Front gardens: design inspiration

Even the smallest space can be green and inviting, while providing room for a car or two. These simple design solutions show you how.

RHS

Quick facts

  • Keep paving to a minimum
  • Use permeable paving materials
  • Grow plants where you can't park; any dead space
  • Get creative. It is possible to park and garden
  • Provide a home for wildlife with your plants
  • Keep dust and pollution on the street with a hedge

Striking a balance

Front gardens help turn our towns and cities into green and pleasant places to be. Yet many are being paved over to provide parking for the millions of cars we own in Great Britain. RHS research found that almost a quarter of the front gardens are now completely paved. 

Design inspiration gallery

These are design solutions taken from real life and flower shows to help you create an attractive garden complete with off-street parking. Further design ideas can be found on our page on designing front gardens.

    This is a very tight space. However, plants still line the path up to the door, showing there is no need to completely pave a garden even when space is very tight. A container by the door adds further interest. There's still room for more greenery, though. The fence could, for example, be replaced with a hedge.This represents good design, but the plants have still lost out. The containers help, but it would be great to include a small border under the window, a boundary hedge and wall climbers. The birch tree, though, provides lots of benefits. It cools and shades in summer yet, because it looses its leaves in winter allows in the sunshine. The branches are ideal for birds to perch in and they will find insects to eat.This is a low maintenance front garden. It's made up of evergreens, including ivy and box. The dense vegetation is great for wildlife to live in and there is enough that it will help cool the air around the house on hot summer days. It also creates a green oasis to come home to.This front garden already has a proper driveway for one car. It's where the photographer is standing. However, the homeowner has cleverly included a second space by using gravel and informally surrounding it with plants. There's even low-growing plants underneath the middle of the car; see our planting guide for details.Although there is room to park, plants feature heavily in this garden. There is a small tree, a diverse range of perennial plants in the beds and permeable gravel paving. However, there's still room for climbers up the walls.

    Planting

    For more information on what and how to plant front gardens, see our guide: Front gardens: planting.

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