MAKING AN ENTRANCE
Greet guests to your home with welcoming ideas that are practical and inviting
Greet guests with our welcoming ideas for your home
On arrival, visitors immediately see the front garden, so try to make the design elements, hard landscaping and planting all work from this perspective. A gate that is partly open in style and allows you to see through it – such as a five-bar-style picket fence or bespoke design in forged metal – will give views up the path and lead the eye to the front door. This looks more appealing than a solid structure, so choose this type unless security or privacy are particular issues.
A path in brick or stone that will stay relatively clean and free-draining in winter is practical and relatively low maintenance. Make sure it is wide enough and consider how you are going to lay it. You can lead the eye towards the door with sets of stones laid in the direction of the path, or lay them horizontally to increase its sense of width. You could also put them in a random pattern or a more decorative herringbone style. Whatever material you choose, invest in one that is mortared and has a good hard-core foundation, not just laid on sand, which is less robust and higher maintenance. Gravel or larger chippings, preferably locally sourced (that blend with the house’s building materials), are also an excellent choice for a country house. The evocative crunch will alert you to visitors and a solid border of setts or metal lawn edging, or a purpose-made grid on a driveway, will help to stop it moving around. An offset path, with a direct, rather than straight, route to the front door with a view that is broken up with plants can be effective.
Use planting to enhance the front of the house. Whichever style of garden you favour, beds and borders should frame a pathway and soften the edges. Repeatplanting with one species on either side creates symmetry. Try clipped box balls, beds of lavender or nepeta, or standard clipped robinias. A pair of potted evergreens can look smart on each side of the entrance, or group seasonal pots for colour, scent and interest.
Matching the materials of your home to the hard landscaping achieves a harmonious exterior (above left); a green oak porch is an attractive addition (above); traditional style and modern technology meet in Everest’s House Beautiful Brompton door in Chartwell Green (below)