The new front garden – end of the first year.


The stalwarts amongst my readership will recall that I have had a love/hate relationship with my front garden.  The lawn has changed its shape a number of times over the years but I still didn’t enjoy being out there.  Then back at the start of the year I bit the bullet and decided to get rid of the lawn once and for all and plant up the whole of the front garden.

January 2016
January 2016

This is how the front garden looked at the end of January – all very neat and tidy but dull, uninspiring and as some of my regular readers said just not me. So during the course of the first half of the year the lawn was lifted and removed and a curving path put in from the driveway to the side gate.  The path is more decorative and to give the front garden some structure rather than for a specific purpose but I have seen it used by a visitor which was very gratifying.

July 2016
July 2016

We decided that the path needed a good strong edge as it is the only landscape feature so my eldest kindly put in a  brick edge which I am really pleased with.  In fact if it wasn’t for him doing the edging and my youngest son lifting the lawn I don’t think I would have got very far with the project at all.  In my usual back to front way the path went in after the majority of the plants mainly because I wanted to see where the natural route would fall and also because the plants needed to get in the ground before the summer was over.


The path is finished now and the majority of the planting is done.  I need to tweak the asters around a bit as they went in quite small and I had lost their labels years ago so it was a bit hit and miss how it would turn out.  I have a darker flowered aster – Symphytrochium novea-angliae ‘St Michaels’-  in the back garden which I will divide and add to the new border as I think I need a darker purple to lift the others.


This is the view from the driveway to the front of the house and I love how pretty it looks. These photos were taken at the start of the month and last weekend I lifted all the zinnias.  They will be replaced with tulips and maybe some wallflowers. I have also added some snowdrops and small narcissus along the path edges. Next year I suspect I will also add alliums.

So to conclude I am absolutely delighted that I took the plunge and got rid of the lawn.  I actually enjoy being in the front garden now, I love looking at it in the morning from my bedroom window – it just makes me smile. In addition it is more wildlife friendly than the previous front garden with lots of bees and other pollinators buzzing around the flowers and more birds fidgeting around the border.




34 Comments Add yours

  1. What a fabulous transformation, your new front garden looks beautiful, Helen. The intermingling of plants is such a delight and the brick edging is a great touch. Well done!

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Kate
      Many thanks – the intermingling is more luck than judgement to be honest

  2. Your front garden looks impressive, and I love the word ‘fidgeting’.

  3. alison says:

    A very successful and beautiful transformation. The planting and brick edging look so good!

  4. Helen, what a delight your front garden has become. A very well done on this spectacular transformation!

  5. Julieanne says:

    Brava, it looks quite wonderful.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:


  6. Pam/Digging says:

    I love it, Helen! What a great example of how getting rid of even a small patch of lawn can make a huge difference.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Pam, coming from the Author of No More Lawn it means a lot!😄

  7. I love it!! I’m glad you removed the lawn. It has a lot more zing now. 🙂

  8. Your result is lovely and inviting!! Well done!

  9. What a great transformation. Anyone coming to your house is instantly drawn into a wonderful vision, having to walk the winding path to the front door past so much colour, it just shows what can be done with a little imagination and one’s children to help!!! I am going to show this to my son!

  10. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Wow – love the strong colours and the different heights – love the tall pale blue ???? Definitey more YOU! Love the wispy grasses – casual. Have been wondering how your front garden was progressing! Thanks!

  11. Ellie says:

    It looks amazing – no wonder you enjoy looking at it and being in it now. Many congratulations on a wonderful transformation. I look forward to following its progress during the next year.
    Best wishes

  12. rusty duck says:

    It is a complete transformation and lovely to see all the colour. It also feels a lot more private and enclosed.. perhaps part of the reason you are so much more comfortable in it now?

  13. A great success, indeed. And it will still be making you smile in years to come, as it evolves!

  14. John Kingdon says:

    What a wonderful difference. And it seems to complement, indeed enhance, the house – the immovable backdrop – perfectly. Visiting you’s going to be a pleasure. So buy extra tea and biscuits!

  15. ownedbyrats says:

    It looks lovely 🙂

  16. Anna says:

    What a fabulous transformation Helen resulting from your imaginative planting skills and hard graft from your sons. What a team!

  17. bittster says:

    What a remarkable improvement! The lawn always looked a bit awkward and it forced you to make awkward plantings as a compliment. This looks so much better and I wish you could come by here and give a little advice on fixing a few of my problem areas!

  18. Steve says:

    Looks really great. What an improvement! I sure you are thinking ahead but it is bulb planting time for your spring front garden.

  19. It’s looking lovely. The path does give it a really nice structure.

  20. Brian Skeys says:

    You should be very pleased Helen, it is a great improvement. Lawns are over rated.

  21. It looks great. What a change!

  22. Eddi Reid says:

    A family triumph. Great result everyone.

  23. Brilliant job. Dispensing with the lawn is the best idea and wow what a transformation

  24. jpstacey says:

    Smashing. The path gives it real structure. And if you wanted a path going nowhere, to go somewhere, you could always add a raised stone pot, or a chair!

    I’m torn when it comes to lawns: I like lying on big expanses of grass in the summer, and my Welsh rose is a much bigger fan than me; but a good lawn is such hard work, without which it’s just moss and dandelions and dampness. I’d love to know if anyone is aware of an alternative surface that’s as pleasant to sprawl about on. Chamomile?

  25. Cathy says:

    That’s amazing , Helen, and you have every right to be thrilled with it – what a transformation!

  26. Looks amazing! Front garden lawns often look silly to me – too small to be played on or to be a picnic site.

  27. Alison says:

    Your new front garden looks fantastic, such a transformation. I really like it.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Alison

  28. A new reader here so I don’t know what the back story is to your front garden but it looks fantastic in its new incarnation. All grass frontages can look so dull and to me, mowing is outdoor hovering and just as tedious, so I’ve planted up our front garden too. Much more fun to look out on, plus the walk to the front door offers all manner of diversions. Ceri

  29. Gary Waters says:

    Lovely garden, great use of colour, and the path looks fantastic

  30. Matthew Baez says:

    It looks nice. Lots of colors and variety.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s