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11 bad ideas for your front yard that will kill your curb appeal

Avoid these mistakes for your front yard

A front yard with xeriscape landscaping
Simone Hogan/Shutterstock

You may be thinking about all the projects you want to tackle outdoors thanks to the warmer weather. While you may have grand plans to improve your curb appeal, taking the time and patience to properly land on a front yard design is important. If you want to ensure you’re staying on trend and not dating your home, there are some common mistakes to avoid. These will help with the resale value of your home and leave you the envy of all your neighbors.

Landscaping mistakes

These are some common mistakes you’ll want to avoid when thinking about landscaping your front yard.

Not having a game plan

One of the biggest mistakes is not having a plan when it comes to the design and layout of your landscaping. This can leave your yard feeling disjointed and your plants at risk of looking overgrown and out of place. Meet with a local garden expert or map out your front yard, including where all plants, trees, rocks, water features, and flowers will live. This will help ensure things don’t look too busy or sparse, and it will make your yard feel well thought out.

Using the wrong plants

Understand which plants work for your exact yard. If they need full sun or partial shade, or require a lot of maintenance, it may be a disaster waiting to happen. Not only do you need to consider placement in terms of sunlight, but different flowers and plants have varying schedules of watering, so you want to know exactly what’s expected before you plant them.

Too many decorations

Everyone loves a yard that changes with the season in terms of decor, but you can overdo it. You want to avoid garden decor that makes your front yard look tacky or cheap (we’re talking to you, plastic deer), so keep decorations to a minimum.

yellow house front
Brett Taylor Photography

Color pitfalls

We love color, but you need to be careful how and where you use it.

Choosing all one color

We love a monochromatic look as much as the next person, but your home should be welcoming and warm from the first glance. If you prefer having your house the same color as outdoor furniture and plants/flowers, use it as a backdrop. Add one or two pops of color with chair pillows or your front door to breathe a little life into your home.

Choosing too many colors

While it’s good to have a little variety, you don’t want to overwhelm the outside of your home. Bright colors may work in some parts of the country, but go easy on the rest of your choices. Picking one primary color and one contrasting color that complements it is the safest approach, especially if you’re planning to sell your home.

Single-family home with curved walkway and large tree in front yard
GoodFocused / Shutterstock

Decor don’ts

Some things are just common courtesy when it comes to the neighborhood.

Forgetting holiday decorations

Everyone loves to decorate for the holidays, but if your giant inflatable Christmas Santa is still blown up in your yard mid-January, it’s a problem. Take down all holiday decor within a week after the day has passed, or you’ll risk looking lazy (and annoying your neighbors).

Lawn furniture

If you have a front yard paver patio with outdoor furniture, make sure it’s nice to look at. Avoid plastic tables and chairs that can look cheap. If you don’t have a dedicated seating area, move any other furniture to the backyard, where it’s less visible.

Play equipment

We love to play with the kids out front, too. On a nice spring day when everyone wants fresh air, bust out those kids’ swimming pools, hoses, and other toys. Just make sure they get put away in the garage or storage shed when the day is over so your front yard stays nice and clean and doesn’t look like a forgotten amusement park.

Person wearing gardening gloves digging soil with garden spade
Lisa Fotios/Pexels

General maintenance errors

Not cleaning up after pets

If your dog only has the front yard to use as their personal bathroom, no problem. Just make sure you clean up after them daily to avoid any — um — pileups from occurring.

Mow your lawn

No one likes to see an overgrown lawn. Sure, you may miss a Saturday if you’re out of town, but leaving it for weeks on end unattended isn’t cool.

Adding too much privacy

Sure, we love a well-landscaped, plush lawn, but sometimes too much of a good thing is, well, too much. If you have unruly shrubs or a wall of bushes that takes over the entire front of your home, you can lose curb appeal and make it look more like a mess than for privacy’s sake. Instead, choose trees and shrubs wisely so you know they will grow to a reasonable size and not block off all of your home.

None of these to-dos are super time consuming, and staying on top of lawn care, keeping your landscaping clean and easy on the eyes, and choosing colors and decor that are classic and understated will go a long way toward keeping your curb appeal at its peak (and your neighbors happy).

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Julie Scagell
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
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