Does Your Home Have Curb Appeal? The Top 7 Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Architecture isn’t the only thing that turns heads. Landscaping is what truly gives your home “curb appeal.” Many people find landscaping to be a daunting task. How do you design a landscape that’s balanced, but impressive, that has an aesthetic without going overboard?

Whether you have a small patch of front yard or a sprawling acre of space to work with, there are styles and features you can select that will make your front yard look better. These are 7 of our favorite landscaping ideas:

(We’ve also included plants for each style that you can trust to do well in Hillsborough, NJ’s specific climate.)


1. Classic Boxwood Landscaping

A front yard with boxwood shrubs.

Sleek and simple, classic landscaping involves a monochromatic theme of shrubs along a pathway. Typically, boxwood shrubs are the plant of choice. They are hardy and will do well in NJ front yards. Best of all, these can be clipped into different geometric shapes, such as little spheres or rectangles, as you prefer. The finished product is a well-kept landscape with minimal effort to maintain.

The Best Boxwoods for NJ Landscaping


English Boxwood Shrub
(True Dwarf Boxwood)
Green Velvet Boxwood Shrub Wintergreen Boxwood Shrub
(Korean Boxwood)
The easiest to shape, you can rely on these shrubs to create the perfect aesthetic for your front yard.

  • The best all-around
  • Low & compact
  • Naturally rounded
  • Versatile
  • Ideal for edging borders
If a lush, green landscaping is what you’re after, go with the green velvet. Its vibrant color is always a head-turner.

  • Vibrant color
  • Great texture
  • Grows naturally in a sphere shape
  • Pest & disease resistant
Want the boxwood look but have minimal yard? Choose the Wintergreen and pot them!

  • Cold hardy
  • Versatile
  • Also look great in pots
  • Slow-growing
  • Easy to shape


2. Low-Maintenance Floral Landscaping

Gardens are lovely, but they require time and attention. If you don’t have the time or the means for the upkeep, low-maintenance landscape designs are the way to go. But don’t be fooled! Low-maintenance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice beauty or even flowers for that matter.

The best way to accomplish this is to choose small evergreen bushes and shrubs as a border. Then, select low-maintenance flowers for a splash of color. Low-maintenance flowering trees also make a lovely addition to your front yard landscaping, and are sure to draw attention in the spring months.

Learn more about Hillsborough, NJ Shrub & Flowering Tree Plantings.


Low Maintenance Plants for NJ:

Black-Eyed Susans Dogwood Tree Hydrangeas
close up of black-eyed susans
A dogwood tree in bloom.
Multi-colored hydrangea bush with pink, blue, and purple.
Black-eyed Susans are excellent perennial flowers for low-maintenance NJ gardens. They thrive just about everywhere in the state.

  • Yellow flowers
  • Bloom June-October
  • Naturally rounded
  • Deer-proof
  • Plant in full or partial sun
Dogwoods are classic flowing trees in North America. Due to NJ’s climate they will thrive just about anywhere you wish to plant them. With their small size, these trees can flatter even the smallest of front yards.

  • Flowering tree (white petals)
  • Like partial shade to full sun
  • Smaller tree
Hydrangeas practically beg to be planted next to a fence or flanking the steps of your porch. These locations typically give them the perfect sun-ratio. These perennials become showcase landscape features in the warmer months when in full-bloom.

  • Color Variety: white, blue, purple, pink
  • Bloom Spring—Fall
  • Best to plant on a front lawn facing north or south


Limited Yard? Opt for Cool Climbers

Pink roses climb on an arbor over the path to the front door of a house.

Have a south-facing wall or front yard? Here’s a landscaping idea: put in climbing plants. Climbers typically love the sun and create a charming, fairytale-like effect. If you have a small yard, these add instant character by growing upward. Put flat trellises against your home or an arbor over your pathway and let these plants do their thing! Be sure to choose your climbers wisely, though. While most like sun, many are climate sensitive. Some even take on a life of their own.


Top Climbing Plants for NJ Homes

The Generous Gardener
(Climbing Roses)
Clematis American Wisteria
Generous gardener climbing roses on the side of a brick house.
White/pink clematis vines growing on a stone wall.
Wisteria grows alongside a windowed building.
Generous Gardener climbing roses turn any residence into a fairytale cottage.

  • Disease resistant
  • Large pink flowers
  • Highly fragrant
  • Can reach 15ft
Clematis and NJ seem to be a match made in heaven. This plant loves NJ soil and makes a beautiful climbing display with delicate flowers.

  • Purple, pink or white flowers
  • Grows vertically
  • Covers a small surface
  • Can reach up to 20ft
Wisteria is among the most beautiful and fragrant climbers you can plant in NJ.

  • Purple clustered flowers
  • Extremely fragrant
  • Hardy
  • Rapid Growth
  • Can reach up to 25ft
  • Needs sunlight

Disclaimer: Although beautiful & fragrant, wisteria MUST be tended to regularly or its vines will spread just about everywhere.


4. Mediterranean Inspired

A fountain with a pathway and surrounding red flowers.

You don’t need an olive or fig tree to for a Mediterranean landscape design. Bring the timeless charm of Spain and Italy into your New Jersey lawn with just these simple assets: a stone pathway, a fountain in the center, and low-to-the-ground flowering plants. When putting down the pathway, be sure to account for the fountain and the flowers planted beneath it. Typically, you’ll want approximately 1-3 feet of space to plant the flowers to keep the look balanced for front yard landscaping.

Hardy, Ground-Covering Flowers for NJ:

Creeping Phlox Candytuft Creeping Thyme
Light purple creeping phlox.
A close up of white candytuft flowers.
Close up of creeping thyme flowers.
This perennial not only has lovely colors, but its vast covering of flowers makes it ideal for ground covering. Use it under fountains or to line pathways.

  • Blooms in spring
  • Colors: purple, pink, blue, white
  • Full sun
  • Semi-evergreen
  • Grows up to 6”
  • Spreads up to 2ft
For a true Mediterranean look, include candytuft in your landscape. It offers excellent ground cover but is slow-growing and easy to control.

  • Easy to grow
  • Perennial
  • Full sun
  • White flowers
  • Blooms 2x a year
  • Excellent for pollinators
If there’s one way to truly enhance a Mediterranean aesthetic, it’s to choose plants that aren’t just beautiful, but edible too. With creeping thyme in your front yard, you have a homegrown selection to cook with, as you like.

  • Perennial
  • Purple-pink flowers
  • Edible
  • Slow-growing
  • Full sun
  • Deer-resistant


5. Water that Wow’s!

A small pond in the front yard of a house.

True, fountains can truly be a showpiece. BUT what really turns heads is front yard landscaping with a pond, stream, and/or waterfall feature. The effect is a personal grotto, a haven that captures the senses. Guests walking up to your front door won’t just see beautiful landscaping, they will hear the water, and smell the flowers. Just make sure that you have a good water system to keep the water clean and green-free. Stagnant water is a turn off, but running water is a paradise. You can keep it clean with a stand-alone pond or jazz it up with water-loving plants.

Flowers to Compliment Water Features


Water Lilies Japanese Iris Daylily
 White water lilies
Japanese Iris in purple, pink & white
Close up of an orange daylily.
Bring some Monet into your front yard with classic water lilies. These bring a romantic flair to your landscaping.

  • White flowers
  • Hardy
  • Survive in winter
  • “Drop-and-grow”
  • Fish-friendly
  • Full sun
Japanese Irises love to be near water, and their cascading petals fit the scene. Give your grotto a pop of color with this plant.

  • Perennial
  • Purple, pink, white flowers
  • Hardy
  • Deer & rodent-resistant
A perennial you can plant without fail, daylilies will thrive just about anywhere! Plant them beside your pond to add some bright orange or yellow.

  • Low maintenance
  • Traditionally yellow & orange flowers
  • Bloom in summer
  • Disease resisitant


The Modern Minimalist

Minimalist landscaping in front of a home with modern architecture.

A minimalist, geometric, and clean look is naturally relaxing and inviting. The trick is to arrange your landscaping space into geometric sections, like rectangles, and place select greenery within them. It’s important to balance the stone and plant elements for this look. This style pairs exceptionally well with a modern home architecture.

Plants to Compliment a Minimalist NJ Landscape

Boxwood Shrubs Japanese Maple Hosta
Large domed Boxwoods framed by square Boxwoods.
Japanese Maple
Close up of Hosta leaves.
The trustworthy boxwood can also be used in a minimalist garden. Choose domed-shaped shrubs or border your stone walls with straight, rectangular cuts.

  • See “1. Classic Boxwood Landscape”
One of the best ways to add a head-turning feature to a minimalist landscape is to include a Japanese Maple. The red leaves on this tree add striking color and are among the most beautiful plants in the fall.

  • Prefer part-day’s sun
  • Slow growing (1-2ft/year)
  • Red, orange, or purple leaves
  • 8-30ft tall when full grown
Also known as the “Plantain lily,” hostas are easy to care for perennials. They’re the perfect decorative green to finish any minimalist front yard.

  • Thrive spring-fall
  • Green, yellow, purple, or combination leaves
  • Prefer shade
  • Range of sizes


From landscaping design to complete irrigation, trust the green experts Hillsborough Irrigation to deliver total curb appeal. You can see some of the many landscaping and patio projects we’ve completed in our Gallery for even more landscaping ideas!

Is your lawn lacking curb appeal? We can help!

Request an Estimate