HGTV's John Gidding uses this 'eye-catching' paint and plant combination to elevate curb appeal in small front yards

'Some things are just timeless': This is how the designer uses versatile tools to ensure any sized space reaches its full potential

John Gidding
(Image credit: ScottsMiracle-Gro Greenprints x John Gidding)

In any sized yard, the power of curb appeal is unrivaled, but in small spaces, creating the right first impression is particularly important. 

'I often find smaller front yards have almost more potential. I've always been a fan of having the right plant in the right place – and in a smaller yard, it's easier to keep everything in order,' says John Gidding in an exclusive interview with H&G

John, best known for HGTV's Curb Appeal, is an internationally renowned landscape designer – so naturally, he's our go-to for all things front yard related. And when discussing compact gardens, in particular, the question of how best to elevate our space is at the top of our agenda. 

'With a small yard, the moving parts are a little easier to wrap your mind around. And some things are just timeless. For example, adding a fresh coat of paint to the whole house or the front door is already a great step,' he says. 'Fresh paint is eye-catching and draws people in.'

Front door

(Image credit: GettyImages)

And, front door colors aside, John says that keeping our space clutter-free is also 'crucial' in a smaller property. 'And, I’d also recommend incorporating native plants into a space,' he adds. 

'For those who struggle to keep our greenery alive, naturalistic planting is a great solution. Not only are they visually interesting, but they're going to take a lot less maintenance over time once they've established themselves.'

John Gidding-designed front door
John Gidding

Turkish-American designer and Harvard graduate John Gidding is best known as a presenter on Curb Appeal, in which he and his team spend $20,000 on improvements to a front yard. He was also one of the expert judges on the Fox TV show Home Free and has recently relaunched the Curb Appeal Xtreme on HGTV. 

But which natural plants should we choose? The best options are going to differ, depending on your environment. But, while there is no one-size-fits-all answer, John has given us the resources to make the process easier – and they come in the shape of his green prints

'These green prints give DIYers access to some resources that are going to help them design. But more importantly, it's going to empower them. As soon as you make that one water-conscious change, you've started down the road of just developing a more water-positive yard.'

drought-tolerant plants in front yard

(Image credit: Saxon Holt / Alamy Stock Photo)

And, while we have focused on the question of small gardens, John says that naturalistic plants are just as impactful in larger spaces, too.

'I would say that if you've got a really large front yard, one great tip is to really focus your fine-grain attention on the path from the sidewalk to the front door,' he adds. 

'The further you move away from that, the rougher and lower resolution it can be. This is where you can bring in bigger volumes and more trees, for example. Then the more human scale, the closer you get to the path.'

For more organic design tips, we're picking up a copy of John's book via Amazon below.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.