Front Garden Design With No Lawn

front garden design with spring bulbs and interesting paving

Hate mowing the lawn? Here are some ideas for front garden design with no lawn.

The modern day front garden is often used very differently to the gardens of our grandparent’s days.  Back in the mid 20th century, a front garden was a carefully managed green oasis to welcome visitors and maximise kerb appeal. However, lifestyles have changed since then. As a society we are more dependent on cars and have less time for gardening than our grandparents did. As a consequence, larger front gardens are often used for off-street parking. While smaller spaces are designed for easier maintenance.

typical 1960's style street scene with manicured lawns in front of each home. Drawing.

A drawing of a typical 1960’s street scene where neatly manicured lawns take pride of place in front of every home.

Climate change is also making lawn care more challenging. And so it’s no surprise that around 50% of people who contact Manor Landscapes specify that they’d like a garden with no lawn.  So let’s take a look at some alternatives…….

Alternative Surfaces For A Front Garden Design With No Lawn

  • Clay pavers for a durable and attractive surface – great for car parking
  • Gravel or aggregates.  
  • Artificial grass
  • Low maintenance planting
  • Natural stone slabs
  • Porcelain pavers
  • Decorative porcelain tiles

elegant front garden with limestone setts and porcelain pavers

This elegant front garden design uses a range of different hard landscaping materials to create a parking zone and a smart front entranceway.  There is also space for some soft landscaping features.

Gaining Planning Permission For Hard Surfacing In Your Front Garden

Way back in 2010, the government recognised that if everyone were to adopt a front garden design with no lawn, the risk of flooding would rise dramatically.  Why? Because lawns are incredibly good at soaking up excess rainwater. Hard landscaping surfaces on the other hand, generally divert excess rain into the drainage systems which can quickly become overwhelmed.

Today, if you want to pave over your front garden you may need to seek planning permission. This is what the Government’s Planning Portal has to say about it.

If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.

In short, if your front garden design has no lawn and no planting beds and includes impermeable hard landscaping materials, you will need to seek planning permission.

There is a slim chance that the planning regulations might have changed in the time between me writing this article and you reading it.  Please visit the Government planning portal to double-check the rules. or consult your local planning office for advice.


No Lawn But Lots Of Plants

Just because you don’t want to spend your sunday afternoons pushing a lawn mower, doesn’t mean you can’t do your bit for the environment by filling every available space with plants. If I’m honest – I love to see an imaginative planting scheme in front of any home.  It needn’t take on the traditional cottage garden approach, mixed shrubs, exotic foliage or even a mix of conifers and heathers all look amazing.

typical english cottage front garden with roses round the door and a variety of flowering plants

Sadly not one of ours, but this traditional cottage garden compliments the property to perfection.  With wise plant choices and plenty of mulching, this style of planting needs less maintenance than you’d imagine.


Ideas for landscaping your front garden

These are some projects carried out by Manor Landscapes which use hard landscaping surfaces but no lawns in front gardens around Surrey. 

In some of these front garden makeovers you’ll see that we have created low maintenance planting pockets to add visual interest and also help water to drain naturally.

stylish driveway to welcome your guests

Very smart driveway with generous planting beds to aid drainage.  I particularly like the laying pattern of these clay pavers.  It’s set at an angle to the house and makes the drive appear wider than it really is.

modern driveway design

Love the contemporary colours of these clay pavers.  Most of the drive is surfaced with these and so we’ve used contrasting colours to avoid having one big monochromatic space.  The planting focusses on texture rather than colour and will provide all year round interest.

front garden with sloping paths and easy care gravel borders

Great use of landscaping materials to provide strong lines and plenty of interest.  10/10 for the specimen tree – it looks great!

front garden design with no lawn featuring teracotta coloured clay pavers to create parking spaces

Another example of clay pavers being used in front garden design.  These beauties are in a teracotta colour to reflect the brickwork on the property.


Considering a makeover for your front garden or driveway? Click here to get an estimate for the landscaping work.

What does landscaping cost?

Some more garden ideas for the front of your house


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