Reintroduce your home to the neighborhood and elevate its curb appeal with these landscaping ideas for a small front yard. 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 Landscaping Ideas for a Small Front Yard
1. Update Your Entryway
Most small front yard landscaping ideas start with the entryway and front door. Put in a brick walkway, a decorative gate, window boxes, and small trees to frame your house. Design elements, such as water features and fire, are also dynamic features.
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.”
Bonus: Fire pits are one of the most affordable hardscaping options to add to a small front yard. And many types are easy to DIY, too.
2. Select the Right Trees
Choose a showpiece tree that isn’t too large for your small front yard. The University of New Hampshire Extension recommends trees that mature at a height of 15 to 20 feet. Great options include:
- Eastern redbuds
- Star magnolias
3. Make it No-Mow
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 using ground covers, stepping stone paths, mulched areas, and easy-care ornamental grasses.
Add curb appeal with:
- Creeping phlox
Mulching this cover with organic materials, such as colored wood and pine bark mulch, will enrich the soil as well.
Want more options for a mow-free lawn?
4. Play Up the Perimeter
A quick way to punch up the look of your small front yard is to cultivate a border of colorful flowers along the base of your foundation. Plant annuals directly into the soil, or use individual potted plants to create a different effect. Mix large and small rocks into this garden design idea for added texture.
5. Create a Border
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 to make your entryway pop, consider a perennial border with flowering shrubs:
- Oakleaf hydrangea: Best for statement displays
- Red-barked dogwood: Best for winter interest
- Weigela: Best for hummingbird gardens
6. Promote Individuality
While your overall landscape design should fit in with your community, there should also be an expression of personal style. Your outdoor space 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 in your front lawn.
- Adorn your front porch with a one-of-a-kind metal sculpture to greet visitors.
- Install a gazebo for a covered space to read a book in fair weather.
7. Bring on the Seating
Whether it’s off to the side of your yard or part of an extended front walk, a small seating area can add a welcoming vibe and level up your lawn’s charm. Choose furniture that doesn’t overwhelm the space, and add in a fire pit for enjoyment year-round.
8. Embrace Privacy
“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. Go with a traditional white picket fence, or warm things up with the sleekness of a modern-styled, wood-colored option. Metal partitions can also step up a yard’s presentation.
9. Make it Modern
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.
- Add succulents for texture and interest: 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?
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 summer annuals when you add your annual flowers. Basil, parsley, and cilantro go great with summer fare.
● 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.
● 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.
Fencing is a must in many small front yards. You’ve got several options that work well:
● Picket fence to keep unwanted visitors off the lawn (and how much it costs)
● Small patio for friends to gather ‘round (and how much it costs)
● Landscape lighting to make the lawn look larger at night (and how much it costs)
No Small Feat
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.
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