Front Garden Ideas for the Beginner Gardener

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Adding attractive landscaping to the front of your home increases its value and brings beauty to the neighborhood. Depending on the size of your front yard, and the amount of sun it receives, you may have a huge selection of plants from which to choose.

picture about front garden design ideas

                                                                   Source: Newgardenpictures

Flowering trees, bushes, shrubs, hedges, bulbs, tubers, vines, perennials, and annuals can all play a part in making your front yard welcoming. Browsing through catalogs and the plant section of home improvement stores can give you lots of front garden ideas.

Curb Appeal Landscaping

Of course, you want your front yard to have curb appeal. Likely, so do your neighbors. Landscaping for curb appeal can include not only flowering plants, but hardscaping, such as paths, driveways, walkways, walls, fences, gates, benches, arbors, etc.

For instance, if your walkway is cracked concrete, you can replace it with decorative patio bricks. Another way to deal with an unsightly walkway is to place landscaping ties on either side, put stepping stones in place, and fill in around the stepping stones with pebbles or gravel.

If you have an ugly shed or garage wall that you simply cannot change, a tall hedge or climbing vines such as honeysuckle, wisteria, or clematis can camouflage the unsightly spot.

Low Maintenance Front Yards

The best answer to a low maintenance front yard is to plan ahead, use perennials, weed barriers, and lots of mulch. If you’re going to purchase weed barrier fabric, don’t choose based on price only.

You’ll wind up needing to remove and replace the less durable fabric every couple of years, which is more work – and more money than you would spend if you purchased thicker, higher quality fabric the first time.

Install weed barriers under gravel or pebble walkways, brick or stone patios, and around your plants. For smaller flowers such as petunias, it’s usually easier to plant the flowers first, and then roll out the fabric, draping it over the plants.

With a pair of sharp scissors, cut an “X” above each plant and gently pull the plant through the fabric. Cover the weed barrier with lots of mulch.

It should be noted, however, that weed barrier fabric is not a long term solution to keeping weeds down. After a few years the mulch or wood chips on top will start decomposing and create an inviting place for weed seeds to sprout.

In our experience it’s been more difficult dealing with weed barrier fabric and maintaining a bed of perennials than the prettiness it brings to the house in the first couple years. We have also found that planting perennials fairly closely in the first year is the best defense against weeds once the perennials are established.

Each year, take care of whatever maintenance is required on garden beds you already have in place, then go on to create a new garden or two. The goal is to add at a slow and steady pace as you learn what plants do well in your yard, and which plants require too much work.

For example, certain plants need special care, such as deadheading, trimming, or pruning. If you don’t want to spend the time doing extra work, plant something else.

One mistake gardeners make all the time is trying to grow plants in their yard that are just not suitable to the micro-climate. If your yard is a shady grove of oak trees, then coneflowers, sunflowers, and other sun-loving plants are not likely to do well.

Therefore, you might want to plant hostas, astilbe, and coral bells instead. On the other hand, if you just love hostas but have a sunny yard, don’t expect them to thrive unless you provide at least partial shade.

Cheap Ideas to Increase Curb Appeal

bathtub planter with petunias

An old cast iron bathtub can make a beautiful planter. Photo: FolkWaysNotebook

The best thing you can do to increase curb appeal is to keep everything neat and clean. Deadhead flowers once they’ve stopped blooming. Pull weeds immediately. Trim grass around hardscaping and borders.

Perennials can be purchased at a discount through catalogs or at the end of the growing season. Annuals tucked into a hanging basket and hung from a front porch add instant color without a lot of money.

Since annuals are usually less expensive than perennials, use them to brighten spots in your yard until you have the money to add perennials. Another idea is to add a small fountain or a set of wind chimes. These will provide soothing sounds to your yard at a minimal cost.

Another way to add interest to your front garden area is with garden art made from salvaged materials and fixtures. A great website on using flea market finds for the garden is Flea Market Gardening. Putting an old chair, bicycle, or wheel barrow in the front flower bed can add a lot of character, if done in the right way.

I’ve also see such things as old bathtubs, toilets, cowboy boots, rocking chairs, and old window frames used very well as garden art. Maintaining the plantings around such pieces to make it seem like they’ve always been there and fit right into the scene can make that seemingly odd piece really work for you.

Landscaping your yard is usually the least expensive way to increase curb appeal. In addition, front garden ideas can be found by simply strolling down the street. Since that’s the case, why not start planning a project today?