Making a Front Yard Herb Garden


Perhaps you are new to this site and haven’t read my articles on making an herb garden. Or perhaps you have been growing this kind of feature for awhile and are looking for more information and new ideas. Growing a front yard herb garden is a natural extension of many traditional exterior home styles. Because many herb garden plans are formal in nature they can be neat and tidy ways to add interest to front yard features. Whether Colonial or Modern, plan to add an accent of beauty and fragrance to the most public area of your landscape.

It’s time to look at putting these plants into the yard for protection (they help other plants), deliciously good food, or as health boosters.

Let’s start with basics of where to plant, and go from there…

Find a Good Location for Herbs in your Yard

Herbs are easy! With only two main things needed, there are many herb plants that will grow in your front yard herb garden:

  1. A Sunny Spot
  2. Soil With Good Drainage

Those are the requirements of hundreds of herbs, and the remainder of the choice is decided only by your own favorite tastes and purpose.

What is a sunny spot? An area that gets six to eight hours of sunshine, or more.

What soil is well drained? Wherever the water isn’t standing, and the soil is friable in a day or so after a good rain.

Raised Beds

By orionis / H.P. Frei at German Wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Example of attractive raised bed garden.

If you have heavy clay soil or the water table is high, raised beds can provide the right conditions. They also keep untidy herbs (many of them sprawl) looking trim and neat, and easy to care for, too.

Don’t have room in a sunny space? Consider growing in containers. I like very large pots to give the roots room and reduce the amount of watering time.

By orionis / H.P. Frei at German Wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

Formal raised bed using brickwork.

Steps To An Easy Front Yard Herb Garden

If all you wish for is a small space to start with, especially a place at the kitchen door, I have broken the process down into digestible, simple steps.

6 Simple Steps


Start With Good Soil


Clay soil is very water retentive and can pack tightly, making it difficult for roots to grow in, but there are ways to improve clay soil. One of the best is to add compost, that you make from your own kitchen scraps and leaf debris.

Ironically, this is the same thing you do with soil that drains too quickly, like sandy soils. Adding humus is the golden rule for good soil.

Most herbs are more flavorful when grown in soils a bit on the lean side, that is, without additional nitrogen. A fertilizer that is appropriate for root and bloom growth is better. Slow acting, organic amendments keeps everything growing well.

I might say that “herbs” are plants with a purpose, whether to add flavor to cooking, bring color to fabrics, attract pollinators, or aid healing of the body.

Getting Plants

lavender pot

Once you buy some potted plants, thereafter you can take starts off of them through cuttings or division. This is my favorite way to grow lavender, thyme, sage, and mints. Monardas and yarrows are showy perennial flowers that do double duty as plantings for both the herbal plot and the flower beds.

Some are a cinch to grow from seed. For lots of plants, and abundant reseeding, try Dill and Cilantro. Annuals from seed are the Basils, Parsley, and others.

Season Maintenance

Once you have planted them, be sure you harvest early and often. this is more important for some which once they set seed are done. To continue cutting fresh herbs like parsley and basil is not a chore, but a pleasure and keeps the foliage rejuvenated.

While most of these plants come from the Mediterranean or drier regions, not all of them do, and with their reputation for tolerating drought you may think you can just forget about them. But they will grow best if you keep them watered weekly.

In the fall, you can start an indoor garden by seed or by taking cuttings from your front yard herb garden.

Quick Design Ideas for your Front Yard Herb Garden

Try a Checkerboard Design

Use alternating color squares of a checkerboard to design low growing herbs in a modern space. It has a very contemporary look due to the geometric regularity of the design. Another way to achieve this pattern is with square pavers as alternating blocks with the other blocks of either varied herbs or all the same variety.

checkerboard design garden

Spiral Shaped Herb Display

This has become a popular way to add herbs into your yard. Using a simple spiral, make it go vertical by building up the sides with ever increasing height of the retaining rocks or pavers. Use the tallest herbs at the top and spillers along the curve, with lowest growing (like Thyme) along the lowest levels. This is a small design with space saving features, typically 6.5 feet in diameter, and 3.5 feet tall.

Build the spiral in a clockwise direction in a Northern Hemisphere garden like Ohio..

Hillside Terraces

If you have slopes that can be terraced, this can become a unique way to grow your herbs. The perfect drainage makes it ideal for many of the most beloved and flavorful herbs.

Simply terrace the incline ( or decline) with retaining walls and use tall herbs at the back and those which you most desire to clip towards the front.

Knot Gardens

traditional knot garden

This highly labor intensive style is formal in look and can adorn a front yard as well as any space in public view. Useful for urban areas.

This design is best in small beds due to the amount of clipping required, but it is so decorative!

Colonial Blocks

Less labor intensive than knot gardens, the Colonial tradition of utilizing even blocks of plantings is neat enough for the front side of the house. Use brick or wood divisions of large squares lined up across the front yard fence, or divided by simple pathways. Fill each square with one variety of a favorite herb.



Pretty front yard herb garden by a fence

Pretty front yard herb garden by a fence. Photo by Rhonda Fleming Hayes on Flickr

Need more info on this herbal gardens?

Herb Growing Guide


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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author


I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of "Ilona's Reflecting Pool". Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. The work on "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.