Greet guests to your home with wel­com­ing ideas that are prac­ti­cal and invit­ing

Country Living (UK) - - Contents - Words by ben ken­drick

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)

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