Six Excellent Plants for Your Front Yard

No idea what to plant in front of your house? These tried-and-true landscaping plants are easy to grow and add color and interest to your front yard from season to season.

  • Diabolo Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’)
  • Annabelle Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’)
  • Green Velvet Boxwood (Buxus ‘Green Velvet’)
  • Rozanne Geranium (Geranium himalayense ‘Rozanne’)
  • Stella D’Oro Daylily (Hemerocallis ‘Stella D’Oro’)
  • Magnus Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’)

Place them all together in the landscape for a vibrant new planting for your home. Or you could work any of these beautiful plants into an existing design.

Plant in “drifts” and utilize the classic advice of planting in “threes and fives,” because odd numbers are also soothing to the eye. Although symmetrical pairs do work well placed on either side of a doorway.

Avoid planting your landscape plants in any kind of “every-other” arrangement, which looks very unnatural.

All of these plants can be planted in spring, summer, or fall. Check with your local nursery for advice about planting times in your specific USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. You’ll need to water until they are well established, but after that, watering will generally be unnecessary except in very dry conditions.

Diabolo Ninebark

Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’

  • Deciduous shrub
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3-7
  • Height: 4′ to 8′
  • Spread: 4′ to 8′
  • Bloom time: spring
  • Sun: full sun to partial shade
  • Water: dry to medium

The easy-to-grow Diabolo ninebark shrub is a deep shape of black-purple. It features light pink flowers in the spring, which pop against its foliage.

This cultivar of ninebark shrub makes an excellent “specimen” feature in a landscape planting due to its unusual color and large size. Or you could use a group of them as a dramatic screening planting.

The striking hue of the Diabolo ninebark also makes a great foil for other plants to stand out, especially creamy whites and light or bright colors.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’

  • Deciduous shrub
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3-9
  • Height: 3′ to 5′
  • Spread: 4′ to 6′
  • Bloom time: summer
  • Sun: full sun to partial shade (full sun location may require supplemental watering)
  • Water needs: medium

The Annabelle hydrangea shrub is a great one to “mass plant” because of its spreading habit. Eventually, Annabelles planted together will merge for a big impact.

Another nice thing about the Annabelle is that it blooms on new wood. This means you can cut it back easily to control size or if it suffers any winter damage. You need never prune them is you give them enough space.

These shrubs look so pretty when the blossoms are left to dry over winter, especially when snow lands on them.

Hydrangea arborescens is a plant native to the USA.

Green Velvet Boxwood

Buxus ‘Green Velvet’

  • Broadleaf evergreen shrub
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Height: 3′ to 4′
  • Spread: 3′ to 4′
  • Evergreen foliage
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Medium

The Green Velvet boxwood plant is especially well-suited to colder climates. These glossy green shrubs form a neat, round shape all on their own and do not require shearing.

The Green Velvet bounces back nicely from winter burn issues, when the hot sun comes out before the frozen ground has thawed. Boxwood can dry out in that scenario, especially on the south side of the plant.

Another issue with evergreen plants can be damage from ice and snow coming off the roof. Keep this in mind when you choose your planting site. Otherwise, these boxwoods are super-low-maintenance landscaping plants that look fantastic with every house style from traditional to contemporary.

Rozanne Geranium

Geranium himalayense ‘Rozanne’

  • Herbaceous perennial
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 5-8
  • Height: 18″-20″
  • Spread: 12″-15″
  • Bloom time: spring to fall
  • Sun: full sun to partial shade
  • Water: medium

The Rozanne geranium (not to be confused with the annual “geranium” planted in containers in summer, which is actually not a geranium at all, botanically speaking) is a workhorse! Rozanne blooms from spring through fall and requires almost no maintenance.

A vigorous grower, some people find Rozanne geraniums to get too “leggy,” a problem easily solved but some strategic trimming mid-summer to produce a bushier plant.

Rozanne’s color is a deep periwinkle purplish-blue that is surprisingly neutral, and it goes with almost everything. It is also beautiful planted on its own.

Stella D’Oro Daylily

Hemerocallis ‘Stella D’Oro’

  • Herbaceous perennial
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • Height: 32″
  • Spread: 1.5′ to 2′
  • Bloom time: summer to fall
  • Sun: full sun to partial shade
  • Water: medium

Daylilies are a lovely and easy way to add vibrant color to the landscape beginning in summer. They require virtually no maintenance other than deadheading if desired. Or you can simply leave them alone.

Daylily foliage also adds interest in the landscape, having the effect of an ornamental grass. It offers beauty and texture, even when it starts to turn yellow in the fall.

The ‘Stella D’Oro’ cultivar is a surprisingly neutral yellow that works well with almost any other color. And is it a sturdy plant cultivated to thrive in many conditions.

Magnus Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’

  • Herbaceous perennial
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones: 3-8
  • Height: 2′ to 3′
  • Spread: 1′ to 1-1/2′
  • Bloom time: summer to fall
  • Sun: full sun to partial shade
  • Water: dry to medium

The Magnus coneflower cultivar is very much like the species plant (the plant as it is found in nature) but is just a bit better suited to the landscape. It’s a classic.

Coneflowers are native plants in the USA, so expect a lot of buzzing and butterfly action if you grow them. Their color, shape, and texture make them showstopper landscaping plants. Deadheading means you’ll get more blooms.

But leaving them alone is another option for fabulous winter interest. Especially if they develop little snowcaps on their dark, black seedheads. Keeping your plants in place through the fall and winter aids wildlife in many mays (shelter, food, nesting materials, etc.).

This post appeared previously on The Simple Landscape blog.


Elizabeth Douglas is the founder of Pocket Meadows. She holds a degree in landscape architectural studies and is a member of the NY State Nursery & Landscape Association.

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