Front Yard Landscaping Ideas: 13 Hot Tips

Find out how the experts make first impressions count with dramatic plantings and beautiful hardscaping.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly at Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly at Dig Your Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly at Dig Your Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Eileen Kelly of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design

Photo By: Image courtesy of Rebecca Winn of Whimsical Gardens

Photo By: Image courtesy of Rebecca Winn of Whimsical Gardens

Photo By: Image courtesy of Angela Price of Eden Condensed

Photo By: Image courtesy of Angela Price of Eden Condensed

Photo By: Image courtesy of Angela Price of Eden Condensed

Photo By: Image courtesy of Joshua Kien of JK Designs

Photo By: Image courtesy of Joshua Kien of JK Designs

Nice Curves

Eileen Kelly, owner of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design in the San Francisco area, transformed a large, barren landscape into several relaxing spaces, joined by curving pathways to provide privacy and space for entertaining. Colorful drought-tolerant companion plants including giant lamb's ears 'Helen Von Stein', lavender, snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum), penstemon, breath of heaven (Coleonema pulchellum) and New Zealand flax provide a variety of textures and colors year-round in this northern California yard.

Pathway to Heaven

The main flagstone pathway intersects with decomposed granite paths that meander along colorful planting beds and lead to a private sitting area to the right of the home. “The 'Forest Pansy' trees (Cercis canadensis) add vertical interest and echo the tones of the New Zealand flax,” says landscape designer Eileen Kelly at Dig Your Garden Landscape Design.

Make Room for Roses

A stately pergola provides another outdoor “room” in the garden, and its pillars echo those used for the front gate entrance (seen in the photo’s background.) “I chose climbing roses to soften the trellis and provide a nice color contrast, and the decomposed granite throughout the area provides a low-maintenance surface,” says landscape designer Eileen Kelly.

Make Water Work

This front garden in Mill Valley, CA was transformed into a vibrant and unique low-water landscape by Eileen Kelly of Dig Your Garden Landscape Design. The vibrant plant palette includes Germander sage, orange sedge, echinacea, snake flower (Bulbine frutescens 'Hallmark') and Daphne odora 'Marginata'. “These plants provide an abundance of textures and colors in both leaf form and flowers year-round,” says Kelly.

Silver Carpet Ride

“The homeowner was tired of a traditional lawn, so we replaced it with silver carpet (Dymondia margaretae), a drought-tolerant ground cover that can handle foot traffic,” says landscape designer Eileen Kelly. 

Autumn Rhapsody

“The garden is still vibrant in autumn, brightened by the purple-red fall tones of the smoke tree shrub and the black-eyed Susans which bloom until early winter,” says Eileen Kelly. This seating area provides privacy and a sense of rest and relaxation.

Barking Up the Right Trees

The owner of this Dallas, Texas-area house, a European-raised artist, gave landscaper Rebecca Winn of Whimsical Gardens a simple challenge: “Make it feel like home.” Winn’s design rose to the occasion, introducing the textures of the forest using junipers, cedars and pines and plantings peeking out from behind boulders.

Color Avalanche

Red 'Knock Out' roses and pink Indian hawthorns shield a hidden front patio, while 'Blue Point' juniper, roses, lamb’s ears, and blue Atlas cedar provide an avalanche of color. “We also added window boxes to the house to enhance the Swiss effect,” says Rebecca Winn of Whimsical Gardens.

Small Space Smarts

Lavender, purple, pink and white blooms create a colorful mix to accent this home’s blue-green exterior. “I chose plants that would bloom consecutively: wisteria in March, agapanthus in May, roses in June, and so on,” says landscape designer Angela Price, owner of Eden Condensed, a Los Angeles, CA firm specializing in small-space design. Price also chose to let the rose bush grow in a natural shape instead of pruning in order to better fit the “cottage” theme.

Secret Garden

White 'Iceberg' roses and pink climbing roses spill over a charming white fence and arbor, flanked by French lavender and pink daisies. “I wanted to create a 'secret garden' feel that still allowed the house to be seen from the street,” says Price.

Planter Punch

“I love to incorporate containers into my gardens as they add vertical interest and color,” says Price. This planter contains ajuga (bugleweed), sweet potato vine and strawberries. Hot pink gomphrena in the foreground creates contrast and colorful appeal. 

Height Is Might

When designing a landscape, Joshua Kien, owner of JK Designs in Chicago, IL, follows three principles: use height differentials to create a layered look, evoke the four seasons with a rotation of blooms, and plan for long-term growth periods. In this urban home in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood, Kien planted 'Knock Out' roses, hydrangea and weigela for perpetual blooming spring, summer, and fall; and boxwood for a lush green in winter.

Curves Ahead

The home’s limestone facade is mimicked by the flagstone path, while a red cherry tree helps pull the home’s red brick into the landscape. “Curves in the planting help transition and balance the straight lines, and soften the home’s hard surfaces with curves,” says designer Joshua Kien.