Before you plant:
• Check with your neighborhood association, homeowner's association or local code enforcers to learn what is allowed in your area.
• Some areas now require irrigation in these spaces to be drip irrigation to avoid runoff and excess evaporation. Check with your local authorities to make sure you know what kind or irrigation, if any, is required or allowed.
• Use a contractor-quality weed barrier fabric under any rocks to keep weeds to a minimum. You will still have weeds in this area, but anything you can do to decrease the rate is recommended.
• Plants in this area need to be tough as nails.
• Remember that this space is, in many areas, a public space and not your private property. If your city needs to widen your street or do work in that area, you will not have much say in the outcome. Remove any materials or plants you want to keep before they are removed for you.
• Consider some edging material (steel, concrete, rock) to keep your mulch or rock in place, but keep it low to avoid tripping hazards.
Try one of these options for your own strip to turn it from hellish to heavenly.
Create landing pads. Your visitors will typically pull up to the curb when they are stopping by, so if you thickly plant this area, they will be forced to step on your plants just to exit their vehicle. Give them a place to step onto instead. Use oversize flagstone pieces to create landing pads or pour concrete insets into several areas along your strip.
In some cases a well-maintained strip of turf can be the perfect foil to other front-yard landscaping, like the courtyard wall and pots in this example. Choose turf grass in this strip if it makes sense to your overall aesthetic, not because you lacked creativity when making the decision.
Of course, many people are interested in low-maintenance alternatives to traditional lawns. Get some ideas for going lawnless here.
Browse tree profiles in the Houzz Gardening section
How to pick a mulch and why your soil wants it
Choose plants that have a low profile or even a slightly mounding or cascading habit, and be sure these plants blend in with the other plants in your front-yard garden. Avoid plants that have long tendrils or vining habits unless you plan to keep them neatly edged.
Find flowers and see where they will thrive
Planting ideas: How to get 4 gorgeous looks for a narrow planting strip
Tell us: How have you transformed the hell strip?