Roll out a blooming front yard welcome mat with the help of easy-care landscaping. Annuals, perennials, flowering shrubs, and color-rich trees create a lush landscape that sets the scene for a warm, inviting home year-round.
Get started transforming your front yard with these simple tips and techniques. Whether you choose to overhaul your entire front yard in one season or spread the work and investment over several seasons, thoughtful planning before you begin will yield results that last for decades.
1. Establish Order
Foster order by limiting the number of species of flowering plants, shrubs, and trees. Aim for no more than five to 10 species of perennials, three to five different shrubs, and one or two types of trees.
Although it is tempting to buy new plants when they catch your eye, resist the temptation when it comes to purchases for the front yard landscape. Fewer species will result in a landscape that holds together well instead of appearing to be several different small gardens dotting the yard. Plant like species in groups and repeat them throughout the garden.
2. Think Big
Plan for planting beds that are large enough to accommodate your desired mix of plants. Planting beds that span at least half of the width of the house is often a good bet. Also, sweeping beds that extend from the home to the sidewalk or roadway are a sure way to keep the planting bed in pleasing scale with the house. Anchored by a tree and filled with shrubs, these large beds need not be labor-intensive. In fact, you'll likely find that they require less maintenance than the lawn.
3. Make It Flow
Repeat plant forms and textures to unify plantings. Lead visitors to the front door by planting bold blooming perennials near the sidewalk or roadway. Repeat that planting along the entry walkway, about halfway between the roadway and the house, and then again near the house.
4. Frame the Door
Make the front door a focal point and steer design lines in that direction. A walkway is a great way to lead the eye to the front door. Create a wide (4 feet or larger is best) and easy-to-identify walkway that frames the front door. Curving walkways are pleasing and a joy to traverse, but be sure to keep the doorway in view as the path meanders.
5. Plan for Year-Round Interest
Remember the quiet garden months of November, December, January, and February when designing your front yard landscape. Visitors are just as likely to knock on your door in these holiday-filled months as they are in the riotous bloom shows during the summer.
Call on evergreen trees and shrubs to add form and texture year-round. Plant breeders are continuously developing small and dwarf trees and shrubs that maintain their compact habit for years with minimal annual pruning. Another source of winter interest is trees and shrubs that produce food for wildlife. Enjoy a vibrant show as birds flock to crabapple trees and viburnums to dine on the colorful fruit.