Plants for Front Gardens

Updated February 21, 2017

Planning the front garden provides more than just a pretty frame for the house. Plants can define the property, soften harsh lines of the house's foundation and hide unsightly objects. Planning the garden before buying any plants clarifies the vision for the landscaping and promotes selecting plants that will work in the garden. Including a mix of plants of varying mature size, colour and fragrance in the space boosts diversity.


Because of their long life and mature size, trees are a foundational plant. Beyond appearance and mature size, buyers should consider a tree's purpose, such as providing shade or privacy, when deciding upon the type and placement of trees in the front garden. Another consideration is a tree's year-round appearance. Evergreens provide continuous colour, but deciduous trees often provide a variety of hues as the seasons change.

Shrubs and Bushes

Shrubs are useful as foundational plants within a garden or planted as a hedge to edge the property. Like trees, some shrubs are evergreen and others deciduous, some flowering and some producing only leaves; selecting a mix of both offers year-round interest. Evergreen shrubs include holly, abelia, coral berry, Mexican orange blossom, heath, heliotrope, rhododendron, gardenia and Christmas box. Deciduous shrubs include camellia, lilac, flowering dogwood, forsythia, hydrangea, lavender, oleander and pomegranate.


Through colour, shape and height, flowers provide a kalidescope of variety in a front garden. Perennials, such as roses, asters, lilies, tulips, hyacinths, bellflowers, irises, daisies and columbines, require less work and maintenance than annuals and provide for long-term colour and interest. Annuals, such as pansy, ageratum, hollyhock, periwinkle, larkspur, dahlia, poppy and salvia, fill in bare spots in the garden while waiting for perennials to grow to their mature size. Some annuals, such as cosmos and forget-me-nots, self-seed, coming back year after year.


Groundcover suppresses weeds, provides a natural mulch for the soil and helps maintain even temperature and moisture in the soil. Groundcover plants also grow around the base of trees, on steep slopes where mowing is a challenge and above poor soil. Groundcovers appropriate for a front garden include ajuga, vinca major, ivy, ballota, dianthus, heather, lithodora, alchemilla, anemone, sea thrift, hosta and snow-in-summer.

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About the Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.