This article will discuss some of the best landscaping ideas for front yards that you can implement. Of course, you don’t have to do them all, or any of them for that matter. They’re here to get your mind moving, to give you an idea of the scope of possibility and to serve as a catalyst to your own creativity. Even if you are getting someone to design your landscape for you, you will want to have ideas of your own, just so at the very least you will know what you like.
Front Yard Landscape Design Ideas and Generation
- One of the best things you can do to get your creativity flowing is to see what others have done with their front yards. A quick drive around your neighborhood or other parts of your town can accomplish this; you can even snap some photos to bring home (as long as you aren’t obnoxious about it). The benefit here is that you can see what people with similar home designs and property sizes have done with their yards; plus, if you really like how someone did something, you can ask them for advice or for the number of their landscaper. You can also see what supplies may be readily available in your area. However, don’t get ‘stuck’ into what your neighbors and fellows townspeople have done – you may want to try something totally unique, and fitting in with what everyone else has done and limiting yourself to that worldview won’t help you.
- Thus, a great way to get past this is to find some front yard landscape photos or pictures in magazines, books, on TV shows, and on the Internet. Having this supply of ‘foreign’ ideas can really help stimulate your noggin; the only drawback here is that the homes you’ll be seeing in the images will have a totally different design and specifications than your home. (You can also use this technique to get backyard landscaping ideas, though that is a different topic altogether!)
- The main objectives with front yard design flow around a few things: curb appeal, creating an inviting nature, and allowing for people to come and go as necessary. For instance, you’ll want to have the general ‘skeleton’ of the yard, in the form of your driveway, walkway, stoop, etc., formed or at least planned before you can figure out your landscape design. (More on the hardscape in a bit.)
- Note that if you have a limited budget, you can do a cheap front yard landscape design without sacrificing the beauty or uniqueness of your project. This is because you really won’t be spending much time in the front yard, and most people who will be looking at the front yard will not be spending time gawking at it. Thus, you want something that’s simple, effective, easy to put together and maintain, and easy to navigate. Beauty and value are of course important, but as long as you have the first members of this list, you’ll be satisfied with your project. The topic of front yards is relatively easy, then, when compared to backyards – since we spend a bunch of time there, such as in and around a pool, we’ll want to make sure that we’ve created something truly beautiful and functional. However, that investment of time and energy and money can wait until another day and another article.
- As part of your design, you may want to come up with some kind of “theme” as a general guiding system to help you design your project. Your design and theme will depend largely on the climate and general appearance of your space, but you’ll still have some freedom to explore different ideas if that’s your game. For instance, tropical themes may work well in lush environments, while desert themes may work better in drier and more arid locales.
- Don’t be afraid that you’ll have limited freedom if you have a small front yard. In fact, you may have more freedom, because you won’t have to maintain a huge amount of green life and can focus on really getting the major details right instead of worrying if all the major components are in place.
- Work with what you’ve got. If you have an interesting or unique feature of the surrounding terrain, or even a body of water to play with, you can either a) downplay and try to hide the feature or b) bring it out and make it a focal point.
- A good general point: make sure your yard and garden has some kind of focal point. This is perhaps the most important front yard landscape idea – you want to draw your eye somewhere, and you wan tot draw it to where you want it to go. The alternatives – the eye finds nothing to look at, or it focuses on something ugly – are to be avoided at all costs!
Creating Your Green Space
- The first major decision you’ll have to make is how much ‘green space,’ or lawn, you’ll want to keep and maintain. Note that the more you have of the lawn, the more you’ll have to maintain. You may also consider working in designs for automatic irrigation systems or sprinklers so that you can at least keep that part of the maintenance pretty easy for you. If you need new grass, you can either use grass seed or lay down sod. The type of grass is up to you as well, though you may be limited in your choices due to local ordinances and the like.
- Next, sketch out the areas where you’d like to add some special landscaping touches – your flowerbeds, planters with beautiful flowers, areas for new shrubs and trees, and places to put other interesting objects (such as bird baths, water fountains, statues, and more). Don’t forget to add curves wherever possible, especially if your walkways allow you to do this. Curves are generally pleasing to the eye and a bit more ‘artistic’ than ordered straight lines. I don’t want to denigrate the straight line though, as it has a certain beauty to it all its own.
- Note that picking certain kinds of flowers and plants to fill in your beds and planters may require certain obligations of maintenance and upkeep. For instance, some plants may need frequent watering, while others won’t need much attention at all. Thus, make sure you find out all the properties of your flora before you go ahead and install them – you can save yourself a lot of hassle!
- Consider having ‘mobile’ landscaping in your front yard. This means using pots and planters and other containers that you can move, mix, and match at will. This will allow you to be flexible and adaptable with your landscaping as your mood and taste changes.
- There are two major kinds of plants that you can use: annuals and perennials. Annuals will only last you for one year, but they will give you an amazing burst of color and beauty for your yard during that season. Having to replace them year after year is both good and bad. The bad side of it is that you’ll have to remake your front yard landscape every year, but this can also be seen as a good thing, because then you’ll be able to ‘remake’ your landscape every year. This can allow you to experiment and play around with different landscape features.
- Perennials will last you for many years – each year they will bloom anew. These will be more expensive than annuals, but they will be the ‘centerpieces’ or focal points of your yard for years to come. Thus, it pays to choose carefully and make your big investments here. Once they’re planted, you’re stuck with them unless you want to go through the hassle of removing them. Thus, your best bet is probably to get a good mix between these two kinds of plants.
- Don’t forget to consider the kinds of topsoil and mulch you can use for your yard. You could also use landscaping rocks as well. Each will have their own benefits and drawbacks, so make sure you do your research before you commit to one or the other.
Some Warnings and Other Notes
- Note that some landscape installations will require more maintenance than others. Large lawns, for instance, have to be watered, fertilized, and mowed and trimmed regularly in order to keep it look healthy and beautiful. Huge flowerbeds, on the other hand, will require their own maintenance, such as periodic weeding and trimming to keep things looking nice. Thus, don’t just think about the short term benefits of whatever material you’re using – think also about the long term costs, i.e. how much time and energy you’ll have to sink into upkeep. If you’re someone who doesn’t want to put in effort into maintaining your front yard, that will significantly affect your landscape choices.
- Don’t go overboard. You don’t want your home to be absolutely overwhelmed by your landscaping. Sometimes less is more – having the perfectly selected or designed element can be much better than have dozens of different things in a complex arrangement.
Other Options and Accessories for Front Yard Landscaping
- Even though we are talking about front yard landscaping ideas here, we don’t want to forget the other important aspect of your design that goes hand in hand with the landscape – your front yard hardscape design! Your driveway, walkways, patios, stoops, retaining walls, and other stone accessories to your yard are perhaps just as important as the landscaping itself, since this hardscape gives shape and structure to your yard and interacts with the organic components in interesting ways. Thus, consider using concrete pavers or other hardscape materials as part of your total project – walkways are a particularly good use for this material, as are garden pavers and landscape pavers interspersed through your organics.
- Another thing to think about is using stepping stones as a pathway through various parts of your yard – more information on different kinds of stepping stone can be found in articles here: Large Stepping Stones, Round Stepping Stones, and Slate Stepping Stones.
- If you’ve spent this much time and money and energy on making your beautiful front yard, why not increase its curb appeal by adding outdoor lighting? This will make it so that everyone will be able to see your beautiful landscaping even at the darkest of night. There’s a lot I can say about this topic, so check out the articles on outdoor lighting and garden lighting for more information on this vast topic.
- Don’t forget the possibility of installing outdoor rooms in your front yard area. Whether an enclosed patio or a gazebo or whatever, this may be the ticket to a nice place to relax during a beautiful day or evening. However, this will work best only with large yards, as small yards may get cramped. Still, you could even install some kind of hardscape seating in yards of any size, so you can at least have a place to sit if you don’t have a deck or porch of some kind.