Have you taken a good look at your front yard lately?
Sure, the back yard might be more fun — barbecues, pool parties, coffee and donuts in your robe.
But your front yard introduces your home to the world — or at least, to the neighborhood.
“It should be a place you’re proud to show off,” says Eric Frisch, Ground Source landscape designer.
“What can you do to stand out from the neighbors?”
Quite a bit. Check out these front yard landscaping design ideas.
Tips About Planting
Have fun with this part. But before you start going plant crazy:
1. Keep in mind the one-third rule for front yard landscaping design. One-third of your front yard should be planting beds and two-thirds should be lawn.
2. Remember that scale is important for plant size, too. Consider the size of the tree or plant at maturity — not just when you plant it. Things grow fast here in Florida — it’s a 12-month growing season, after all.
3. Don’t assume you can keep your shrubs, just because they’ve always been there. In fact, all the more reason to give them the boot.
If your shrubs have been there for a couple of decades, out they go, Frisch says. That’s about it for a shrub’s lifespan. Then they get scraggly, overgrown, and full of dead spots.
They may even have been planted in the wrong spot decades ago by builders who weren’t experts in front yard landscaping design.
Front Yard Favorites
Before you start buying plants willy nilly, check out these pro-approved plants for front yard landscaping:1. Choose Loropetalum, also called Chinese Fringe Flower. This compact shrub sports colorful foliage that looks great year-round.
“People say they want flowers, but flowering shrubs only bloom three weeks out of the year,” Frisch says. “What about the other 49 weeks?”
2. Use Gold Mound Duranta for bright yellow foliage, pretty as any flower. It grows two to four feet tall and wide and produces small lavender flowers as a bonus.
3. Include Crotons, a Florida favorite. Crotons thrive here and add stunning tropical color, six feet tall. Don’t go overboard. Balance these bold plants with greenery.
4. Azaleas are a top pick for shade. They only bloom once a year, but the rest of the time they offer nice, green structure that softens your color.
5. Ornamental grasses are a front yard landscaping must-have. Grasses soften the landscape, are low maintenance, and add graceful motion to your front yard. Muhly grass offers soft texture and pink flowers in fall. If you have a small front yard, one will do — they spread to four feet wide.
6. Don’t forget the Asiatic Jasmine. It’s a great groundcover that fills in like a carpet. It’s perfect for under trees where grass won’t grow in the shade.
7. Group a perennial, Lily of the Nile, for a lush, tropical effect. Pretty, deep blue flower clusters perch on stalks above narrow, evergreen foliage.
8. Opt for a dwarf, multi-trunk palm called Phoenix Roebelenii, commonly known as Pygmy Date Palm. It’s topped with a dense, full crown of arching glossy, green leaves.
Illuminating Landscape Lighting Ideas
1. Don’t bother with DIY solar lights. That’s a big no.
“They’re a big waste of money,” Frisch says. “The solar panels don’t last long. It’s wasteful to keep throwing these cheap plastic things into landfills.”
2. Go for hard-wired landscape lighting for your front yard landscaping and avoid lantern-style lights to light the landscape.
“All you see is the bulb, so you have a bunch of bright dots in your landscape,” he says.
Instead, choose fixtures with caps that direct the light down, so you don’t see the fixture or bulb — you see what it’s lighting.
3. Light architectural features like stone veneer, arches and columns, trees, shrubs, and your front walkway.
“Lighting draws the eye to your whole house,” Frisch says.
4. Consider a landscape lighting system with separate zones you can control.
That lets you put your front yard on its own timer, to stay on longer than your backyard, maybe, or turn off sooner.
Keep in mind you can install the transformer, wires, and minimum fixtures for now, and add in more fixtures over time, Frisch says. Once your front yard is wired, it’s easy to add more fixtures.
5. Remember, front yard lighting is for security, not just curb appeal.
A well-lit house will deter people from looking in your windows or lurking in the bushes. It makes it easy for neighbors to spot any would-be prowlers.
Front Yard Hardscaping
When it comes to front yard landscaping design, your driveway takes up a whole lot of attention-grabbing real estate.
1. Use pavers for amazing front entryways.
The color and style choices will wow you. Choose pavers that look like rustic slabs, quaint cobblestone, sleek slate.
Colors? You can pretty much name it, from pale beige to black and every hue in between.
2. Resist the urge to install big, 18 to 24-inch pavers in your driveway.
“People like them because they look modern and trendy, but they’re not good for driveways,“ Frisch says. “They’re more prone to buckling and cracking than the smaller pavers.”
They’re not meant to hold the repeated weight of a two-ton vehicle, he says.
Keep pavers under 12 inches for driveways and save the big ones for the patio, pool deck, or walkways.
A good tip for front yard landscaping design: use the same materials for your front walkway as your driveway.
3. Using the same paver style so it unifies the look, making everything look put together.
“It’s only about 100 extra square feet to do the average walkway,” he says. “Why wouldn’t you match it to the driveway?”
Bonus Tip: Do This Right
There’s a lot to keep in mind as you ponder front yard landscaping ideas.
It’s easy to get excited. Plants to buy! New driveway pavers! I can do my own lighting, right?
But there’s both art and science to front yard landscaping. The wrong plants will die. Cheap lighting is wasteful. The wrong pavers will crack.
You don’t want to mess this up.
Your homeowner pride is on the line. You’re going to pull into the driveway and gaze upon the front of your house EVERY DAY.
We’d love to help you do it right.
Trust Your Front Yard Landscaping Design to Ground Source.
We’re front yard landscaping experts, but our skills don’t stop there. We’re with you every step of the way as you plan your perfect outdoor space.
Sod, irrigation, landscape design: Let us transform your yard from an embarrassing eyesore to a place you spend every spare minute.
Are you ready to enjoy the vibrant, impressive yard you've always wanted? Request a quote today! We’ll help you review your options and then transform your property.