Your front garden is the first thing you – and your visitors – see. A well tended to lawn, characterful porch or striking floral display can immediately lift a house’s facade and add instant curb appeal. Alternatively, an enclosed front garden can also help foster a sense of privacy and security, incorporating distance between the public and private spheres. Above all, the front garden sets the tone and character of your house, so it makes sense that you should want to create a space that embodies that. After all, everybody likes to make a good first impression.
Love your garden? Visit the Ideal Home garden shop and check out our curated collection of flowers and shrubs.
Whether you have expansive grounds or a prim patio, stone courtyard or picket fence, there’s a wealth of front garden ideas when it comes to the design elements you can incorporate. Trailing flowers or shrubs add instant country charm, while pretty accessories such as bunting or coloured lanterns can make a more modern statement. Footpaths are practical as they prevent mud being trawled indoors and are easy to see in the dark, but choosing the material and style will, of course, depend on individual needs and taste.
Short on space? Not to worry. A practical patio which doubles up as a place to park your car or bike can, when combined with neat ornamental touches, remain an attractive focal point. Similarly, tea lights, whether real or solar-powered, will ramp up the cosiness factor and make even the smallest nook feel inviting. Whatever path – sorry – you choose, you’ll be sure to find plenty of inspiration here.
With summer's flowers fading, your front garden may be looking tired. However, if you put aside a few hours for a quick revamp, you can create an entrance to be proud of. Above all, a front garden should be easy to keep looking tidy.
Unless you have lots of time, aim for fuss-free landscaping and low-maintenance plants. Your front garden is mainly going to be viewed against the backdrop of your property, so choose a look that enhances its best features and conceals its less appealing one.
Clipped shrubs such as box and bay look wonderful in front of homes with a formal facade. Topiary bushes aren't cheap, however - from around £80 for a pair of simple ball-shaped bushes to well over £200 for a pair of spiral designs. Water regularly, and consider chaining your plant pots to railings to ensure that opportunistic thieves don't make off with your precious plants.
Trim plants in June and August for best results. Get into a routine of applying slow-release fertiliser granules every three months and re-potting every two years.
Get the look with artificial topiary bushes - try Bloom for realistic ones.
Think of roses around a front door and a country cottage springs to mind, but there are varieties that can be used to enhance the front of almost any home. Find inspiration at David Austen Roses. Consider practical details such as how sunny your spot is, how often you want to prune and if you want to deal with thorns, as well as your preference for colour and scent.
Think about when you want flowers for your garden. Some roses have just one flush each year, while others bloom for months. Can't decide? Some roses start in one shade and mature to another; odorata mutablis offers yellow, pink and crimson flowers all on one bush.
Keep soil and grass from being walked into your hallway with a simple garden path, which can be an attractive feature in its own right. Use materials that suit your home; so if you have brick walls and a slate roof, consider using brick edging and slate paving.
White pebbles or gravel will highlight your route as it gets dark, and the crunching underfoot will alert you to a visitor's arrival. You can lay new gravel (from £3 per bag) yourself if the path isn't too long, but you might need to get the professionals in to lay paving. If so, obtain three quotes for the work and expect to pay £20 to £60 per sq m.
Deter thieves by choosing a large, heavy container that's difficult to move. Old troughs and Belfast sinks are inexpensive and look great.
Plant up garden containers
in situ, as they'll be even heavier when filled with compost. Position
them near the house as you won't want to trek far with your watering can
on hot days! Think bold for a container of this scale. Choose tall
purple amaranthus or orange mimulus for the centre and nasturtium
Empress of India for the edges. Osteospermum is perfect for September
planting as it blooms until the first frosts. Plant up window boxes in the same way, opting for low-growing varieties.
Save money by making up your own hanging basket, rather than buying a ready-made one. Place the basket over a wastepaper bin to hold it securely in place while you work. Add a liner, compost and plenty of water-retaining gel crystals and slow-release fertiliser. Mix well and water to allow the crystals to swell.
Opt for fast-growing hanging basket flowers, such as pink Surfinia petunias and white bacopa. They cost from 85p each, and you’ll only need four per basket. Hang in a sunny spot, water every day, and you should have a colourful show in around two or three weeks. Remove dead flowers frequently to encourage more to bloom.
Transform your front garden with beautiful trailing flowers or greenery around the front door. An instant way to add country charm, plants will soften the facade of any home.
Light up a small garden with tealights or lanterns. Solar lights are ideal - simply leave them outside during the day and they will provide up to 5 hours of glow during the evening.
Need space to park your bike or car? Consider a patio or gravel driveway in a small front garden. You can still keep it colourful with wall hung decorations or potted plants.
Introduce a bit of nautical style to your front garden with a weathered wicker bench and fresh blue and white cushions. Perfect for placing underneath a window, a comfy garden bench will allow you to kick back on a summers evening and watch the world go by.
Make an statement in your front garden with pretty garden accessories. These paper decorations create an instant party atmosphere.
Brighten up a plain front garden with colourful glass lanterns filled with tealights. These can be hung from a garden fence or strung from a tree to add instant colour and interest.
If you're lucky enough to have a picket fence surrounding your front garden, make the most of it by creating a country-style arch over your garden gate.
Decking is a great way to add character to your front garden design. A raised decking area with a porch swing is a quintessentially American style which translates just as well across the pond.
A well kept garden path leading to your front door will make a good first impression. This slate path is a smart option for country style.