Well-designed landscapes make outdoor spaces more functional and more attractive – score two wins for homeowners!
But let’s add a third benefit to this list: increasing home value.
When a home’s landscape and exterior design contribute to curb appeal—how attractive a property is when viewed from the street—they can create a meaningful boost in property valuation.
Exactly how big a deal is curb appeal? Let’s see what the data has to say.
Curb Appeal by the Numbers
Put simple, first impressions matter. Homes with strong curb appeal from improvements to the front yard landscape and the home’s exterior sell faster and are valued higher by buyers. Studies vary on exactly how much of a boost to expect:
- REALTOR Magazine concluded a 7% average increase in sale price
- Michigan State University found a boost of 5% – 11% on perceived home value
- The Associated Landscape Contractors of America documented a 6 week increase in speed of sale.
Landscape improvements tend to yield the biggest improvement to home value:
- up to 14% according to the Associated Landscape Contractors of America
- 15% – 20% according to the American Society of Landscape Architects
While the specifics may vary, it’s safe to conclude that upgrading home and landscape to improve curb appeal is worth the investment, let alone the enjoyment you’ll get from your newly-extra-gorgeous home.
Front Yard Landscaping Ideas and Tips for Curb Appeal
How can you achieve that elusive eye-catching quality with the front of your home?
To answer that question (and to give you some curb appeal ideas to mull over), let’s take a look at some Yardzen projects, breaking down what it is that makes them look great.
The landscape, with its capacious front lawn and foundation planting, also nods to traditional design, while adding a contemporary twist. The texture-heavy, undulating array of evergreens is wilder and frankly more fun than your average hedge, and the curving, lavender-tinted front walk sets a casual tone that contrasts nicely with the home’s crisp appearance.
Long Beach, CA
This drought-tolerant Southern California design commits to a palette: white, dark green, adobe reds, and warm neutrals. Sticking to this palette helps the house and yard appear as a single cohesive design gesture.
The low stucco wall and auburn wood gate mirror the walls and roof of the house. Alternating ribbons of concrete and tan decomposed granite in the driveway engage the wall to create a composition of parallel lines. The driveway’s DG repeats in a tropical-flavored social front yard, itself framed in dark green by a patch of artificial turf and tall palms and giant bird of paradise.
The touch of pattern on the stair risers is the icing on the cake, a bit of flair that begs for attention while remaining totally cohesive with the overall scene.
Curved driveway. Grand architecture. Stately focal tree out front. Cute little swing on said tree. This house doesn’t need much help for curb appeal—the bones do most of the heavy lifting.
And yet, details matter. By applying a consistent, cohesive planting palette across the property – chunky white flowers, low purple blooms from the ever-reliable Liriope/lilyturf, and the occasional vertical spray of ornamental grass—the landscape acts as a unifying thematic element, making spatially distant features (it’s a big property) still feel like part of a singular vision.
The exterior design makeover of this modern Austin property creates instant curb appeal.
Once again, the design draws power from a limited palette. Blonde wood cladding and decking establish a dialogue between home and landscape. The white accent wall is reflected in the bright gray of the front paver path and secondary gravel path.
The planting is billowy and loose, heavy on ornamental grasses and light on floral color. In larger areas, it is arranged organically, but along the house it is rhythmic and linear, echoing the parallel lines of the wood and black trim.
Style and sociability: one look and you immediately see the allure of this yard.
A few different details, and this house would look quite formal.
Instead, to suit the large family that lives there, this design stays a little rough around the edges to achieve a warm and inviting feel.
Irregular stone “steppers” create a graphic path from street to front door, framed at the sidewalk by a pair of flowering shrubs. A crunchy stone path leads to a crunchier gravel driveway, both lending rustic charm.
Even the gentle cross slope plays to the design’s advantage, taking the pristine look of the house and tousling its hair just a bit.
Of course, the front porch is the real gold—an attractive porch is a curb appeal layup. We like how this porch keeps things simple, symmetrical, and uncluttered. The lack of a railing also makes it easier to see, and fosters a strong connection between the porch and the lower yard.
You know how the curtain at the back of a stage is black? Same principle here.
With black as the principal home color, the wood accents—the pop out with panoramic window, the garage door, the horizontal front fence—all positively glow in comparison. It’s a great trick, and makes for great viewing from the street.
Wisely, the landscape tucks an array of blue-gray grasses and drought-resistant Salvia around the fence and home. The feathery, meadowy quality of the plants balances out the severity of the structure. The plants also lend pleasant movement to the scene as they wave in the breeze.
Wake Forest, NC
And now for the other end of the spectrum!
This grand North Carolina home oozes traditional style. The house sits in a sea of rain-fed lawn that lends a pastoral feel to the large property. A pair of multi-trunked birch trees add focal points within the lawn zone, while creating a frame for passers-by to view the home through.
Mixed perennial and evergreen planting creates a rotating seasonal display while hanging on to year-round green.
Copper-hued path lights, rain gutters, and downspouts add a splash of flashiness without looking out of place. Shingle siding breaks up the facades of the large structure, helping it to look a little less towering but no less grand.
Los Gatos, CA
A handful of small trees frame the journey along an oversized paver path, staggered to navigate an angled route. That bold path design is curb appeal eye candy, and does an excellent job drawing the eye to the wide front steps, which double as informal seating.
The streetside view of this Oakland bungalow is dominated by two large garden beds.
The planting design leans into native plants like deergrass, Berkeley sedge, white yarrow, and a pair of showstopper manzanitas. Spreading groundcovers, drought tolerant shrubs, and landscape favorites like foxtail fern and Agave attenuata round out the design, creating an eclectic but harmonious scene.
The red hue of the manzanita’s peeling red bark echoes the color of the front door, creating a subtle call-and-response that helps to link the landscape with the architecture. However slight, such details are crucial to a home’s curb appeal, helping to portray the home and landscape as a single cohesive design.
A covered porch is a lovely thing in Houston, where rain is (in most years) a regular visitor, but cold temperatures are not.
This spacious porch, along with the entire home, has been treated to a range of modern details, from stainless steel door hardware, to potted plants in black rectangular containers, to uber-appealing hanging egg chairs, to stylish vertical house numbers.
The porch and the planting design both prioritize openness, eschewing clutter for abundant breathing room. The resulting vibe is calm and clean—strong qualities to project to viewers from the street.
Glowing red flowers lend a pop of color and draw the eye along the front path, through a break in the low stucco walls, arriving finally to a sleek glass front door.
The wall is perfectly-sized: low enough to see over, but high enough to define distinct spaces within the yard. Low trees help with the spatial definition, and provide visual anchors within an otherwise minimal and low planting design that suits the regional desert landscape.
As in other design, committing to a limited color scheme—in this case white, adobe, and warm neutrals—goes miles in making the design look cohesive.
That pop of bright color, and the attractive front seating area, seal the deal by adding an inviting feel to this stylish scene.
Vertical accents are a great tool for bridging the gap between the house and the yard.
Elegant Italian cypresses punctuate this Ohio design, most notably in the nook next to the front entryway. With rounded shrubs and oversized clay planters, the landscape design bears hallmarks of European landscape traditions, lending a historic feel to the home’s style.
Neither the house nor the yard need to dominate the scene to achieve strong curb appeal. Sometimes, it’s better to sit back and let nature do the work.
The Pacific Northwest teems with evergreen conifers, just like the ones you see surrounding this farmhouse. Rather than compete with these giants, this design emulates a forest clearing, letting the towering trees nestle the property. Natural wood hues on the fence and garage doors and the abundant green of the meadowy front lawn evoke the colors of the surrounding forest.
Once again, we see a long path utilized as an axis to draw the eye to the house, where a tidy and inviting front porch stands ready to say hello.
Aligning elements to a central axis is a centuries-old trick for making landscapes and structures look sharp.
Here, the glass front door and peaked roof above it are connected via a modern paver path to a handsome metal and wood front gate. Substantial concrete pillars and minimalist modern landscape lighting emphasize the grandeur of the entryway. A regular rhythm of upright evergreens runs perpendicular to this central axis, adding to the geometric appeal of the design.
The fence itself is attractive enough to offer strong curb appeal, thanks in no small part to the loose flowering planting strewn along its base, and the accent wall, which has been painted dark to make the contemporary house numbers pop.
Flower power! This cottage garden design wallops visitors with a burst of floral color right out the gate. Evergreen shrubs woven into the planting design take a backseat for most of the year, but step up to offer some greenery through the winter months.
The rhythm of concrete pavers passes the baton to the rhythmic procession of white columns along the front porch, creating a dialogue that helps to stitch the house and landscape into a single visual experience.
The stone cladding on the house also speaks to the colors of the gravel and concrete front path, similarly contributing to the sense of the home and yard being bound up within a single design vision.
Walnut Creek, CA
Steppers, oversized pavers, stepping stones… call them what you will, large rectangular pavers arranged with even gaps, like you see in this design, have a strong graphic quality that improves curb appeal every time.
This design plays with the geometric regularity of these paths—even gaps, square corners—by irregularly staggering the pavers to navigate a curving path to the door. Low grasses get in on the fun as well, blurring the path’s edges and softening its corners.
A single olive tree makes for a beautiful focal point, and serves as a visual stopover as the eye travels from the mailbox, to the tree, to the front entry.
Mature trees, especially large ones like those gracing this Michigan front yard, are a major curb appeal asset.
This brick walls of this home borrow colors from the trees’ massive trunks, while the dark greenery of the planting design and lawn echo the color of the canopy. The effect lends the house a sense of belonging within the landscape.
The landscape follows traditional design tropes to suit the traditional look of the home—curb appeal improves when the landscape and home express a single, cohesive style.
Low maintenance evergreen shrubs provide year-round appeal, while low flower beds utilize perennial species to avoid the hassle of tending to annuals.
Again, we see symmetry engaged to strengthen visual impact: decorative stones frame the path entry from the sidewalk, and stone planters frame the front door.
This modern home relies on it’s stunning architecture for curb appeal. The wood and black metal accents strewn across the front of the home give off a sophisticated, urban style. The front yard outdoor living space, with its lofted ceiling, concrete flooring, and massive window backdrop, looks like it stepped out of a design magazine.
All this may come across a bit stiff or unwelcoming were it not for the softening effect of the landscape. With a large lawn for kids and dogs to play, and planting areas that emulate the tall grasses, perennial flowers, and rocky terrain of regional wildlands, the yard is a kinder, gentler counterpart that helps this high-style home still look livable.
Beyond the front metal fence (itself a nice nod to the metal details of the home), the design strikes a balance between modern and natural. The gravel mulch is a low cost, quick draining material that looks right at home in modern designs. The clustered scenes of planting, while emulating natural landscapes, are presented as focal moments, like sculptures strewn across a museum floor. (The hellstrip plants also happen to frame the house nicely when viewed from the street.)
St. Petersburg, FL
This charming beach bungalow uses symmetry to its advantage, but maintains a loose, organic feel.
A central path linking the front gate to the front door forms the spine of the design, emphasized by a peaked roof overhead.
Framing that central axis are a pair of quirky palms, matching porch seating areas with bright, comfortable-looking furniture (nice touch: each side gets its own ceiling fan!), and a pair of simple, elegant wall lanterns flanking the front door.
Beyond that things stay simple. Open, rain-fed lawn, a gravel path framing the home, and some low, abundantly green planting.
All together, you get a tight color palette of white and green (with that wood front door as a lone warm-tinted accent), and a healthy balance between geometric regularity and organic softness.
In being so visible, the open air porch also goes a long way toward setting an inviting tone—you get the sense you could walk right up there and be quite welcome.
Los Angeles, CA
Palm tree dreams are alive and kicking in this LA tropical-modern design. Drought tolerant palms set the tone for the rest of the yard to follow. Narrow vertical boards on the garage door suggest bamboo. Drought tolerant succulents in the hellstrip out front deliver the large, sculptural foliage of tropical species without the high water requirements.
As we’ve seen in several examples, a limited palette, focal points, and geometric elements all play a part in ramping up the curb appeal of this yard. The regular rhythm of palms, the black and wood materials palette, and the towering sidewalk tree out front all work together here to create a shaded oasis that looks dynamite from the street.
Take a peek over the fence, and you’ll see a paver driveway laced through with a grid of artificial turf that delivers a follow up punch of curb appeal.
That little library out front doesn’t hurt, either.
When it comes to front yard fences, if you’re going for a traditional look but want to keep things casual and inviting, a white picket fence is hard to beat.
Here, the slimmer porch railing matches the white of the front fence to present a clean and uniform look to the street. Wisely, the porch is kept open and tidy—clutter on a porch takes it from curb appeal asset to landscape liability.
Gaps in the fence give just enough of a glimpse of the activity in the front yard, where a row of raised vegetable beds flanks one side of a path. The path itself is paved with dark brick, further emphasizing the traditional vibe of the yard.
Get Started With Your Landscape Design by Yardzen
Yardzen’s award-winning online landscape design is tailored to clients in all fifty states in the US. Through the American Rewilding Project, we are committed to creating designs with climate-adapted and habitat-providing plants as well as water saving landscaping principles in drought-prone regions unless homeowners specifically opt out.
Our design process begins with understanding your space, your aesthetic preferences, and a discussion of your budget and vision to minimize surprises when it comes time to build.
Our top-notch designers then develop a personalized vision for your yard, shared through 3D renderings, 2D plan drawings, and plant and material lists. Your design will capture the look, feel, and function you are hoping for, all while keeping costs within range.
Once your design is complete, we’ll help you connect with a local contractor from our Pro Network of vetted professional landscapers to install your new design.