Paying attention to the outside of your home is as important as the inside; after all, it’s the first thing visitors see when they walk up to your door. Even if you don’t have a “green thumb,” you can add interest and delight to your garden and enhance your home's "curb appeal" without spending a lot of time, energy, and money on a complete overhaul of your landscape. Quickly add some zest to even the most tired-looking garden with a few simple and inexpensive changes.

Create a Focal Point

Some examples: (1) a tall decorative pot spilling over with colorful trailing plants; (2) an old wheelbarrow, statue, or unusual garage sale find strategically placed so that it catches your eye; (3) a small fruit tree or ornamental tree planted in the center of the front yard (besides visual interest, you get a bonus of flowers and/or fruit); and (4) one or more unusual stepping stones leading to the front door.

Group Colorful Annuals

Plant colorful, low-growing annuals  in a border or massed groupings. This is especially effective if your landscape currently consists mostly of foliage plants. There's nothing like a patch of colorful impatiens  or begonias to liven up a shady area, or clumps of miniature zinnias, petunias or Knock-out roses in a sunny spot. For the most pleasing effect, plant flowers in multiples of three of the same plant. When creating a border planting, set plants about 6 to 8 inches apart; when they fill in, you will have an unbroken border massed with color.

Add a Water Feature

Birdbaths are an inexpensive way to attract birds to your garden and create visual interest at the same time. Keep the water fresh, and soon the neighborhood birds will be stopping by to drink and bathe and serenade you with their bright songs. Alternatively, a large pot or half whiskey barrel is easy to make into a small fountain and provides the calming sound of bubbling water. If you don't have an electrical outlet nearby, solar power can be harnessed for your water pump. Or just plant a dwarf water lily, papyrus, water lettuce or other water plants in your small pond; they will lkeep the water fresh without the need for artificial circulation.

Add Varying Heights

Place pots of flowers on old stumps, large rocks, or inexpensive plaster pedestals. Tie together three bamboo poles in a tripod shape and plant a climbing vine such as sweet pea, jasmine or mandevilla. Place a shepherd's hook in a strategic spot and hang a stunning orchid on it.

Create a Border

Use bricks, stones, or prefabricated border pieces, available in many shapes and colors at your local garden center, to outline your flower beds. The more winding the edge, the more interesting will be the final effect. If you have the time and inclination, create your own special border by mosaicking the tops of bricks and lining them up.

It's easy to make your garden a lovely space that complements your home and provides long-lasting visual delight.


    Impatiens light up a shady corner.

    Impatiens(68814)Credit: Patricia RockwoodCredit: Patricia Rockwood