Need some front yard landscaping ideas? We’ve got the cream of the crop for passersby to feast their eyes on. When it comes to the front yard, a manicured lawn isn’t the only way to go. In fact, grass may be your least interesting option, says renowned Los Angeles landscape designer Scott Shrader. “It’s been out of fashion for 25 years, in my opinion,” he says. “The fertilizer, the water, the mowing—all that energy goes into a green patch that isn’t really doing much aesthetically.”
Instead, Shrader sees front yard landscaping as a chance to set a distinct tone for your property: “Your house doesn’t start at the front door—it starts at the street.” To up your home’s curb appeal, we’ve greenlighted the best front yard landscaping ideas—plus answers to commonly asked questions.
How can I make my front yard beautiful?
When planning your front yard design, making the space beautiful is naturally going to be top of mind. “Having an appropriate response to architecture is paramount to the success of any front yard,” says Geoff Valentino, Chicago studio director of Hollander Design, an architectural landscaping firm. The scale, form, and materiality of your home’s architecture should all be carried into the landscape design, so it’s always a good first step to learn as much as you can about the style and design of the home itself before embarking on the landscaping.
How do I make my front yard landscape?
Once you understand the design of your home and (hopefully) the style of landscaping that will suit it well, plan your specific project. “Start by developing circulation patterns for vehicles, parking areas, and pedestrian walkways in and around the architecture,” Valentino says. “Then you can begin to layer in site features and planting that relate to the home and become an extension of it.”
How can I make my front yard look more expensive?
No matter how much or little money you put into your front yard, dying plants, patchy grass, and general disorganization will make the space look cheap. “Every yard has microclimates—sun exposure, wind, climate, soil, drainage patterns, existing plants, and habitats—that influence where plants will thrive and where you’ll be comfortable spending time,” Valentino explains. He notes that using these elements to guide design decisions will give you the best luck in creating a sustainable and long-lasting front yard.
Take the time to study plants in your neighborhood to see what’s thriving and what’s not, and pay special attention to healthy plants already growing in your yard, he suggests. Understanding the natural environment of your site will go a long way in making your yard look higher end. Here we compile front yard designs to gather ideas and inspiration.
Landscaping ideas with floral features
Embrace your wild side
For fans of a more natural look, consider growing a micro prairie or a tapestry lawn in your front yard. This type of garden makes use of native plants, flowers, and grasses to help attract birds, insects, and other wildlife and help restore natural ecosystems. Native plants are most simply defined as plants that have developed a symbiotic relationship with a specific region or environment and grow naturally without human intervention.
Micro prairies are particularly great additions for small front yards (since the smaller the space, the easier they are to manage), and when done correctly, you’ll get to see birds, butterflies, and other critters enjoying the green space you helped foster. Better yet, they’re supposed to look wild, so it takes some of the pressure off to design a specific aesthetic. To grow one, you’ll need to plant flowers and grasses that are native to your area. If you don’t know which plants those are, you can likely find out through a quick Google search or by talking with employees at your local gardening store.
Choose an accent color
Keep things simple by anchoring your landscape with an accent color. Choosing one color for elements like the door, trim, outdoor furniture, and flowers can add continuity and cohesion to a yard while uniting the façade with the landscape. Blues, in particular, contrast beautifully with pink, yellow, and orange blooms.
Or choose an accent flower
Let your favorite flower pop by keeping everything around it neutral. Consider flowering shrubs like lilacs, camellia, or rose of Sharon for a big statement.
Match your flower beds to your home’s exterior
Looking to include flower beds in your landscaping design, but don’t know how they’ll look next to your house? Try matching the beds to your home’s façade. Using the same material will ensure a unified look, but if that’s not possible, you can find a bed color similar to that of the house. Ask your contractor to save extra brick for future projects.
Cascade terraced plant beds
For homes on a hill, take advantage of the natural slope and consider terraced plant beds. Not only does the cascading effect look cool, but it’s also practical. Terraced plant beds allow for plant separation at close range, so that you’re not running all over the yard when watering and trimming them.
When it comes to the floral design in your garden beds, it can be hard to know what plants will look good together. Consider picking flowers that are one color, but vary in hue to add visual interest and depth. If you want to get really creative, create an ombre floral design that starts dark at the edges and gradually comes to a center of white blooms. Alternatively, a pain-free way to solve a messy front yard conundrum is to focus on one monochromatic design.
Mobilize potted plants
Consider using pots as part of your landscaping, particularly if you’re the type of person who’s always rearranging and re-decorating. Invest in ceramic pots that reflect the home’s exterior or add a burst of color that says, Hello! Matching the pots to window trim and door color, emphasizes the design narrative. Should you change your mind, or want to swap for a festive holiday pot, you’ll have a flexible setup.
Plant in patches
Plant your stock of seeds and bulbs in patches, creating variety. As they bloom, you’ll get a tapestry of colors and textures that’s controlled, but still wild-looking.
Embrace rows of flowers
It’s hard to go wrong with classic flower rows. Try picking two to three varieties and plant them in rows in flower beds, along your sidewalk or adjacent to your home’s façade. When choosing your colors, think about colors that will complement each other once everything has bloomed.
Grow a flower gradient
For a deceptively simple design idea, consider planting flowers in a color gradient. It’ll look impressive, but it’s actually pretty formulaic if you reference a color wheel. Select flowers that match the hues of the wheel, and you’re good to go.
Take advantage of the vertical space
Draw the eye up by adding a trellis to your front yard for climbing plants to reach their full potential. Flowering plants and vines—like morning glory, black-eyed Susan, and climbing hydrangea—make great trellis choices.
Single out flowers
If the idea of matching flowers feels intimidating, commit to a single variety. A house surrounded by hydrangea shrubs looks as if it’s nestled in a cloud. You only have to make one decision, and you’ll know for sure everything will match.
Give your porch some action
It’s up to you to decide whether your porch is part of your yard or your house, but either way, don’t neglect it when planning your landscape design. Consider hanging baskets as a way to match the flowers in your yard to those on the porch. As an added benefit, they’ll add vertical space to your design.
Plant perennial flowers
Unlike annual flowers, which only last one year, perennial flowers last at least two, sometimes more. Flowers like these are cold-resistant and usually bloom once per year (in the spring, summer, or fall). They may be a good choice for people that don’t want to plant new flowers often. Some popular perennials include azaleas, hollyhock, and garden phlox.
Refresh with annual flowers
On the other hand, especially if you’re commitment-adverse, annual flowers give your front yard a refresh every year because they only last a season. Take advantage of the versatility to dream up new landscaping design. Popular annuals include petunias, zinnias, and dahlias.
Frame with a flower arch
Plant flowering vines and climbers to create a flower arch above your front door. Think of vining plants, like jasmine and bougainvillea, as a fancy collar framing your entrance. You can buy arches or make your own with wood posts and wires.
Park a wheelbarrow planter
If the idea of a traditional flower bed is too proper for your liking, consider planting blooms in a wheelbarrow. Not only will it add charm and a focal point to your yard, but you’ll also be able to give an old tool new life.
Greenery ideas for your front yard
Plants and shrubs grown directly in front of your house act as a transition space between the yard and the residence. Layered shrubs and greenery simulate movement and carry the eye from one place to the next. If you want to create something similar, choose plants that are of different heights, textures, and shades of green.
Ornamental grasses—carax and pampas, for instance—make great front yard landscaping choices because they don’t require a lot of maintenance. Many tolerate heat well, don’t need a lot of water, and they don’t have recurring pests problems.
Why not evoke the essence of Versailles? Geometric hedges and topiary differentiate your house from all the others on the block. They give off an ornamental and classy feel reminiscent of palace gardens.
Add a colorful border
Give your hedges an extra boost by pairing them with a colorful border like those shown in landscaping by Hollander Design. The trees and flowers create structure and contribute to an evolving experience as you get closer to the door.
Although cascading plants look great in indoor settings, where they can be planted in hanging baskets or drooping off of shelves, they can also add plenty of curb appeal when used on the outside of the home. Cascading plants look romantic falling from retaining walls, window boxes, or porches.
Add garden steps
Garden steps are a fun way to add greenery to an otherwise uninspired area. Stick to low-lying plants, like succulents, when planning your design. You wouldn’t want to accidentally flatten your plants on the way to the door.
Look to art for hedge inspiration. Think about the shapes found in the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, for instance. Whether you’re privy to a graphic layout or something more curvaceous, your front yard will look like a living modern sculpture. The effect is as striking when viewed from above as it is while walking its paths, especially when lined with Del Rio gravel.
Front yard ideas for tree lovers
Employ privacy and shade
If shade and privacy sound good to you, consider planting a row or a collection of trees in your front yard. To keep trees from obstructing the view of your house, include small evergreens into your design plans—think dwarf Scotch pine or the blues (Colorado spruce). You’ll get year-round coverage without the fear of branches falling on your roof. Play with dimension and shape by adding in a few evergreen shrubs too.
Sit around trees
With a wraparound tree bench, you can hang out beneath the leaves and bask in the shade without having to sit on dirt or the hard ground. You can purchase tree benches where outdoor furniture is sold, or if you’re feeling up to the task, DIY the thing.
Dress up your trees
Dress up your trees by adding a small flower bed around the base. Start by researching plants that won’t accidentally suffocate the tree—you don’t want a competition for water, sunlight, and nutrients. Try layering flowers and ornamental grass for a lush look.
Source native plants beneath trees
“Planting grasses and native plants directly beneath trees in a front yard reduces lawn and creates better habitat for pollinators,” Valentino says. Think of it like this: You’re helping the environment and minimizing the need to mow, basically a win-win.
Plant a citrus tree
If you plant a citrus tree in your front yard, you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor. Imagine how much easier your commute would be if fruits for breakfast or snacks grew outside your front door. Generally, citrus trees flourish in hot, humid environments, so keep the weather in mind before planting.
Add an allée of trees
If your home’s main door isn’t facing the street, consider creating an allée like this one designed by Hollander Design. “Allées of trees or interesting paving can create more of an entry experience that doesn’t rely on lawn,” Valentino says.
Ideas for a novice front yard landscaper
Give gravel a go
If you’re a fan of low-maintenance landscapes, consider using gravel in place of grass. Include a few bays with greenery, so the yard still has a fresh and living look. Matching the gravel’s color to your local terrain creates authenticity. For example, if you live in the southwest, red rock might be a great choice.
Mulch is another low-maintenance way to revamp your front yard, and it’s generally pretty cost-effective. This might be especially helpful if you’ve got a weed-prone yard as it’s usually harder (although not impossible) for weeds to grow in mulch since it prevents them from getting the light they need to survive.
Succeed with a succulent garden
Just because you don’t have a green thumb doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a front yard garden full of living plants. Even if your plant care skills are up to par, a succulent garden will add greenery with potentially less headache. Just like flowers, succulents come in all shapes and colors, so you’ll still be able to get creative with the garden design and layout.
Keep it symmetrical
Food for thought: Opting for a symmetrical design is really tackling half of your yard. This balancing act comes with less work and plant maintenance. Add a pathway right down the middle of your lawn, then put the exact same elements on both sides.
On the other hand, some houses lend themselves to an asymmetrical design, where each side differs from the other. When done incorrectly, asymmetric landscaping could feel sloppy or disorganized, and just putting everything on one side of your yard and leaving the other barren isn’t going to cut it. However, with a little planning, it becomes much easier. The key to a good asymmetrical design is balance. You want equal weight on both sides, even if the elements are different. For example, if you have a big tree like an oak on one side of your yard, think about what might balance out the heft on the other side. Maybe it’s a flower bed or a family of bushes.
Keep it simple
Don’t confuse simple with boring. When done correctly, simple front yards can add just as much visual interest as busy ones. For an effortless design, try a straight walkway lined with shrubs and well-manicured low-cut grass.
Move toward minimalism
Less really is more, so don’t be afraid to scale back. Think about selecting a few statement plants and style them in an otherwise minimal setting to let them stand out. Sculptural plants, like a banana tree, against a simple house façade look more like art than landscaping.
Front yard ideas that channel a mood
Tap into desert mode
Warm climate abodes can transform a basic home into an oasis by channeling the southwest in your landscape design. Xeriscaping, a landscaping practice that reduces or eliminate the need for irrigation, relies on grasses, sandstone pebbles, and cacti to trumpet a distinctly desert look.
Play up the architecture
What works for a neighbor’s home might not look right at your house. That’s because every house will have its own unique design elements. When planning, think about the era when your home was built as well as the design ethos of that style. For example, a Victorian-style home might benefit from gravel pathways, pastel florals like hydrangeas, and manicured hedges.
Charm with cottagcore
Unleash your inner cottagecore with a fairytale-worthy garden. You can’t go wrong with a white picket fence, an arch or trellis covered in florals and greenery, and pastel accents.
Chill with Mediterranean style
Gravel, stone, tile, and soft-textured plants are all key elements of a Mediterranean landscape. Play around with a combination of any of these to plan a daily escape into mythical Greek gardens. Employ large pottery as a rustic vessel for your plants.
Ideas for creative walkways and driveway ideas
Grass pavers for an eco-friendly design
You can use grass pavers, also known as grow-through pavers, as an alternative to concrete or asphalt pavers in your front walkway or driveway. Usually made from concrete or recycled plastic, they have holes to allow grass to grow through and around them. Once complete, you’ve got a unique design, and since they can absorb water, they reduce stormwater runoff, which is one of the most common sources of water pollution.
Cobbles and grass joints
Grass block pavers marry a driveway with a lawn. Hollander Design uses cobbles with grass joints to allow a solid space for parking while creating the illusion of a lawn and reducing stormwater runoff. Note that you’ll need to maintain the driveway by taking care of weeds and mowing.
Space out your path
Your walkway doesn’t necessarily have to be prim and proper to be functional. Consider spacing out the paving stones to create a more organic look, as if the path just happened to be there.
Define borders with lined pathways
A glass-fronted home calls for an outdoor space that makes an impact indoors too. Shrader achieves this by edging a cobblestone path with structural plantings, including agave and boxwood globes. Olive trees provide a bit of romance and welcome shade.
Expand your driveway
If you’re parking a lot of cars or just want to simplify the front yard design, consider expanding your driveway to cover the majority of your yard space. Gravel adds contrast next to grass and shrubs, and also adds texture and intrigue.
“This garden is meant to stop you,” Shrader says. He uses reclaimed brick to create a herringbone-patterned walkway with a soothing water feature to contrast textures.
Pattern your driveway
Your driveway doesn’t just have to be a slab of concrete. You can stencil out a design—say, in a Greek meander pattern—before pouring concrete. Then seed the opening, much like grass block pavers, to liven up an otherwise predictable part of your front yard and entryway.
Outline with lines
In landscape design, lines can serve a variety of purposes: They control movement, create patterns, and draw attention to certain objects. When planning your next walkway project, play around with lines to see how subtle differences change the entire front yard look.
Ideas for creative seating
Aim for Adirondacks
After you put all the effort into perfecting your front yard’s look, it only makes sense to incorporate a seating area so you can take it all in. Source classic Adirondack chairs—or any outdoor furniture of your choosing—to relax in style as you watch what’s happening in the neighborhood.
Bring the indoors out
Midcentury architects were all about bringing the outside world in, but who says the opposite can’t be true too? With a little planning, your front yard can act as an outdoor living room and serve as a central gathering spot for your friends and family. Think about elements like a fire pit, outdoor couches, and an eating area.
Ideas for unique lawn alternatives
Use grass pavers across your entire yard
Even though grass pavers make great choices for walkways or driveways, think about putting them across your entire yard too. Leave more space for the grass to grow through to create a carpet-like lawn.
Minimize lawn and create a sanctuary
“This front yard alternative is designed to minimize lawn and create a habitat for nesting birds and pollinators,” Valentino says. Crape myrtle trees provide food for birds, and grasses make a perfect habitat for butterflies.
Incorporate a clover blend
If you get a good amount of sun on your front yard, forgo the lawn and opt for a fescue and clover blend—it creates a plush texture, softening the front yard aesthetic. Bonus: the soft grass is bliss for barefoot escapades.
Ideas for the water-obsessed
Ponder a pond
Give your front yard a splashing first impression with a pond. Not only will it look unique—since many ponds tend to be in backyards—but it can also add a focal point to center the rest of your garden design around. Refer to botanic gardens when planning your front yard landscaping.
Add a reflecting pool
A reflecting pool creates a tranquil entry experience every time you walk into your home. This one designed by Hollander design features perennials and grasses bordering a simple reflecting pool and geometric walkway.
Focus on a fountain
A water fountain or similar sculpture creates a focal point. Tiered fountains elevate the front yard by giving it a grand entrance, much like the palacial residences of Europe.
Consider “Falling Water”
Take note of Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius. Imagine coming home to the subtle sound of moving water every day—a peaceful welcome. Decorating the pond with plants like water lilies further extends the extra touch. For a regal touch, look into colorful koi that are sure to shimmer in the sunlight.
Ideas to add mood lighting
Updating your front yard’s landscape lighting can be one of the simplest DIYs with one of the biggest impacts. Added bonus: Unlike plants that need to grow before they fully flourish, lights are ready to use as soon as they are installed. Though rope lighting is common in under kitchen cabinets, put it in your yard along rock beds, a front porch, or retaining walls as an alternative to stakes or other common outdoor lighting. It’ll add a subtle glow across the whole area instead of drawing focus to one part of your yard.
Front yard lighting doesn’t have to be a traditional lantern. Sculptural lights, like a glass orb, work especially well for a contemporary setting. A cracked glass solar light has a bit of a bohemian spin to it. You can even great spherical lights by DIYing: take a basic globe light and add an battery-operated bulb. Alternatively, wrap string lights around objects, or have them “pour out” from a watering can to enchant your flower beds. Half art installation, half utility, this is a creative way to incorporate necessary light into your yard at nighttime.
Ideas for life on the rocks
Rain-scape to manage water
Consider rain-scaping your front yard, which means landscape design that considers stormwater runoff and helps manage any excess water, as a solution for an area that experiences heavy rainfall. Generally, you’ll want to build rock-lined swales from your gutters that lead to a basin filled with plants. The best plants for your rain garden may vary depending on your soil and local climate, but common picks include perennial grasses, Hibiscus, and Baptisia.
Rock flower beds
Rock flower beds give you all the benefits of pots—like mobility and ease—while also maintaining a natural aesthetic. Usually planters like these have openings to hide pots, making it easy to revamp any potted plant you may already have growing.
Think about stone landscaping
Rock gardens are similar to other gardens, only everything is planned around rocks, natural stone, and gravel. These stone landscapes feature alpine plants that don’t require too much soil. Though it will depend on your location, consider perennial flowers like columbine and coneflowers, mosses, or succulents.
Ideas for rethinking landscaping materials
Accent the grass
“Rather than just laying down sod, pick the right spot to use grass,” Shrader says. “It looks impactful and considered—not like you had no other idea what to do.” Intersperse concrete squares with grass for a grid pattern.
Like grass, concrete is often a default in a front yard. It’s likely part of your driveway, sidewalk, steps, or a walkway leading to your front yard. It makes sense that the bland and flat surface seems boring or basic. Not so. Smooth concrete can rise to the occasion, when used as an architectural element in the front yard, particularly in front of a modern home. It’s pristine surface and angles give your front yard an orderly look that’s just so.
When thinking about hardscaping (that is, anything human made), consider the ways you can mix textures to add visual interest to your front yard. You can accent a midcentury home with generous concrete pavers enclosed within a stone walkway directly next to a lighter gray rock bed. The distinction helps mentally separate your yard into different sections. The color and texture contrast creates a multidimensional story that lends different sections to play off of each other.
Layer steel walls
Incorporating steel retaining walls into a slight hill to create layered and cascading imagery. Hollander Design adds a polished structure that is equally serene with Corten steel, fescue, and river birch. The effect is almost that of nature’s tiered cake. The industrial look suits a contemporary house that lacks fussiness.
Nurture natural stone
Unlike sleek concrete pavers, natural stone creates an earthy and lived-in setting found in charming cottages. It’s a durable and environmentally-friendly option with undeniable magnetism. Line the walkways with purple sage, or tulips and daffodils to create a natural border. Ornamental grass adds a cushy padding. Don’t forget to add equally spaced path lighting along the way.