Entryway Landscape Design
Your entryway landscape design is a visitor’s first impression and the key to ‘curb appeal’. When it comes to designing your entry, start by establishing the principles, the program and the elements to be included in the project. Perhaps the most significant principle is that the design should reflect the architectural style of your home. The design program will determine how the space is used. Is it simply a transitional space to get to the front door or will the space be used for seating and gathering also? Finally, the design elements are the materials used to bring the principles and the program to life. These are the choices in paving, lighting, plants, furnishing and special features that create the built project.
Landscape Design Principles
There will always be exceptions, but there are good principles to follow when designing your entry landscape. Choose a design style that reflects your preferences and the architecture of the home. Do you prefer formal well manicured spaces or more organic and free flowing designs? Is your home a traditional colonial or a casual contemporary? The style of your home should trump your personal style preferences for the greatest ‘curb appeal’ and timeless quality, especially since personal style preferences may change. Another principle is to ensure that the front door is prominently visible and the landscape provides the visitor clues and signals for how to get there. We’ve all been to that house where we find ourselves confused about where to park and more importantly how to get inside. Think in terms of choreographing your entry landscape and develop an entire experience for the visitor.
Establishing a clear and thoughtful program is critical to the success of any design. What is going to happen in your entry landscape? Is it purely intended to dress up the front of the house and provide a walkway to the front door? Will there be a spot for seating near the front door? How about a focal point to draw the visitor in and accentuate the experience? Maybe you want to define an entire space in the front of your house with a courtyard type design that will allow for causal gathering. Do you want to develop planting borders for privacy from neighbors and to help focus attention on your house without the distractions of surrounding buildings? Your program will be uniquely based on your needs, desires and budget.
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With the principles and program in hand you are ready to choose design elements. What kind of materials will be best for the walkway? Is it informal, irregular natural stones or formal patterned travertine? If you have written a seating area into the program, do you use a different paving material to delineate that area? What types of furniture? If you have decided you want a focal point, is it a specimen plant, a sculptural piece or a water feature? What about pots and Urns? Will it be formal boxwood hedges with groundcovers and annual flowers or informal arrangements of blooming azaleas with perennial flowers? If you are looking to dress up the architecture of the home do you add shutters or a portico at the front door? It is important to always return to your principles and your program when making design element choices. That will ensure a cohesive and successful final product.
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The Motor Court
A motor court in front of your home can provide an elegant entry experience for visitors. It designates a clear place for visitors to park and enter, while avoiding the sometimes awkward situation of parking in the driveway and entering along a side walkway. A motor court can be as subtle as extending the space to the side of a circular drive, allowing a couple vehicles to park (image left). Or it could be an area large enough to accommodate many vehicles (image above). Paving patterns can be added to delineate the design. Cobblestone curbing will help create sharp well defined edges and keep cars out of plant beds.
Contact us for more information on your landscape design project