If you're reading this and want to get some flower bed ideas for the front of your house, we have some good news. You've come to the right place.
Of course you can do an internet search and find lots of images of houses and their front gardens and we'd certainly recommend you do that. In fact, just searching Google will result in lots of pictures. However, pictures do not tell the entire story. In fact, they will probably raise more questions.
Things like "what plants are in the picture?" "How much maintenance will a garden like this take." "How do I actually design my own garden based on my own property?" These questions are just a few of the many you might have. We want to try to answer them here and give you some guidelines so you can navigate the choices yourself and make your own decisions.
Flower Bed Design Principles At Work
There are a number of flower bed design principles that should be incorporated into your front garden. Although we could mention many tactics here, we want to only cover those that apply to the front of your house. There are more. To get more of those other principles that will make a difference - so you'll know them and can apply them in any situation - get our free report here.
Principle #1 - Curved Bedlines:
The most prevalent principle that you should use in any flower garden is curved bedlines. This principle applies to all garden beds that are located anywhere; but for the front, it's so important. The question is why?
Well, curved bedlines are pleasing to the eye. Contrast that to the abrupt corners that come when straight lines meet and you can understand why gentle curves are appealing.
The first thing you'll want to consider for your front gardens is how the curves will be laid out. Generally, the larger your garden space, the more gradual the curves should be.
It really depends on your own space. Although we can't give you specifics because we don't know your house, we can give you some general bedlines that are very common amongst landscape designers - bedlines you should consider and adapt to your own space.
Check out these basic landscape designs using curved bedlines. A few notes...
First, it would be impossible to include every type of bedline that would go with every type of house. However, using these drawings should give you a basic idea that you can adapt to your own home.
In addition, these are simple hand drawings on a piece of paper. This is all you need. We've done this to show that you don't need any fancy software to accomplish new flower bed designs for your house (although we'll show you some great software for this purpose in another article). A simple hand drawing will do.
Notice these curved bedlines are based on the standard layout of a single family house with a sidwalk going up the middle of the property to the front door.
Notice in this image the house now has a driveway, so the bedlines can be slightly different.
Finally, in this image, the bedlines are for the front of a townhouse. You'll certainly have a lot less area to plant if you live in a townhouse, but the flower gardens in front can be beautiful nonetheless.
There are a few things to notice in these plans.
First, the garden beds usually extend around the corner of the building. In the corners, the bedline extends out in a circular shape around the house and to the side. The corners are where you should consider focal points within the gardens. These focal points could be ornamental trees such as dogwoods, cut leaf japanese maple, or any number of other trees. In addition, you could also consider hardscapes such as birdbaths, water features, or some type of garden ornament such as gazing balls or any number of other types of ornaments. The design principle here is to soften the corner of the house. This principle not only applies to the corners of houses, but any surface that needs to be softened such as a fence.
Also note that the circular areas in the corners should not be symetrical. The garden space in one corner should be larger than the other and whatever is used to fill the corner would be larger on one side versus the other.
Second, the bedlines converge at the front sidwalk. This means that the curve would continue as if the sidwalk wasn't there and the garden was continuous from one side of the house to the other.
These designs are a very simple way to plan out the flower bed in the front of your house. However, they are assuming the front of the house is uniform. Many houses are not uniform along the front. Many have walls that jut out within the space, or are resessed in, which is something you'll notice in 2 of the 3 images above.
In those cases, plan your curves to come out where the walls jut out and curve back in where the walls are recessed in - or be a rebel. Do the opposite because you know what, there is not black and white, right or wrong.
Principle #2 - The Rule Of Odds
You may have seen this mentioned elsewhere on this site, or elsewhere on the web. After your decide on the bedline, you'll need to decide on the plants you want and where you want to put them. It may be an even better idea to think of both things at the same time; that is, the bedline and the choice of plants - thinking of both things as a whole and how one factor affects the other.
As you're making plant choices, think about choose odd number of plants, 3, 5, or even 7 of the same thing. Even one of a plant if it's a focal point or larger specimen would work.
If you're thinking of a native garden, which by nature is a haphazard looking space, then this wouldn't be your plan.
However, in our opinion, the front of your house is not the place for a native looking garden, even though some people do it. You may have seen such plantings. In fact, we've seen fronts of houses with the entire front yard a vegetable garden. While this may be good for the homeowner of that house, it's not why you're reading this article.
We stand by the fact the the front of your house should be as planned and orderly as possible.
The bottom line, take into consideration the rule of odds as you're thinking of the space and what you're putting in it.
Choosing Plants For Your Garden
Since we're talking about flower bed ideas for the front of your house, you'd think we'd be talking about choosing flowers. While this is true and you'll want to include flowers, having a garden that contains nothing but flowers is not a pro looking design.
Most gardens feature a number of different types of plants, from ornamental trees, shrubs of various colored leaves, textures and sizes, and one or more areas devoted to flowers. Whether those flowers are annuals are perennials will make a big difference in the amount of maintenance the garden will need throughout the year.
Sure, if you want lots of flowers, you can devote larger areas to colorful blooming plants, but you're entire garden should not be flowers.
You'll most likely want to include at least one ornamental tree, especially if you're gardens are going around the corner to the side of the house. This is the "classic" landscape design that most professionals use so therefore, you should use it too.
In the other opposite corner could be another ornamental tree if, and only if, it's not the same tree or the same style and size as the tree in the opposite corner. The idea is, you don't want both corners of the garden to look identical.
This means, if you choose a flowering dogwood for the left corner, then choosing something like a cut leaf japanese red maple for the other corner would be good.
In addition, the right corner doesn't need to feature another tree. A birdbath, water fountain, or something else would also work. Note: There's a home near us that has a large wagon planted with flowers that looks great.
ln addition to trees, you'll want to include some medium sized shrubs to fill out the area. There are too many choices to mention here, but check out this article for more ideas.
It's important when choosing shrubs that you choose varieties that won't outgrow the space or, if they do, will take many, many years to get that big. In addition, choosing several groupings of shrubs, each group having different colored foliage, or different eventual sizes, all make sense.
One of the best things you can do to get ideas for the shrubs you want is to visit your local garden center. Browse the isles, look at plant tags and get ideas for plants you like and would like to include. Once you have a list, check the internet for photos of the shrubs as they grow. Doing both of these things will give you good ideas of what you're garden will look like after they have grown.
Another thing to consider is the size of the shrubs you purchase. Of course the smaller they are the less they cost. There is always a trade off between size of the plants, the cost, and the beginning look of your garden. Purchasing smaller shurbs means your garden will look sparce at the beginning. If you're wanting more of an instant impact and you can afford larger plants, then buy larger ones.
All choices are really up to you, based on your own space and your own needs.
Adding Flowers That Pop
Flowers are the final piece to the flower bed in front of your house.
Generally, it's always a good idea to include areas for flowers.
Many people however, don't want the work that is involved in adding flowers and will sacrifice color. We know that's not you though, because you're reading this article. So here's how to add them to your design.
As you design your garden bed, designate at least one area, possibly more, for flowers.
These areas can be small or can be large. It depends on the look you want to achieve and amount of maintenance you are willing to do because flowers will require some maintenance. Whether you choose annuals or perennials, each choice will require some work that recurs every year.
Should You Choose Annuals?
Annuals are a very popular choice for many people. This is because they bloom constantly from the time of planting through the first frost. That means constant color - something we all love.
Including annuals means you can have a unique design to the flower area that you've created yourself, or just have a haphazaard planting of different flowers and colors.
The downfall to annuals is they will die after a frost and need to be pulled out of the garden. Then, in the spring, you'll need to replant a new batch. Every year this ritual will continue if you want annuals.
Would Perennials Be Better?
While perennials are planted once and then come back every year, they do have their disadvantages which, for many people, outweight this one plus.
The disadvantages are that most perennials don't bloom for the entire growing season. Some bloom longer than others but none bloom constantly. Therefore, in order to have color contantly from beginning to end you'll have to choose perennials that bloom at different times so something is always in bloom.
In addition, when perennials die, they leave behind brown foliage and other debris. This means you'll either need to spend time cutting off the dead, or have a garden that's full of dead debris. We contend that most people DON'T want this debris to be in a flower bed in the front of the house. It will certainly take away from the beauty and it's not what you want as a first impression when people walk up to the front door.
For more detail on annuals versus perennials, we have an informative article right here.
Here are some flower bed layouts that are the same drawings from above but with the plantings added. Take a look to see what we've added...
In this image you'll see in the left corner is an ornamental tree and in the right corner is an ornament - a birdbath in this case. You'll also notice that around the tree in the left corner are what we call "border plants." These are low plants such as junipers, small hostas, or other low lying ground covers.
The shrubs can be any shrubs that stay a medium size. On each side of the front stairs you could chose the same shrub, or all 4 pictured could be the same. Notice there is 4 pictured, which you might think goes against the rule of odds. However, it doesn't. Can you tell why?
It's because of the way they are grouped, 3 to the left of the walk, and 1 to the right.
Also notice there are 2 large areas for flowers. Also notice how each of the flower beds is a circular shape.
In this image you'll notice the tree is on the right and, because of the driveway, we've sacrificed the other larger circular area with a garden ornament and instead, have drawn in 3 shrubs. Ideally all three should be the same shrub.
Another interesting feature of this drawing is the area between the garage and front walk. We've designated this entire area to be garden and have placed a garden ornament in the center. You can choose to surround it entirely with flowers but in the drawing we've included a shrub in the back. Another option for this area is to cover it entirely in stone, or make the garden ornament a birdbath and surround it in stone.
Again there is ample room for flowers.
In this final image of the townhouse, the most obvious difference is there isn't room for any type of tree. Of course this is usually the case.
Actually, there isn't usually room for a lot so you can see just a few shrubs and a few small flower areas.
One thing that isn't drawn in is the way these beds would tie into the neighbor's landscape. You would have to be creative here as anything is possible.
Putting It All Together
Keep in mind that will all the flower bed layouts pictured above for the front of your house, the plantings we have included are basic pro designs you'll find around if you look. However, as we've also mentioned before, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and creativity also plays a part - namely, your creativity.
You can also get advice directly from us about your specific garden design needs. Find out more by going here:
These drawings are only suggestions. We could use the same layout to add different types of plantings and designs. In fact, there would be way too many ideas to picture here. They could fill a book.
Here's the process you should follow:
1. Design your garden space - lay it out on a piece of paper, using curves and rounding the corners around the side of the house if your garden extends that far.
2. Designate areas within your garden for the different types of shrubs. Draw out circular areas for "ornamental tree(s)", mid sized shrubs, smaller shrubs and flowers.
3. Go to the garden center and figure out which plants you like
4. Go back to your drawing and draw out the plants within the design.
5. Purchase the plants and create your garden space.
If you want personalized advice from us, Tony and Art, you can find it by clicking here:
Below we'll give you some images that should spark some ideas for your flower bed in front of your home, but let's finalize what you need to do, kind of a "cheet sheet," so you can understand the process.
Here's an example of a flower bed idea for the front of the house. Most people would think of this example as beautiful and we agree. However, from our perspective, it needs more variety, more textures.
The plants are begonias only - white and pink begonias. So not only does the bed not include much in the way of other plants, even the flowers are all the same.
As pros, we would plant this type of garden within a much larger space that includes more shrubs.
We know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder though, so if you like it, then go for it.
Contrast the last image to this one. This is a beautiful shot.
However, we notice that the color comes from flowering shrubs and the colorful ornamental tree on the left. There are no actual flowers, at least none that are blooming at the time this photo was taken.
This house is in a wooded setting so they may be limited in the flowers they can plant, which is understandable.
Still, it gives a good example of what a garden bed can look like in the front of your house.
Here' a good example of a flower bed that wraps around the corner of the house.
The tree, just planted before this photo was taken, is a weeping cherry tree. The blue border plants are "blue chip junipers" and the border plants behind them are loriape.
The flowers are begonias and it would have looked great if they were planted ar0und the entire tree to fill in the area.
A great example of the concepts we talked about previously.
Finally, this is an example of a flower bed in the front of a town house. It's a small space but still looks beautiful.
In the back are "knock out roses" and the white looking plants are "goshiki hollies."
There is a conifer in the circular area next to the stairs, which shows you that circular gardens are not just for the corners of single family houses.
Finally the flowers. The red flowers in the back are tulips and the rest pansies.
This is a spring photo and both the tulips and pansies won't survive the summer, so they will be replaced with summer annuals.
We hope this article has given you lots of inspiration to tackle your own gardens. You should now have some better flower bed ideas for the front of your house.
As we mentioned previously, each house is different, with it' own spaces and design challenges. It's up to you to take what we've given you here and expand on it, based on your own house and your own landscape.
Another article that may interest you is HERE.