How to Plan and Plant the Perfect Front Yard Garden

Can your friends tell which house is yours before they ever see your house number? If your answer isn't yes — and you wish it was — it's time for something fresh out front. Lots of people have preconceptions about what front yards should look like. But now that you have a yard to call your own, why shouldn't it be as unique as you and your family?

  • Express Your Self and Your Style in Your Front Yard
  • Say Goodbye to Traditional Front-Yard Thinking
  • Incorporate Creative, Unconventional Entry Garden Ideas
  • Make Soil Health and Plant Nutrition Part of Your Plan

Elegant gray Craftsman-style home with white trim at dusk with manicured front garden

You can transform a traditional front garden into something uniquely yours.

Express Your Self and Your Style in Your Front Yard

You've probably heard the expression "cookie-cutter houses." That's when every house and yard in the neighborhood was built with the same basic look and design. But that doesn't mean your home needs to stay that way. With creative front yard gardens and plantings, you can transform your entry to reflect who you are and what's important to you.

Some people may tell you that front yards are for curb appeal, tied to resale property values and what potential buyers might like. They'll also tell you that backyards are the place to express yourself, if you must. But we like to challenge this way of thinking. Self-expression is just as important out front as it is out back — maybe even more so — especially when sustainability, biodiversity and gorgeous gardens converge.

Outdoor spaces are extensions of your home and your individuality. That goes for the space outside your front door as well as the back. The colors and textures that define your indoor style and bring your home that welcome, peaceful feeling can reach all the way to the curb. Beautiful, creative front yard gardens and plants are the key.

Flower beds in a front yard landscape in front of blue front and garage doorsPollinators enjoy front-yard wildflower meadows.

Say Goodbye to Traditional Front-Yard Thinking (but Keep the Good Parts)

In the United States, traditional front yard plantings often run toward neatly clipped evergreens lined along the foundation and framed with a traditional lawn. And while we're all for saying goodbye to that kind of thinking, we're also all in for keeping the good parts alive.

Think of the principles of traditional designs as "gardening tips" that can help you cut down the learning curve and avoid mistakes others made. As you get ready for your front yard makeover, make those tips your own and keep these suggestions in mind:

  • Start small, then grow. A huge makeover can be tempting, but it can also crimp your budget and free time. Think like a first-time gardener: start small, learn how much maintenance it takes and how much it yields, then expand. Front yard gardens, especially unconventional designs and plant choices, instill a new appreciation for maintenance skills.
  • Plan it; don't wing it. Your front yard garden makes a statement about who you are. So don't leave what they say to chance. Only you can create the garden you imagine, but unless you're the Jackson Pollock of plants, a little planning goes a long way. Think of it like a wedding toast for your two best friends. Don't sweat it, but think it through. Then let your front yard speak.
  • Look to sun and size. Whether your front yard is in sun, shade or both, choose plants that thrive in those conditions. Plan and plant according to mature plant size. If you're planning to replant every year, that's simple. But if you're planting for the long haul, size matters more. A shrub that hides a utility box is great; one that blocks windows or doors as it grows is not.
  • Start big; work down. Regardless of your project's size, start with the largest elements first. Trust us on this. Spaces can be deceiving. More than one gardener (and some gardeners more than once!) have ended up with no room for their crowning jewel. Stagger plants according to height so you enjoy all their smiling faces, kind of like choir concerts when you were a kid.

Incorporate Creative, Unconventional Entry Garden Ideas

With those tips in mind, now the real fun starts. Get creative, think outside the planting box, and let your imagination run. If perfect symmetry makes you happy, go for it. If asymmetry makes you happier, go that route instead. These unconventional front yard garden ideas can help maximize your fun:

  • Edible islands take veggies and fruits normally relegated to backyard gardens to the forefront. (Our organic seeds and live plants can get you there.) Brilliant red tomatoes, shiny eggplants or multicolored lettuce mixes are just as stunning as flowers. Some folks put traditional vegetable gardens out front, and if that's you, we're on board. But mingling islands of veggies and garden herbs with ornamentals is a whole different look to adore.
  • Mini wildflower meadows, flanking front doors or wrapped around other plants, add grace, movement and pollinator-friendly flowers to your plans. When planted with a defined garden edge like traditional foundation plantings, mini wildflower meadows combine wildness with a dash of sophistication that speaks volumes. Our Pennington Wildflower Mixes make mini meadows easier than ever before.
  • Sustainable lawn alternatives provide a living frame for your front entry gardens. Don't abandon your turfgrasses — just complement them with sustainable alternatives. Duplicate garden curves, accentuate sidewalks or create new designs in existing turf. Our naturally self-fertilizing Pennington Smart Seed Clover + Grass Mix can add color, clover blossoms and texture to your front yard, plus save on lawn fertilizer and watering — even on slopes and hills.
  • Unconventional plants and containers can add color and diversity to your front entry and garden beds. Go beyond annual flowers to tropical houseplants, flowering and foliage perennials, even shrubs and cut stems. Who says spiky indoor snake plants can't add oomph to mixed outdoor containers? Or that fresh-cut pussy willows aren't perfect companions for spring pansies in entry pots?

Outdoor containers — and front yards and entry gardens, for that matter — are like luxurious nature-inspired bouquets. There's room for all the different plants, colors, flowers, textures and fragrances you love. Plus, they can change with the seasons and reveal more of who you are.

Container gardens with pink hydrangeas, purple flowers and English ivy flank a front door.Container gardens that mix flowers, stems and vines can greet every season with a new look.

Make Soil Health and Plant Nutrition Part of Your Plan

When you see yourself in your front yard gardens — "spectacular" comes to mind — you know you've achieved your goal. Getting to that point and staying there is a whole lot simpler when you show your soil and plants some love. If you've ever seen a housing development before the sod goes down, you understand your front yard soil needs help. You can nurture your soil — and your entry designs — with regenerative, rejuvenating techniques.

Make soil your starting pointing. For in-ground plantings, trust your plants and your project to Pennington Rejuvenate Natural & Organic Garden Soil Mix. This revitalizing soil mix recharges soil with essential plant nutrients, added bio-stimulants, earthworm castings and sustainably sourced peat that work together to improve your native soil health and structure. That translates to happier plants out front.

For containers, turn to our Pennington Premium All Purpose Potting Soil Mix, the best soil for indoor and outdoor potted plants. You get all the same earth-friendly ingredients as our garden soil mix, plus water-holding crystals and a wetting agent that help optimize your water use so your front yard gardens are beautiful and sustainable.

While you're at it, nourish your plants from the inside out. The blend of natural and organic ingredients in our Pennington Rejuvenate Plant Foods revitalizes soil and helps your front plants thrive. From our all-purpose garden fertilizer to specialized formulas for roses and flowers, tomatoes and vegetables and more, you can help your plants reach their full potential and stay spectacular all season long.

At Pennington, we're here to help you break the mold of tradition and forge a yard and garden path all your own. We have a special gift for making yard and garden dreams come true. Grow with us. Let us help you nurture your roots.

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