While landscaping your front yard can be a major undertaking, it’s well worth it in the end! Whether or not you belong to a Home Owners Association, there are serval factors to consider when starting a landscaping project. Before landscaping your front yard, consider these questions:
- What’s your budget?
- How much space do your front yard have for landscaping?
- What beautiful or unique home features can you enhance with landscaping?
Now that you’ve thought about these questions, you’re ready to elevate your home’s curb appeal! Learn how to start landscaping your yard and explore landscaping ideas for front yards below.
How to Landscape Your Front Yard
With a solid understanding of your budget and a general idea of what you want to enhance with front yard design, you can start looking into the different types of landscaping projects for your home—and increase home value! Keep in mind, it’s essential to choose plants, materials, and features that work best for your outdoor space and planting zone. Read what else goes into landscaping your front yard below!
Establish Your Lawn
Taking care of your lawn is not just important for the health of your grass—but for the surrounding plants, too. If weeds are overtaking your space, even expensive landscape work can go overlooked or dismissed! Instead, make sure you’re caring for your lawn properly, so your landscape elements can truly enhance your home’s features. Proper yard care may include regular reseeding, fertilizing, watering, and more!
Decide Landscape Style
It’s tempting to choose a bunch of plants and decor and throw them all together to create your front yard landscape. But this will likely result in a chaotic mix of styles and clutter your space. Instead, take the time to plan what you envision, starting with a landscape style. Try landscaping your desert front yard as an industrial xeriscape or desert zen yard. Do you live in the Plains? Plant native wildflowers across your entire front yard. Or remove the grass entirely and go for a more eco-friendly front yard with a variety of ground covers.
Sketch Your Layout
Keeping basic design elements in mind, use space, lines, color, and more to highlight the exterior of your home. Take in the size of your lawn and any yard features present—like mailboxes, walkways, and even your entryway. Are you wanting to outline your yard with natural features? How will architectural features like lighting and rocks play into your yard’s landscaping? As you design your landscape layout, look up how bushes, trees, and more will grow over time, and how that will affect your front yard’s landscape design in the future.
Keep Accessibility in Mind
Landscaping your front yard isn’t just for curb appeal—it’s also to make sure your home is accessible. You’ll want your address visible from the street, while your mailbox and front door should be accessible to postal or delivery workers, guests, and the rest of your household as time passes. Front yard accessibility landscaping can be paths or ramps leading to the front door, or secure, painted stairs. Consider also your neighborhood’s street lighting—installing landscape lighting along walkways and near the front door increases safety for unlit streets while still enhancing your landscape design!
Consider Work & Maintenance
Landscaping your front yard will take time and a lot of hard work upfront. Once you’ve completed your yard work, you still have to be mindful of ongoing maintenance to upkeep your lawn. What kind of labor will your front yard’s landscape design require? Should you consider hiring a team to irrigate your yard? Is it worth it to hire a consistent lawn service to maintain your landscaping? If that’s not a cost you want to budget money or time for every year, think about implementing low-maintenance landscaping ideas in your front yard! After all, the correct amount of watering, mowing, weeding, pruning or trimming, fertilizing, and aeration will do wonders to keep your front yard and landscaping features looking magnificent year-round.
Select Natural Features
While natural landscaping features and architectural elements go hand-in-hand when designing a front yard, it’s best to choose the natural features first. This way, you can strategize how to present those features. With reference to your planting zone, common natural features include bushes, shrubs, shade and ornamental trees, and grasses. Flowers are another common feature in a front yard—planting a multi-season flowerbed with a mix of perennial and annual flowers can bring a lot of fun to your landscaping design! Plant seeds or bulbs, or transplant flowers that are already growing. Some of the most popular flowers to grow in the U.S. are roses, daffodils, daisies, pansies, tulips, and geraniums.
Choose Architectural Features
There’s a lot to consider in landscape design—having architectural features supporting natural elements will make your front yard’s landscaping pop! Hardscaping features include fences, privacy barriers, rocks, and more. Other landscaping features help add privacy to your yard or even help create a soothing vibe as people approach your home. Add yard water features to your front or side lawns—like a fountain, waterfall, stream, or small pond if relaxation is your goal. Or keep your front yard safe with garden lighting, or by lining your front door walkway with landscape lights or solar-powered lights.
Work in Stages
Remember, not all the work needs to be done at once. Though it’ll feel fantastic when your front yard is landscaped beautifully, you don’t want to work too hard and not finish what you planned. After you finish a section, take a step back and assess how things look and what should come next. Despite the best-laid plans, sometimes when you’re finally putting everything together, you’ll find that something doesn’t look right or work for your yard, and that’s okay—have an open mind!
Add Extras & Features
Now that all the digging and planting is done, take a look at your front yard landscaping and see if you want to add anything else. Could your landscaping use a pop of color or texture somewhere? Try adding a trellis for vining plants, or window boxes for flowers. Add a bench for an outdoor living area in your front yard, or use a birdbath to attract wildlife.
Ideas for Front Yard Landscaping
Now that you know the basic elements of landscaping your front yard, it’s time to find inspiration for your project! Don’t forget, you want your landscaping to enhance your curb appeal—not hide your home. Check out these ten landscaping ideas for your front yard!
Ditch the Grass
Do you have or want a lawn? While many homes already have an established front yard of grass, it can be beneficial to convert small lawns into a no-grass yard. Opt for ground covers like creeping thyme, moss, clover, and more. These creepers allow you to mow less, as they grow across land rather than up in height. In addition to other eco-friendly lawn ideas, grassless yards can enhance your front lawn as an excellent low-maintenance landscaping idea.
Rewild Your Yard
Did you know that you can turn your front yard into a Certified Wildlife Habitat? By keeping permaculture in mind, you can provide habitats for native pollinators, restore and attract other local wildlife, and help your yard return to its natural state. Depending on where you live, you can create a mini-ecosystem with direct sunlight and drought-tolerant grass in a low area with wet soil for coastal flowering shrubs, or with scattered trees and shade ferns.
Plant a Victory Garden
Created to counter dwindling food supplies in WWII, Victory Gardens took the place of front yards. Planting a vegetable or herb garden is both beautiful and healthy for you. Not only does this add variety and color to your front yard landscape design, but you’ll also spend plenty of time outdoors tending your garden. From cabbages and tomatoes, to rosemary and mint—people love planting vegetables and herbs in their gardens, especially when it shrinks your grocery bill.
Create an Eco-Friendly Front Yard
Sustainable landscaping can reduce air, soil, and water pollution, and make healthy outdoor spaces for you to enjoy while nurturing wildlife. To have an eco-friendly front yard, you’ll need to be purposeful about the choices you make. Go for small green updates like using solar landscaping lights, or go for more involved eco-friendly yard ideas like replacing grass for native flowers for pollinators. Or opt for a more sustainable yard and plant container gardens.
Add Shade & Ornamental Trees
Shade trees, of course, are those that provide the best shade—like aspens, willows, oaks, and maples. Ornamental trees are more for decoration because of their structure, flowers, or fruit. A few to look into are myrtles, dogwoods, hawthorns, and cherry trees. But keep in mind—planting fruit-bearing ornamental trees will likely require more yard maintenance.
Opt for Decorative Grasses
Grass doesn’t have to be contained to a lawn. Ornamental grasses can help soften harsh lines in your front yard, such as next to stairs or under windows. Homeowners in a prairie zone can take advantage of ornamental grasses—these rather drought-tolerant plants grow deep, complex root systems native to the climate! Contemplate adding feather reed grass, fountain grass, Japanese forest grass, and blue fescue.
Don’t Forget Bushes & Shrubs
Unless you garden as a hobby, you’ll likely want to landscape using perennial shrubs and bushes—meaning they grow back each year. The main types of bushes are broadleafs, deciduous, and evergreens, and adding them to your front yard’s landscape is a simple trick that can complete the look of your lawn. These plants can grow wide and tall, and varieties like azaleas, daphne, distylium, and forsythia can fill in empty areas or help cover less appealing ones.
Build a Fence or Privacy Barriers
Sometimes you want quiet moments with friends and family. Adding fencing to your yard is a way to achieve additional privacy! Not only does a fence help split up your front lawn visually, but it can also keep your four-legged family members within your yard. Other features can be placed around the barriers to create more texture and visual depth. Look into picket fences, post-and-beam fences, short stone walls, or hedges for privacy or texture.
Install Paths & Steps
While installing a walkable path can add visual elements to your front yard, it can also be used to establish safety. This is especially helpful if you see yourself and your family growing old in your current house, or if you have aging relatives. Usually, steps are added for functionality, whereas paths are typically for aesthetics. Think about options like stone steps, wooden steps, stone paths, and brick paths. For paths, there are a ton of DIY front yard walkway ideas like rock path designs or concrete made to look like stone!
Stones and boulders are generally a low-cost way to add an understated natural accent to your front yard design—similar to mulch, but with a more form-focused effect. They can visually break up different areas in flower beds, be used as seating if you strategically place flat boulders, or displayed in a rock garden by themselves. You can even use them to landscape your bed edges to give your flower beds a nice pop.
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