12 Small Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

A house with a small and healthy front yard

We’ve all heard the saying, “less is more,” and it has become a design mantra, ushered in by the spike in sustainability and minimalist interior design movements. Beautiful landscapes come in all shapes and sizes, and your small front yard can steal the show. Discover 12 small front yard landscaping ideas to make your pint-sized paradise the envy of the neighborhood.

12 landscaping ideas for a small front yard

1. Create a focal point

Flower decoration in the middle of a yard
Photo Credit: PxHere

Create a focal point in your small front yard to draw the eye into a centerpiece. Your focal point anchors your lawn, providing a point of interest that reflects your style and the theme of your landscaping design. They also add depth to compact yards. 

Some popular front yard focal points include unique plantings like small to medium-sized trees with vibrant foliage, beautiful blooms, or unique growth habits. You also can consider a large shrub or captivating archway or arbor, complete with climbing vines. 

Cost: Prefabricated DIY arbor kits are a great way to enhance your small front yard’s look, costing between $375 to $1,380.

2. Choose colorful containers

Flower plants in pots
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Save space with colorful containers and window boxes. They provide a great way to introduce plants into your front yard design without overwhelming your space or taking up valuable real estate in your turfgrass. Select compact varieties and strategically place them around your entryway, front porch, and landscape to create visual interest without overcrowding. 

Container gardens are low-maintenance, cost-effective, and customizable. Plant annuals in your pots or boxes for seasonal colors that won’t break the bank. You also can opt for herbs that will help create a pest-free environment naturally (bonus points for doing double duty in the kitchen).

Cost: Flower pots range in price considerably depending on the size and material, but you can expect to spend between $1.50 to $65 per pot.

3. Unify your color palette

Front yard with unified color palette
Photo Credit: tab1962 | Canva Pro | License

Create harmony with a cohesive color palette. Unifying your color palette minimizes a cluttered appearance and creates order for a well-organized front yard that feels more spacious. A consistent color theme can make your small front yard appear larger. Color repetition tricks the eye into perceiving space as more expansive. 

Select a limited range of colors when choosing your landscape plants, keeping in mind foliage shades and blooms. 

Cost: Opt for perennial plant varieties that bloom year after year. The cost varies depending on the size and type, but typically perennial plants cost between $5 to $50 per specimen. However, large shrubs can cost as much as $100 or more. 

4. Keep it low maintenance

xeriscape garden with succulents, palm trees, and gravel
Photo Credit: Jeremy Levine | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

A low-maintenance yard seems like a no-brainer. It is a practical and smart approach to make the most out of a small space, and a low-maintenance front yard remains more attractive in between maintenance sessions. 

Not only will you save money on watering, fertilizing, and lawn maintenance, but you also will make your front yard appear larger. Well-maintained foliage and a tidy appearance enhance your outdoor space. However, even a slightly unkempt small yard becomes unsightly and cramped. 

Consider planting low-maintenance native plants or opt for xeriscaping to eliminate replanting and weather-related challenges. Install a hardscape rock garden complete with succulents and cacti to create a tidy focal point that conserves water or lay down mulch to protect your native garden from weeds.  

Cost: There are a lot of ways to source free rocks and mulch locally, so be sure to ask around. However, you can expect to spend between $40 to $140 per cubic yard for landscape rocks, not including professional installation, and around $20 to $60 per cubic yard for mulch. 

5. Grow up and use vertical space

staircase handrail being used as a trellis for climbing plants, with potted plants all around the steps
Photo Credit: Michael John Button | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Instead of focusing your attention outwards, maximize your small front yard’s vertical space. Trellises, arbors, and wall-mounted containers create vibrant focal points without taking up valuable space in your lawn, which can make your outdoor area seem busy and crowded. 

Growing vertically adds dimension to your yard, creating a layered and textured appearance. Introduce vertical progression by choosing climbing vines, tall shrubs, or a small tree. Vertical plants also can create natural barriers and provide privacy, shielding your home from the street or neighbors, while simultaneously reducing noise pollution.

Cost: Landscape shrubs cost between $10 to $200 per specimen depending on the size. 

6. Opt for small trees

Landscaping a front yard with small trees
Photo Credit: JodiJacobson | Canva Pro | License

Size matters, and incorporating small trees into your front yard is a strategic choice. They add vertical interest and create a focal point without overpowering limited space. Small trees still provide a haven for local wildlife, produce shade, and screen your property from nosy neighbors. However, they are also easier to maintain and typically require less pruning.

Create a focal point by planting a single small tree in your front yard, focusing on ornate blooms, colorful foliage, or unique growth habits. Avoid overcrowding by minimizing the number of specimens you plant and don’t plant over two trees in your small front yard.

Some small tree options include: 

  • Crabapple
  • Dogwood
  • Dwarf cherry
  • Japanese maple
  • Serviceberry

Cost: Planting a small tree or sapling costs an average of $95 per specimen depending on the variety. 

7. Define borders

Flowers and lawn separated with pavers in a yard
Photo Credit: beachboy | Canva Pro | License

A well-organized yard and visually appealing layout can maximize space and enhance it. Borders help achieve order and separate planting areas, garden beds, and hardscape sections. Create boundaries with stones, bricks, pavers, or rows of carefully spaced plants. 

Borders aren’t just aesthetically pleasing either. They simplify your yard maintenance and prevent plants from encroaching on one another or your grass. Consider adding borders with different textures and colors to create personality in your small landscape.

Cost: Professional edging costs $710 to $2,200 for concrete installation. However, you can DIY the project with concrete blocks or other materials for a lot less.

8. Layer your landscaping

Layered plants
Photo Credit: MOCCABUNNY | Canva Pro | License

Layering creates a multidimensional small front yard landscape design that adds depth and creates a dynamic look. Plant different species of plants with varying heights to introduce vertical progression, drawing the eye upwards. This process maximizes your small front yard’s visual impact and allows you to make the most of your limited space. 

Stacking vertical elements in your garden design also allows you to fit more plantings, textures, and colors into a compact area. Create zones or pockets of interest by defining each layer. These zones make watering and maintenance more practical and taller elements can also help add privacy to your front yard. 

Cost: Add texture, color, and height with ornamental grasses. They require minimal care and many are drought-tolerant plants. Ornamental grasses cost $5 to $50 each, depending on the specimen. 

9. Enhance your entryway

Entry way of a luxury house
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Enhancing your entryway is one of the easiest ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal and make it more memorable and inviting, setting the tone for your home’s exterior. If you have a small front porch to go along with your small front yard, consider adding a seating area fit for the space.

Frame your entryway with strategically planted flowers or shrubs or brighten up steps with cheerful containers. Some homeowners even install water features near their entryways to mask the urban noise. Create a defined pathway leading to your front door with pavers, gravel, or flagstone, and consider installing outdoor lighting to illuminate the path and your entryway. 

Above all, infuse your entryway with your style. It is the first step to a great and lasting first impression, so be sure to keep your entryway clean and tidy. 

Cost: There are plenty of DIY options available. However, professional water fountain installation costs between $1,100 to $7,500, depending on the size and complexity. You can also expect to spend around $1,620 for professional walkway installation. 

10. Privacy, please

Hydrangea by the fence
Photo Credit: PxHere

Everyone wants their privacy and the sense of ease it brings with it. Create a serene landscaped front yard away from prying eyes by incorporating tall plants or evergreen shrubs into your landscape to act as natural screens. Opt for species fit for a living fence like hydrangea that grows upright and dense. These plants will obscure your home while protecting its precious space. 

Traditional fencing like a white picket fence is also an option for adding privacy to your small yard. You also can consider incorporating modern elements like an archway into your fencing design to include colorful climbing plants and greenery, like jasmine or ivy. 

Cost: Professional fence installation costs an average of $3,440. 

11. Install landscape lighting

House driveway with lights and part of the front of the car
Photo Credit: welcomia | Canva Pro | License

Elevate the appeal and functionality of your front yard with landscape lighting. Pathway lighting, accent lighting, and motion-activated lighting are all great options for small yards. Install pathway lights along your walkway or driveway to illuminate your way. If security is your primary concern, opt for motion-activated flood lights near entrances or dark areas. 

You also can incorporate accent lights to play up focal points in your yard and make it appear larger. Uplights make a great addition to trees or flags, while spotlights work well for highlighting sculptures. You also can install string lights on your front porch for a touch of whimsy. 

Cost: Professional landscape lighting, including materials, installation, and labor, costs an average of $3,500. 

12. Go no-mow with groundcover

Groundcover plant
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Embrace low-maintenance landscaping with a no-mow approach. Groundcover creates a living carpet that typically eliminates the need for regular mowing. Most varieties also require less water and fertilizer. 

Groundcover creates a dense layer, which stabilizes soil, reducing weeds and erosion. Plant a creeping groundcover alongside mulched areas and stepping stone paths to create a low-maintenance front yard. Furthermore, opt for a flowering variety to embrace a cottage garden.  

Popular groundcover varieties include: 

  • Candytuft
  • Creeping thyme
  • Ground morning glory
  • Sedum
  • Vinca

Cost: Groundcover plants cost around $2 per specimen, depending on the variety.

FAQ about landscaping a small front yard

How do I incorporate modern design elements into a small front yard? 

Modernism is all about clean lines and a minimalistic approach. Incorporate sharp edges and a “less is more” philosophy into your landscape design. Use simple, structured shapes to achieve a contemporary look and opt for materials like concrete, metal, and glass. 

How do I create a garden in a small front yard?

Create a front yard garden by planning and maximizing the space. Select compact or dwarf plants, use vertical elements, mix in edibles, and define borders to create a distinct garden area in your front yard. 

To make your flower bed garden more visually appealing year-round, combine evergreen varieties with seasonal flowering plants. 

Can I grow vegetables or herbs in a small front yard garden? 

Yes. Herbs grow well in containers, and many vegetables thrive in small spaces. Consider adding a raised bed to the front of your house or use vertical gardening techniques to maintain a tidy garden while maximizing your yield. 

Elevate your small front yard with expertise

Just because your front yard is small doesn’t mean you don’t have big plans for it. If you don’t have time to tackle the job on your own or you just want some expertise along the way, let Lawn Love connect you with a local landscaping company to help you develop a customized design idea to create your beautiful front yard.

Main Photo Credit: tab1962 / Canva Pro / License

Kimberly Magerl

Kimberly Magerl is a writer and data analyst specializing in landscaping, gardening, lawn care, and pest control. She enjoys growing orchids, tending to fruits and vegetables in her garden, and getting outdoors. A resident of Texas, when she isn't gardening, Kimberly enjoys trying new recipes and cooking with her home-grown herbs.