Tips for Creating a Gorgeous Entryway Garden

Create a good first impression and amazing curb appeal with a welcoming front-door garden.

Front Yard Landscape with white fence Photo by Janet Loughrey

Change the look of the garden throughout the year. Give your entry garden seasonal updates with bulbs in spring, annuals in summer, mums in fall and evergreens for winter. Containers can be moved around to alter the look of the garden.

At the home of Rob Saba and Mark Hogan in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., mums (Chrysanthemum), ornamental kale (Brassica oleracea) and grasses (Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum') signal fall in window boxes, hanging baskets, and among fall-blooming perennials and established foundation plants. Decorative accents like cornstalks, dried flower wreaths and country-style ornaments complete the inviting harvest display.

Entry area with beautiful landscape Photo by Janet Loughrey

Create focal points between the street and the house. Set at an angle, a gravel path with inlaid crushed glass encourages visitors to slow down and enjoy the individual elements in this front-yard garden. A fence with translucent panels keeps the front yard private yet accessible.

The designer, Laura Crockett of Hillsboro, Ore., is known for her penchant for the unusual. She views her garden as an artist's palette, using plants with various colors, texture and shapes, combined with hardscaping, to create inviting vignettes.

Laura substituted a traditional lawn with an eclectic mix of low-growing ornamental grasses, shrubs, succulents and perennial groundcovers. Though flowers are used judiciously, the nearly all-foliage landscape is visually compelling. Containers, metal and stonework complete this dynamic vista.

Victorian home with garden Photo by Janet Loughrey

Match the hardscaping and plants to the architectural style of the home. The footprint of this front-yard garden may be small, but the design, by homeowner Mona Neubert, reflects the high Victorian style of this home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Formal hedges and iron statuary complement Victorian or Colonial architecture.

The intricately painted porch is the backdrop to a sidewalk border, which is neatly edged with brick and iron fencing, and planted with topiary boxwood and conifers. Victorian urns, pedestals and a small fountain complete the inviting landscape.

Red Home and Landscaping Photo by Janet Loughrey

Choose plants that will thrive in the site's soil, light and climate conditions. Jim and Meg Dalton's home in Middle Grove, N.Y., is located in a cold (USDA Zone 4) climate. The property is deeply shaded and the home's entrance faces north, so the plants have to be hardy and shade-tolerant. The Daltons chose a pleasing mix of conifers, deciduous trees and shrubs, and sturdy woodland perennials, including weeping white spruce (Picea glauca 'Pendula'), winterberry (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite'), yellow twig dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea') and numerous varieties of hostas. The subtle shades of green foliage complement the Colonial-style home's colors of brick red and forest green.

Another tip: Use plants that suit your lifestyle, including low-maintenance and drought-tolerant plants.

Landscaped Entry Photo by Janet Loughrey

Choose plants that are in scale with the house. The mixed border at the entrance to this Portland, Ore., home includes plants with multi-season color, long bloom time and eye-catching foliage. The layered plantings soften the home's foundation.

Dwarf evergreens placed on each side of the steps draw attention to the front entrance. A blue Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica f. glauca) marks the end of the sidewalk and adds height. Designed by Margaret de Haas van Dorsser, of Margaret's Enchanted Gardens

Entry with Stone Wall Photo by Janet Loughrey

Combine annuals with established foundation plants to give the landscape new life and a fresh look. At this stunning Pacific Northwest home, a different selection of annuals each year changes the look of the landscape. Bold tropicals such as elephant ears (Colocasia), pineapple lily (Eucomis) and rice-paper plant (Tetrapanax papyiferus) thrive in the heat of summer.

Foundation plantings such as heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and coral bells (Heuchera) provide year-round color. A large specimen of pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) with evergreen silver leaves hides an exterior air conditioning unit. Hot-colored plants sprinkled throughout the entry garden lead the eye to the bright red door, connecting the house to the landscape. Designed by Courtney Downing, Green Artisans

Front Yard Garden Landscape Photo by Janet Loughrey

Landscape for safety; include lighting, sturdy walkways and easily visible house numbers. Here, a spacious mixed-stone walkway leads visitors to the front door, offering a bit of intrigue with right angles and successive levels.

Lighting fixtures painted a soft teal complement the beige hues of the house, while blue fescue grasses (Festuca glauca) echo the color of the lamp posts. Brown pots placed along the walkway tie the landscape back to the house. Designed by Philip Thornburg of Winterbloom

Entry area with lots of greenery Photo by Janet Loughrey

Plan your landscape to be enjoyed from all angles and to appeal to the senses. Landscape designer Stephen Carruthers designed his front garden in Portland, Ore., to be enjoyed from the entry gate to the doorway, as well as from indoors. The L-shaped house forms two walls of the front garden, while a fence with a Japanese-style gate encloses the garden on the remaining sides.

Set against a beautiful espaliered pomegranate (Punica granatum), the bench gives visitors a place to view a small pool, also visible from the kitchen window.

Fountains and waterfalls mask urban noise, and fragrant plants scent the air. Lamb's ear and Mexican feather grass appeal to the touch.

Inviting Entry Garden and Front Door

Accent the front door. White roses flank the walkway to RMSer nikolettam's front door, which is painted a gorgeous robin's-egg-blue hue. A nearby planter mirrors the tone.

Front yard landscape Photo by Janet Loughrey

Use a mix of perennials, shrubs and trees to create layers of color and texture. Garden designer Darcy Daniels transformed her small Portland front yard into a multi-level tapestry of color that looks good in all seasons. Japanese maples (Acer palmatum), sentinal yew (Taxus x media 'Sentinalis') and evergreen clematis (C. armandii) add vertical height. The colors of the tulips, wallflower (Erysimum linifolium 'Variegatum') and 'Crimson Queen' Japanese maple echo the home's burgundy trim.

The front yard slopes to the sidewalk, emphasizing the layers of plantings and showing off a riot of bulbs, perennials, shrubs and small trees.

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