Along with location, your home’s curb appeal is one of the biggest contributors to the value of your home. Simple landscaping ideas in your front yard can really work in your favor when it comes to boosting the curb appeal, and there are so many things you can do without breaking the bank. Your yard is usually the first impression many people get of your home the first time they visit, no matter if they’re walking up to the front door or driving by.
You can easily revive your landscaping in both the front and back yard with a few simple landscaping ideas. Best of all, you can do most of these projects in a day or two without going way over your budget.
Your landscaping doesn’t have to include huge changes to make a statement, and there are many projects you can quickly take on to improve the space.
1. Artificial Grass
Artificial grass has come a very long way from the Astroturf your grandparents had installed. Today’s synthetic grass is made out of polymer or nylon, and it has varying color gradations and heights to make it look and feel more like real grass. Depending on the type of artificial grass you pick out and how much space you need to fill, it can cost between $7.00 and $18.00 a square foot. However, your faux lawn is virtually fuss-free once you get it installed.
2. Bed Border
This simple landscape idea involves refreshing or upgrading the borders on your existing flower beds. Doing so can change the entire look of the features and plants you already have in this bed. Pre-made blocks, pavers, and natural stone retained using a $30 plastic lawn edge kit are all great options. The one you pick will depend on your home’s style, and they can help hold mulch in when you water.
3. Bird Bath
You can easily buy an antique-style, lightweight bird bath at your local home improvement store for under $40.00. This simple landscaping idea is one way to add a water feature to your yard without worrying about maintenance or connections. Plus, you can sit and watch the birds as they come in to use your bird bath every day.
4. Cottage Garden
A cottage-style garden features plants like alliums, iris, roses, echinacea, and foxglove to help enhance this simple landscaping idea. The flowering plants are largely yellow, white, pink, and blue, and this is a very soft palette that compliments the natural look of your home. Flowering shrubs, perennials, roses, annuals, or spring bulbs also work to ensure that your garden is in bloom from March until the late fall months.
5. Firepit Focus
Who doesn’t like a firepit in the yard? Many simple landscaping ideas have a firepit included in their space. Having stones around it or putting it on a brick patio is essential for safety measures, so don’t forget to plan for this. Your garden can then serve as a backdrop instead of the focal point in the yard, and the firepit can form a wonderful gathering area for all of your family and friends. Sticking with green plants allows anyone who comes into your yard to focus on the fire. Also, green plants tend to be perennials, and they come back year after year without a lot of maintenance.
A well-designed firepit can easily create a cozy gathering space for anyone who visits your yard, and they come in a huge range of sizes and shapes.
6. Flower Beds Around Trees
If there is already a tree in the yard, you can add a flower bed around it to give a good amount of character. Hese beds should align or match with the beds you already have dotted in your yard. You can add color to this simple landscaping idea in the form of perennials or annuals. Depending on the plants you want to buy and the size of the bed, it can easily cost between $100 and $300 to complete.
7. Foundation Plantings
In the past, foundation plantings functioned as a way to hide first-floor basements and foundations where the house meets the ground. Builders have misused this simple landscaping idea in the past by putting in plants that are large enough but don’t have a lot of character. So, it’s common to see houses with a surrounding border or cloud of stiffly spotted evergreen plants that ruin the house’s aesthetic.
Foundation plantings near the house can work to soften up the angles and help it blend into the surroundings. You should concentrate on the whole setting instead of just the foundation line. The plantings should be dignified and simple, and they should be the correct scale to enhance the house instead of hide it. You won’t see these plants from inside except if you go to a window, so don’t worry about them being huge, flowering shrubs.
Many simple backyard landscaping ideas incorporate every sense you have. It’s normal to hear bird sounds, but they’re not nearly as relaxing as the sound of running water that a fountain can provide for you. The fountain can dominate your smaller backyard while the areas along the perimeter can be full of colorful flowers. If you want to section off a portion of your backyard, you can install a trellis to keep it open and airy.
9. Garden Bed Around the Mailbox
Your mailbox can look a little sparse, and it can be well worth it to plant some annual flowers or creeping jasmine around it. Make a very simple border to help contain a small amount of mulch. You can get this whole simple landscaping idea done for under $75, and it adds both personality and color to the space.
Put plants around your mailbox and turn this drab part of your landscaping into a beautiful and welcoming spot for any visitors to see.
10. Garden Swing
What is a well-planned yard design if you don’t plan on spending a significant amount of time there? You can use stones to create a rustic path through your landscape to reach a pretty garden swing. This is the perfect spot to sit and relax. If you’d like to add even more color to the space, you can plant vining flowers around your swing’s frame. Sweet-smelling plants will make this an even better space to kick back and relax.
If you’re someone who typically spends the summers inside to avoid the harsh rays of the sun, this simple landscaping idea is for you. A pretty gazebo will let you be outside and inside at the same time. You can make a path that runs around or cuts right through your landscaped areas to make it to the steps. Putting taller plants with flowers around it add color and depth, and they can even camouflage a smaller patio table on the other side of your gazebo. This gives you privacy while creating a small oasis in the corner of your garden.
12. Grass Improvement
A drab lawn with bare or dying patches can instantly take away from your home’s overall look and feel. You can buy or rent an aerator for roughly $100 to help improve how well the nutrients penetrate the soil. In turn, this can lead to a healthier, lusher, and fuller lawn. Even reseeding it with a $50.00 to $70.00 bag of lawn seeds will help fill in the spots and prevent you from having a patchy lawn.
13. Improve Edging
If you have an existing walkway or patio, you can easily expand their visual impacts while minimizing your lawn space with this simple landscaping idea. The most inexpensive option you have is to dig a trench around these features and fill them with mulch. A slightly more expensive option is to swap out the mulch for landscaping stones, and you won’t have to routinely replace them like you would mulch.
Available in a range of colors and sizes, landscape stones can be less expensive than you may realize. Decomposed granite is as low as $25.00 per ton in some areas, and pea gravel is between $30.00 and $60.00 per ton. Smooth river rocks are slightly more expensive at $80.00 to $250 per ton. There may be additional delivery fees to account for, and installation will usually run you between $50.00 and $100 an hour. However, you get a very long lasting impact that can pay for itself relatively quickly.
Landscape lighting can cost as low as $20, and they’re usually solar-powered setups. So, for this simple landscaping idea, all you need to do is pick out the right color lights that you like and put them in the ground along your flowerbed, patio, or walkway. They’ll power up during the day and light up the space at night. You can upgrade to standout lighting like lanterns, recessed walkway lighting, or faux rocks with lights built in that blend into your landscaping until they switch on.
Dotting your landscape with solar lighting is one way to help you stay safe as you navigate your yard after dark.
Just because you put mulch in your garden bed doesn’t mean that it looks great. Mulch can dry out after a while to leave your garden beds worse for wear. So, this simple landscaping idea seeks to revitalize your landscaping with a mulch in a dark color that contrasts with the flowers and shrubbery. You can buy bags of mulch from your home improvement stores for $10.00 to $15.00 a bag. The amount of mulch you’ll end up buying will depend on the size of your flower beds or space where you want to use it.
16. Native Plants
Plants adapted to their native environments a long time before people did, so picking out native species for your area is a nice choice if you want a laid-back, simple landscaping idea. Native plants need less water, fertilizer, pesticides, and overall maintenance or care than non-native species. To learn which plants will do best in your area, Google “native plants” and see what it pulls up.
If you live in an area that won’t get a ton of rain, you’ll want to think twice about using simple landscaping ideas that incorporate mounds of flowers and lush greenery. Instead, look for designs that focus on stone squares or wooden planks, or a patio that doesn’t require water to keep it happy. Adding small areas of native plants around your patio will help you create a thriving yard that doesn’t break your water bill. Also, it gives you a nice space to sit and relax.
18. Plant Ground Covers
Not every yard is totally flat, and grass can’t or won’t grow and fill in every space. You can use a ground cover to add color and greenery to areas where slopes or shade makes it challenging to grow grass. If you perform seasonal maintenance on it, there’s no reason why your ground covers can’t look neat and professional without taking over an area where your other plants or grass are healthy and lush.
19. Plant Ornamental Colored Trees
A big shade tree can easily add a regal touch to your yard, the subtle color pop you’ll get from this simple landscaping idea can give you a focal point. Some Japanese maple varieties can be expensive, but others are more affordable at roughly $100 a tree. They’re also beginner-friendly and fast-growing for any first-time gardener. If you want more color, try a cherry tree.
20. Plant Perennial Flowers
The beauty of this simple landscaping idea is that you can purchase it once and enjoy it year after year. There is an upfront cost to consider with planting blooming flowers or seedlings, but picking out perennials will give you dozens of colorful options in virtually any climate. In a few years, your perennials can start to spread and fill in more space through your yard.
To really save money with this simple landscaping plan, consider starting your plants and flowers from seeds instead of seedlings. For example, one Shasta Daisy seedling can easily cost between $5.00 and $10.00, but you can easily buy a pack of 300 seeds for under $5.00. It’s unlikely that every seed you plant will do well, but even to a brand new gardener, you’ll have success getting dozens of these flowers to bloom.
Once you plant perennials and they grow, they’ll come back year after year to create a colorful display.
21. Plant Perennial Shrubs
Once you have your perennial shrubs like eHydrangeas or Azaleas in the ground, they’ll give back year in and year out when they bloom and bring big flowers with a lot of colors to the yard. Many of them cost below $40.00 per shrub, and they have lower maintenance needs. You want to consult a nursery expert and ensure you give each plant enough space to spread out, how to trim them to prevent leggy growth, and when to prune them to keep them healthy.
22. Plant Shade Trees
Offering either stunning fall colors or bright spring flowers, a native hardwood tree planted as a simple landscaping idea will add years of beauty to the space. While some of the more rare varieties are very expensive and require a high amount of care, most native trees will be resilient, hardy, and affordable. You can pay between $100 and $200 for a decent-sized shade tree, not including the delivery cost.
The kids may want a pool, but you don’t want it to drain your budget, especially if you know the pool will sit vacant after the kids grow up and leave. For a short-term solution that makes the kids happy right now and doesn’t strain your finances so much, consider this simple landscaping idea and install an above-ground pool. While it will cost you, an above-ground pool won’t cost nearly as much as an in-ground model, and it will give you plenty of fun during the hot summer months.
Adding a small pond area in your yard with a waterfall or water feature gives you the relaxing sound of running water that is perfect to meditate or chill out to. You’ll usually have a whole range of plants and flowers throughout the space around your pond, and this helps keep you interested while giving you things to look at.
Some plants can be very low to the ground while others add height and depth. Intricate solar lights will give you a way to sit out at night and enjoy your space, and they’ll cast unique shadows throughout your yard or garden. A well-maintained pond serves as a nice retreat if you need time to decompress, and it’s a great spot to bring a friend to catch up.
25. Raised Planting Beds
Raised planting beds usually go hand in hand with foundation plants. Building bottomless planting beds deep enough to add ample soil for your plant’s root growth can give your plants a head start on the growing season. Because the soil in these raised beds dries out much quicker than in the ground, you should put your raised planting beds in spots that are at least partially shaded for the hottest parts of the day in the afternoon hours.
In this simple landscape design, plants are the star. You want to pick out hardy options that are appropriate size-wise for your bed and offer a season-long focal point. Dwarf evergreens, fruit trees, flowering shrubs, bulbs, or perennials all work well. For the longest blooming season, pick out annuals. Vinca, cascading petunias, and asparagus fern all look pretty hanging over the edge of the bed. Leave an edge clean to give yourself a space to sit and relax.
Along with looking nice, raised planting beds are a great way to help keep pests like rabbits out of your flowers, plants, and vegetables.
26. Repurpose Planters
Repurpose your old tub, barrels, wheelbarrow, or piano into a pretty focal point full of flowers and plants. You’ll end up with a one-of-a-kind creation that draws the eye as soon as someone steps into your yard, and this simple landscaping idea is very eco-friendly. You can do the same thing to older watering cans. They can make stunning flower pots and lend a cozy feel to the space. Fill them with a host of flowers and then set them on your front porch steps or dot them around your garden. These watering cans will have a stunning effect. Also, since you’re building with things you already have on hand, you’ll only have to buy the flowers. So, this may not cost more than $30.00 per container.
27. Rock Features
Even if you choose to use another material for the border of your garden bed, adding stones or rocks to break up the profile gives you a nice natural accent. In many cases, this simple landscaping idea can serve an important purpose too. You can make rock spillways for your gutters to keep one spot in your yard from getting muddy, or you can add pea gravel to walkways or use rocks to break up a bed. Depending on how much area you want to cover, this project will run between $20.00 and $50.00.
28. Walkway Addition
The best plan to incorporate a walkway will vary from yard to yard. Evaluate your space and keep the following in mind before you incorporate this simple landscaping idea:
- Follow natural access points in your yard when you lay down a walkway. Dogs or children will carve a path through your prized plants if you don’t. A straight pathway is the least expensive and shortest option, and it can also be the most sensible.
- Make fences, walls, or hedges near walkways less than two feet high so people can carry packages or get close to the edge without feeling like they’re crowded in. Between the walk and taller aspects of your simple landscaping design, it’s a good idea to have a two feet wide buffer zone of lawn, groundcovers, mulch, or flowers to allow more movement.
- Use steps, jogs, or curves only when you have reason to instead of just for meandering. Combine visual appeal with practicality by creating walkways that are a minimum of 36-inches wide. However, 42 to 54-inches wide is better because it allows space for two people to walk side by side.
- Walkways should slope between 1% and 5%, but never over 10%. Use jogs, curves, steps, or ramps if you have a steeper entry point. Put plants along your walkway to make the journey memorable.
- You can create natural garden pathways further away from your home by using loose materials like wood chips or tanbark, but this can result in the loose material tracking into the house if you get too close with it.
29. Window Boxes
If your front windows are looking a little worn out, this simple landscaping idea can help brighten them up. Installing a window box will add charm and color to your yard while covering any wear and tear. They’re a great DIY landscaping project with a beautiful and simple finished product. If you already have the screws and lumber lying around with brackets, this will be a quick project to tackle. Otherwise, an eight-foot piece of lumber cna cost between $5.00 and $20.00, and the plants will cost between $10.00 and $30.00 each. You can also buy window boxes for $15.00 to $100, depending on the quality, size, and style.
The final simple landscaping idea on the list is xeriscaping. It was originally developed in drought-prone Colorado, and this is a very attractive design if you want to reduce your water usage. For a full yard, very elaborate xeriscaping designs that require a huge amount of hardscaping can easily top out at $24,000 and up. However, this doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing project to get the benefits. By adding a few xeriscaping elements to a part of your landscape design, you can get a low-maintenance yard that reduces your water usage.
Many people think that greenery isn’t allowed with xeriscaping, but plants and turf are actually all part of the “seven principles of xeriscaping design.” They are included because they help reduce erosion. You can add sand, mulch, concrete, or landscaping rock in this design. A few DIY-friendly and inexpensive xeriscaping projects include creating a dry creek bed using river rocks, adding a gravel driveway, or expanding how much of your yard has a mulch layer. They all look good while helping the environment.
We’ve outlined 30 simple landscaping ideas that you can use to improve how your yard looks and reduce how much maintenance you have to do on it each day. You can take on as many of these projects as you want to create a fun, smart, and eco-friendly yard that looks stunning all year round.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.