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Desert Gardening: Easy Front Yard Fixes

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Turn a blasé front yard into a showpiece that's beautiful and easy to care for. Desert garden design expert Scott Calhoun shows how.

An informal and inexpensive gravel pathway is a great way to improve a front yard approach.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say it: Front yards are better than backyards, at least for a garden designer. I say this because backyards tend to accumulate lots of somewhat unattractive personal stuff - swing sets, grills, storage sheds, old car parts, etc. Let's face it: The backyard can be a wreck (mine included) and nobody will really care. But the front yard is a different story. It is the public face of your house, first impression and curb appeal; most folks make an effort to keep it looking good.

Yet many front yards need serious help. Following are three tips for quick and easy ways to dress up a desert region front yard:

This sand-set flagstone walkway makes for a snappy entrance.

1. Add a Walkway
I've been surprised how many new homes don't have adequate entry paths to the front doors. Most have narrow concrete doglegs running from the driveway to the door. Adding a walkway or walkways from the street often makes a big impact. If your garden is naturalistic in style, a curving walkway works great. Alternately a straight pathway, like the one shown, is great for more contemporary designs. This flagstone, set in sand and framed by steel edging and gravel, makes a snappy walkway.

Matching brown pots lush with plants are the right size for the tall second-story door.

2. Add Containers
One of the quickest and least expensive ways to dress up a front yard, courtyard or entryway is to add pottery. Depending on the architectural style of your home, consider adding a trio of pots that are the same color and style but different sizes, as shown. Or if your home's design is more symmetrical, you could flank a walkway with two matching pots.

A low blue wall with a built-in bench

3. Bring Outdoor Living to the Front Yard
Who says you can't enjoy the evening in your front yard? Adding an outdoor living space to it can bring back the tradition of sitting out on your front porch. Try adding a small patio, shade covering and seating to make sitting out front more pleasurable. In the first garden, a low wall and patio create a mini courtyard on the way to the front door.

Guests can enjoy the fire pit in the front yard by sitting on the low-seat wall.

In the image, the front yard includes a fire pit for marshmallow roasting.

How do you use your front yard? What's your favorite way of making your front garden interesting and vibrant?

See more Desert Gardening Articles.