Entry Gardens

"...your entrance is the world's first impression of you. And if the world wouldn't hire you for a job on the basis of your entrance, perhaps it's time for a change."

Thomas Church Your Private World, A Study of Intimate Gardens, 1969

The entrance to your home says a lot about you. Is it hidden and dark, or open, bright and inviting?

Can you say that about your entryway?

Features of Great Entryways

Entry gardens and their paths should be:

  • Easy to navigate, with an obvious endpoint: the door
  • Wide enough for two to walk abreast (think of elderly persons who need a hand or a small child toddling haphazardly)
  • Danger and obstacle-free (think thorns, bees and vicious dogs).
  • Sturdy: their tread should be even and reliable.
  • Attractive to the guest, with the door as the prize
  • Reflective of the home and the homeowner, no matter the style.


Click on thumbnails for examples of entry gardens that work, and why

Simple and Dramatic

This entry is simple and dramatic; it is the 'psychology of the red carpet'. It appears to be there just for the anticipated guest. The start of the journey is obvious; it is lined with pleasant, repeated shrubs, low enough to see past and over, to enjoy the surrounding landscape. The walkway is wide enough for two to walk abreast. The destination is abundantly clear.


Simple and Dramatic 2

This entry is effective because they employ one powerful element - color - to help the visitor locate the entrance. Although the home is neutral, the homeowner utilizes just enough red - the most eye-catching color - to move the viewer's eye to the entry. From the blooming plant, to the numbers on the wall, and finally the red-trimmed door: a natural, visual progression to his ultimate destination.


Beautiful all on its Own

This door is beautiful all on its own, but from afar might blend into the brick a little too well. The bold color splash clearly signifies this entryway.


Arrive and Rest Here!

The entry of this elegant home is inviting in its simplicity. The small, detailed, white chair, perfectly scaled to the landing, repeats the trim color and says: 'Arrive and rest here!'


Perfect Symmetry

Anything planted or placed in even numbers begs the eye to divide it. (Landscape designers cluster plants in odd numbers, so they appear en masse.) The perfect symmetry of this entry creates a natural visual separation of the balanced parts, drawing the eye to the dark center.


Symmetry 2

The symmetry of planting and hardscape moves the eye toward the center, to the door. This simple contrast of horizontal (the wall, steps and wood of the door) and vertical (the door frame and tall evergreens) arrests attention.


Simple and Dramatic 2

'.. start with the front door as the dominant element. ... the approach ... should be direct and without horticultural distractions. The entrance is a focus or magnet drawing you toward it, and any complicated landscaping will disturb.' - Russell Page


Draw the Visitor

Here, sculptural elements and bold color draw the visitor toward them.


Southwest-Style Home

The lovely, contrasting plantings here provide a welcome walkway for this Southwest-style home.


Walkways and paths: To the front door, employ the finest hardscape you can afford, such as brick or stone. These are long-lasting and classic, and often cost-competitive.

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