On the gardening tips front, we’ve brought you how to grow our own vegetable garden, make the most of small outdoor spaces, and care for your houseplants. Next up? All the front garden ideas you could ever possibly need.
You might not have given your front garden much TLC in recent years. After all, it’s not where you spend lazy summer afternoons having BBQs or autumn nights roasting marshmallows around the fire.
But, it’s still an outdoor space that’s actually incredibly important.
How so? Well, according to The Wildlife Trusts website, 60% of UK wildlife species and natural habitats are in decline at the moment, partly because the UK is losing three million front gardens a year to concrete or tarmac. This ultimately results in far fewer homes for birds, insects and bees.
“The front garden is an overlooked and underrated space that could be used for so much,” shares garden writer Lucy Hutchings of She Grows Veg.
So, it might be time to give yours a bit of attention. Not sure where to start? Keep reading for twelve simple and sophisticated ideas from some of the UK’s top gardeners.
12 front garden ideas to diversify any space
1. Use shrubs to create texture and shape
According to garden curator, florist and BBC Gardener’s World guest Arthur Parkinson, who’s made much of his own small front garden in Nottingham, thinking about how to use your shrubs is the first step. “Consider the use of attractive shrubs to create living, floral hedges, if space is really tight. These plants, when planted in rows, will help to give privacy, divide your boundaries and hide dustbins,” he explains.
If you’re not clued up on the best types, he shares that his go-to is copper beach and hornbeam. “They make for a thick hedge, with the latter hanging onto its leaves long into winter, then moulting into a fresh lime green coat in the spring.” Beautiful.
2. Plant your own herb garden
Have you got a sunny front yard, with poor, rocky, and well-draining soil? Then it might be worth considering growing herbs, Arthur shares.
“Rosemary, provided that it is picked little and often, could be a beautiful, thick hedge for a front garden with bright blue flowers,” he shares. His favourite varieties are ‘Tuscan Blue’ and ‘Mrs Jessop’s Upright’. For more tips, read our expert guide to growing your own herb garden.
Top tip: In the winter, he recommends festooning this evergreen shrub with golden fairy lights. Sweet.
3. Warm up cold winter months with lavender
Everybody loves lavender, but have you thought about how it could warm up your front garden space?
“Romantic lavender, planted along a path to your door, will give domed presence through the cold months,” explains Arthur. His favourite? “Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ remains the tried and tested best.”
Top tip: Leave the seed heads for goldfinches, and cut them back each March.
4. Make an entrance
How, you ask? With potted plants at the front door, that’s how.
“Pots by your front door are great for attracting bees and butterflies from June to September. I normally plant buddleias from the buzz series, which are compact and prolific with honey-scented blooms,” shares Arthur.
Do remember that all pots must have drainage holes, and be big and sturdy. Arthur’s favourites are vintage dolly tubs and old, galvanised dustbins. Still not sure? Our container gardening guide will help.
5. Create a wildflower meadow
You’ve likely read all about how good wildflowers are for the wildlife. One of the simplest, cheapest and easiest ways to transform your front garden? Sowing some wildflower seeds.
“All you need to do is plant a handful of seeds into disturbed earth or onto the surface of pots each year,” Arthur shares. He reckons that borage, calendulas, cornflowers, phacelia, and linaria maroccana ‘Sweeties’ will all germinate well from being sprinkled about.
6. Grow some blooms
Sure, planting flowers in your front garden isn’t the most novel concept, but if you take Arthur’s lead on the type of flowers, you could have freshly cut flowers throughout your house for the summer months.
“Sow a dozen cosmos seedlings in early April and plant them out at the end of May and you could have weekly bunches of flowers from June to the first frost. As soon as they start to flower, cut them and they’ll produce more and more blooms,” Arthur explains. His favourites? ‘Fizzy White’ and ‘Rubenza’.
Sarah Raven and Arthur are launching a brand-new podcast, Grow, Cook, Eat, Arrange, on 12 February – do listen for more tips on how to maximise small spaces.
7. Plant the perfect climber
Gardener and Greenfingers charity founder Richard Jackson reckons that climbers are a simple yet effective way of making your front garden look a little more green. “Planting a climber is the perfect way to spruce up your front garden,” he explains.
His go-to? The evergreen jasmine. “Otherwise known as the trachelospermum jasminoides, it has everything from scented white jasmine fragranced flowers to beautifully glossy colour changing leaves. It’s sold in sizes to suit every garden, from one metre to fabulous fan trained specimens for instant impact,” he shares.
8. Add some hanging baskets
Another suggestion from Richard comes in the form of the humble hanging basket. They’re cheap, easy to plant up, and a great way of transforming any space.
“Nothing beats a hanging basket for cheerful summer colour,” he shares. “Begonia apricot shades is one of the finest plants to grow in a basket – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.”
Top tip: For the best results, feed regularly with Flower Power plant food, or add easy feed when planting. “That will feed your baskets for you, all summer long,” he explains. Not sure where to shop for plants right now? Let our guide help.
9. Try some raised beds
Similar to Arthur’s suggestion of potted plants, Lucy recommends adding some raised beds and window box planters to your front space. Why? It’s simple, easy and cheap.
You can plant them with anything, but she recommends packing them with an interplanted mix of fruit, vegetables and edible flowers, such as nasturtiums and calendula, for a vibrant and productive space.
10. Plant some fruit trees
Keen to create a more private space but think it’s not possible out the front of your house? Think again. “Trees are a fabulous way to create privacy at the front of a property,” Lucy explains.
Try planting fruit trees in key sightlines and gaps in the front garden, she shares. “Come spring, they will erupt in a spectacular display of beautiful blossom, followed by an abundance of fruit in autumn, all while adding some valuable privacy to the most public part of your home.” Sounds good to us.
11. Opt for light and airy hedging
Hortpreneur, speaker, This Morning and Packed Lunch gardener Michael Perry‘s to-go recommendation for your front garden? Light and airy hedging.
“We all want a bit of privacy in our front gardens, but we don’t want a big overwhelming hedge, which blocks out light. Branching open habit plants such as Magnolia are a great compromise. Plus, they look great in early spring, when the big scented blooms appear!,” he shares.
12. Try your hand at xeriscaping
You may not have heard of xeriscaping, but it’s pretty new on the scene. “This is a trendy type of gardening, which reduces the need for any irrigation. It’s done by using a range of drought-tolerant plants, many of them hardy succulents, but you can also use grasses and many perennials,” he shares.
Top tip: Adding a mulch, such as pebbles or bark, can also keep moisture locked in.
We hope you’re feeling inspired.
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Woodland Garden Wildflower Seeds for Bees and Butterflies
Woodland Garden Wildflower Seeds for Bees and Butterflies
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