Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Gather ideas for making your yard a brilliant display of color and texture using low-maintenance plants and design ideas.

By Kelly Roberson

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Low-Maintenance Landscape
Pebbles and Plantings

    A landscape relies on no-fuss design and pretty plant accents.

    -- Dark gray pebbles surround paving stones for a no-mow, easy-care landscape accent.

    -- A series of irregularly placed, large-scale pavers offers a minimalist path.

    -- Instead of relying on edging such as mulch that needs to be replaced every season, slim stones provide a solid boundary.

    -- Large swaths of a few carefully selected native plants such as coneflower, liatris, and black-eyed Susan, as well as ornamental grass keep the planting uncomplicated.

    -- Conifers at the back edge of the yard offer year-round color and visual interest.

Bountiful Bed

    A congenial grouping of perennials and annuals dresses up a narrow flowerbed.

    -- Easy-care doesn't mean boring. In fact, if you reserve your garden efforts for a few extra touches, you can make a distinct impact, such as adding canna or other heat-resistant, summer-flowering bulbs.

    -- Annuals are a great way to provide pops of color during the summer without having to worry about prepping the plants for winter. Begonia and lantana both fit the bill in this narrower bed.

    -- Structural plants such as ornamental grasses provide a play of color and maintain visual interest during autumn and fall.

    -- Maintenance is easier with garden beds that are accessible from both sides. Otherwise, add pavers through the bed at regular intervals to make weeding and deadheading easier.

    -- A defined edge that uses materials (even simple rubber tubing) to prevent grass and weeds from entering the garden bed can save hours of tending.

Zen Oasis

    Take a chill in this peaceful, Asian-inspired garden.

    -- Hardscape elements reinforce the style -- and keep down the maintenance -- of a garden. A restrained wooden fence with a minimalist detail at the top emphasizes the Asian influences in this garden.

    -- In place of hard-to-please plants, garden ornaments fill in gaps in a landscape, as this graceful statue does.

    -- Carefully selected varieties reinforce the clean lines of this garden. Bonus? Fewer plants also equal less daily tending of the garden.

    -- Mulch isn't finicky, retains water, and keeps down weeds, which reduces the need for upkeep.

    -- Once established, evergreens, including the mid-height versions at the back of the fence and the dwarf varieties closer to the pathway, tend to need very little regular care.

Brilliant Canvas

    Vibrant colors belie the ease of care behind the plants in this garden.

    -- Ornamental grasses such as Japanese forest grass are steadfast when it comes to low-care gardens. They offer amazing foliage, need little handholding, and withstand harsh weather.

    -- A flagstone path -- which requires no care except a good sweep -- flows from one end to the other of the narrow side yard.

    -- To create a truly low-maintenance garden, limit plants to those that need little TLC and can take the conditions of the space's microclimate, such as these coral bells.

    -- After the first year or two, large deciduous trees, such as this maple, offer structure without demanding garden addition.

Beyond the Garden Gate

    A front yard full of grass may seem like less effort than adding ornamental plantings, but this pretty yard proves otherwise.

    -- Research is important when it comes to plant selection; choose hardy varieties that won't mind being close to heavily-trafficked areas, such as these daylilies lining the sidewalk.

    -- Containers add bright pops of color, and, if the blooms fade, plants can easily be replaced with another round of annuals.

    -- A fence provides a tidy border between the single row of daylilies and more diverse plantings closer to the house.

    -- A lush, planted front yard requires less care over the long term than lawn. No weekly mowing!

The Grass Is Greener

    A nook relies on a soothing and low-key setup.

    -- While the lines and shapes of plants offer visual interest, hardscape materials provide a decorative element, as evidenced in the curving edge of this gravel walk.

    -- Multiple materials supply varied layers in a landscape; try mixing a solid-surface with loose gravel.

    -- In place of plants that overwhelm with color, two sleekly-styled chairs and accent pillows offer a focal point.

    -- Striking leaves from canna and New Zealand flax pop against the otherwise green plants.

    -- Plant and go: That's one of the primary reasons to love ornamental grasses and sedges, including sedge; they grow vigorously in summer and maintain their shape during winter.

Grand and Graceful

    Shrubs and trees combine for a striking, expansive bed.

    -- A smattering of river rock provides an informal but distinct edging between garden bed and lawn.

    -- Gracefully arching shrubs such as willow and cryptomeria keep the garden's vibe distinctly low-key.

    -- Reliable shrubs and trees can provide more than just a basic green color palette; here, vibrant autumnal tones liven up the landscape.

    -- An investment in trees and shrubs pays off in more ways than just landscape interest:

    The two also offer visual interest during wintertime when perennials have died back.

    -- Shrubs such as willow can be formally shaped, or left to grow at will, eliminating the need for constant trimming.

A Little Nook in the Woods

    Carved out in a corner, a garden showcases fuss-free plants and trees.

    -- Larger plants and trees occupy more space in a garden, effectively decreasing the number of plants needed to fill a space. Here, a white pine dominates against a wooden fence.

    -- Transitioning between tall plants and groundcovers is essential for any landscape, and low-maintenance gardens are no different. A globe blue spruce bridges the divide between path and trees behind it.

    -- Choose accents that involve little effort, too, such as solar-powered landscape lighting.

    -- A mostly monochromatic color palette is soothing to the eye and easy to create for nearly any gardener.

    -- Pulmonaria and ferns offer hardy growth patterns with little TLC.

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