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Plants and Design for the Great Front-Yard Refresh of 2024

By Monrovia Nursery Company
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia Nursery Company

Research shows that the 2024 gardening season will find more homeowners investing in their front yards. Each year Monrovia conducts an exhaustive national research survey, asking 1400 homeowners about their plant purchases and gardening interests. That information is paired with monthly mobile studies to get a glimpse of what trends will continue and emerge in the coming season. In this year’s survey, gardeners’ interest in redesigning their front yard increased by 4% in comparison to the previous year, while overall landscaping improvement plans were like last year’s.

“With interest rates high, people are staying put and improving their current homes,” said Katie Tamony, chief marketing officer and trend spotter at Monrovia. “During the pandemic, many people invested in the backyard spaces where they spent more time. Now their attention is moving to the front yard.

“For front yards, we are seeing interest that goes beyond just increasing curb appeal. Homeowners may be looking to take out lawns, create a more waterwise landscape, increase outdoor living space, or just give the area a more modern feel.”

The study also revealed that younger, more affluent homeowners have the strongest desire for front yard makeovers. “These ambitious gardeners, who are spending the most, are also more likely to report they feel a need to keep up with the neighbors and a desire to add value and curb appeal with interesting plantings,” says Tamony.

To help gardeners across the country in their endeavor to update their front yard spaces and increase their curb appeal, Monrovia is releasing multiple digital design guides delivered to Grow Beautifully newsletter subscribers’ inboxes from February through June. The February digital guide is focused on front yard design, and includes landscape plans, design formulas, and plant lists perfect for the front yard refresh.

Favorite New Shrubs for Curb Appeal

Traditional front yard plants are typically used for adding structure, serving as a backdrop for perennial plantings or softening hardscapes. Recent breeding work is giving us more options for color, texture, and overall interest. Here are a few of our favorites.

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Angel’s Blush® Abelia is an exceptionally cold-tolerant and compact new shrub that adds bright and cheery foliage to any front yard. The stable, green and white variegated leaves take on a hint of rosy-pink in cooler weather. In trials, Angel’s Blush remained evergreen down to 2º F. This abelia stays compact, topping out at 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide, making it an excellent selection for mid-border or as a feature plant. Angel’s Blush can also be used to create a low hedge. Recommended for USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 7-9.

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LittleOne® Holly is an exciting and exclusive new holly from Monrovia. LittleOne is the only truly compact variety with an excellent berry set. It stays compact, reaching only 3 to 4 feet tall and wide, with dense, glossy green foliage and bright red berries. This evergreen shrub is also very cold hardy, thriving in zones 5-9. LittleOne can be planted as a back-of-the-border plant to highlight lower growing perennials or used as a foundation plant. It also makes a great feature shrub. Evergreens and topiaries provide focal points and create a sense of structure.

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Discovered by Dan Hinkley, Shear Genius™ Cotoneaster is an evergreen shrub that features fine foliage in an upright and narrow form. Shear Genius is an excellent boxwood replacement and is perfect for hedges or for shearing into formal shapes. Recommended for zones 7-9.

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Seaside Serenade® Newport Hydrangea Seaside Serenade® Newport is not just another beautiful hydrangea. This mophead variety features striking flowers that are a brilliant blue to plum in acidic soils or a vibrant pink in more alkaline soils. The colorful blooms make a striking statement in front yard gardens, adding instant curb appeal when planted in the landscape or in containers. Newport blooms on old and new growth, filling the front yard with flowers from early summer until autumn. Its compact habit makes it a perfect fit for both large- and small-space landscapes. Recommended for zones 4-9.

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Golden ChildEastern Arborvitae If you’re looking for a truly head-turning front yard shrub, Golden Child™ Eastern Arborvitae is it. This easy-to-grow, compact, globe-shaped arborvitae glows in the garden with beautiful, finely cut foliage that shows excellent sun and heat tolerance. In the winter the foliage takes on bronze hues, adding season-long interest. Topping out at just 1-foot tall and wide, Golden Child is the perfect accent or front border shrub. Recommended for zones 5-9.

Want more expert plant advice and design inspiration? Sign up for the Monrovia Grow Beautifully newsletter to get first access to exclusive digital design guides, webinar invites, and helpful stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.

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