What are the Best Landscaping Plants for the Front of Your Home

July 13, 2018

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As a homeowner, you may be very attentive to the landscaping you add to your property's backyard so that you create a welcoming and inviting space for relaxing and entertaining. However, you don't want to overlook your home's front yard, as the right landscaping features in front of your house can increase your property's curb appeal and potentially even its value.

The best landscaping plants for the front of your home are those that provide contrast to the home’s exterior, as well as depth and color against lengthy walkways and large spans of green lawn.

​Since a front yard is often smaller than a home's backyard, you may need to be a bit choosier when it comes to the plants, greenery, and landscaping accessories you add to the front of your home. A local landscaper can help you plan out this space and then choose the best flowers and plants for your home's style and your taste but note a few suggestions and essential reminders you might discuss with that landscaper as well.

Remember the home's exterior color

It may not occur to you to consider your home's exterior color when choosing landscaping features for the front yard, but you want plants, flowers, and shrubs to stand out from your home's exterior. Opting for plants the same color or shade as your home's exterior can mean shrubbery or flowers that blend in, or downright disappear into the background!

As an example, if you have a red brick home, you want to avoid any variety of red shrubberies, such as burning bush or cinnamon sun joy. Avoid red flowers as well, including red roses, poppies, or zinnia.

Instead, choose white bushes and white flowers, such as rose of Sharon, dogwood or snowballs. Yellow is also very noticeable against red brick, so plant daisies, zinnia, or yellow roses.

On the other hand, if your home's exterior is grey, red flowers and bushes are a perfect choice! Purple and yellow tulips or multicolored pansies are also good, but avoid white flowers, as these may look a bit drab outside a grey home.

For a sandy beige or brown home, opt for flowers that are strong and vibrant, but that won't clash with this earthy tone. Purple flowers, for example, might seem out of place against a brown home, whereas dark red roses or poppies, orange chrysanthemums, or oversized green hedges can coordinate with a brown exterior.

Consider the home's style

Your home's landscaping should match its overall style. A white house with black shutters will have a cottage or English garden look, so replicate this with your landscaping plants and flowers. Choose roses, daisies, or Queen Anne's lace, and let these plants grow large and close together, without a manicured and trimmed look.

A modern home will have square, clean lines without much detail. Keep this same look with your front yard landscaping, and opt for a row of juniper bushes or boxwood hedges that you can keep neat and trimmed.

Michigan bulb is a type of ornamental grass that resembles hedges, but with a bit more fullness and texture. Plant these at various intervals, for a clean and simple look that isn't overly manicured.

A craftsman style home will have lots of dense wood and thick columns, so you'll want greenery that is in proportionate to this more substantial, more massive style. Opt for purple smoke bushes, which resemble a tree, and which can grow up to 15 feet in height.

Dogwood plants can grow up to ten feet tall and are also a good choice outside a craftsman style home. You might even break up the look of all that wood with bright and colorful daisies or pansies.

Adding security with prickly shrubs

It's never good to obscure your home's front windows with tall shrubs, as these provide a home invader with a ready hiding spot. You can also make this space in front of your home less welcoming to burglars by planting painful, prickly shrubs!

  • Creeping juniper bushes are very rough and abrasive, and uncomfortable against the skin.
  • Firethorn hedges grow thick and are virtually impenetrable, and have a sharp, thorny stem.
  • Blue pine bushes have very dense and sharp needles and can be an excellent choice for adding to your home's security.
  • If you want some beautiful flowers along with this added security, plant rosebushes! Trim back their leaves but let their thorns grow and you will have an attractive means of exterior home defense.I

Give the landscaping some depth

If you've added a row of flowers or bushes to your home's exterior but still feel the landscaping lacks style, you might need to add some depth. Landscapers often work in rows of three or more, and this tip can help you when designing your exterior space.

Consider how to make this work for your home. Add a row of arborvitae or boxwood next to the home; these plants grow several feet high, so they provide some contrast to the house and a beautiful backdrop for the rest of the landscaping.

In front of these bushes, add a row of something a bit shorter but very full. This row can include barberry, meadowsweets, or caryopteris. These bushes add a bit of color and are just the right size for the second row of plantings.

In front of these plants, choose colorful flowers. Azalea, begonia, and buttercup all offer bold, vibrant colors. Dahlia flowers are broad and rounded, whereas forget-me-nots and evening primrose are a bit more delicate.

Be sure you contrast the colors

Another reminder about landscaping is that you want to ensure you contrast the colors of your various plants and bushes, so they stand out. Use this tip when you add three rows of plantings, mentioned above; be sure you contrast the colors of each row when creating your landscaping plan.

For example, if you plant Japanese maple trees next to the home, avoid cinnamon sun joy or sand cherry bushes in front of these, as all those red colors will blend in with each other and become virtually invisible. Instead, choose green or white shrubs to sit in front of the Japanese maple trees, such as lemon-lime nandina or dwarf Japanese cedar. In front of these bushes, avoid simple greenery but add colorful flowers that will stand out and get noticed, including tulips, hydrangea, or Queen Anne's lace.

Break up the lawn

While a front yard is often smaller than a backyard, your property might still have a large plot of green grass in front of your home. It's good to break up all that green with some landscaping features in the middle of the lawn.

A landscaping tree is an excellent choice for many homes, and you can choose something very colorful, so it stands out, including Japanese maple, dogwood, crabapple, or myrtle. These all offer colorful buds that provide a contrast to your home's green lawn.

If a tree would be too overpowering or substantial for your front lawn, opt for a landscaping feature that would still break up those long stretches of grass, and which would add some height to those bland spans of lawn. A birdbath or some freestanding planters, for example, can hold large flowering bushes, and you can add more flowers to the base of these items.

Decorating the walkways

Adding landscaping around the home's exterior is useful for creating an attractive outdoor space, but you might also want to consider how you decorate the walkways of your front yard. A bland sidewalk from the driveway to your front porch can detract from your landscaping features, much less does it enhance your home's curb appeal!

Consider some tips for decorating the walkways of your front yard:

  • You might replace the concrete blocks with large patio pavers, and plant ground cover flowers, which sit very flat and close to the ground, between them. Periwinkle and speedwell both have a lovely blue-purple color and work well for planting between pavers.
  • It's also good to think about how you add borders to walkways, to make them stand out and become a landscaping feature themselves. Ground cover flowers can work as a border, or you might create even larger boundaries by adding azalea or barberry bushes, both of which are somewhat short but colorful, and perfect for bordering a walkway.
  • Another idea to make walkways stand out is to add an arbor. These features are attractive for fences with a gate, but you can also add a freestanding arbor across a home's walkway, and then plant climbing vines at the base, so they cover the arch of the arbor and bring in some pops of color. Look for morning glory, honeysuckle, or ivy, or choose clematis, which has a vibrant blue flower that will perfectly complement your new arbor.

When you want something bold

While it's good to choose landscaping plants and flowers that coordinate and complement your home's exterior, you might also want something very bold and unique, and which will make your home stand out from all the others on the block. One good choice is to use lots of river or landscaping rocks; add these as a border next to a walkway or in front of a landscaping feature, for more color, depth, and texture.

Another unique idea is to flank a walkway with trees on either side; choose dogwood or apple trees, which are smaller and lower to the ground, and plant one on either side of your home's front walk. If the walkway is somewhat lengthy, flank it with trees from the sidewalk to your front porch, for a very grand entrance!

A fountain or small creek can be an excellent choice for adding a unique touch to your home's front yard. A landscaper can create a trench that is graded toward the street, using oversized river rocks, and then install a water pump for running water. This type of feature adds movement and a bit of white noise to your front yard, and will make it unique and personal to you!

Landscaping for Maximum Color

Subdued color can be attractive landscaping for residential homes, but sometimes homeowners prefer something very bold and robust, with lots of various hues and shades.

  • Red and yellow roses are excellent choices for strong color.
  • Hydrangeas, like roses, come in a wide variety of colors, and their large, rounded flower create lots of visual impact.
  • Lavender Hidcote is a small bush in a rounded shape, in a bold purple shade, and which can be added next to walkways or in front of a home, for added appeal.
  • Giant phlox grows in softer shades of purple and pink; these plants produce smaller flowering buds that multiply together to create a rounded bloom.
  • Dahlias bloom in shades of red and orange and have large, rounded flowers with green leaves that produce lots of contrast.

Add accessories to your garden for maximum style

Along with plants and greenery, you may want to add some landscaping accessories for maximum style in your front lawn. A small stone bench under a shade tree can make your front yard look relaxing and inviting, and even provide a beautiful place for reading or bird watching.

Hanging or freestanding planters on your home's porch can ensure that the beauty created by your new landscaping doesn't stop where your home begins! Choose flowers that coordinate with those planted in your lawn, and which offer some contrast against the color of your porch or home's exterior. You might also add flowerboxes under windows for even more exterior curb appeal.

If you have a fence around your home's front yard, be sure you add some landscaping and greenery that will spruce it up, or even hide it if needed. Add flowering vines at the base of a chain link fence, so the vines grow through the mesh; look for honeysuckle or morning glory varieties, for colorful blooms and greenery, and your front yard landscaping will then be complete.

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