Front Entry Design

Bluestone walk leading from the drive to the front porch

Our homes are ideally an extension of ourselves – a physical representation of how we approach the world. Considering how much money we sink into them and how much time we spend in them, it’s natural that we want to feel proud of how they look and what they say to the neighborhood. If the front of your house is hidden by overgrown plantings or the walk is breaking down and unsafe, you’re sending a clear message for all to stay away – including you! Creating a welcoming front entry isn’t just important for your guests or potential buyers; it affects how you feel every time you pull into your driveway.

A generous landing eases the tightness of the driveway and graciously leads to the doorNatural stone walls terrace a steep grade while colorful plantings gently transition the large scale of the house to the ground plane as visitors approach

How do others see your front entry?

No doubt you’ve noticed the way some homes immediately make you feel welcome as you approach them. Part of that could be a cheerful wreath on the door or colorful pot of flowers on the stoop, but the entryway design sets the tone well before you get to the actual front door. Take a critical look at your house while viewing it from the street. Is it easy to find the front walk and the front door? Can your family comfortably exit the car without running into overly large shrubbery? Are your current plantings too close to the foundation, giving your house the appearance of a shirt tucked-in too tightly?

Natural stone walls and steps solve an uncomfortable grade change and complement the handsome chimney while gently and safely leading to the front door

We all feel more welcomed when our approach isn’t hindered – that’s a critical element to consider in any front entry design renovation. Making sure the safety of our family and guests isn’t at risk is also an essential consideration to enhance your front entry. Narrow spaces and steep steps are difficult to navigate for many – whether it’s the parent helping a toddler up the stairs or the elderly relative who needs to walk alongside another, holding onto their arm. An entry way design with a walk that’s wide enough for two to travel side-by-side and stairs that have intermittent landings make for a far more comfortable approach.

Clay pavers with bluestone insets delineate landing areas, echoing materials and colors of the home while elegantly directing visitors to an otherwise mostly hidden entry

How does your entry reflect your home’s style?

Just as we choose clothing that makes us feel comfortable and attractive, the materials we choose in our landscape should complement and suit our homes’ entry way design. A newly built home with gorgeous stonework is little served by a narrow, generic, concrete walk installed – seemingly as an afterthought – by the builder. Likewise, a deteriorating brick walk bordered with old railroad ties detracts and outdates an otherwise charming and well-maintained house.

Choosing hardscape materials that bring out the beauty of your home dramatically affects how well a front entry project comes together. At some point, we’ve all seen a new entry landscape that doesn’t “go” with the adjoining house. Working with a skilled landscape designer who has experience using the varied stone and brick choices available can help you refine your selection and avoid costly mistakes. Our talented landscape designers will also notice a home’s architectural details and tastefully echo those elements in their designs – it’s this kind of attention and artistry that can make a front entry design go from adequate to stunning.

Colorful plantings and a stylish lamppost add tons of charm (left) and a patterned stone walk softened by colorful plantings create an inviting entrance (right)

Your entry isn’t just defined by the hardscape

Gone are the days when we lined the front foundation of a home with evergreen shrubs and did little else. We want more inspired, more inviting plantings that have attractive characteristics in multiple seasons. Choosing plants that are appealing, will thrive, and won’t become maintenance headaches by becoming too large or being too messy is the specialty of capable landscape designers. With our client’s desires in mind, we carefully select and combine plants for ornamental qualities like fragrance, flowers, exfoliating bark, and dramatic fall color in your front entry design.

Steppers offer a softer transition from the curb to the front walk, providing function and visual cues for arriving guests The curves of this masonry wall bring the eye to the front porch and give an air of timelessness to this older home

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