13 cheap, simple front yard landscaping ideas.


Written by Jordana Weiss
Reviewed by landscape designer Bret Douglas of Iron Clad Landscape Management

Improving your front yard is a quick and easy way to boost your home’s curb appeal. But, unfortunately, a lot of front yard landscaping ideas can be pricey. Let's face it: planting several trees, adding a porch and installing state-of-the-art landscape lights can really add up. 

Luckily, we have some suggestions for cheap and simple front yard landscaping ideas. Many of these are DIY landscaping ideas. However, you can always hire a professional to do it for you (without breaking the bank).

1. Opt for perennials instead of annuals.

perennial flowersWhile bright, flowering annuals like pansies, zinnias, geraniums and petunias are popular throughout the United States, they only last for one growing season. This means that while they are lovely to look at, they often don’t last long.

To extend your gardening budget, opt for perennial plants rather than annuals. When you build the foundation of your garden on perennials, they will come back stronger year after year. 

Related: How much does a gardener cost?

2. Purchase perennials after their flowering season.


flowers at a nursery

Many garden centers put perennial plants on sale once their primary flowering season has passed. That’s because they don’t look as vibrant as they could and are less appealing to customers.

Fortunately, savvy gardeners know that their flowers will come back. To save some money during your garden shopping sprees, look out for perennials that have been put on sale after they’ve flowered.

Related: How to start a garden.

3. Use ornamental grasses to fill empty spaces.

ornamental grass in front yardHaving a large yard can be a great opportunity, but it’s often intimidating to newer gardeners or those without much time to garden. 

If you have lots of planting bed space available but no idea how to fill it, consider using ornamental grasses in your front yard. These plants grow larger year after year, and can often be divided and replanted to create even more coverage and privacy in your yard.

Related: Landscape design basics: a complete overview.

4. Share plants with neighbors.

street of neighborhood houses with front yardsA great way to create a beautiful front yard on a budget is to share and trade plants with your neighbors. Many common garden perennials like daylilies, asters, coreopsis, hostas and irises can be divided at the root once the plant gets large enough.

There are online and in-person groups that exist solely to facilitate the trading and sharing of plants. All you need to do is post what you’d like and what you’re offering to trade and wait until someone takes you up on your offer.

Related: 15 landscaping tips and tricks for beginners.

5. Use large rocks as a focal point.

landscape rock with flowers in front yardA popular simple front yard landscaping idea is to use large rocks as a focal point for your yard design. These rocks can be found in nature, relocated from other areas of your property or even purchased from a quarry or stone yard. From there, it’s easy to build a design that highlights the unique shape and color of the rocks you’ve found.

Related: 15 hardscaping ideas for your yard.

6. Paint your fence.

white fence and gate around houseWhen was the last time you painted your fence? If your white picket fence looks a little less than pristine after years of wear and tear, a simple coat of paint can make for a budget-friendly visual upgrade to your outdoor space. 

Depending on the fence’s size and shape it’s in, you can either do the painting yourself or hire an exterior painting service that can help.

7. Edge your garden beds.

mulch edging around garden bed in front yardEdging your garden beds is an easy way to take your front yard landscaping to the next level. Creating a visual division between your garden beds and the rest of your green space helps to make your whole space look much neater. Plus, you can do it yourself quickly and easily.

All you need is a sharp edging tool or spade to separate turf from garden soil. You can add a decorative edging made of metal, rock or plastic, or keep it neat through ongoing weeding and maintenance. 

Related: 15 landscape edging ideas for a clean, attractive yard.

8. Add mulch to create a cohesive look.

man adding mulch to front yardMulch is the unsung hero of gardening. Adding it to your garden beds immediately creates a cohesive look that can tie your yard together. Mulch also helps prevent weeds, locks in moisture from evaporating out of your soil, prevents erosion and can help feed everything growing around it. Plus, it’s a super cheap landscaping project — most bags of mulch only cost a few dollars. 

Once you’ve purchased your mulch, spread it down in a 2-inch thick layer, and leave it to do its work.

Related: How much is mulching?

9. Add curb appeal (and whimsy) with string lights.

string lights on bush in front yardAdding additional lights is a great front yard landscaping idea. However, installing new static fixtures can be expensive, as can running cables if you don’t want them exposed to the elements. A cheaper alternative that provides plenty of coverage and adds a whimsical touch is string lights.

You don’t have to wait until the holidays to put up lights. String lights are incredibly versatile. You can wrap them around tree trunks, shrubs or bushes. Or, string them up to define a sitting area in your front yard.

Related: 15 landscape lighting ideas to make your yard glow.

10. Keep trees and bushes trimmed.

neatly trimmed trees and bushes in front of houseIt may not be a super-exciting project, but you’ll never regret taking time every year to trim and maintain your trees and shrubs. A simple clip with a pair of hedge trimmers and hand pruners can boost your home’s curb appeal.

If you have older, taller trees, you may be better off calling in tree trimming professionals. However, you can usually take care of simple shrub reshaping and hedge trimming yourself. 

Related: How much does it cost to trim a tree?

11. Add a simple water feature.

bird bath in front yard gardenAdding a water feature like a koi pond or waterfall can be expensive, both to install and maintain. Instead, why not add some water to your yard with a cost-effective and animal-friendly bird bath or small fountain? 

Bird baths are a great way to help support local wildlife, offering them a place to rest and refuel that’s especially welcome in the hot summer weather. You can find them at most garden centers, or you can buy a gently used one online.

12. Dig some circular flower beds under your trees.

circle flower garden bed under treeIf you have trees in your front yard, you may have noticed it’s difficult for grass to grow underneath. That’s because the shade under the tree is often too thick for grass to thrive.

To turn this disadvantage into a highlight, dig out some circular flower beds under your shade trees and plant a variety of shade-loving plants and shrubs. Depending on your area, consider impatiens, hostas, bleeding hearts or violas. 

13. Add height to your small front yard with planters.

planters in front yardIf you’re working with a smaller footprint for your front yard, make sure you’re taking advantage of every inch of usable space by thinking vertically. A great way to do this is with planters.

You can add shrubs or ornamental grass to a tall, narrow planter to give your yard some beautiful height. Placed by your front door, they can make your entranceway appear more welcoming and add undeniable curb appeal. 

Related: 17 small front yard landscaping ideas.

Hire a landscaper on Thumbtack to spruce up your front yard.

When you own a home with outdoor space, there’s never a shortage of tasks that you can do to make your front yard beautiful. However, it can be challenging to know where to start. 

If you’re looking for an expert who can offer advice, download the Thumbtack app and hire a professional landscaper today.

Related: How much does landscaping cost?

A note about project costs included or linked in this article: Figures represent national average cost estimates using data provided by Thumbtack pros and additional research. These figures are provided for educational purposes only and are subject to change at any time due to various factors. Details about your specific project and local rates can impact costs.

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