18 Sidewalk Landscaping Ideas for Your Front Yard

White house with brown trim surrounded by plants
Photo: Janet Mesic Mackie

Add beauty and curb appeal to your front yard with a sidewalk garden. Check out these front garden ideas that'll work even in the smallest of spaces.

01 of 18

Use Layers in the Garden

Person sweeping in front of white house
Edward Gohlich

Some of the best garden ideas use layering. For this, you combine layers of plants that grow at different heights. This front garden idea is a great example. The white alyssum and purple-leafed lobelia in the front set the stage for taller tulips and butterfly flower,s which are in turn backed by society garlic and a wall topped in glowing pink bougainvillea.

Here's a tip: Even if you don't live in a warm-climate area, you can still take advantage of tropicals such as bougainvillea. Just treat them as annuals (or grow them in containers and bring them indoors for the winter).

02 of 18

Create Interest with Curves

Flowers near sidewalk
Degennaro Associates

Curves are much more appealing to the eye than straight lines. So give your sidewalk garden an extra bit of pizzazz with flowing curves. Here, the strip of turf between the street and the garden sets off the planting wonderfully. And it gives folks a place to step when they get out of their cars. If your area is big enough, you could do the same thing between the planting and the sidewalk.

Here's a tip: Install landscape edging between your border and the turf to keep the grass from creeping into your beds.

03 of 18

Make the Most of Your Space

Delphinium in front of white picket fence
Joan Hix Vanderschuit

A sidewalk garden doesn't have to take up a lot of room. This is a great front garden idea showing how you can pack in color and texture in just a little space; with only about a foot between the fence and the sidewalk, this garden is filled with tall, narrow plants, such as these pink and white foxgloves, purple delphiniums, and a climbing rose to attach to the fence. Tall, narrow plants are a great way to maximize narrow spots.

Here's a tip: If you use tall plants like these, be sure to add smaller plants around the bases, so there are blooms from the top all the way to the ground.

04 of 18

Grow a Cutting Garden

Flowers near white fence along sidewalk
Edward Gohlich

Even though they take up little real estate, small sidewalk gardens can be great for growing your own cut flowers. In this garden, foxgloves, roses, and a host of other flowers are perfect for dressing up the front of the house, for table decoration, or for dropping in a vase as a great hostess gift.

Here's a tip: Look at landscape accents to give your sidewalk garden more appeal. Here, for example, a white picket fence and arbor create even more charm.

05 of 18

Decrease Your Yard Maintenance

Person gardening with dog in front of house
Erica George Dines

A fun idea: Instead of having to mow your front lawn once a week (or more), indulge in rich plantings. This crafty gardener mixed ornamentals, herbs, and vegetables to create a beautiful front yard that takes a lot less time to maintain than a lawn. Her front yard is the perfect place to grab some fresh herbs for dinner.

Here's a tip: Check your local rules concerning t front yard plantings. Some areas require a certain amount of lawn.

06 of 18

Our Best Curb Appeal Tips

Watch and follow these simple tips for stunning curb appeal.

07 of 18

Make Your Yard Feel Bigger

Flowers and plants near road
Stephen Cridland

If your yard is small, create an illusion of space with street-side planting. This garden adds a layer of dimension to an otherwise shallow front space, and the mix of textures adds to the effect—the variety of shapes keeps your attention on the border.

Here's a tip: The border's simple color theme helps it feel larger, too. Cool colors, such as lavender, light pink, and blue, often feel farther away than they really are.

08 of 18

Delight Passersby with Fragrance

Trees and plants in front of house
Mike Jensen

A sidewalk garden doesn't just have to look good—it can smell great, too. This front garden combines a lovely, majestic Southern magnolia and shrub roses for low-care color and delightful fragrance spring to fall. The planting between the sidewalk and street helps soften the front yard plantings, and the result is privacy that's not unwelcoming.

Here's a tip: Use a 2- to 3-inch-deep layer of mulch to keep weeds down and help the soil stay moist longer. That way you'll have even more time to enjoy your lovely garden.

09 of 18

Add Easy Elegance

Plants and trees in planted area near road
Jon Jensen

Get inspired with this garden idea: Give your front yard a transformation by clearing out the turf between your sidewalk and the street and filling it with low-maintenance plants, such as these ornamental grasses, which include fountain grass (Pennisetum) and blue oat grass (Helictotrichon).

Here's a tip: Check your city's rules about planting in this space; some places have restrictions on how tall plants can be.

10 of 18

Make a Statement

Outdoor stone planter area
Mike Jensen

This relatively simple sidewalk front garden makes a big statement in a small space. A simple boxwood border and snaking line create pockets for the fireworks-like texture of ornamental grasses. We love the plant choice—the evergreen boxwood looks great all year and the grasses shine from summer through early spring.

Here's a tip: If you plant between the street and sidewalk and your street allows for parking, leave a space so people can get out of their cars. Here, a flagstone border does the trick perfectly.

11 of 18

Garden No Matter Where You Live

Cacti and flowers near white wall
Edward Gohlich

Use this idea, and you can have a stunning sidewalk, even if you live in an arid area. Here, yellow and orange ice plants make a stunning statement backed by yucca, agave, and cactus. Other attractive plants for hot, dry places include aloes and many salvias, penstemons, and flowering cacti.

Here's a tip: If you plant against a south- or west-facing wall, you'll want to select plants that can stand up to the extra heat the wall reflects.

12 of 18

Plan for All Seasons

Flowers near black fence
Stephen Cridland

This street-side garden keeps going all season. In spring, it benefits from a burst of color from bulbs and crabapples. Then perennials, such as Oriental poppy, come into play. Prolong the season with other easy favorites, including peonies, daylilies, coreopsis, coneflowers, and black-eyed Susans. In fall and winter, grasses take center stage.

Here's a tip: Another great way to help deter weeds is to plant densely. The closer together your garden plants are, the less room there is for weeds.

13 of 18

Solve a Slope Problem

Plants and flowers next to white fence
Andrew Drake

If you're stuck with a sloping front yard, a retaining wall and sidewalk garden can be the perfect garden idea and solution for tough mowing. Here, a simple concrete retaining wall is dressed up with a variety of beautiful blooms. A charming white picket fence helps distract you from the blandness of the concrete wall, and gives the whole landscape a quaint cottage character.

Here's a tip: Vines like this ivy—or trailing plants, such as many varieties of campanula—will help cover walls as well.

14 of 18

Utilize Containers

Person walking dog in front of house
Jon Jensen

A great sidewalk garden doesn't have to be limited to planting in the ground. You can create the same effect with containers. This garden relies on a series of container gardens that line the sidewalk in front of this cute cottage. The biggest chore is watering—and that can be a breeze with a simple drip irrigation system.

Here's a tip: We love the cool, chartreuse color theme this gardener picked. Even a single-color garden can look great.

15 of 18

Add a Splash of Color

House with white picket fence and plants
Mary Carolyn Pindar

This charming home, with its shrub-filled front yard, felt a little bland, so the homeowners added curb appeal with a simple garden between their fence and sidewalk. Filled with fragrant red nicotiana, red-leafed Acalypha, and coleus, it's a treat for passersby and a practical garden idea.

Here's a tip: Don't forget about the importance of foliage color when you select plants. The red-leaf plants create just as much interest as the flowers—and look good from spring to fall, since they never go out of bloom.

16 of 18

Update Your Entrance

Brown house with plant display
Janet Mesic Mackie

We love how sidewalk gardens instantly make a home more welcoming and inviting. In this front garden, a few flowers tucked along a split-rail fence create a boundary from the street, while adding charm and character. A similar planting (filled with easy-care annuals and perennials) between the street and the sidewalk creates an extra layer of interest.

Here's a tip: The curved walkway from the sidewalk to the home adds visual interest. Think about creating eye-pleasing curves in your landscape when possible.

17 of 18

Create Cottage Charm

Blue house with white trim and flowers
Edward Gohlich

Planting along your sidewalk can help accent your home's architectural style. In this garden, a lovely Victorian home is made all the more charming by a little cottage-style garden filled with roses and other great flowers for cutting. A white picket fence completes the scene. We love how the garden makes a big impact, but takes up hardly any space.

Here's a tip: Check your city's rules about planting in this space; some areas have restrictions on how tall plants can grow.

18 of 18

Make Your Yard Feel More Intimate

White house with brown trim surrounded by plants
Janet Mesic Mackie

If your house is set back from the street and feels isolated, a pocket of colorful flowers along the sidewalk can help it feel more inviting by creating color and interest up close. In this front garden, a colorful border, planted with daylilies, perennial geraniums, sedum, and other easy-growing varieties, looks good all season long and is a great accent to the house.

Here's a tip: If you have a deep front yard, planting along the sidewalk will also give you a beautiful, colorful view from inside your home.

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