Creating dramatic, inviting entrances is something of an art. Here, we offer up some front yard landscaping ideas and few tips for pulling off great entrances.
Text Kristen Moreau
Entrances narrate the moment of arrival. Designing an authentic, enduring experience for each entry requires gathering as much input as possible about the client, visitors, and site. “These elegantly designed interstitial spaces, particularly those that incorporate courtyards and vestibules, can expand the sense of home to the outdoors,” says Kathy Moreau, principal designer for Verdant View. And always consider the view from both indoors and out. A classic arch or even tall grasses that frame a distant view will leave your guests energized and inspired on the doorstep.
Verdant View, a boutique landscape design firm in New York State, begins with a deep investigation along three key lines of inquiry. First, they start by listening closely to each client so they can integrate their personal style and underlying tendencies into every element of the design. Are you a bold extrovert who loves to entertain? Are you more drawn to intimate, subtle details and secluded nooks? Everyone wants to welcome guests to their home in a way that expresses their taste and offers an intriguing first impression.
Next, consider the experience of a newcomer arriving at a site for the first time. Clear way finding is essential to a pleasant welcome. “We like to gently encourage visitors along a particular trajectory by weaving in a pattern of elements that build upon one another in a clear, inviting sequence,” says Moreau. A classic flagstone path with well-placed and seasonally-planted containers, or a trail marked by hand-carved stone spheres, can be equally effective in smoothly guiding guests to their destination. “Architecture and accessories are becoming increasingly relevant where we need to limit plant selections to deer-resistant cultivars.”
Underpinning the expression of the client and the experience of a guest, the third key consideration in the design process is the variability of the landscape itself. Every entrance is defined by a range of factors, from the amount of sun and quality of soil to the architectural statement and surrounding landscape of the home. “We always seek native or environmentally sustainable plants which offer year-round visual interest,” explains Moreau, a New York Botanical Gardens certified horticulturalist, “such as trees and shrubs with exceptional foliage and even bark. “Try to anchor vertical elements like the façade of the home or a flowering tree with playful walkways and exciting ground covers.”