9 Small Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

photo of a landscape house

Reintroduce your home to the neighborhood and elevate its curb appeal with these small front yard landscaping ideas. From border plants to flower beds and everything in between, we’ve got the inspiration you need to bring a large helping of style and sophistication to your small streetside landscape.

9 Small Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

1. Update Your Entryway

house exterior with curb appeal
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Most small front yard ideas start with the entryway and front door as it sets the tone for your entire front yard. Create a welcoming entrance with the following:

  • Walkways or paths: Several materials are available to create a visually appealing and durable pathway, including pavers, bricks, or stones.
  • Decorative gate: A beautifully designed gate adds a touch of elegance and can make your fence look more welcoming.
  • Window boxes: Fill window boxes with colorful flowers and trailing plants to create an inviting container garden.
  • Small trees: Small trees like Eastern redbuds or ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwoods are ideal for front yards or limited spaces due to their compact size. They can be planted along walkways, in containers, or as focal points in a garden bed.

Pro tip: Avoid planting a tree too close to your house, as it could compromise its foundation and overall structure.

In a recent interview with Architectural Digest about landscaping for small spaces,  David Godshall of the Los Angeles- and San Francisco-based design firm Terremoto noted, “The sound of water can reduce the psychological proximity of urban street noise. A fire pit [can produce] warmth and visual interest and can really activate a garden at night.” 

  • Water features: Fountains, birdbaths, and other water features can add visual interest and beauty to small front yards while also creating a soothing and tranquil atmosphere.
  • Fire pits: Build a fire pit using stones or bricks to add a rustic and natural touch to your front yard. Choose a design and size that complements the overall style of your yard.

Pro tip: Fire pits are one of the most affordable hardscaping options to add to a small yard. And many types are easy to DIY, too. But before taking on the cost of installing a fire pit, check local regulations and safety guidelines.

2. Select the Right Trees

redbud tree
Photo credit: Famartin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Choose a showpiece tree that is suitable for your small front yard. Opt for small trees, such as dwarf or semi-dwarf cultivars, as they are generally more affordable and have shorter mature heights, which prevent overhanging branches from damaging your landscape.

The University of New Hampshire Extension recommends trees that mature at a height of 15 to 20 feet. Great options include: 

  • Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’): This evergreen tree has a distinctive conical shape and adds a touch of year-round greenery to any landscape. It grows quickly and can reach a height of 4 to 5 feet at maturity, making it perfect for smaller gardens or as a focal point in larger ones.
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis): Small to medium-sized deciduous trees native to eastern North America. They have pink to purple flowers, heart-shaped leaves, and can grow in different soil types. Eastern redbuds are drought-tolerant trees and an early food source for pollinators like bees.
  • ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Wolf Eyes’): These beautiful flowering trees are ideal in landscape designs for small front yards. They can grow up to 10 feet tall and produce white flowers. These small trees also offer colorful pink to brown autumn leaves. ‘Wolf Eyes’ dogwoods provide shade and are perfect for cottage gardens.

3. Make it No-Mow

apartment garden with rocks and plants
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Why worry about having to mow, trim, and edge a small section of grass when you can go “no-mow.” Transform your yard into a super low-maintenance locale. Some small front yard garden ideas include ground covers, stepping stone paths, mulched areas, and easy-care ornamental grasses

Add to your home’s curb appeal with:

  • Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) is a native North American perennial ground cover that produces vibrant flowers in various colors. It is ideal for xeriscaping, as it helps control erosion, acts as a natural weed barrier, and requires minimal care.
  • Indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans): Indiangrass is a great choice for small yards looking for fall interest. This perennial grass has tall and graceful foliage that turns golden in autumn. It is drought-tolerant and thrives in well-drained soil, making it a low-maintenance option for small yards. 

Caution: If you live in an area with a high wildfire risk, avoid Indiangrass as it’s highly flammable.

  • Lilyturf (Liriope): A flowering ground cover for small yards, it produces lavender spikes and blooms in the late summer. This plant requires minimal maintenance, provides color, prevents erosion, and acts as a weed barrier, making it perfect for edging and rock gardens.
  • Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum): A flowering ground cover for shade native to Europe, Asia, and north Africa. The pleasant scent it emits gives it its name. Sweet woodruff is an easy-to-maintain plant that withstands rabbit and deer damage.

Mulching this cover with organic materials, such as colored wood and pine bark mulch, will also enrich the soil.

4. Play Up Your Home’s Perimeter

flower bed border
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

When brainstorming landscaping ideas for the front of the house, small areas along the foundation can make a big first impression. One quick way to enhance the look of your small front yard is by creating a border of colorful flowers. 

You can plant annuals or perennials directly into the soil or use individual potted plants for a container garden. Mix large and small rocks into this garden design idea for added texture. Consider adding these blooming beauties to your landscape:

  1. Geraniums (Pelargonium): These versatile tender flowering perennials are available in various colors and varieties. They add pops of color and create vibrant borders.
  2. Hostas (Hosta): Hostas are popular garden plants appreciated for their lush foliage and attractive flowers. They are low-maintenance, perennial plants that thrive in moist soil and in shade gardens. Hostas are commonly used in garden landscapes as ground covers, borders, or accents.
  3. Petunias (Petunia): Petunias are vibrant and colorful annual flowers known for their trumpet-shaped blooms. They come in various colors, such as purple, pink, white, and red. These flowers are commonly used in gardens and landscaping with color theory.
  4. Salvia (Salvia): Salvia plants produce beautiful spikes of flowers in shades of blue, purple, pink, or red. They add height and visual interest to garden borders. They’re also a great addition to pollinator gardens.

5. Create a Border

shrubs border in front of a house
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Using a mix of deciduous, coniferous, and evergreen shrubs — think azaleas, dwarf pines, and boxwoods — line your driveway or front walk. Experts suggest grouping shrubs in odd numbers for balance and curb appeal. Bordering with pavers of different textures can also increase the element of elegance.

If you want to increase the color factor when landscaping for a small front yard, consider a perennial border with flowering shrubs:

  • Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia): Best for statement displays.  Clusters of pyramid-shaped white flowers bloom in late spring through summer on these easy-to-grow, hardy plants.
  • Red-barked dogwood (Cornus alba): Best for winter interest. A flowering shrub with year-round beauty, it has red bark in the winter and white flowers in spring. Deer and rabbit resistant.
  • Weigela (Weigela florida): Best for hummingbird gardens. In addition to creating a stunning border in your front yard landscape design, it attracts hummingbirds with its pink, crimson, or white flowers.

6. Promote Individuality

decorated bicycle in a garden
Photo Credit: Pixabay

While your overall landscape design should fit in with your community, there should also be an expression of personal style. Landscape designs for a small front yard needn’t be dull. Here are a few ideas to spice up your small front yard:

  • Repurpose an old bicycle as a lawn accent piece If you’re a bike enthusiast.
  • Add a wishing well as a focal point on your front lawn.
  • Adorn your home’s exterior or front porch with a one-of-a-kind metal sculpture or colorful decor to greet visitors.
  • Install a gazebo for a covered space to read a book in fair weather.

7. Bring on the Seating

chairs in a front yard
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Whether it’s off to the side of your yard or you’re looking for backyard patio ideas, a small seating area can add a welcoming vibe and level up your lawn’s charm. Consider adding a fire pit for enjoyment year-round.

Choose furniture that:

  • Does not overwhelm the space
  • Is designed for outside use
  • Requires minimal care
  • Matches the colors in your beautiful front yard

8. Embrace Privacy

small house exterior with white picket fence
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“On small lots, it has become increasingly popular to screen the front yard with   fencing, shrubs, or vertical plantings,” according to horticulturists at the University of Kentucky

Traditional white picket fences are some of the best fencing materials for small spaces. Or warm things up with the sleekness of a modern-styled, wood-colored option. Metal partitions can also step up a yard’s presentation.

You can also landscape for privacy. Homeowner’s can create a living fence with hedges, add a retaining wall, or install a trellis with leafy vines to block out nosy neighbors.

9. Make it Modern

Xeriscaped front yard
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Nothing says modern landscaping like a simple front yard design with minimal maintenance. How can you achieve this? Here are a few ways:

  • Install low-water plants: Drought-tolerant plants should survive on natural rainfall most of the time, saving you time and money.
  • Create a xeriscape: Xeriscaping is a water-wise landscaping strategy that reduces your water bill (and your maintenance costs).
  • Add hardscaping: Build a patio with a pergola over the top to create more outdoor space for entertaining (and have less space to mow). Trellis flowering vines along the sides and top for shade and beauty.
  • Plant succulents: Succulents are quite the gardening trend and come in every shape and size. From ground covers like sedum to majestic agave and spiny cacti, succulents offer something for any modern landscape. 

Why not consider the wide world of succulents by starting your own succulent garden in your small front yard?


What are Small Front Garden Landscaping Ideas?

Whether or not you live in one of the best cities for urban gardening, it’s possible to have your own small front yard garden:

  • Mix edibles and perennials: Got flower beds? Add in a few edible summer annuals when you add your annual flowers. Basil, parsley, and cilantro go great with summer fare. You can also grow a perfect pizza herb garden
  • Install raised garden beds: Unless you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, why not throw in a few raised beds and grow your own food? You don’t even have to kill the lawn first. Use cardboard to sheet mulch the area and lay the soil on top. Got bad soil? No sweat. Purchase bags of garden soil, and you’re ready to plant.
  • Grow edible flowers: Many geraniums, chrysanthemums, and violas are edible, so you can grow your flowers and eat them, too.

What are the Best Ground Cover Plants for a Small Front Yard?

  • Mondo grass
  • Sweet woodruff (for shady areas)
  • Creeping phlox

Pro Tip: Ground cover is an excellent option for small side yards. It works well in between stepping stones that lead to a back lawn.

What is the Best Hardscaping Option for a Small Front Yard?

Fencing is a must in many small front yards, but you’ve got several options that work well:

When to Call a Pro

Landscaping a small front yard is no small feat, but you don’t have to tackle these projects all on your own. Call in help from local landscaping pros, and they’ll survey your property to develop a custom plan that incorporates your goals. 

Not quite to the “time to re-do my front yard” stage? Have a local lawn care pro mow and edge your small front yard and keep it looking great until you decide on a more extensive plan later on.

Main Image Credit: Pexels

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler

Andréa Butler is a writer and editor who loves crafting witty turns of phrase and informative, compelling copy on various topics. She especially enjoys sharing her knowledge of landscaping and pest management to help others create the outdoor spaces of their dreams.