Small front garden ideas - 10 inspirational ways to make a great first impression

Add kerb appeal and create a welcome entrance to your home, whatever its size, with clever planting, DIY and garden buys

front door with country style garden
(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you think your front garden is a purely functional space – somewhere for your recycling bins or a bike store – then think again. No matter its size, your small front garden ideas are really an opportunity to create something that gives a great first impression and that shows your home off to its very best. 

Whether it's super sunny or more shaded, you can opt for entirely different plants to that of your back garden ideas and plan something completely unique. From tiled paths to varying levels, beautiful flowers and borders to climbing plants, the options are endless – just ensure that you spend some time on it to make it an area that makes your heart sing every time you see it.

Small front garden ideas

From hanging baskets to front lawns there a re a whole host of ways to revamp your small front garden ideas. 'If you don’t have the space for beds and borders, you can still achieve an impactful display with containers,' says Marcus Eyles, Dobbies’ Horticultural Director.

'Early season primroses, violas and pansies work well in pots for beautiful spring colour, and you can cluster these together for maximum effect. Hanging baskets and window boxes are another great space saver and can be filled with seasonal plants for a cheerful display.

We've come up with 10 of the best ideas to get you started, so read on to find out how you can transform your small front garden into a space with big impact.

1. Go formal with topiary

front garden with topiary

(Image credit: Future PLC)

You'd be forgiven for thinking that small front garden ideas can't be made to feel luxurious, but you can easily elevate even the most compact area by adding some neat topiary. 

Whether you create a formal 'mini' garden like this one, or add some topiary balls or trees in planters, this low-maintenance option creates an ordered and well-kept look.

2. Add hanging baskets for colour and fragrance

hanging basket with flowers in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

No space for borders or beds? Then take your planting up high by planting up a hanging basket that overflows with colourful blooms. Not only will they give passers-by or guests at your front door an attractive welcome, but you'll also be able to satisfy your gardening urges, by changing the baskets up for the seasons and playing with different flowers to mix colours and aromas.

3. Lay tiles for a smart look

exterior of house with tiled garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

There's nothing to say your front garden has to have a lawn – in fact, when you have a really small front garden it can often make sense to tile it instead. This way you can add interest with pattern and colour, and give your garden a hard-standing base on which to put planters or furniture.

Make sure the tiles you choose are designed to be used outside, not only so they can withstand the elements but also so they won't get too slippery when wet. 

Here, the black in the geometric tile design has been picked out for the fence and curb colour, creating a stylish and considered finished look.

4. Encourage climbers

front of house with climbing plants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you have limited space for greenery, look to your walls for planting options. From trailing ivy to fragranced florals, easy-climbing plant ideas and vines are perfect for framing your doorway or windows and can also help disguise any ugly masonry or siding.

Trellis is ideal for varieties like wisteria or climbing roses, which you can tie to the framework to support them. You'll need to take into account how much sun the front of your property gets, and whether they can be planted in a pot – and then there's just some annual pruning involved to stop them covering your roof or windows. 

5. Give it a cottage garden vibe

front door with country style garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Take inspiration from country cottage garden ideas, which often don't have a vast amount of space but make the most of what they do have with planting that fills all areas. Go for an informal mix of bulbs, annuals and perennials, rather than more manicured borders, and experiment with plants and flowers at different heights.

The idea here is to cover your small garden ideas with planting varieties that bring you joy and cover your ground space – detracting from the garden's small footprint and drawing attention to the greenery and flowers instead.

6. Keep it open with a low-level fence

front garden with white picket fence

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When you don't have a large front garden it can sometimes feel as though the area is boxed in, especially if you have a large fence, wall or gate blocking your view out. That's why putting in a low-level fence can help to make the garden feel more open.

Garden fence ideas that have open elements between the slats are also good for helping to open areas up, especially picket fences like these.

7. Build up colour with potted plants

potted plants in garden

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When space is at a premium you may not have room for lush garden border ideas to give your home's exterior colour, but you can still grow flowers and plants in pots. Group them together and opt for different varieties for interest. And, if floor space is limited, you could always opt for window boxes instead.

8. Squeeze in a seat

front garden with wooden bench

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Make your front garden a place to linger with a small seat to perch on. It doesn't have to be big – even a small narrow bench will suffice as the best garden furniture option – but it will give even the most compact space a feeling of being somewhere to sit and relax, whether it's as a break from doing any weeding, or as a spot to pull off muddy wellies before going inside.

9. Balance pebbles and planting

garden with pebbles and lavender

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Pebbles work well in small front gardens and can make any cracked paving or uneven earth look tidy and more attractive. If you can, get a mix of both pebbles and planting, which will ensure the space feels more interesting, while still providing a practical and cost-effective option.

10. Create dedicated blocks of colour

front garden with planting and pink front door

(Image credit: Future PLC)

From your plants to furniture, exterior walls to your front door, use colour to create a stimulating outdoor environment. Put just as much thought into the colour scheme for your small front garden as you do with the rest of your home, bringing interest in with brightly-coloured flowers, lush greenery or even a pastel-coloured front door like this one.

How do you make a small front garden look good?

'When it comes to designing a small garden, making the most of the space you have is essential so vertical planting options are a great solution,' says Dobbies’ Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles. 'Not only will these free up room, they’ll create an instant impact and can be used to grow everything, from flowering plants and perennials, to herbs and leafy greens.

'Climbing plants are another great way to add charm and dimension without sacrificing a lot of space,' Marcus continues. 'Varieties such as Clematis Montana and Sweetpeas work well with most fences and walls and will elevate your garden with their eye-catching flowers and fragrance.'

How do I make my front garden look good on a budget?

You don't have to spend a lot to get a small front garden looking good – even using tiles or paint can count as budget garden ideas as the quantity needed will be smaller, and so more affordable.

'If you do have a small patch of lawn in your garden, consider creating a low-maintenance wildflower patch with pollinating plants for wildlife to thrive,' says Marcus Eyles. 'Affordable wildflower seeds will bloom in just a few short weeks and you’ll start seeing pollinators almost immediately, which will give your garden a wonderful buzz and sense of life just in time for spring.'

'Another way to maximise a small garden is by growing your own fruit and vegetables in containers. Carrots, potatoes, peas, tomatoes, beetroot and salad leaves all lend themselves well to being grown in pots and will allow you to reap the benefits of fresh produce, even if you’re working with limited space.'

Laurie Davidson

Laurie Davidson is a professional stylist, writer and content creator, who lives and breathes interiors. Having worked for some of the UK’s leading interior magazines, styled homes up and down the country and produced sets for TV shows, adverts and top brands, it’s safe to say Laurie has had a pretty exciting career. Find her on Instagram at @lifeofaninteriorstylist or over at