There are so many great reasons to create exceptional curb appeal at the front door. Striving to be the envy of the neighborhood? Or are you envisioning a more welcoming entrance. Perhaps it is time to sell the house. On the other hand, it might be a great time to put in some landscape plants to compliment the recently installed new porch or siding.
Great design and planting ideas to boost your curb appeal are a wonderful way to achieve all the above.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Front Yard Space
Before going too far down the creative rabbit hole, it is best to face reality. Set realistic goals for the future plants. Ask yourself some important questions to determine some goals, dreams, expectations, and limitations of the front of your home.
How much time do you want to spend in the front yard?
Love gardening? A new or experienced gardener might dream big and plant gorgeous, exotic, or rare plants that need pruning, replanting, and tidying at the front door. A lover of gardening may want to spend every evening and most Saturday’s and Sunday’s out front, primping and priming the planted beauties!
On the other hand, another type of gardener may want to walk through a lovely, tidy, low-maintenance entrance and wave at the neighbors, before quietly receding to the privacy of the backyard.
When planning the plants for the front entrance make sure to consider high or low maintenance design.
Is the front yard a place you would enjoy spending lots of time?
Do you want to be friendly with the neighbors? Is there a great view, and nice weather?
Maybe the front yard is a welcoming place, perfect for a little sitting area. For instance, it may be suited for some fragrant plantings to enjoy when welcoming visitors who stop by.
Alternatively, is it full blast in the hot sun all day with a ton of noisy traffic?
In this case, it might be a great place for a tall evergreen hedge and a large specimen tree to create shade for the front door and house.
Will the front of the house be a high-traffic area?
If guests, pets, and kids will be running all over the front yard, it may be important to create some delineation of where to walk, and, importantly, where not to walk.
3 Design Must Haves for Instant Curb Appeal
Begin with the Big Picture
Take it all in. Walk around the front yard and out to the street. Try to see the front entrance and yard with new eyes. Notice the style of the home with the intention of matching the future landscaping.
For instance, a cozy cottage style home might invite a cottage garden theme. On the other hand, a modern or contemporary home with simple, geometric lines may lend itself well to repetitive, complementary, or slightly softening lines.
Set Up for Success
Plants are a wonderful way to make your home more welcoming. Set them up for success by building excellent growing areas for them. Often, homes are built on solid, compact ground. This is excellent for pouring concrete but essentially awful for trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals.
Plan to excavate areas of poor-quality ground to fill with high-quality soil. This is specifically important for foundation plantings of trees and shrubs. Alternatively, you might build raised garden beds or use planters, urns, or hanging baskets.
Go the extra mile right from the start by installing an automatic irrigation system. This saves an impressive amount of water and time. Solar lighting is another excellent addition to increase curb appeal and show off your landscape efforts.
Right Plant in the Right Place
Importantly, consider how much sun, shade, snow, rain, and wind there is in the front yard.
As an example, a lovely specimen tree won’t be too pretty after the roof sheds a heavy load of snow on it and breaks all the branches. Similarly, it is only too sad, after waiting all spring for the cherry blossoms, to see the pretty petals are blown off in the wind on their first day.
In contrast, herbaceous perennials can take a snow load and grow quickly again next spring. Indeed, some even love the extra moisture. Likewise, some plants look wonderful and airy dancing and waving in windy places.
Importantly, choose plants that fit your growing zone, climate, conditions, and sun/shade aspects of the front door to improve the success of your curb appeal choices.
15 Front Yard Plants for Instant Curb Appeal
Specimen Trees & Shrubs
1. Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
Stand Out Feature: Stunning 3-inch flowers and wonderful fall foliage.
Size: 12 to 36 feet (4 to 12 m) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist acidic soil. Sun to part shade. Zones 5 to 9.
2. Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
Stand Out Feature: Deeply cut maple leaves in purple, pink, red, and green color varieties on graceful branches.
Size: 15 to 35 feet (5 to 12 m) tall and wide.
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist neutral to acidic soil. Sun to part shade. Zones 5 to 8.
3. Rugosa Roses (Rosa rugosa)
Stand Out Feature: Hardy, robust rose with fragrant long-lived blooms. May also make a fine choice for hedges.
Size: 4 to 8 feet (120 cm to 240 cm) tall and 4 to 6 feet (120 cm to 180 cm) wide.
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist acidic, neutral, or alkaline soil. Sun to part shade. Zones 2 to 7.
4. Magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Stand Out Feature: Large, fragrant, star or bowl-shaped flowers in spring on either deciduous or evergreen trees.
Size: Small tree varieties are compact, reaching 15 feet (5 m), while large tree varieties may reach up to 80 feet (26 m) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Fertile, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Sun to part shade. Zones 4 to 10.
5. Crabapple (Malus)
Stand Out Feature: Spring flowers, attractive fruit, and lovely growing habit.
Size: Small crabapple trees grow 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 m). The largest crabapple trees reach over 40 feet (12 m) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Well-drained soil of sand, loam, or clay. Sun to part shade.
Best Shrubs for Front Entrance Hedges
6. English Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Stand Out Feature: Beauty, style, privacy, security, and holiday décor, all in one large, distinctive hedge. Glossy green, sharply lobed leaves make the perfect backdrop for the vibrant red berries.
Size: Up to 15 feet (5 m) tall, and 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 m) wide.
Zone and Growing Condition: Fertile, slightly acidic, well-draining soil. Full sun to partial shade. Zones 5 to 9.
7. Rhododendron (Rhododendron)
Stand Out Feature: Showstopping large flower clusters in an excellent range of colors. Smooth, waxy, evergreen leaves look great all through the year.
Size: Miniature Rhododendron may grow only 1 foot (30 cm) tall, low-growing varieties may grow 5 to 6 feet (150 to 180 cm) tall, and the largest types may reach over 20 feet (6.5 m) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist, slightly acidic soils. In humid, cooler climates, full sun is tolerated. Part sun to shade in drier conditions, especially in winter. Zones 4 to 8.
8. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)
Stand Out Feature: The gateway plant to formal gardening. Boxwood takes well to shaping. It is a small broadleaf evergreen with smooth, bright green leaves.
Size: 3 to 5 feet (90 to 150 cm) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist, well-draining, alkaline soil. Sun to part shade. Too much sun may scorch leaves. However, too much shade may cause plant to grow spindlier. Zones 5 to 8.
9. Arborvitea (Thuja)
Stand Out Feature: Thuja dominates in the privacy screen hedge category! They are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Indeed, Arborvitea may be small and round or enormous giants.
Size: From 1 foot (30 cm) to over 60 feet (18 m).
Zone and Growing Condition: Moist, well-draining soil. Sun to part shade. Protect from deer, drought, salt, and wind for luxurious green growth. Zone 2 to 11.
10. Bigleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
Stand Out Feature: This queen of the shrubs has many species. Additionally, this hydrangea species has many varieties which are classed in two groups, mopheads and lacecaps. It gets even more interesting as the sterile flowers last extremely long, make excellent dried flowers, and even change color throughout their lives. Incredibly, a single plant may have flowers of differing ages and different colors!
Size: Height and spread of 4 to 5 feet (120 to 150 cm).
Zone and Growing Condition: Rich, moist, well-drained soils. Part shade. May tolerate full sun if kept consistently moist. Zone 6 to 9.
11. Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
Stand Out Feature: Excellent groundcover that looks great all year long. Importantly, they make wonderful filler to help keep challenging areas clean and tidy. Creeping juniper comes in a wide selection of colors and textures. Additionally, they are low maintenance and drought tolerant.
Size: Depending on the cultivar, creeping juniper may spread up to 20 feet (6.5 m).
Zone and Growing Condition: Poorer soil of loam or clay. Full sun to part sun. Zones 3 to 10.
12. Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera)
Stand Out Feature: This gorgeous low maintenance ground cover is an eyecatcher when it is smothered in fragrant blooms in Spring.
Size: 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) tall, spreading 9 to 18 inches (20 to 45 cm) wide.
Zone and Growing Condition: Well-draining loam soil that is acidic, neutral, or alkaline. Full to partial sun. Zones 3 to 9.
Long-Blooming, Showstopping Perennials
13. Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Stand Out Feature: This long-blooming perennial is a must have for the low-maintenance garden. Once established, these showy bloomers are incredible when in bloom. On the other hand, their long arching grassy-like foliage looks great too! For the plant obsessed, the available variety of flower shades and shapes will keep you searching for your next favorite daylily!
Size: 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall and wide.
Zone and Growing Condition: All soil types. Sun and shade but may bloom more in sun. Zones 3 to 9.
14. Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
Stand Out Feature: Catch the attention of the passersby with the vibrant blooms of this stately daisy-like flower. Tall and distinct, a carefree plant that handles just about any situation. Importantly, Black Eyed Susan really shines in the in-between time when some of the garden is fading out in midsummer.
Size: 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 cm) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Clay loam soil. Full sun to sun. Zone 3 to 7.
15. Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Stand Out Feature: Wonderful scent to carry through weeks at the end of summer. Furthermore, the masses of vibrant blooms can be admired from afar.
Size: 2 to 4 feet (60 to 120 cm) tall.
Zone and Growing Condition: Rich, heavy soil with reasonable drainage. Full sun to sun. Zones 4 to 8.
Related Reading: 17 Long Living Perennials For Everlasting Beauty
Regardless of the reasons, plants at the front door will help to create exceptional curb appeal to catch the eye of the passersby.