Simple Landscape Ideas for Front of House

A pleasant front yard greets both visitors and residents with its beauty. Yet many homeowners need help designing and caring for their front yard landscapes. Where does one begin? What plants work best? How much effort will it take?

Let this worry no more! You can also create a welcoming front yard landscape with some planning and simple design ideas. As a gardening enthusiast based in the diverse landscapes of Wisconsin, I’ve put together this handy guide to getting your front yard in tip-top shape.

Introduction

Curb appeal matters. The space beyond your front door creates those all-important first impressions. Fabulous front yard landscapes don’t have to be complicated or budget-breaking. Even on the tightest timeline or budget, you can boost your curb appeal with simple yet impactful ideas that make your house look its best.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can:

  • Understand the unique opportunities and challenges of your front yard space
  • Choose design principles that make the most visual impact
  • Select low-maintenance plants and materials
  • Add pops of color, texture, and visual interest
  • Go green with eco-friendly choices
  • Illuminate walkways and plants for nighttime drama
  • Finalize your landscape with pro touches

Follow this guide to create a landscape you can’t wait to come home to! Let’s get started.

Simple Landscape Ideas for Front of House

Planning Your Landscape

Jumping straight into planting or building may seem tempting, but stifle that urge! Proper planning prevents poor performance…of your front yard landscape. Before you get your hands dirty, it’s vital to understand your space and set realistic goals. A phased master plan will help you create a cohesive landscape over time.

Understanding Your Space

Take a fresh look at your front yard through a design lens. Note its dimensions, sunlight patterns, existing plants and structures, views inside your home, and any problem areas.

Here are some tips for analyzing your space:

  • Observe how the space is used. Is it just a view from indoors, or do you spend time in it? This will impact your design priorities.
  • Identify vistas. Are there views you want to enhance or screen? Frame desirable views with plants.
  • Note sunlight and shady spots. This will dictate appropriate plant choices.
  • Analyze the soil. Get a soil test kit or send a sample to your local extension office to understand your soil makeup. This will help with plant selection and lawn care.
  • Consider your climate and hardiness zone. Choose plants suited to your zone’s temperatures and conditions. My native Wisconsin offers growing zones from 3b to 5b.
  • Account for slopes and drainage issues. Choose native plants for erosion control and slope stability. Strategically place rain gardens to capture drainage.
  • Check for existing irrigation systems or water access points. Plan out how and where you’ll water.

With in-depth knowledge of your front yard, you can make informed design choices. Pay close attention to sunlight patterns to pick ideal plant placements.

The Importance of Landscaping: Curb Appeal and Home Value

Setting A Budget

Even the dreamiest landscape ideas must align with reality, and that reality is your budget. Don’t let initial sticker shock deter you. Focus your efforts and invest wisely in elements with the most significant visual impact. Here are budget-friendly tips:

Calculate Costs

  • Research local plant and material prices. Account for plants, soil, mulch, tools, labor, hardscapes, and systems like irrigation. Don’t forget the delivery fees.
  • Understand cost variations. Prices fluctuate depending on plant size, time of year, and demand.
  • Get professional estimates. Many pros offer free consultations and estimates. Compare bids and services provided.

Prioritize Visible Areas

Focus first on the most visible areas like walkways, entrances, and gathering areas. These high-impact zones greatly influence perceptions of your landscape.

Work in Phases

Tackle projects in phases based on priority. Simple DIY projects can make a big initial difference. Lay the groundwork with primary lawn care and mulching. Next, build walkways and plant structures. Over time, add decorative touches like water features.

Choose Cost-Effective Materials

  • Use inexpensive yet durable materials like pea gravel for paths and galvanized steel for edging.
  • Incorporate found objects like logs or boulders rather than purchased hardscapes.
  • Buy young nursery plants; they adapt better. Visit local nursery sales for deals.
  • Sow wildflower seeds for abundant color at a fraction of the cost of plants.
  • Make your compost, which enriches soil for free.
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Maintain for the Long Run

Don’t let your landscape go to waste. Proper maintenance preserves your investment for years of enjoyment. Regular weeding, pruning, and pest control prevent problems down the road.

Design Principles for Landscaping

A thoughtfully designed landscape looks beautiful from day one, thanks to adherence to core design principles. Keep these guidelines in mind as you plan and lay out your front yard:

Symmetry and Balance

Our eyes naturally seek balance. Symmetrically balanced elements please the eye while creating order and structure.

  • Use an even number of plants and landscape features on both sides of an entryway or path. This creates mirror-image symmetry.
  • Repeat plants in a regular and even pattern along borders or beds.
  • Flank steps, doors, and focal points like fountains or statues with identical plants or pots.

Focal Points and Visual Interest

Lead the eye where you want it to go by creating defined focal points. Choose one or two striking plants or structures to serve as standouts that grab attention.

  • Make an entrance pop with vivid flowering plants or an arbor.
  • Use a specimen tree as a focal accent against the front facade.
  • Build a focal point around a garden bench or architectural feature like a fountain.

Color and Texture

Vary colors and textures to provide visual depth and interest. Contrast fine, delicate surfaces with bold leaves and elements for maximum impact.

  • Combine plants with diverse foliage colors like silvery herbs, burgundy shrubs, golden grasses, and variegated leaves.
  • Use foliage shape for textural contrast. Pair wispy ornamental grasses with broad hosta leaves.
  • Add hardscape textures like rough stone, weathered wood, and glossy tiles.

Scale and Proportion

Choose plants and structures whose mature size fits the area appropriately. Tall vertical elements like trees balance wide beds and borders.

  • Place low-growing plants along house foundations and walkway edges. Leave room for them to fill in.
  • Flank entries with plants no more than 1/3 the height of the door.
  • Use small-scale pavers and furnishings in smaller spaces.

Unity and Repetition

Recurring elements create continuity and harmony. Echo plants, materials, and colors throughout the design.

  • Repeat a plant variety in different areas as a unifying theme. Seeing the same perennials by an entrance and then again along a walkway ties the space together.
  • Use the same style of light fixtures and fixtures throughout. Consistency in landscaping accessories pulls the design together into a cohesive whole.

By thoughtfully laying out your front yard landscape according to fundamental design principles, you’ll enjoy a polished, professional look that delights the neighbors.

Front Yard Landscaping Ideas with Water Features.

Easy Maintenance Landscaping

Let’s be honest: As exciting as gardening is, it can sometimes feel like a chore. Between watering, weeding, and constant pruning, maintaining a landscape demands dedication. But you can design a lower maintenance landscape by making strategic plant choices and using materials that reduce work.

Low-Maintenance Plants

Selecting resilient, unfussy plants suited to your site means you can spend more time enjoying and less time tending your garden. Seek out these types of easy-care plants:

Native Plants

Plants native to your region thrive with minimal intervention since they are adapted to local conditions. They give your landscape a sense of place.

  • Native grasses like switch grass and little bluestem provide drama with their height and fall plumes. Their deep roots confer drought resistance.
  • For seasonal blooms, plant native wildflowers like black-eyed Susans and bee balm. They attract pollinators!
  • Native shrubs like Ninebark and Sumac provide multi-season interest with their flowers, fall color, berries, and winter form.

Succulents

Succulents store water in their leaves, making them ultra drought-resistant. Their sculptural shapes add modern flair.

  • Try colorful rosette-forming varieties like echeveria and aeonium, which form mats of exciting shapes and hues.
  • Columnar varieties like aloes and agaves lend height and texture.
  • Trailing succulents like burro’s tail spill beautifully from containers and raised beds.

Ornamental Grasses

Grasses add fluid movement and soft textures to landscapes. Many fill space rapidly, outcompeting weeds.

  • Small varieties like blue oat grass and maiden grass fit beautifully along beds and paths.
  • For vertical drama, grow giant varieties like miscanthus, which reach 6 feet or more! Their feathery plumes persist into winter.
  • Hardy sedges like Carex lend rich golden hues. Dense growth prevents weeds.

Choose plants aligned to your growing conditions for a naturally lush, easy-care landscape.

Easy Front Yard Landscaping: Tips For Maintaining Your Yard

Mulch and Ground Cover Options

Mulch and ground covers are landscape workhorses. They cool soil, block weeds, and prevent erosion between plants.

Mulch Mania

Mulch comes in organic and inorganic forms. Both conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

  • Organic mulches like shredded bark and wood chip mulch enrich soil as they decompose. Aim for 2-4 inches in beds.
  • Inorganic mulches like pebbles and crushed stone create a neat look around succulents. They don’t break down.
  • Living mulch, like dwarf mondo grass or Irish moss, forms a mat that covers the soil. They require some trimming.
  • For a pop of color, use mulch made from recycled tires with bright hues.

Ground Covers

These low-growing plants spread to form a dense mat that chokes out weeds. Save big on the weeding!

  • Sweet woodruff and ajuga spread rapidly with little care needed. They work well under trees.
  • Sedum and thyme thrive in the crevices of stone paths, softening the edges.
  • Vinca minor handles shade beautifully. It fills in around shrubs and under trees, creating a living mulch.
  • Mints spread vigorously. Plant them in containers unless you want them to take over!
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A 3-inch layer of mulch or a dense ground cover is your best defense against pesky weeds!

Adding Color and Texture

So far, we’ve focused on the practical aspects of curb appeal. Now, let’s add some fun! Thoughtfully placed punches of color and interest take your landscape from mundane to marvelous.

Seasonal Blooms

Perennials, annuals, and bulbs ensure something is always in flower in your front yard. Plan a sequence of plants that bathe your yard in color from spring to fall.

Spring Awakening

Spring bulbs like tulips, narcissus, and crocus provide joy after a long winter. Underplant them with pansies for overlapping bloom.

  • Plant flowering trees and shrubs like magnolias, viburnum, and rhododendrons for cheery blossoms.
  • Perennials like columbine and coral bells bridge the gap into early summer.
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Summer Sizzle

Annuals and tropical plants ignite with color in summer. Be bold! Use vibrant colors and unusual varieties.

  • Go big with towering sunflowers, kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate, and Mexican sunflowers (Tithonia).
  • Paint borders with zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, and salvias.
  • Fill gaps with heat-loving coleus, which comes in dazzling combinations. The color intensifies in the sun.

Fantastic Fall

While flowers fade, the foliage takes the stage in autumn. Plants with colorful berries extend seasonal interest.

  • Let grasses shine! Bluestem and switchgrass display amber tones and endure into winter.
  • Euonymus and barberry shrubs produce red berries lasting into winter.
  • Trees like staghorn sumac and oak deliver brilliant fall leaf color.

Planning for continual blooms brings joy to every season. Get creative mixing flower shapes, color tones, and foliage textures for beauty all year.

Decorative Elements

Creative hardscape elements and artistic flourishes further enliven the landscape. Add visual punch with sculpture, found objects, and splashes of color.

Hardscape Accents

  • Define garden beds with cut stone or cinder blocks for clean, modern lines.
  • Upcycle old garden tools, cutlery, and found objects as unique garden art.
  • Add whimsy with weathervanes or colorful glazed pots and stepping stones.
  • Carve out niches for statuary or a gardening gnome! This gives you a place to showcase your favorite pieces.

Living Accents

  • For a bold color statement, grow purple and chartreuse sweet potato vines in containers.
  • Outline beds with colorful groundcover thyme or creeping Jenny.
  • Train clematis vines over arbors and trellises. They bloom prolifically with little care.
  • Create curiosity and height with bold plants like giant allium bulbs, hardy banana trees, and spiky agave.

Dress up your front yard landscape with fun accents that express your unique style!

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Eco-Friendly Landscaping Choices

As earth stewards, we gardeners feel responsible for nurturing the environment. Simple changes make your landscape more planet-friendly. Conserve resources using native plants, green infrastructure, and conscientious practices.

Drought-Tolerant Landscaping

Minimize water usage and create resilience with a landscape adapted to your regional climate. Use native plants along with design tricks like rain harvesting.

Choose Native Plants

Plants native to your area thrive with less watering. Their deep roots access moisture and nutrients. Well-adapted natives include:

  • Ornamental grasses like little bluestem, switch grass, and prairie dropseed
  • Wildflowers like coneflower, rudbeckia, sage, and penstemon
  • Shrubs like elderberry, serviceberry, and sumac.

Get Smart About Soil

  • Amend soil with compost or aged manure to improve moisture retention
  • Use light-colored gravel or mulch to reflect heat and reduce watering needs
  • Group plants by watering needs, with thirstier plants on irrigation lines.

Maximize Rainfall

  • Direct downspouts into planted beds, trees, or rain barrels
  • Create rain gardens, which are shallow planted depressions, to capture rainfall. The water sinks in rather than running off.
  • Consider installing a rainwater harvesting system. Storage tanks collect roof runoff to use later for irrigation.
Front Yard Landscape Pathway

Attracting Wildlife

Turn your landscape into a nature preserve! Provide a habitat that attracts and protects wildlife. You’ll be rewarded with watching birds, butterflies, and beneficial insects frolic in your yard.

  • Plant milkweed for monarch butterflies. Native asters, coneflowers, and joe pye weed provide nectar.
  • Select single-petaled daisies, sunflowers, sedum, and herbs for bees and butterflies.
  • Grow native berry-producing shrubs like dogwoods, viburnums, and currants to feed birds.
  • Add a minor water feature with a shallow section for insects and birds to drink and bathe.
  • Install nesting boxes and signposts for birds. Also, provide dry nesting material like pet fur.
  • Avoid pesticides and chemical fertilizers. They diminish insect populations essential to birds.
  • Leave leaf litter and plant stems over winter. Many bees overwinter in hollow stems or under debris!

Watching the simple acts of nesting, feeding, and drinking unfold in your yard connects us to the natural world. A healthy ecosystem supports wildlife, which in turn helps us all.

Lighting and Pathways

Lighting and pathways complete the landscape, adding function and ambiance. Illuminate garden focal points and highlight meandering paths to create drama after dusk.

Hardscaping your front yard

Garden Lighting Options

Lighting extends the enjoyment of your landscape into the evening. Up-lighting trees or illuminating a focal point makes for magical twilight moments.

  • Ring focal points like fountains or statuary with low-voltage spotlights. The light reflects beautifully off water and stone.
  • Hide pathway lighting behind shrubs or under railings to provide understated illumination.
  • Up-light specimen trees to highlight their shape and texture.
  • Line driveways and walkways with solar-powered stakes. They’re easy to install anywhere.
  • Use lighting judiciously to avoid light pollution. Keep it low and subtle.
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I’m a fan of solar lighting since it harnesses natural energy from the sun. Low-voltage LEDs also provide bright but efficient lighting. Install lighting to complement the house architecture. Dim, indirect lighting prevents glare and unwanted brightness.

Pathway Designs

Nothing says “welcome” like a defined path guiding you to the front door. But pathways serve more than just function. They provide prime real estate for adding personal flair. Meandering pathways feel inviting, while straight lanes evoke formality.

Materials

  • Brick or stone pavers lend a classic, elegant look. They come in various shapes, colors, and patterns for custom designs.
  • Gravel pathways create a relaxed, natural vibe. Use pea gravel or crushed granite chips. Leave space between stones for plants to peek through.
  • Flagstone pathways lined with groundcovers or moss transport you to a lush garden oasis. Irregular flagstones look organic.
  • Stepping stone pathways work perfectly for smaller spaces. Use irregularly spaced stones interplanted with thyme or ajuga.
  • Concrete can be cast into all kinds of shapes. Make your stepping stones or etched pavers.

Designs

  • Meandering – Use gently curving lines for pathways. Meanders feel casual and blend into garden beds gracefully.
  • Materials Mix – Combine materials like pavers with gravel sections for visual interest. Vary color, too.
  • Accessible – Ensure at least one pathway is wide and smooth for wheelchair or walker access.
  • Plant Lined – Tuck herbs, grasses, or perennials alongside paths. They’ll overflow for a wild yet manicured look.
  • Destination – Lead the path to focal points like a bench, water feature, or potted specimen.
Professional Front Yard Landscaping

Pathways invite exploration of your landscape while providing needed circulation. Infuse personality into your walkways. Graceful curves, varied materials, and plants beckoning you forward make strolling your garden irresistible.

Final Touches:

You’re in the home stretch! A few final touches maintain your landscape and keep it looking festive. A lush lawn with various seasonal holiday decorations ensures year-round curb appeal.

Lawn Care and Maintenance

A neatly manicured green lawn instantly boosts curb appeal. Regular mowing, irrigation, and fertilization help your yard look its best, but avoid over-maintenance that wastes resources.

  • Mow high – Keep the mower at 3-4 inches. Taller grass promotes deep roots and shades out weeds.
  • Let clippings lie – Leave them to return nitrogen to the soil.
  • Fertilize minimally – Overfertilization causes excessive growth, needing more mowing and water.
  • Water deeply – Shallow watering leads to short roots. Aim for 1 inch of water per week from rain or irrigation.
  • Accept brown spots – Some browning during drought is natural. The grass will recover when the rains return.

Proper mowing keeps your lawn healthy and eliminates the need for environmentally harsh weed killers. Mowing high and regularly to prevent shock promotes lush turf. Sharpen mower blades after every few uses for clean cuts.

Seasonal Decor and Updates:

Change minor elements seasonally to keep your landscape fresh and festive. Holiday decorations, in particular, create maximum impact for minimal effort.

  • Change pots – Use seasonal colors for plants and pots. White pots are for spring bulbs, bright glazes are for summer, and warm terra-cotta is for fall.
  • Add accents – Pumpkins and gourds for fall, ornaments, and ribbon for winter holidays.
  • Light it up – Outline rooflines, trees, and bundles with holiday lights. Use solar for easy installation.
  • Natural touches – Work with what you have. Evergreen boughs and berries make simple yet pretty holiday decor.
  • Plant seasonal favorites – Pansies in spring, mums and kale in fall, poinsettias or cyclamen for winter.
  • Freshen mulch and edging – Crisp edges and fresh mulch give a polished look.

A few simple touches keep things looking festive year-round. Get the whole family involved! Create traditions around seasonal landscape decorating and care.

Conclusion

I hope these simple, budget-friendly landscape ideas sparked excitement and direction for your front yard. A welcoming landscape needs not to be expansive or elaborate. You can create a space that nourishes the soul by incorporating good design, low-maintenance elements, eco-friendly choices, and personal touches.

Start slightly – a fresh edge around your beds or a few potted plants by the entry. Visit local nurseries and gardens for inspiration. Chat with fellow gardeners in your area to learn which plants perform best. Most importantly, relax and have fun making your landscape uniquely yours!

Spend time enjoying your new front yard oasis with a cup of tea. Wave hello to neighbors and watch for wildlife drawn to the habitat you created. May your landscape nourish a sense of belonging, provide a space for meaningful interactions, and connect you to nature’s beauty daily.