Front garden design: tips & ideas for a low-maintenance front garden


I am a student of agricultural sciences and a real country kid. At home, I love tending my small vegetable garden and spending time out in nature. When not outdoors, I love to write. Beyond gardening and writing, however, I am particularly passionate about wildlife.

Favourite fruit: currants and raspberries
Favourite vegetables: salsify, savoy cabbage and potatoes

The front garden is the flagship of any property. In this article, we present ideas for a low-maintenance and attractive front garden design.

House with front garden
The front garden is the business card of the house [Photo: karamysh/]

It is considered the business card of the house. The front garden is the first thing you see when you enter a property and is therefore particularly lovingly and intensively cared for by many homeowners. But often, designing the front garden can be a headache, after all, it should not just look appealing all year around and offer visitors a good impression, but should also be easy to maintain and relatively practical. In addition, a particularly harmonious image is created when the front garden is adapted to the style of the house. We’ll explain what to keep in mind and how you can improve your front garden to ensure it is not only beautiful, but also low-maintenance, here.

The design of a low-maintenance but at the same time appealing front garden is not rocket science – you just need to know which basic things to pay attention to. We reveal what you need to know in terms of styling your front garden, but also in the selection of plants and creation of paths.

Here is what you should consider when designing your front garden

The most important point when creating a front garden is the right style, which should be based on the architecture of the building. For example, older farmhouses or dreamy country homes are best suited to romantic front gardens decorated in the style of a farmer’s garden, especially with flowering perennials or dramatic roses (Rosa). The clean lines of modern architecture, on the other hand, are best showcased when they are already echoed in the front yard. Here, clearly separated beds in geometric shapes combined with slow-growing woody plants stylishly set the scene for the house.

Bush with pink flowers by house
Flowery front gardens go well with rural homes [Photo: Kent Weakley/]

The demarcation from other properties also contributes to the charisma of a front garden. Here, above all, the size of the plot should be taken into account when considering the best edging. Small front gardens not only look visually smaller with large hedge plants or high screens, but also receive less light and exude a dark, uncomfortable ambience – here you should rely on low hedges – for example, made of box trees (Buxus) -, smaller walls or translucent wood and metal fences. For particularly large front gardens, on the other hand, hedge plants can make perfect sense, because they not only protect against prying eyes, but can also score quite well visually.

But not only the visual aspects of the front garden should be considered – practical concerns must also be incorporated into the design. For example, meandering garden paths are nice to look at, but they could turn out to be quite impractical in everyday life. It is better to have straight, direct pathways that have a minimum width of 1.3 metres, so that two people can walk comfortably on them side-by side. The choice of material here depends on personal taste, but you should pay particular attention to surefootedness – even in wet conditions. In addition to beds and paths, many front garden owners also lay paved areas where, for example, bicycles can be parked or rubbish bins can be stored. That’s why it’s important to plan things like the walkways right from the design stage – that way you’ll be able to enjoy your front garden later without worrying about impractical little things.

Hedges in house's front garden
Half-height hedges provide adequate light for small front gardens [Photo: karamysh/]

The right choice of plants for the front garden

The design of a front garden stands and falls with the right choice of plants, because only through planting does the small piece of land become a real gem. The basis for this is so-called permanent planting, which consists of evergreen shrubs and smaller trees. When selecting trees, pay particular attention to small, slow-growing varieties: although sprawling deciduous trees and mighty conifers look impressive, they also darken windows and require a lot of care to remain in the front garden permanently. Better suited are evergreen woody plants such as holly (Ilex) or rhododendron (Rhododendron). Colourful accents, on the other hand, are flowering plants that can be changed depending on the season. In spring, bulbous flowers such as crocuses (Crocus) or daffodils (Narcissus) can make for colourful beds, while annual flowers decorate the garden particularly well in summer. It is best to use native or succulent species for this – these are much less maintenance than exotic plants but are in no way inferior to them in terms of beauty.

The 9 most beautiful front garden ideas

Below, we’d like to share nine more special ideas with you, which will make your front garden a very special eye-catcher.

1. A succulent garden

Succulents have several advantages in the front garden: not only are they particularly easy to care for, but they also offer attractive colour accents outside of the flowering season and have a visually appealing effect. Such succulent beds can be set in scene with houseleeks (Sempervivum) and sedum plants (Sedum), especially in small front gardens, as they look good with stone paths. The bed looks more interesting if you add additional height differences – for example, through a raised bed.

Various succulents in front garden
Succulents are not only visually appealing, but also easy to care for [Photo: Simone Hogan/]

2. Including the wall of the house

No room for colourful flowering plants? Even though beds in small front gardens often have to give way to more practical spaces, as a homeowner you do not have to do without beautiful flowers. On trellises on the facade of the house, climbing plants such as the clematis (Clematis), climbing roses or wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) can wind majestically upwards and delight us with their flowering splendour, without taking up much space.

Wisteria with flowers by house
If you do not have much space, you can cover your facade with wisteria [Photo: DavidYoung/]

3. Geometric shapes

In combination with modern architecture, geometric shapes in the front garden provide a special eye-catcher. The clear division of space between walkways, strictly laid-out beds and structured garden areas has a modern effect and can be designed to be particularly labour-saving thanks to low-maintenance plants. Low topiary hedges and splashes of colour in the form of flowering perennials complete the overall picture.

Hedges in geometric shapes
Geometrically designed front gardens are very modern [Photo: Frank Gaertner/]

4. An edible front garden

Admittedly, an edible front garden is a somewhat unusual variant. However, selective planting of edible plants not only brings an abundant harvest, but is also visually appealing, especially in rural areas. Hedges of elderberry (Sambucus), currants (Ribes) or sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) can be used as a boundary while a small fruit tree forms the centre of the garden. Edible flowering perennials such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), sage (Salvia) or chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) around out the edible front garden so that it is not inferior to the classic front garden in any respect.

Bush with red berries
Edible front gardens are unusual, but they’re also pretty and practical [Photo: tm_zml/]

5. Bee friendly sea of flowers

More and more gardeners are turning to low-maintenance gravel beds as front gardens – with fatal consequences for insects: beneficial insects such as honey bees or bumblebees often no longer find food in these stone deserts. The remedy is front gardens that rely on bee-friendly plants. So you can seed flower meadows instead of lawns, or swap bee-unfriendly arborvitae hedges for berry bushes. Bees are not the only ones that benefit from this front garden trend, people also appreciate the colourful variety of flowers, which in addition requires little care.

Many flowers in front garden
Those who rely on wildflowers in their front garden are doing something good for insects [Photo: Vicky Jirayu/]

6. Grass garden

Few probably associate grass with a stylish garden design – in fact, front gardens can be made not only low-maintenance but also strikingly beautiful with ornamental grasses. Large ornamental grasses such as the majestic ‘Karl Foerster’ moor grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora) and particularly colourful species such as switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) provide a real eye-catcher. Flowering companion plants such as bulb flowers and fragrant summer bloomers provide stylish accents.

Clusters of decorative grass
Front gardens can also be great with low-maintenance grasses [Photo: Nancy Bauer/]

7. Natural stone walls

A border can be beautiful: With natural stones and lush planting, a half-height wall looks almost inviting and matures into a real highlight of the front garden. Drought-loving rock garden plants such as moss phlox (Phlox subulata) or rock soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides) thrive optimally here and need virtually no care to spread their natural charm.

Stone wall in front garden
Natural stone walls are real eye-catchers [Photo: Elena Elisseeva/]

8. English front garden

Perfectly imperfect – that best describes the style of the English front garden: behind white fences, a sprawling range of lush flowering plants such as lilies (Lilium), lilacs (Syringa) or shrub roses. The romantic charm of the front garden is created mainly by the seemingly wild growth of the plant, which allows the gardener to take a step back once in a while. Fittingly, you can add a finishing touch to your front garden with a cast iron garden bench.

Flowers growing by white fence
The English front garden captivates with countless flowers [Photo: Jorge Salcedo/]

9. Mediterranean front garden

A mediterranean garden is the dream of many homeowners – but a Mediterranean front garden yard can also set some hearts racing. Lavender and boxwood provide a great design all year around without high maintenance. Even Mediterranean herbs such as thyme (Thymus) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can be attractively incorporated into the front garden. The whole concept is rounded off by walkways made of natural stone in warm colours.

Garden with fountain by wall
The Mediterranean garden relies on stone paths in warm colours [Photo: suchai.guai/]