Top 10 Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Think beyond a basic, boring grassy lawn and get inspired with these front yard landscaping ideas to take your curb appeal to the next level.

Once upon a time, front yards were just for show. They had a sweep of lawn, a few shrubs and maybe a hanging basket on the porch. Nowadays, this isn’t the case at all. The front yard is becoming more and more lived-in, with gardeners sneaking in vegetables, adding gorgeous containers and creating amazing flowerbeds. Sound like your kind of scene? Take a look at these front yard landscaping ideas for making the most out of your front space.

Rustic White Picket Fence
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Create Privacy

Just because it’s the front yard doesn’t mean you can’t have privacy. Put up an “open” fence that doesn’t completely barricade your yard—spaced pickets, say, instead of high, solid boards—so it still feels welcoming. You’ll feel sheltered from the public eye even though you’re still visible on the other side.

Beautiful front yard garden with no grass
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Accessorize the Sidewalk

If you have a sidewalk or pathway around your house, use it to your advantage. Gardens along the sidewalk are a wonderful new trend, sharing beauty instead of keeping it all to ourselves in the backyard. Choose plants that can stand up to heat and dryness, like Russian sage, artemisia, threadleaf coreopsis and bearded iris.

Craftsman Style Bungalow
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Use Bright Colors

Flowers are still the place to start, and you’ll want vivid ones in your front yard. Use bright colors that are visible from a distance, such as yellow, red, hot pink and white. This will help spotlight the entrance to your house. You can accessorize with pots and other items in these colors to tie in with your flowerbeds.

Backyard Garden, Saint Petersburg, Florida
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Add Front Yard Décor

Garden ornaments include any manmade object you can think of, from a classic urn to a painted wooden chair. These additions are powerful attention-getters, so use them sparingly. If you have too many, your front yard will look cluttered instead of charming. Whether you follow the hottest new ideas, or stick to timeless standards, your front yard ornaments give onlookers a sense of who you are.

Check out 12 easy ways to take your garden to the next level.

Pedestal Garden Planters
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Work on the Presentation

To give an ornament the spotlight, set it atop a pedestal—a recycled section of porch post, an inexpensive pillar from the hobby store or a section of clay drainpipe. If you love fairy gardens of dainty plants, moss and miniature decorations, put yours on a pedestal, so people can admire it without stooping over. Raising a container garden on an upside-down pot base boosts its allure, too.

bicycle in garden
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Incorporate Recycled Items

Move beyond ordinary lawn ornaments, and use your sense of humor. You might want to go for a literal garden bed—a headboard and footboard with flowers as the coverlet. Check garage sales for objects you can repurpose as focal points for whimsical front yard landscaping ideas. For instance, you can build an entire garden around an old fat-tire bicycle. It makes a fine trellis for cypress vine, scarlet runner beans or other flowering vines.

Clean out your clutter with these recycled garden ideas.

Girl (8-9 years) looking at tomato plant in backyard garden, low angle view
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Plant Vegetables

Slip veggies into already maintained beds or into containers out front. The bonus of this method is you have less weeding to do overall. If you’re wondering where to start, sow Swiss chard, lettuce of any kind, bok choy, kale and other greens in small patches in your front yard garden beds. You can also punctuate your perennials with clumps of rhubarb. Here’s one more idea that creates an interesting visual. Place a tepee of tall sticks into a container and plant pole beans around it. This will give the pot an impressive height, and is also a great snack for when you check the mail.

white crowned sparrow
Courtesy Rebecca Granger
White-crowned sparrow in a weeping cherry tree

Grow Fruit Trees and Berries

You might not think of trees and berries when you consider front yard landscaping ideas, but they can be great additions. For instance, use a pair of dwarf fruit trees to flank your entryway. They’ll have a lovely and fragrant show of spring flowers and you can look forward to the cherries, apples, apricots or plums to arrive. Another good fruit to try are alpine strawberries. They make a good edging to beds and borders. The runner-less plants stay in neat clumps, producing small berries of concentrated sweetness. When they’re not blooming, they provide foliage.

Urban Gardening, front yard landscaping ideas
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Lavender growing in front yard 

Add Herbs and Ornamental Grasses

Another trick to planting a vegetable garden in the front yard is to just let them grow. Plant asparagus behind your annuals. The spears you don’t pick will turn to tall, feathery fronds that glow gold in fall. Ornamental corn and grasses are also wonderful additions for texture and movement. Many kitchen herbs are good if you let them go, as well. They offer excellent colors, lovely fragrances and they’re pretty low-maintenance.

front yard landscaping ideas
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Choose Easy-to-Grow Plants

Above all, you don’t want your front yard to add a lot of extra labor, so plan ahead to keep chores to a minimum. Plant low-maintenance annuals and perennials, instead of those that need frequent fussing. Watering is the biggie, especially in sidewalk gardens, so rely on drought-tolerant plants. Enjoy the view from your front porch, and don’t forget to give a friendly wave if someone passes by.

Sally Roth
Sally Roth is an award-winning author of more than 20 popular books about gardening, nature, and birds, including the best-selling "Backyard Bird Feeder's Bible" and "Attracting Songbirds to Your Backyard." Sally is also a contributing writer and editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She shares her love of nature with her husband, Matt Bartmann, who is also a naturalist as well as a photographer and writer.