5 Things to Plant Now That Will Make Your Front Yard Look Amazing by Springtime

For a flower-packed front yard, these head-turning plants are just the thing to help your space segue beautifully from winter to spring

snowball bush flowers in front yard
The snowball bush
(Image credit: Ohnrob/Getty Images)

Warmer weather is slowly easing away winter which means it's time to start thinking about what to plant in your front yard to celebrate the seasonal switch. Add more color and fragrance to complement the spring bulbs you already (hopefully) planted in fall, but if you forgot it doesn't matter as the plants on our list will happily take center stage all on their own.

Choose the best early spring bloomers and this will set your front yard apart and create an uplifting experience for everyone in the neighborhood to enjoy too. Long flowering varieties that are easy care and undemanding are the key attributes to make it on to our list, and as a bonus most of them are fragranced too.

Head to your local plant nursery or garden center now and pick up these plants that are either already in flower or just about to burst forth, and pop them into your front yard landscaping scheme for an instant spring lift. Here are the 5 must-haves we think you should add to your collection.

1. Wallflowers

Wallflower (Erysimum) Bowles's Mauve

Wallflower (Erysimum) 'Bowles's Mauve' 

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Pick up some wallflower plants at the garden center now and they will offer a splash of color from March onwards, planted in amongst the daffodils and tulips. They come in traditional shades of bright orange, red, yellow and white, but there are also purple, pink and mauve varieties available, so you can have fun with your garden color scheme

'Wallflowers are easy colorful plants to add to a spring garden,' says plant expert Jenny Rose Carey, author of The Ultimate Flower Gardener's Guide. 'They are a classic plant of cottage gardens, and their four-petaled flowers are sweetly fragrant.'

Most wallflowers are biennial, which means they grow leaves and roots in their first year, then flower in the following year. To get a jump start on the process buy some second year plants now and let them seed in your flower bed once they've finished flowering, as they are generous seed producers and will scatter prolifically so you get more flowers next year.

You can also buy perennial wallflowers such as 'Bowles's Mauve', which is a purple variety of wallflower that starts flowering in spring and carries on through summer, making them a great addition to small gardens.

2. Daphne

Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance’

Daphne 'Eternal Fragrance’ 

(Image credit: thrillerfillerspiller/Alamy Stock Photo)

The early flowering varieties of these small shrubs light up front yard flower beds in spring with their impressive good looks. They grow into nicely shaped compact plants that are ideal for small front yards and also work well as a 'thriller' plant in containers for porches and front yard decks. The combination of gorgeous pink flowers and heavenly scent attracts beneficial pollinators and hummingbirds too.

If you're looking for plant ideas for full shade or partial/dappled shade, Daphne definitely ticks the box. Plus they are undemanding types that need very little pruning and have low watering requirements. 

'The smaller shrubs do well in containers,' says Susan Martin of Piedmont Master Gardeners, based in Virginia. 'Daphnes should be stationed in a spot where you can enjoy their fragrance. They offer a welcoming presence along an entry path, by the sides of a porch, in the corner of a deck, or any other gathering place. Then, breathe in deeply and enjoy!'

Try the exquisitely scented 'Eternal Fragrance' variety. One of the longest blooming varieties of Daphne (try this Daphne Eternal from QVC), it carries on flowering long into the summer months. Meanwhile the eye-catching Daphne 'Marianni' is another great choice for small front yards as it only grows to 3-4 feet tall, and its generous clusters of pink-purple flowers look dreamy too.

 3. Ornamental quince

pink flowering quince

(Image credit: Philip Game/Alamy Stock Photo)

The flowers of this multi-stemmed ornamental shrub come in beautiful shades of red, orange, and pink, against a background of glossy dark green foliage. Covered in stunning blooms from early to mid-spring, it makes a great addition to your planting and it's easy to see why they've become popular again. 

'As they bedeck themselves with white or pink flowers in springtime, you'll have no question why quince trees are a great addition to the garden,' says plant expert Christina Chung, author of The Layered Edible Garden. 'The blooms look much like a crabapple or pear but they're much larger.'

Choose a double-flowered variety like 'Pink Storm', which grows no higher than 3-4 feet. Tuck it into a front yard flowerbed where it will get on quietly with the business of looking good without taking over the space. As they remain small they can be planted up in containers too. These easy-to-care-for favorites are some of the best plants for a dry garden, and thrive in both sunny and part shady front yard locations.

4. Snowball bush

Common guelder rose (Viburnum opulus Roseum) blooms

Common snowball viburnum (Viburnum opulus Roseum)

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Viburnums are one of the most popular spring-flowering shrubs, and there are numerous cultivars to choose from but I particularly love those with the clusters of white snowball-style flowers (also known as Viburnum Opulus Roseum, which you can find on Amazon). The good news is early spring is the perfect time to plant this easy-care shrub if you're looking for things to plant now that will make your front yard look amazing by springtime.

Masses of show-stopping blooms appear from mid to late spring, depending on where you live, adding an elegant touch to any sunny site. The flowers are initially a fresh green color, then turn snowball white, fading out to a rose blush. I love snipping some stems to bring indoors as an easy way to fill a vase.

The snowball bush is very hardy, and once established, will thrive with minimal care, great if you're looking for low maintenance plants for a front yard. These shrubs need to cross-pollinate to bloom so it's a good idea to plant several of them together, and they make a great privacy screen if your front yard is overlooked.

Neighbors and passers-by regularly stop to admire mine and always ask me if these are 'Annabelle' hydrangeas as they look so similar. The joy of these beauties is they come into bloom much earlier when there's not much else happening in the garden.

5. Dwarf Korean lilac

dwarf Korean lilac bush flowers

Dwarf Korean lilac bush (Syringa meyeri)

(Image credit: DSGNSR/Alamy Stock Photo)

No matter how small your front yard or outdoor growing space, it's easy to squeeze in a compact dwarf Korean lilac bush. If you're looking for colorful front yard plants, in spring these are covered in lavender-purple flowers and the bonus is they're scented too. Occasionally they rebloom as well, especially if you don't prune them after the first flush of flowers.

While one of the best times to plant lilacs is in late fall, the next best time is in early spring so there's still time to plant one now, and they are easy to get established. If you pick up a flowering bush from the garden center you won't have to wait for blooms either. 

If you're an urban gardener short on space this variety can be squeezed into those front yard spots that might be too tight for other plants. Dwarf Korean lilac also thrives in a large container as a specimen shrub. Try pruning a couple into rounded balls to flank your porch. 

Just make sure you put these bijou lilac bushes in the sunniest spot and they will reward you with masses of flowers and fragrance that will make your front yard look and smell amazing.

Lifestyle journalist Sarah Wilson has been writing about flowers, plants, and garden design and trends since 2015. Having already studied introductory garden and landscape design as well as a course in floristry she is currently adding to her list of qualifications with an RHS Level 2 course in the Principles of Plant Growth and Development. In addition to livingetc.com, she's also written for homesandgardens.com, gardeningetc.com, Modern Gardens and Country Homes & Interiors magazines.