What are the Best Tips for Small Front Yard Landscaping?

Dan Cavallari

Small front yard landscaping follows many of the same rules and ideas as landscaping in a large yard: cleanliness, simplicity, and ideal utilization of space. With a small front yard, however, space constraints will prevent the homeowner from doing many of the landscaping techniques possible in a large yard. Depending on just how small the yard is, landscaping may involve only a few plants in a planting box, or it may involve something a bit more elaborate like rock landscaping, a small garden, or even a bench for sitting. When undertaking small front yard landscaping, it is important to remember that doing too much can make the yard seem even smaller than it actually is.

Landscaping rocks may be used around the edge of gardens.
Landscaping rocks may be used around the edge of gardens.

One idea for small front yard landscaping is to extend the home's living area by creating a patio space. Brick or stone pavers can be put in place to create a small but livable space that can also be lined with small plants and flowers. When bordered by a picket fence or other style of fence that fits the home's aesthetic, such a patio can provide a comfortable sitting area for guests. A small bench along with a small table can provide a comfortable space in which to relax after a day at work.

Paved pathways can be decorative as well as functional.
Paved pathways can be decorative as well as functional.

If the homeowner's intent with small front yard landscaping is to make a functional space in the yard, he or she might consider planting a small herb garden. Such gardens are usually quite easy to start; digging up the soil and adding fertilizers will provide lush ground for the plants to thrive. Since most herb plants are quite small, several varieties can be grown in a small amount of space. Some herbs can even be grown in a planter box that can be hung from a window or porch railing.

One might consider providing a focal point in one corner of the yard, such as a medium sized tree, bird bath, or other small yard decoration. This draws the eyes of visitors to the farthest corner of the yard, making the yard itself seem slightly larger than it actually is. A tree that stands taller than any fencing or other features of the yard do well to garner attention; a small pathway leading to the focal point will also enhance the aesthetic of the yard and make it feel slightly larger. One might try to use stones that are lying around the yard, or at least found locally.

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Discussion Comments


@Pippinwhite -- Well, at least your landlady will let you plant flowers. Some landlords aren't so accommodating. I also have a small yard and you really do have to look at the whole thing. I have a sunny yard, so I can plant a lot of different things.

I try to concentrate on coordinating colors and have a lot of flowers planted on the curb edges and along the walk. That gives me a lot of places to plant without taking up much room. Bulbs are great because I can move them around if I need to. I have a nice amaryllis that needs dividing, so I'll probably do that this fall and plant several more. They always come up and look very striking.


We have a tiny front yard, and our landlady has a dogwood tree on one side of the walk and a huge maple on the other. We have one sunny spot, so that's where I plant a lot of things.

I always get some shade flowers every summer to plant underneath the dogwood. I usually get green-leaf begonias and impatiens and maybe caladium. They do well in shade.

There are two stumps in the sunny spot, and I have daffodils planted around them, and have some other bulbs planted along the fence row. I'd love to get rid of the monkey grass along the sidewalk, but the landlady loves monkey grass, so I guess it stays. I also plant colorful flowers around the mailbox.

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