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Front Yard Landscaping Ideas: A Spectrum

Pick and choose from these ideas to enliven your front yard

Think Small
Instead of using hard-to-please plants, place garden ornaments, such as an artful statue, in the empty places in your landscape.

Use containers. Choose a bold container planted with variegated shades of greenery or a basic pot that showcases seasonal color.

When replacing or filling in, think native. Native plants are most adapted to our climate and can handle extremes in weather patterns. Since we live in an area of the country that is prone to droughts interspersed with years of monsoon-type rain, native plants found on the following list are some of the best choices (see http://www.texassuperstar.com for more recommendations):


  • Annual: ‘Tidal Wave Cherry’ Petunia.
  • Perennial: Garden Phlox. A hardy perennial with showy clusters of magenta pink blossoms.
  • Specialty: Satsuma Mandarin. Highest quality, most cold-tolerant citrus for Texas. Easy to peel, almost seedless, very sweet mandarin orange. Attractive evergreen foliage; white flowers with wonderful fragrance.
  • Trees: Deciduous Holly. A truly outstanding small native tree, requiring very low maintenance, which drops its leaves in fall to reveal showy red or orange berries (on female plants) that remain throughout the winter. Attracts songbirds. Heat and drought tolerant.

Think Big
Hardscape elements can reinforce the style of your garden. For example, a simple wooden fence with a minimalist detail at the top harmonizes with a Japanese garden.

Enlarge existing beds to cut down on lawn care. Carefully select your plantings to reinforce the lines of the garden.

Once established, evergreens, including those of intermediate heights along the back of the fence and the dwarf varieties closer to the pathway, tend to need very little regular care. An investment in trees and shrubs pays off in more ways than minimal maintenance because they afford visual interest during wintertime when perennials have died back.

In addition to being practical, a walkway naturally and aesthetically leads the eye to the front door. Consider enhancing your sidewalk by creating a border using pavers in a contrasting color. The easy-to-identify walkway thus helps frame the front door. Curving walkways are also pleasing and a joy to traverse, but be sure to keep the doorway in view as the path meanders.

Your driveway can also benefit from similar attention. Use the same idea of contrasting pavers to turn it from ho-hum to an attractive focal point of the yard.

MVPs of Any Front Yard
Mulch, mulch, mulch. It isn’t finicky, retains water, and keeps down weeds, which reduces the need for upkeep.

Watering. Water long, water regularly and water wisely. Keep an eye on Mother Nature and coordinate with her outpourings and finicky-ness. And about those water-wise plants: it doesn’t necessarily mean they are drought-proof. In the worst dry spells, all plants can suffer from water stress. You may need to water your native plantings during severe droughts.