Undoubtedly, a well-designed and maintained front garden can transform the whole exterior of your home. But, if your front garden needs a bit of TLC or you’re stuck for inspiration, then this guide is for you.
Our landscaping trend experts have searched high and low to bring you a whole host of fantastic ideas to take your garden from zero to hero in no time. Whether you’re looking for something low-maintenance, a sea of bright colours, or a budget solution, this helpful guide is full of ideas to inspire you.
We'll discuss exactly how to bring some extra kerbside appeal to your home, but first, let's take a quick look at why and how having a beautiful front garden can boost the overall aesthetic appeal of your outdoor spaces.
The benefits of a front garden
Before we delve into some fantastic ideas to get your creative juices flowing, let's briefly touch on why you should consider exploring new front garden ideas.
Human nature dictates that we form good or bad opinions of something based on first impressions. As your front garden is the first thing people notice, making it look as attractive as possible is a great way to improve the chances of people being blown away by your home’s exterior.
Whether it's passers-by, neighbours, relatives, or guests, having a well-kept front garden is a brilliant way to make sure that their first impression is positive. Think about the houses and gardens that you’ve passed recently. You probably took note of the ones that had beautifully manicured lawns, colourful flowerbeds, and unusual species of plants but, there’s every chance that your eyes were also drawn to the ones that were looking decidedly unruly, overgrown, and neglected.
Using personal experiences of the gardens that have impressed you is a great place to start when looking for inspiration or ideas for your own outdoor space. It is worthwhile to take some time to do a little research in your local area by wandering around and observing any garden designs that you could replicate.
Improve the value of your home
For the vast majority of us, our home is the biggest financial investment we’ll make in our lifetime. Big, small, suburban, or rural, the property we choose to buy comes with a significant price tag, making sure its value grows over time is critical.
Of course, our home's architecture and interior design quality play an important part in determining its worth, but so too does the garden. Property experts and estate agents will tell you the same: a well-designed and well-maintained garden will add fantastic value to your property in the short and long term. So, what might seem like yet another investment at first will pay dividends in the long run.
Provide a habitat for wildlife
By filling your front garden with a wide variety of plants, trees, shrubs, and flowers, you can encourage different species of wildlife to make your outdoor areas their home. But, to create the perfect habitat for everything from small mammals and birds to aquatic animals and insect life, it’s important to put careful thought and planning into your garden’s design.
Do some research into the habitats of the wildlife you’re trying to attract before starting a landscaping project, as this will help you ensure it’s a success. For example, different species of birds will need nesting boxes at particular times of the year, whilst bees and butterflies are known to be attracted to specific types of flowering plants.
You might want to consider this type of front garden if your home is in an urban area where there could be a lack of space for animals to live. Inner-city and even suburban areas may have limited amounts of green space or woodland, meaning your garden will be all the more valuable to protecting natural ecosystems.
Create a hobby & promote good health
Having a front garden to use and care for is a wonderful pastime if you are green-fingered. Yet, even if you aren't particularly keen on gardening, once you see the impact it will have on the look of your property, you are sure to get more curious about the different elements of gardening. In reality, not every type of garden will require huge amounts of upkeep or experience, with many being easy to maintain at weekends.
Designing, maintaining and planting in your garden will likely bring you a lot of enjoyment and positively impact your mental health. It’s well-evidenced that being out in the open air is good for your psychological well-being by relieving stress and tension and helping to elevate symptoms related to anxiety and depression.
In addition, gardening has a host of physical advantages, too. Digging flower beds, mowing lawns, and moving furniture are all a form of cardiovascular exercise, meaning they will improve your fitness levels and help prevent things such as heart disease, strokes, and other conditions.
14 contemporary front garden ideas
Now we know how beneficial a beautiful front garden can be for you and for your home, let's delve into some creative ways that you can make the most of your outdoor space.
1. Window boxes
One of the easiest front garden ideas that will add lots of character to your home is to plant a border of hardy plants and flowers, such as hydrangeas, in window boxes. This will make your outdoor area more inviting and capture the attention of passers-by, especially if the window boxes contain brightly coloured blooms.
Window boxes are an affordable, low-maintenance addition to any garden, making them a perfect way to instantly beautify your outdoor living spaces. They are a favourite of many people who are trying to sell their homes, as they appeal to a wide range of potential buyers.
2. Hanging baskets
Hanging baskets are another ultra-easy and affordable way to add visual interest to your front garden. They draw your eyes upwards and can help to create the illusion of your outdoor areas being more spacious than they actually are.
Moreover, hanging baskets require no floor space meaning they are ideal for smaller front gardens. By hanging directly from your home’s exterior walls or fences, baskets allow you to maximise the potential of your front garden without being limited by the number of flowers you can plant.
This is also a major benefit for households with lively dogs, young children, or boisterous teenagers who might want to enjoy a game of football in the garden. Hanging baskets won’t be at risk of getting knocked over, damaged, or broken, meaning your flowers will be safe and out of harm's way.
3. Pots & containers
It's remarkable how many plants can be grown in pots and containers. If you have a paved garden, use potted plants as a great alternative to flower beds. When choosing what plants you want, consider how much time you'll have to feed and water them.
Also, choosing the largest plant pots you can afford is a good idea - the bigger, the better as this will allow plants to continue growing before you have to re-pot them. You can also combine multiple plants in larger containers to spice things up and create contrast.
You might want to buy these plants already grown, but a great way to save some money is to grow them from scratch. Not only does nurturing a plant give a great sense of satisfaction, but it is also considerably cheaper.
When it comes to plant pots and containers, practically anything will do. You can, of course, pop to your local hardware store where you can pick up a wide range of containers, but doing some upcycling of old garden items like wheelbarrows is growing increasingly popular.
4. Tall plants
Even if you only have a small outdoor space, try to get some height into your garden with large shrubs and plants, which often have practical benefits. For one, they offer a degree of privacy by stopping any nosey neighbours from peering into your garden. They can also help keep your front garden cooler in summer by providing much-needed shade.
Tall plants with thorns can provide a subtle yet effective extra layer of security when planted against a wall or used as a partition to separate your property from public walkways or land. Plus, thorny plants usually require little upkeep and are low maintenance, making them ideal for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of free time on their hands.
5. Discrete bins area
Tired of looking at bins in your front garden? Thankfully, there are some great ways to minimise their unappealing look, with one being a box unit to store them in. A box unit will still allow easy access to your bins whilst making them much less of an eyesore.
These units are incredibly easy to build yourself and can be placed anywhere in your front garden, including against a wall where you can add more height for plants or even by your front door. Try painting the unit in the same colour as your garden’s fence or furniture to help it blend in even more.
6. Climbing walls
Need to conceal an unattractive wall or fence? You could consider growing a climbing wall to hide any unsightly brickwork. Ivy is one of the most popular climbing plants, but be careful to make sure that you prune it properly or it could end up eating into the wall onto which it grows. Alternatively, you could think about using the clematis plant, of which there are over 300 different types. These flowers are great growers as well as being low maintenance.
Ideally, climbing plants should be placed on walls where there is a lot of natural sunlight. These plants can add interest to what would otherwise be an uninspiring area of the front garden.
7. Vintage plant holders
Create a retro aesthetic by using a beautiful upcycled vintage bike as a container for flowers and fresh herbs. You can do this simply and cheaply by transforming the bike's front and rear baskets into holders.
Then, lean it against a tree or your garden wall and add subtle white twinkling lights, or cover it with ivy to blend in with the surroundings. If you want to go one step further, add some antique-style signs or other rustic materials to complete the vintage effect.
Regarding the plant pots you use in the bicycle, ensure these are as high-quality as you can afford so they are robust enough to withstand wind and rain. Also, it's essential to use a potting mix that will drain well and hold enough moisture during the hotter summer months.
8. Flower beds & lighting
A flower bed makes the whole front garden look tidier and well-structured and also serves as a practical space for a striking display of lighting to guide you and visitors to your door when the sun goes down.
There are many options for garden lighting, but some of the most popular are lanterns, which you can easily incorporate into just about any look.
These can be battery or solar-powered, and the best option for your front garden will depend on the amount of sunlight it gets. If possible, opt for solar lights as they are more environmentally friendly and will help to keep your energy bills down. They don’t require a power source as the sun will do the hard work for you, and the lights will come on automatically when it begins to get dark.
9. Think bright white
Don't underestimate just how striking a bit of white paint can be. Whether it's used on a garden fence, garden wall or anywhere else in your outdoor area, the colour white will reflect the sunlight and make your front garden shine.
The entrance to a front garden will almost immediately set out the style and design you've chosen. A white gate surrounded by cottage-style climbing plants will denote a welcoming space awake.
Coupled with some artificial grass and solar lights, a white theme is understated, relatively low maintenance and provides year-round interest and appeal. You can complement white walls or fences with minimalist white garden furniture or even flower beds with white blooms like snowdrops or roses.
10. Coordinate other colours
When choosing colours for your garden, consider the tones and shades of your home's exterior. If you are thinking of getting a natural stone path, for example, you might want to repaint your window frames and front door in a neutral shade to complement the path's colour.
However, you could also consider contrasting colours or setting a particular theme. After all, it's important to remember that garden designs are entirely up to the homeowner. So, if you want to inject some of your own personality and sparkle into your front garden, go for it by opting for a bold palette of colours.
11. Mediterranean themes
Mediterranean features are ideal for making a front garden feel more balanced as well as elegant, and they also fare very well in hotter summer temperatures. Think about a broad paved pathway that leads to a stone decorated with potted ferns and similar long, tall plants.
You might consider highlighting the simplicity and beauty of a stone patio with a small fountain or water feature, or you may want to create a hub for social gatherings by installing a fire pit. With the Mediterranean theme, the possibilities are endless.
Want a beautiful front garden without the need to routinely repot plants or deal with heaps of fallen leaves? Going evergreen is the way for you. These tough plants stay beautifully green all year round, are easy to maintain and need little watering.
With a bit of practice, evergreens such as junipers can be crafted into topiary forms and provide a beautiful visual into any home's entryway. Or, leave them to their natural shape, which is similarly impressive; place them in a well-mulched or stone-filled bed, and these plants will take care of themselves.
13. Rustic planters
Planters are perfect for livening up a garden space, but if you don't want to invest in concrete planters or even plastic ones, you can use a hollow log or a tree stump to give a rustic and back-to-nature feel. You can incorporate this look into any front garden, but it would look especially good in a cottage-style garden.
Similarly, old crates or palettes can be used to make attractive planters. Upcycle them with a lick of paint and they can become a quirky design feature that sets your front garden apart without breaking the bank.
People with green fingers often ignore petunias, but these hardy little flowers look great and can add bursts of colour practically anywhere, whether on your lawn or in a hanging basket. Adding them to both areas can help tie your garden's overall look and personality together into one coherent design scheme.
The great thing about petunias is that they grow well in pretty much any weather condition, so they can fare relatively well in the harsh British winter, which can be pretty unforgiving at times. They also don't mind dry soil and will bloom for long periods, so they are the perfect no-maintenance flower to brighten any front garden.
Get your dream modern front garden with Marshalls
We have a wide variety of materials at Marshalls to help you create the front garden of your dreams. Choose from our range of garden paving, driveways, garden paths, kerbs & edging, garden walling, artificial grass, accessories and much more to unleash your garden's true potential. Have a read through our other blog posts for more inspiration and ideas for your next landscaping project or contact our team for expert advice that’s tailored to you.
How easy is it to maintain a front garden?
Maintaining a front garden can be very easy, depending on your design, and all it takes is a little patience and the willingness to learn. However, the more complicated the design, the more upkeep will be required, so bear this in mind when starting your project.
How can I make my front garden look its best all year round?
The best way to keep your garden looking its very best through the year is to keep on top of its maintenance. Even if you have a tarmacked or paved garden, weeds can still manage to poke up through any cracks and gaps. To keep your garden looking its best in all seasons, using plants like evergreens is the way to go as these won’t lose their leaves in the autumn.
Should my back garden match my front garden?
The choice is completely yours. Some homeowners prefer the uniformity and neatness of designing both a back and front garden in a similar fashion. Others prefer to switch up the theme and have entirely different designs.