Investing in a power rack would be a very good idea if you are serious about squats. Heck, if you have a bench, you can bench press in it too!
I use the cross grip when doing front squats, and always have, I've never found the clean grip to be comfortable for me. Some say the cross grip is less stable, but I've front squatted a lot of weight with it, so as long as you're fairly upright-- it doesn't matter.
Also, remember the squat is a very complex exercise and does take a lot of time and practice to master. It isn't like a curl where most people can pick up a weight and execute. Check out the "Squat RX" series on YouTube for some extremely great instruction on squats.
If you have a trap bar or heavy dumbbells, you can do trap bar style deadlifts, and these work the quads very well with a close stance and you can dump the weight safely.