Front Yard Landscaping Ideas That Add Curb Appeal Without Breaking the Bank
Sprucing up your front yard landscaping can really improve the look of your house, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
If you’re getting ready to sell your home, landscaping your yard can add curb appeal, which can make a home more attractive to potential buyers. And even if you don’t intend to move, some colorful flowers and a simple landscape design can offer a pleasant view from your front porch (and impress your neighbors).
Whatever the reason is, improving your home landscaping doesn’t have to wilt your budget. We have plenty of DIY front yard landscaping ideas that you can often complete in a weekend and sometimes for no money at all.
Scroll through for some wallet-friendly front yard landscaping ideas to get your front yard and home looking its best.
10 DIY Front Yard Landscaping Ideas
Easy landscaping ideas can start with changes that don’t cost a thing — like cleaning up your yard — and progress from there to increase curb appeal — think low-cost plants and accents.
Here are 10 DIY landscaping ideas to get your front yard looking like the gem of the neighborhood.
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 look of your front yard by weeding and trimming back old or out-of-control growth.
Cutting back any excessive vines, sprawling weeds, and dead leaves and branches, is a cheap and easy way to add instant curb appeal. Even if you stopped your DIY front yard landscaping efforts here, a clean and well-kept front yard could improve the appearance of your home.
But weeding and trimming are also a good way to create a clean canvas for the rest of your front yard landscaping ideas.
2. Add Low-Cost Ground Cover to Create a Uniform Look for Less
Even if your front yard isn’t particularly large, adding enough landscaping to cover the whole surface can break the bank if you’re not careful. That’s where low-cost ground cover can really save you money but still increase your home’s curb appeal.
Compare prices before you decide what’s best for your yard and your region. A lush, green grass may look nice, but it could cost you $300 to cover approximately 450 square feet. To cover the same amount of ground, you can buy four bags of mulch for about $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 budget landscaping idea since its colorful varieties can add more visual interest to your yard. Mulch comes in a variety of brown colors or in black mulch, so you can choose one that highlights your home decor and front door color.
As a bonus, adding mulch to your flower beds also helps protect plants from the cold, excess water and bugs.
3. Create Structure by Lining Your Garden Beds
Everything looks better with a nice outline around it, right? That applies to flower beds, too.
You don’t need a landscape design company for this DIY idea — and you may not need to purchase anything at all for this visually striking addition to your front yard.
For this budget landscaping idea, all you need are some rocks, planks of wood or other material that complements your home’s exterior. Then, begin lining the edge of your front yard garden with the material to delineate between the garden and actual front yard.
Tidy lines like these increase your home’s curb appeal because it further increases a clean look in your yard. As a bonus, by creating a barrier between your flower beds and your yard, you can spot weeds that creep into your yard before they overtake your bedding plants.
Need some landscaping ideas — and maybe even some free stuff for your yard? Check out how your local extension office can save you money.
4. Add Interest With a Mixed Flower Pot
You can create a mixed flower pot of any size, from a tabletop planter for your front porch to a giant container that fits a whole array of plants.
Thanks to some budget-friendly big box stores, you can pick up budget-friendly plastic flower pots that look expensive.
For planters, it’s best to use potting soil that’s designed for your particular plants (ground soil often lacks the necessary nutrients to let plants thrive), but you can pick up a bag for around $10.
Finally, choose flowers that spark joy for you. New plants can range from a few bucks up to $15 to $20 at retailers, but we have plenty of ideas for finding cheap plants. Check with your city or county for garden clubs or festivals that give away free flowers and plants from cuttings. By sticking with local groups, you can also tap their expertise to ensure your DIY landscaping ideas include the best plants for your house’s sun, soil and weather.
5. Let Outdoor Lighting Highlight Your Yard
One way to not only add some pizzazz to your front yard landscaping but to your home’s curb appeal in general is to hang outdoor lighting along your garden or front door.
Be sure you purchase outdoor-specific string lights, which can range from a few dollars for a simple strand of twinkling 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, small hangers and an outdoor-safe outlet. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, you can also choose outdoor lighting that’s solar or battery powered.
6. Upgrade Your Walkway
The walkway to your garden or front door is the gateway to your warm, welcoming home. Walkways can fall into disrepair due to weather, weeds and wear and tear over the years. Investing a little bit of dough up front can not add to your home’s value and make the home’s exterior shine.
To get started, determine the path for your walkway, or weed and trim the area where the existing walkway is. Be sure the ground is as level as possible. Then, whether you use a wood plank (or two) or flagstones (which you can find for a few dollars a piece), lay out the walkway however you’d like.
Be sure to either dig small divots into which the wood or stones sit, or press them firmly into the ground to help prevent tripping.
7. Upcycle Your Front Yard Landscaping
While the traditional way to plant flowers is in flower pots, any container will do for your DIY front yard landscaping.
You can repurpose items like wheelbarrows, mason jars, flower pots, bowls, old tree stumps and more to create flower planters, window boxes and even a bird bath. Not only are these upcycled materials an interesting focal point for your front yard, but in some cases, they may already be available to you.
Start by looking around your house and shed for containers that might be repurposed. Even less-than-pretty containers can be given new life with a little spray paint. Be sure to add a drainage hole if you’re using a container not originally intended for plants.
8. Create a Seating Space to Enjoy the View
Easy landscaping ideas don’t end with plants — add a stool or bench so you and your guests can admire your work. This inviting accent to your garden can also complement your front door and porch.
Although you can find a bench at a big-box store for around $50, it’s not your only option. Take a look at thrift stores and cheap home decor stores, which often have outdoor sections. Wait for the end-of-season sales to find discounted options.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can make this a DIY project, too. There are plenty of online manuals and videos to guide you through the process of building your own bench. By creating a personal piece for your front yard, you may be more pleased with the outcome.
9. Make the Mailbox Beautiful
If you have a mailbox at the end of your front yard or driveway, that may be the point of visual interest people notice before looking at the rest of your front yard landscaping, so why not make it beautiful? Painting your mailbox a color that speaks to you can convey your personality and complement your garden blooms, too.
Plus, the base of your mailbox is the ideal place to plant some colorful blooms. Painting the mailbox a neutral color allows the plant colors to really pop.
Because the mailbox area is typically a small space in your front yard, you can spend a bit more on flowers to create a focal point flower bed. Flowers such as tiger lilies, daffodils, tulips and peonies are all excellent choices.
Your level of creativity may be limited by your HOA or community guidelines, so check with those rules before you begin decorating your mailbox or the rest of your front yard.
10. Use Xeriscaping to Save Even More Money
As water availability declines and water bills rise, it is important to consider environmentally responsible landscaping, too. Xeriscaping, also known as “zero-scaping” or even sometimes as a “rock garden,” is essentially landscaping that requires as little water as possible. It is heavy on succulent use, flagstones, pebbles and limited water features and sprinklers.
Although xeriscaping is most beneficial for places with little rainfall, there are elements that can be applied anywhere.
You may want to initially consult with a landscape design company for the initial xeriscaping design, then take over the maintenance yourself.
Xeriscaping can reduce water use by 50% to 75%, according to proponents. So depending on where you live, an initial investment of a few thousand dollars could save money in the long run.
Plus, once it’s complete, xeriscaping is low maintenance and provides a nice blank slate of sorts for styling your home’s exterior and porch design and furniture.
But if you’re not prepared to spend thousands of dollars to completely convert your front yard, you can use some easy landscaping ideas to benefit from a bit of xeriscaping.
By xeriscaping a small garden rather than your whole front yard, you can add visual interest without spending much. You can buy landscaping fabric (to kill off weeds and remaining ground cover) at a garden supply store for less than $20, then top the fabric with pebbles and rocks in a variety of sizes and colors. Add a drought-tolerant plant to complete your budget-friendly, low-maintenance xeriscape garden.
Colorado-based writer Kristin Jenny focuses on lifestyle and wellness. She is a regular contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Deputy editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post for 2023.