier way to add character, design a small garden behind the front gate to create a fresh, natural look to your property.
In an age of minimalism where many homeowners are trying to reduce their possessions and keep things simple and clean, a minimalist style wall is a trendy and contemporary choice. Simple and stylish, with clean lines and colours, is perfect for the modern and contemporary home. Master minimalism in your front yard by building a wall that is simple, chic and blends in naturally with the backdrop of your house.
Keep in mind that a very minimalist, functional wall can create an uninviting ambience if it is too solid and plain in appearance. Consider placing some tall pot plants or garden beds in front of the wall to break up the monotony and create some visual interest. Lighting is also another option to lift the atmosphere, placing lamps or other exterior lighting that illuminates part of the front wall at night.
To create a lush and flowering front garden setting, build a simple wall structure with climbing plants that blossom outwards. Popular climbers such as bougainvillea, wisteria and ivy are great space savers since they grow upwards, producing a wall with a mass of beautiful foliage.
A garden wall will require more upkeep than an original plain front wall. Investigate how to look after your climber plant, such as the amount of soil, sun and shade required by a creeping plant. For example, bougainvilleas require a soil type with good drainage and decent exposure to the sun in order to thrive. They also flourish with a fertiliser that contains potassium or potash, but try to avoid ones that contain a high quantity of nitrogen.
Wall planters and vertical garden pots are a huge trend as of late, for both decorating front walls and adding green elements to an otherwise dull wall in the backyard. If the yard itself is space limited, it’s a great way to add a touch of nature to your property and a wonderful opportunity for green thumbs to still get their gardening fix in a tight space.
Following on from the garden wall idea, hedges are a completely natural way to add a front fencing solution to your property. While this option takes a lot of time and maintenance, it is a beautiful feature that adds an air of prestige to the space. While it may not be ideal for those seeking heightened security, it may be an option for someone simply seeking a visual border.
A front wall can come in many shapes and sizes, and need not be a completely solid, freestanding structure. Rock walls are a more informal way of constructing a front wall. Stack large stones on top of each other, and either fill the gaps with smaller sized stones or leave open spaces between each stone for a casual, informal entrance to your home setting.
A rock wall is a cost-effective means of building a front wall, simply requiring a series of stones, and can give you the freedom of choosing your own materials to match your desired aesthetic. You can even use stones found on your property or in natural landscapes, as long as the stones are sturdy and will not easily shatter or crumble.
Owning a suburban block with a white picket fence is the Great Australian Dream for many homeowners. A warm and welcoming white picket fence is a traditional and relatively cost-effective front wall option. For those who are DIY-inclined, you may like to create your own white picket fence by consulting an instructional guide online where you can choose which style best suits your home.
Brick offers a solid structure that can be built high or tall, depending on the purpose of your wall. An assortment of colours and sizes can be selected to match the aesthetic you prefer. A naked brick finish will offer a classic look, while a rendered finish might suit a more contemporary home. Adding decorative brickwork patterns amongst the design can liven up the finished outcome and add a touch of style to the wall.
Creating a sense of privacy and seclusion is of paramount concern for many homeowners. This style of wall is particularly suited to those homeowners wanting to create privacy and maximise space of the front yard. A relatively high modular wall will enable homeowners to create a space at the front of their property for relaxation and general enjoyment. Mark the start of property in a strong and clear manner to delineate the streetscape from your own private home.
Modular walls have a clean, contemporary aesthetic that matches current architecture. Unique styles, such as the SlimWall vs the EstateWall, offer slightly different looks, but they can be further personalised to match your style preferences.
Slats of timber or aluminium, or panels of textures metals or glass, can be added by simply slotting them into the posts as you would with the panels.
The cementitious surface accepts many different finishes, such as stone cladding, tiling or texture painting, to match the overall architectural aesthetic of your home and garden. Decorative screens can be affixed to the surface and cabled lighting is made exceptionally easy to incorporate with their lightweight materials.
Imprint your favourite pattern or design onto your front wall. Decorative screens can be incorporated as a feature into a more solid wall structure, or used on their own as a front wall, combining unique metalwork with laser cut designs and dramatic back-lighting.
Custom design elements
There are many ways to add a touch of flair to your front wall to reflect a sense of individuality and style. Mosaic tiling can add beautiful designs to your wall and can even be done DIY, if you have a streak of creativity you’d like to bring to the project. There has been a resurgence in murals for front walls lately, bringing back the beauty of visual art into our everyday lives again. There are many artists who can be found online you can give you quotes and mock up a design that best suits your tastes and interests, or again, can be an artistic DIY project. There are also more common custom finishes, such as powder-coating, rendering, cladding or texture paint finishes, enabling you to personalise a front wall in accordance with your individual tastes, preferences and style.
Upcycling and repurposing has been a huge design concept as of late, adding an environmentally-conscious factor to your property. Various sturdy materials used in the construction industry are being used in new and exciting ways – especially home improvement projects. Tyres can be used as oversized blocks for retaining walls, with their hollow centres being used as vertical planters. Old pallets have been used as shelves for vertical garden walls or even utilised as walls themselves, adding a rustic charm to the property.