How to personalise your front garden

Wellwater Grove show home

Walking up to the front door of your brand-new home for the first time is an unforgettable moment, especially if it’s the day you move in. Yet alongside the pristine surfaces and blank-canvas décor waiting inside, outside space is almost as important in terms of creating positive sentiments among first-time visitors.

In apartment buildings, outside space tends to be communal and professionally landscaped, with factors responsible for trimming and mowing. Houses and bungalows might also have outdoor elements which are communally factored, while site-wide planning restrictions may prevent homeowners from installing railings or building brick walls. Even so, there are plenty of ways to personalise your front garden, creating a welcoming first impression for visitors while giving freshly laid turf and pathways some company…


New estates generally have new postcodes, making it difficult for visitors and delivery drivers to find their way around. Until permanent street signs are installed and sat nav systems have been updated, make it easier for people to find you by investing in a large decorative address plaque featuring your house number and street name. You could also add your surname, if you feel so inclined. It’s best if this signage is illuminated throughout the long winter evenings, which brings us onto our next suggestion…


Low-energy LED bulbs can transform a property’s external appearance with minimal running costs. If you have a chalet-style sloping roof, soffit lights create a dramatic downlighting effect above the ground floor. Motion-sensing lighting makes finding your door keys much easier in a recessed portico. Also consider high-quality solar lights with battery backups, which look great at the edges of a path or driveway. It’s usually worth paying an electrician to wire feature lighting into the mains, adding internal switches and timers.


If there are no estate-wide restrictions on front garden appearances, you can go wild with borders and rockeries. Many people like to plant a tree outside their front window, watching it grow and surrounding its trunk with flowerbeds or decorative gravel/chips. Planting a hedge creates a defensible space which deters wayward footballs and animals, but ensure it’s regularly trimmed back rather than growing unevenly. It’s worth paying a specialist to look after lawns, fertilising and scarifying the grass while tackling seasonal pests like red thread.

Decorative planters

Even if you’re not able or willing to install permanent front landscaping, there are plenty of temporary options. Decorative hanging baskets on brackets create a raised home for flowers and pollenating insects alike – always drill into mortar in preference to brick, and brick in preference to render. Garden centres sell numerous planter and trough designs, so look for a theme – slate to match your roof, terracotta to match exposed brickwork, etc. Blend seasonal flowers with evergreen shrubs to striking effect, creating year-round points of interest.

Homes for nature

We've already mentioned pollenating insects, and our ecological infrastructure would collapse without them. There are few things bees love more than lavender bushes or flowers with exposed pollen, and these plants will also entice butterflies and dragonflies. Bug boxes can be discreetly positioned in shrubberies or placed beside an external wall, giving smaller insects a home, while a regularly replenished bird table will attract flocks of small birds. Every plant, flower and shrub in a manmade habitat gives nature a vital foothold…

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