Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Horticultural Advice
Horticultural Advice
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Behind The Scenes
Behind The Scenes
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Alpine Crate
Alpine Crate
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Ready To Sell
Ready To Sell
Ideas and inspiration on how to select the best plants and blooms to maximise kerb appeal for your front garden and driveway.
Pin Image

The Best Blooms For Kerb Appeal {With Boden}

Author: Lolly Gautier-Ollerenshaw

In my house update I shared on the blog last week, I mentioned that I’d be writing a post about a recent trip to the garden centre and all the delicious details of which plants I’ve selected for growing in the front bed and up the house itself. As promised then, today is all about the best blooms for kerb appeal so you can be sure that people will positively coo with delight over your home as they walk past.

With the second May bank holiday coming up we couldn’t think of anything more patriotic than our desire for perusing garden centres and what better brand to wear on my visit then the very British Boden…more on that in a moment.

I’m a big believer in soft landscaping. Yes a well executed structural backbone will go a long way but the right plants clustered in a sympathetic design can make any home look breathtaking. Aside from the aesthetics, you can guarantee that an attractive frontage will help to increase the value of your property too so it’s worth investing in the pretty now to get your financial reward in the long run. Or at least that’s what I tell Ste…

If you’ve read any of my previous posts then you’ll know that we’re in the midst of a huge house renovation project and as a way of trying to exert some control and to give our long-suffering neighbours something pleasant to look at, I’ve decided to tackle the front garden and driveway.

But what to plant? Where to start? How long will it be until the plants are established enough to be worthy of a Pinterest board? 😉

To give you the skinny on our driveway then…well it points south-west meaning that it gets the sun for the majority of the day so we’re lucky in that we’re less limited on what we choose to grow. From a hard landscaping perspective we’ve built a new front wall that sweeps around in a half moon shape enclosing the front bed until it meets the verges of the road. That, and the resin bound drive which will be instated when all of the work on the house is complete, forms the skeleton upon which all the soft landscaping will grow.

I adore the thought of a beautiful flowering plant growing up the front of the house but whether to opt for a delicate rambling rose or a fragrant honeysuckle or a decadent wisteria has confounded me.

In addition, the front bed measures about 5 meters across or thereabouts and forms a semi-circular shape; whilst I was pretty darn certain about the fact I wanted a box hedge across the front of the bed as a clear delineation from the pavement I was open to suggestion when it came to the rest of the bed. During my Pinterest travels I came across several beautiful hydrangea hedges (type in Annabelle hydrangea hedge if you want to take a peek) and I just knew that this had to form a part of the planting scheme. More specifically as another hedge behind the box so that from the road looking at the house you’d see both plants but from the house you would only eventually see the hydrangea. But what to do with the rest of the bed? What about succession planting during the spring before the hydrangea bloomed? What about necessary ground cover?

There was only one thing for it. A trip to the garden centre and hopefully the opportunity to tap into the knowledge of a more experienced gardener than myself who would steer me in the right direction.

A quick but in-depth discussion with a very knowledgable man named Mike gave me all the information I needed to know. We chatted through the pros and cons of the climber for the frontage and settled on Wisteria. Being fully hardy and loving the sun with the best spread of the three plants I’d shortlisted it was a clear winner.

The front bed needed a bit more consideration. Whilst I’d picked out two fantastic plants in terms of hardiness and impact, there was the question of what the space would look like in the winter months as Hydrangea tends to shed all of its leaves. We contemplated introducing a tree where the existing conifer is situated; Betula ermanii ‘Grayswood Hill’ was definitely a contender. This is a birch with creamy white bark emblazoned with raised horizontal brown stripes and beautiful yellow leaves in Autumn which would work with the colour I’d picked out for the resin bound drive. But would it look odd with the Hydrangea next to it?

Mike also talked through some beautiful plants that would provide ground cover (thus negating the need for weeding) and colour throughout the majority of the year. He showed me some tough but sweet alpines and some frivolous Campanula which I was rather taken with whilst also chatting through the importance of situating plants of different heights and textures next to one another for interest. Much like how you would structure and layer an outfit I suppose…

Sticking to a particular colour scheme using only two or three hues was key here and with the wisteria picked alongside the hydrangea and the box it was pretty much already chosen for me…blues, greens and whites. So with this in mind I selected Stachys byzantina ‘Silver Carpet’ also known as Lambs Ear, Campanula, ‘Hungarian Beauty’ violets and lastly ‘Taplow Blue’ thistles.

Oh and my super British outfit for completing all of this exhausting plant shopping? I spotted this silk spotty shirt from Boden and completely fell in love. With a roomy fit I was able to do all the necessary bending and stretching that comes with choosing the best plants from big displays whilst keeping cool in the scorching temperatures at the time.

I paired it with an easy lightweight cardigan in a super soft navy cotton and added a pair of my favourite blush strappy t-bar flats and I was good to go.

In the next few weeks I’ll be sharing images of the front of my house all planted up with the selections I’ve mentioned above. Hopefully it will all look rather pretty so stay tuned for more horticultural posts coming to your screens soon!

Have any of you embarked on a planting project this Spring? What shrubs or blooms did you choose? Why not tell us in the comments below….

This post is sponsored by Boden. I’m wearing the Boden silk spotty shirt, easy lightweight cardigan and strappy t-bar flats.


Photography by Adam Crohill

Author: Lolly
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.
Follow Lolly on instagram @graceandgable

33 thoughts on “The Best Blooms For Kerb Appeal {With Boden}

  1. I’ve been trying to improve the front of our house since we moved here almost two years ago. We live in a 1930’s semi and the front garden is HUGE. Which, instead of being a blessing, is actually a pain. Also, when we moved here there were patio doors in place of a front door.. It was only when I was 8 months pregnant that we discovered our pushchair wouldn’t actually fit through the doors and, mercifully, that sped up operation new door which I painted peacock blue in an attempt to make the front of our house look less bleak..

    The drive way was half Tarmac and half pebbles with random sparse plants dotted about which added to the bleakness. Since we can’t afford to re-pave it I bought some cheap wooden border fencing from b&m, painted it green and am halfway through creating a large bed along one side of the drive and most of the front. I’ve planted six hydrangeas – I’m also obsessed – and loads of cottage style flowering perennials. Hollyhock, lupins, foxgloves, poppies (including a turquoise poppy that I’m mega excited about) and some lavender. I’m also mega jealous of anyone with an awesome lilac bush (lols) now they’ve all started flowering. So I’m going to add one of those.

    But I’m interested in the floor covering abilities of the alpines. Are you planting them in a rockery? Or just solo?

    For the back garden, equally large and therefore hard to maintain, I’ve just cleared a space to make a hedge of alternating lavender and gypsophila to go underneath a lovely plant that’s climbed all up the fence that I don’t know the name of! I’m pretty excited to get that up and running..

    1. Wow Jennifer sounds like you’ve got the gardening bug as badly as I have! I too have planted my own hollyhocks and poppies this year which I’ve grown from seed; it’s an experiment at my mum’s at the moment as our own back garden is a million miles away from planting! I’ll let you know how I get on. We also have Lilac (three huge trees) to make you a bit more envious too – it never seems to last very well out of the garden though so I keep my cutting frenzies to a minimum.

      With regards to the alpines I decided not to go for them in the end as the Campanula and the lamb’s ear will make just as effective ground cover and I loved the idea of the two contrasting textures next to each other. But you can plant them either straight into the soil or in a rockery…I might be wrong but I have a feeling that drainage is important to them and they like lots of grit so if you are planting into the soil this is something to bear in mind…

      1. Jennifer my neighbour has a lilac which is peeking over our hedge. So pretty!
        I’m in the process of painting our shed dark grey and am planning a wild flower garden next to it. I wish I’d been a bit more organised though. So proud of you for growing your Hollyhocks from seed Lolly!

        1. I’m only organised this year because I spectacularly failed last year to be, when I decided to get in to it in July! I don’t have much patience for growing from seed though..

          We need a new shed. And a new wooden play set for my daughter. We’ve inherited a plastic slide from our friends and although grateful, it’s not quite what I’m looking for.. So once we upgrade to a wooden affair I am very excited to get the paints out.

          Wild flowers are so pretty. I’ve seen your garden oh Instagram and it looks immense!

      2. The lambs ear looks lovely! I’m adding that to my next garden centre trip for sure.. The lilac trees make me very jealous indeed.

        I have totally for the gardening bug, but only out the front where I can create my own thing. Out back garden has lots of fussy curved flower beds and rockeries which I don’t like really. But, as we can’t afford a complete overhaul I have less motivation to maintain it.. We have decided to turn one of the beds in to a vegetable patch next year though so that will tidy things up. I love the gardening posts!

        1. We’ve really gone for it on the veggie front this year Jennifer so I wholeheartedly advise you to have a crack at it especially as you’re so green fingered already. I think you’ll love it!

  2. We also have a front garden in desperate need of attention 🙁 Any tips for planting a box hedge?! This has been on my to do list for a year but green fingered I am not and I don’t know where to start!!

    1. Morning Nicky – well Box should be planted in either Spring or Autumn. We’ve managed to plant ours now (this week) and with the colder Spring we’ve had I reckon we should be ok but any later and we’re slipping into Summer which is a bit late…Plant each individual box specimen about a foot apart from one another and it might be worth doubling up on the width side of things if you’re after a chunkier hedge…Make sure they’re watered at all times too and prune back in August for bushier growth in the long run.

      1. Super thanks so much Lolly! Will try and get on to it this weekend and pray haven’t left it too late!! Will keep you posted!

  3. Great post, I’m wishing the week away so I can get in my garden at the weekend and give it some TLC. By the way love the Boden shirt, they also have it in a lovely pale pink colour on the website – this would be perfect for spring and covering growing bumps! Might have to add to my basket, along with those lovely pink flats…..

    1. I saw the pale pink colour too Lindsay – such a pretty blouse. For some reason I’m always inexplicably drawn to blue but perhaps I should make more of an effort to wear other colours – this would be a good place to start…

  4. Love that shirt…and the shoes! We’ve just finished a whole heap of work inside our house and the garden wreckage is the next big project… it makes me want to cry it is so neglected! I’ve almost bought a wisteria to use as a climber to hide a huge great big ugly fence but my husband told me it might take 100 years to grow… 🙁 he must be wrong?? I thought I read they were quick! What sort of size are you starting with Lolly?

    1. I think it depends on what size you’re starting with in the first place and the conditions your wisteria is growing in and also how much space you’re looking to cover with the plant. My mum bought one last year (to help replenish the very established and very old plant on the back of her house) from our local botanical gardens which was probably about a meter tall. It’s already doubled in height and we’re not even at the end of the growing season so I expect it to be about 3m plus by the end of the summer. I feed it regularly though and although it’s in a deep pot at the moment it won’t be long until we plant it. Ste has horticultural contacts who are currently sourcing a larger plant for us to plant at the front of our own house so I don’t see it being all that long until we can start to see pretty blooms around our windows…perhaps three years or so?

      The other thing to mention is that it’s worth buying a grafted wisteria rather than one grown purely from seed.

  5. I wish I could tackle our front garden as it currently has the most amazing acer (a gorgeous reddy-maroon colour) – but that’s it – the rest is just aggregate chippings. So sad! It does, however, face south so I’m hoping I can create an amazing garden when we get onto it. We’re focussing on our back garden this summer as we had a fence disaster in the high winds a few months back and our back fence is just shedding planks! We’re going to take the opportunity to remove the concrete bomb shelter (!) at the same time as replacing the fence, as well as removing a rockery and levelling the top part of the garden which is a foot higher than the rest. For no reason. Not an easy job… I want to save the sloe bushes which made some excellent sloe gin last Christmas, so fingers crossed I can transplant them into our other hedging. In the rest of the garden I currently have mostly pots of shrubs (the ceanothus looks great), as I didn’t want to plant things out for them to then be destroyed. I’ve got a hydrangea too, my ultimate fave – I’ve been watering it with coffee to try and get it to be blue this year, fingers crossed! This weekend I bought a single lupin plant to try – I love them, but didn’t want to buy too many if they don’t like where I plant them. Again, fingers crossed they do as I love them! I’ve had success with daffs, anemones and alliums this year too, so definitely planting more of them in autumn. Can’t wait to see the front garden planted up, Lolly! (And may have to buy that Boden shirt, I have a £10 off voucher at the moment….)

    1. We have an acer in the back garden Katie which Steven nearly killed when the wind blew our bonfire’s flames towards it last year. I was SO angry but luckily it’s recovered and throwing shapes this year again. I saw a similar sized potted one at this garden centre which was for sale for £4K so I told him to keep his hands off – it looks particularly awesome at this time of year next to the vibrant green of the garden.

      We completed a lot of the hard landscaping of our back garden before plodding on with the house project mainly because we had the machines there to do so and easy access around the side after pulling down the garage. Like yours we had an uneven top part and the bottom part sloped away so we’ve shifted a fair bit of soil and hardcore around. At the time I couldn’t see the point as I just wanted to finish the house but now it’s done I’m pleased we cracked on with it first. It’s going to make things so much easier. I’m feeling for you already.

      So jealous about your sloe bushes though and I adore lupins but watch out for the greenfly. I grew tonnes when I was about 11 years old after reading a book called The Lupin Lady and they looked amazing until the greenfly got them.I can remember crying my eyes out when mum said we needed to get rid of them all.

      Let us know if you do go for a cheeky purchase too xx

  6. I googled and that hydrangea hedge is lush! Now I really want to plant one. However, I have a single hydrangea bush at the minute and it looks pretty rank in winter. What did you decide on putting along with yours for the winter months Lolly?

    We’ve just moved into a new build. The front garden was landscaped for us, but we have to do the back ourselves. We’re having a lawn sown in a couple of weeks and are considering a laurel hedge along the fence at the bottom of the garden. There’ll be a bed at the side of the house which I might fill with a few white hydrangea and, because of this post, Campanula. I also fancy a few grasses, but will have to go to the garden centre as I know nothing about them! I think I’d like a magnolia as well. Love the idea of your wisteria, it’ll look amazing. I hope you’ll show us some pics when its finished. x

    1. The succession planting aspect to the bed was one of the factors that massively bothered me Tracy hence the desire to have some kind of evergreen hedge all year long. I figured that there was always going to be an element of nakedness in the winter months so I’ve tried to embrace that by planning for pots of box next to the front door. Those, along with a beautiful front door and a smart driveway should help maintain a sense of style during the lean months.

      Sometimes hydrangeas can look really beautiful after their flowerheads have dried out; I don’t cut back until the spring anyway so there will be some kind of foliage in the winter. The Campanula I’ve picked can go on flowering until November and the Lambs Ear and Thistles can tend to stick around for a long time too.

      The other thing I’ve been seriously thinking about is tulips and earlier spring flowers such as snakes head fritillary for that in between stage when the hydrangea are green but haven’t got their flowers. I’m thinking pots again next to the front door but also in the actual flower bed themselves. Once they’ve died back the stage can shift back to the hydrangea again…

      I’ll be sharing some images of the front of the house on the blog very soon!

  7. Gorgeous hydrangea my love, and I love that outfit.

    We have two bog standard hydrangea in our front garden but those white blooms are almost edible! I might need one.

    We’re on a corner plot so lots of south-facing space at the front, with a low wall around the perimeter. Our driveway is at the side of the house so we’re lucky to have quite an enclosed private front garden with two lawns and a box topiary lined little path. The walls are topped with loads of tall hedging made up of an inherited mix of shrubs that has a real informal feel to it.

    Our Spring colour comes from a massive Forsythia, which is quickly followed on by an even bigger (but gorgeous smelling) Lilac and a couple of Mrs Popple Fuschia. There’s an oddly placed climbing rose and a Laurel hedge either side of the gate, and another shrub that I couldn’t give a name too no matter how hard i’ve tried. No idea what it is!

    I had a lovely surprise last year too when peonies popped up along the sunny borders, and we have our little fruit trees tucked into another corner. Loads of ground cover under the shrubs like Saxifrage and Bluebells.

    The downside of all of this madness is that it looks an absolute mess if you don’t keep on top of it! It sounds lovely, but there’s a fine line between ‘relaxed informal planting’ and ‘crazy witches house on the corner’. Currently losing that fight by a MILE.

    I’m loving the sound of your plans. Looking forward to seeing it planted out. xx

      1. Waaaah incrediballs indeed. Like a big gorgeous beach ball of happy.

        I’ll nip out and grab a pic now. It’s probably something really easy but I just can’t pin it down xx

        1. Okay, the offending (but very beautiful) shrub is now parading on instagram. You’re a doll Lolly, thank you.

          Lauren I do too! Surely they’re not poisonous and we could totally do that xx ????

  8. I really wanted to tackle our garden this year – we moved in last January and after the boiler and the dryer both broke within two weeks of moving in, the husband considered money on plants a bit frivolous 🙁 But with bump and strict orders not to do anything physical now, I can’t do any decent planting. I managed to plant two mini lilacs which haven’t (yet!) been dug out by one of the dogs and we’ll get a few pretty pot plants but I’m so looking forward to do some decent reworking of the garden.

    Really looking forward to seeing pictures of yours! And I also love the outfit 🙂

    1. Hooray for the mini lilacs Maike but not so for the broken boiler and dryer…

      From a cost perspective I’d say growing from seed is always cheaper than buying bigger plants so it’s worth investing in a few packets for next year. I’m intending to collect seed from this years plants too so that I don’t have to fork out anything for next time round.

      I’ll be sure to share some more pictures soon of the garden!

  9. I am also planning a “box” hedge but not using box because of box blight, which can happen, I’m using Ilex crenata Dark Green, which is much less prone to diseases and almost identical in appearance. Be careful with lilacs, they send up suckers from the roots and you’ll end up with them taking over your borders. I love Viburnum Opulus, mine is bright green and out now but the white one is beautiful too. If anyone is selling a house and wants instant colour, check out the annual plant Cosmos, in a variety of colours, a daisy-like flower with beautiful feathery foliage.

    1. Eileen I have two of the snowball Viburnums already and one has just started flowering – they are by far and away my favourite shrub. They’re like balls of cotton wool – just gorgeous. Cosmos is another favourite of mine too – I was tempted to grow it from seed again this year but haven’t got the space in the greenhouse! The foliage as you say is particularly lovely. I adore asparagus fern too but I’ve heard that this is poisonous to cats. Anyway good choice of flowers there; I have a feeling we would get on very well!

  10. Lolly, pretty please could you come and sort out our back garden? It’s basically a rectangle of grass and I have no idea where to even start on how to make it look pretty!

    Ps How young do you look in these pics? 🙂

    1. Hahaha Lisa what are you trying to say? Am I not young in the flesh 😉

      I’d say start with a pinterest board – that way you can see what you’re drawn to flower wise and what type of hard landscaping is most appealing to you. What do you want your garden to do? Look pretty? Work hard?

      The size of the garden at the new house daunted me until I started to split the space up according to what I wanted the garden to do for me. The bottom part for example needs to work hard and be practical. There’ll be raised beds, a greenhouse, cold frames, a potting area and access to water for the plants. We also need to include a compost heap as well. It’s practical but it will look pretty too.

      The middle part by contrast will mostly be lawn for Heccy to play on and the top of the garden near the house will be entertaining areas with lots of relaxed planting and large areas on which we can place our firebowl and tables and chairs.

      It was only when I began to see the area as a series of rooms that the space began to work for me. That’s not to say that it can’t all run seamlessly together because it will but function is just as important as appearance. Happy to help you with yours!

      1. You look young in the flesh but even younger in these photos! 🙂

        Thank you for the advice…I will get pinning. I had never thought about it as a series of rooms but that is definitely the way forward because I can just about do rooms. Xx

  11. Annabelle hydrangea are really stunning but droop spectacularly. As soon as it rains combined with the weight of those huge flower heads the stalks can’t hold the weight and the whole plant flops and looks a bit of a mess tbh. Just something to bear in mind. That said, I’m no gardener and just leave ours to do its thing. I’m sure with the right care and knowledge it would be ok….x

  12. This is a perfectly timed post got me! My mum came over yesterday and we went to my local garden centre (Whitehall in Wiltshire is amazing, especially at Christmas!!). She helped me pick 2 scented climbing Roses to trail up a lovely old red brick wall which is one of the boundary walls out the front of our house. They are all planted and now I have to try my best not to kill them!! I’m not green fingered and this is my first grown up gardening attempt so fingers crossed!!

    1. Oh your roses sound amazing Sarah!! Which varieties did you go for? One of my early memories as a child is smelling the scent of roses through my bedroom window when I lay in bed at night in the summer. Definitely something I’d like to recreate for Hector…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *