10 Front Yard Landscape Mistakes
and How To Avoid Them

No landscaping makes a ho-hum yard.

photo of A landscaped front yard pathway

Front yard landscaping makes a beautiful difference!

Landscaping around the house is an important home improvement project to boost your home’s curb appeal and add visual interest to your front door and walkways. But how do you get the right balance of plant size, color, and style for your home? We've spent decades helping homeowners and business owners design their front yards, turning plain, empty or overdone spaces into beautiful and inviting front yards, large or small. Here's a peek into what we've seen and how to create a gorgeous front yard. 

Avoid These Common Front-Yard Landscaping Mistakes:

1. Over-Planting Your Landscape

Too many shrubs and perennials in the area can look cluttered and overgrown. It’ll do more harm than good. You need to have a focal point in your front yard for the best visual interest. That could be a tree, an impressive hydrangea or another shrub.

Check the tags on plants at the garden center to see how big they will they eventually get and give them enough room to grow and mature. Professional landscapers will make sure there’s room for the plants to grow.

2. Trees and Plants Planted Too Close to the House

Remember that a tree’s root system reaches as far out as the branches.  You don’t want roots against your foundation, you don’t want limbs hanging over your roof or rubbing against your house. This could damage your roof, siding, and gutters. A good rule of thumb is planting trees at least five feet from the house.

3. Too Many Shrubs and Trees in the Front Yard

You want to be able to see your home and find your front door walkway! so don’t overplant trees, especially if you have a small front yard. Landscaping can depend on the size of your front yard; typically one tree will do. Look at the direction your home faces to determine how much sun you get on the house. If your home faces north or east, you would only need an ornamental tree, like flowering crabs, Japanese maples, serviceberry, etc. A south- or west-facing home will benefit from a shade tree such as oaks, tulip trees, and large maples. Need help choosing the best tree for your front yard? Call us for a free consultation. 

4. Too Many Planting Beds in the Front Yard

Landscaping can be exciting with all the options of colors, sizes – the possibilities are endless! Don’t overdo it with flower beds and shrubs everywhere - less is more!  A nice planting bed along the foundation of the home and maybe an accent bed somewhere is plenty for the front yard.

Combinations of shrubs and ornamental trees and rock create a beautiful front yard. 

5. Ignoring Your Lawn

A nice healthy green lawn is a wonderful thing but lawn care can take a lot of maintenance. How much time do you want to spend fertilizing, aerating, overseeding, mowing? Sign up for a lawn care program that will make your front yard sparkle.

6. Choosing Only Large Plants

Try to select plants that don’t get too big and take over everything. Many nice dwarf varieties of plants can beautify even a small front yard. Back in the '70s, yews and junipers were the go-to plants. They got very large! Ornamental grasses can get big as well. There are so many nice new plants to pick from that stay a reasonable size. Consider these: little lime hydrangea, magic carpet spirea, dark horse weigela, and dwarf sweet spire, also called little Henry itea.

7. Doing It All Yourself Without a Plan

I had a friend who had a very small and very steep front yard. She decided to landscape herself with a retaining wall that was not installed correctly and looked horrible. She planted a ton of plants with no rhyme or reason.  Honestly. It looked better and had more value before the work was done. DIY projects can end up costing you more in time and money. A professional landscape architect can help you with all your landscaping projects, regardless of their size, and can help you tackle challenging landscape projects. Make sure they are qualified and have your best interests in mind.

8. Lacking a Landscape Style 

Select a style and go with it! Whether simple, formal, or country only pick one -- don’t try to intermix. Not sure how to pick a landscape style? Ask a professional for help. Together, we'll consider the design and colors of your home to design a landscape. We'll choose plants that fit the style of your house and fit the maintenance time you want to spend. 

9. No Maintenance Plan

Some of us love working in the garden, and others don’t. Gardens aren’t a “set it and forget it” project. Make sure your landscape plan matches the time you have, your ability, and your enjoyment of maintaining your garden. Pay attention to your plants and keep them watered, weeded, and disease-free.

This house was hidden by old, overgrown yews.

New, low-maintenance shrubs complement the house's beauty. 

10. Forgetting the Lighting

Take a look at your home at night. Is it inviting to visitors, or does it disappear in the dark? Lighting not only provides beauty to your front yard but gives a safe pathway to your front door. Read our blogpost about outdoor lighting for more information.

Invest in Your Home With Front Yard Landscaping!

It’s easy for homeowners to get overwhelmed with landscaping ideas. Professional landscape design is a worthwhile investment to your home’s value that you (and your neighbors) will enjoy for years to come! If you're looking for front yard landscaping ideas, call us! Whether you have a big yard or a small one, whatever your budget, we have lots of landscaping ideas to make your front yard beautiful, so call me at Designer Landscapes to talk about your home's landscaping design.

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