Add flowers and foliage to your front garden to improve your mental and physical health and benefit the environment.
Here are some easy ways to green even the smallest space to delight your senses and provide food and shelter for wildlife.
Grow plants to cover walls and fences
You can grow the following plants to help cover walls and fences:
- Honeysuckle for sweetly scented flowers
- Pyracantha for flowers and berries
- Chaenomeles (Japanese Quince) for early spring flowers
- Jasminum officinale for scented summer flowers.
Small trees, such as spring-flowering ornamental crab apple, can be squeezed in by parking spaces so that you can enjoy greenery above your car.
Shrubs and hedges
Shrubs provide year-round interest and front hedges can help to trap pollution from the road.
Container-grown shrubs can be planted anytime but will need watering in their first year.
- Mahonia and viburnum tinus are tough winter-flowering evergreens. Mahonia will tolerate some shade
- Berberis thunbergii provides colourful foliage and spring flowers
- Escallonia is mainly evergreen and has a long flowering period in a sunny spot
- plant sun-loving rosemary and lavender where you will brush against them to release the scent
- Potentilla often flowers from early summer to the first frost
- Hardy fuchsia provides prolonged summer flowering.
Gravel on a parking space is good for drainage and provides planting opportunities around the edges.
- Erigeron karvinskianus and verbena bonariensis
- Purple toadflax
- Evening primrose
- Californian poppy
Pots and hanging baskets
Many bedding plants have little or no pollen or nectar for insects.
Try these sun-lovers instead:
- early spring-flowering erica carnea and erica x darleyensis (heathers)
- English marigold
- herbs such as chives and thyme
- Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, which flowers from early summer to the first frost
- trailing nasturtiums for hanging baskets.
If you can put just one of these ideas into practice, it will help to lift your spirits as you approach your front door.
Sources: Gardening for a Wilder Kent / Royal Horticultural Society: Front Gardens / Royal Horticultural Society: Front Gardens: Planting / Royal Horticultural Society: Plants for Pollinators / Royal Horticultural Society: Hedges: choices with environmental benefits.