Just to be clear, by "untidy front garden" I don't mean the "concreted over 10 bins crammed into a space the size of a postage stamp" front garden, nor do I mean the front garden full of old furniture and mattresses. Litter-strewn, bin bag full front gardens? Um...no, not those either.
The "untidy" front gardens I'm referring to are the ones where the owners or tenants have decided to let nature do the planting and have allowed wild plants from dogs mercury to nipplewort to shepherd's purse to dandelions to spread.
They don't usually look very pretty I'll grant you (although a display of dandelions is the equal to a row of dahlias imho) and they tend to attract the kind of passing human that can't tell the difference between a bin and patch of sow thistle so litter can be an issue but, on a summer's day or a warm Autumn morning, you can bet your bottom dollar that those gardens will be alive with bees, hover flies and butterflies and that other insect life will be lurking in the undergrowth.
When I'm wandering around the neighbourhood bothering insects and taking pictures of plants, it's these scruffy gardens that I pause at because I'm more likely to find something interesting there than in some landscaped front garden full of pots of petunias from the garden centre.
At this time of the year, it's the Michaelmas daisies that draw me to them and on a warm day like the ones we've been having they'll be crawling with honey bees and maybe even the odd butterfly. Like this glorious display in Seymour complete with rose hips to add to that Autumnal feeling.
I guess what I'm saying is that we need to leave some space for nature at the front of our houses as well as at the back.
Dig up the concrete, resist the temptation of gravel (although this is better than concrete, I'll grant you) and don't worry too much about keeping it pristine.
Let the "weeds" in!
A big +++ from me for digging up the concrete!
That's my approach! Doesn't look anywhere near as beautiful as your picture but I do get poppies, dandelions and some lovely purple flowers I don't know the name of. My neighbour hassles me to weed it but I ignore her :-)
Are the purple ones not Asters? They've spread to almost all the front gardens on my street (if they weren't purposely planted).
Asters are Michaelmas Daisies - the Autumn variety
I was thinking exactly the same yesterday, Liz!
It is so uplifting to see a flowery front garden (and I put in a plea for a few nettles). It is amazing what will seed in to a bare patch of soil and yes bees love Michalemas daisies.