Landscaping your front yard can really improve the look of your home, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
If you are preparing to sell your home, your landscaping can add significant appeal, which can make the home more attractive to potential buyers. And even if you don’t plan to move, a few colorful flowers and a simple landscape design can make for a great view from your front porch (and impress your neighbors).
Whatever the reason, improving your home’s landscaping doesn’t have to dampen your budget. We have tons of DIY front yard landscaping ideas that you can often complete in a weekend and sometimes with no money at all.
Scroll through for some wallet-friendly front yard design ideas to get your front yard and home looking its best.
10 Front Yard Garden Decorating Ideas
Easy landscaping ideas can start with changes that cost nothing – like cleaning your garden – and progress from there to increase the curb’s appeal – think low-cost plants and accents.
Here are 10 DIY landscaping ideas to make your front yard look like a neighborhood gem.
1. Tidy up your front yard by weeding and trimming
For the price of a pair of gardening gloves and pruning shears, plus a few hours of your time, you can improve the appearance of your front yard by weeding and cutting back on old or out of control growth.
Cutting back any excess vines, leaves, dead branches, and sprawling weeds is a cheap and easy way to add instant oomph. Even if you stop your front yard landscaping efforts here, a clean and well-maintained front yard can improve the appearance of your home.
But weeding and pruning are also a good way to create a clean canvas for the rest of your front yard landscaping ideas.
2. Add a low cost floor covering to create a uniform look at a lower price
Even if your front yard isn’t particularly large, adding enough landscaping to cover the entire surface can break the bank if you’re not careful. This is where low-cost ground cover can save you money but still make your home more attractive.
Compare prices before you decide what’s best for your yard and area. A leafy green lawn might look good, but it could cost you $300 to cover about 450 square feet. To cover the same amount of land, you can buy four bags of mulch for $120—or less if you live in a city that distributes low-cost or free mulch.
The good news is that adding mulch instead of sod may be a better landscape design idea because its colorful varieties can add more visual interest to your yard. Mulch comes in a variety of brown or black colors, so you can choose a color that accentuates your home decor and front door color.
As a bonus, adding mulch to flower beds also helps protect plants from cold, excess water, and insects.
3. Create a structure by lining your garden beds
Everything looks better with a nice outline around it, right? This applies to flower beds as well.
You don’t need a landscape design company for this DIY idea – and you may not need to buy anything at all for this visually stunning addition to your front yard.
For this landscape design idea, all you need is some rocks, planks, or other materials that complement your home’s exterior. Next, begin lining the edge of your front garden with material to mark between the garden and the actual front yard.
Coordinated lines like this add to your home’s appeal because they increase the clean look of your yard. As a bonus, by creating a barrier between your flowerbeds and your patio, you can spot weeds creeping into your yard before they outgrow your bed plants.
4. Add interest with the mixed flower pot
You can create a mixed flower pot of any size, from a tabletop plant pot for your front porch to a giant pot that fits a whole group of plants.
Thanks to some budget-friendly big box stores, you can choose budget-friendly plastic flower pots that look pricey.
For growers, it’s best to use potting soil designed for your own plants (Earth soil often lacks the nutrients necessary to allow the plants to thrive), but you can buy a bag for about $10.
Finally, choose the flowers that make you happy. New plants can range from a few dollars to $15 to $20 at retailers, but also check your city or county for garden clubs or festivals that offer free cut flowers and plants. By sticking with local groups, you can also draw on their expertise to ensure that your landscaping ideas include the best plants for your home’s sun, soil, and weather.
5. Let outdoor lighting highlight your patio
One way to not only add some excitement to your front yard landscaping but to your home’s overall appeal is to hang outdoor lighting along your garden or front door.
Be sure to purchase string lights for outdoors, which can range from a few dollars for a simple string of twinkle lights up to a hundred dollars or more for professional-looking lights.
All you need for this project to improve your outdoor space is a hammer, a small hanger, and a secure outside outlet. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, you can also opt for solar powered or battery powered outdoor lighting.
6. Upgrade your walkway
The driveway to your garden or the front door is the entrance to your warm and welcoming home. Walkways can be disrupted by weather, weeds, and wear over the years. Investing just a little bit of dough up front can add to your home’s value and make your home’s exterior shine.
To get started, mark your walkway path, or weed and mow the area where the existing walkway is. Make sure the ground is as flat as possible. Then, whether you’re using a plank (or two) or slab stones (you can find them for a few dollars apiece), lay out the walkway however you like.
Be sure to dig small holes in the wood or stones, or press them firmly into the ground to prevent tripping.
7. Recycle your front yard landscaping
While the traditional way to grow flowers is in flower pots, any container will do your front yard landscaping yourself.
You can reuse wheelbarrows, mason jars, flower pots, bowls, old tree trunks and more to create flower planters, window boxes, and even a bird bath. These recycled materials are not only an interesting focal point in your front yard, but in some cases, they may already be available to you.
You can start by searching around your home and getting rid of reusable containers. Even the less pretty containers can be given new life with just a little spray of paint. Be sure to add a drainage hole if you’re using a container that isn’t originally intended for plants.
8. Create a seating area to enjoy the view
Easy landscaping ideas don’t end with plants – add a chair or bench so you and your guests can enjoy your work. This attractive accent to your garden can also compliment your front door and porch.
Although you can find a bulk store bench for about $50, it’s not your only option. Take a look at thrift stores and inexpensive home décor stores, which often have outdoor sections. Wait for end-of-season sales to find discounted options.
If you’re feeling savvy, you can make this a project yourself too. There are plenty of brochures and videos online to guide you through the process of building your own bench. By creating a personal piece for your front yard, you may be happier with the result.
9. Make your mailbox beautiful
If you have a mailbox at the end of your front yard or driveway, this might be the point of visual interest that people notice before looking at the rest of your front yard landscaping, why not make it pretty? Painting your mailbox a color that speaks to you can convey your personality and compliment your garden flowers, too.
Plus, the base of your mailbox is the perfect place to plant some colorful flowers. Painting the mailbox a neutral color allows the plant’s colors to really stand out.
Since the mailbox area is usually a small space in your front yard, you can spend more on flowers to create a flower bed a focal point. Flowers such as tiger lily, daffodil, tulips, and peonies are all excellent choices.
Your level of creativity may be restricted by HOA or community guidelines, so check these rules before you begin decorating your mailbox or the rest of your front yard.
10. Use Xeriscaping to save more money
With lower water availability and higher water bills, it’s also important to consider environmentally responsible landscaping. Xeriscaping, also known as “scratch de-hulling” or even sometimes as “rock garden,” is essentially landscaping that requires the least amount of water possible. It’s heavy on succulent use, stones, and pebbles, and limited water features and sprinklers.
Although xeriscaping is most useful in places with little rain, there are elements that can be applied anywhere.
You may want to initially consult with a landscape design company for the initial xeriscaping design, and then take care of the maintenance yourself.
In general, xeriscaping uses $0.50 to $1.50 of water per square foot, compared to a lawn-based lawn that uses $4 to $12 of water per square foot. Depending on where you live, an initial investment of a few thousand dollars can save money in the long run.
Plus, once complete, xeriscaping is low maintenance and provides a nice blank slate of types for your home’s outdoor and porch furniture design.
But if you’re not ready to spend thousands of dollars to completely transform your front garden, you can use some easy landscaping ideas to take advantage of a little xeriscaping.
By xeriscaping a small garden rather than an entire front yard, you can add visual interest without spending too much. You can buy landscape fabrics (to kill weeds and leftover ground cover) at a garden supply store for less than $20, then cover the fabric with pebbles and rocks in a variety of sizes and colors. Add a drought-tolerant plant to complete a budget friendly, low-maintenance xeriscape garden.
Colorado-based writer Kristen Jenny focuses on lifestyle and wellness. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers across the country to make smart decisions with their money with actionable and inspiring tips and resources on how to make, save and manage money.