Pictures of Landscaping for Front Door Entrances

Front door landscaping


Perry Mastrovito / Getty Images

In landscaping for front door entrances, you are trying to achieve several objectives. For instance, you want to:

  • Match the entryway planting to your house style and wider surroundings
  • Create a welcoming environment (unless your goal is privacy)
  • Lead the viewer's eye from the street to the door

In these pictures of landscaping showing front door entrances, I will provide examples of entryway plantings showing how each of these objectives can be met. Commentary accompanies each of the pictures.

This design draws the viewer's eye to the front door entrance by framing it with Grecian urns planted with dwarf Alberta spruces.

The front door entrance pictured above is not located very far from the street, which reduces the need (as well as the potential) for landscaping. But that hasn't stopped the owners from making their entryway more welcoming and interesting. The use of planted Grecian urns in a symmetrical arrangement as shown in the picture above is popular in landscaping for entryways. Symmetry is especially important to formal landscape design. Such a design is certainly in keeping with the house style, as indicated by the impressive classical columns. Note also the brick pathway leading from the fence to the front door entry; visually, it picks up the brickwork in the house across the street, suggesting that this landscape is right at home in its neighborhood.

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    Symmetry With Shrubs

    Granite pathway lined with boxwood shrubs.
    Rows of Boxwood Shrubs Lead the Eye to the Entryway The granite-slab pathway leading up to the front door entrance is lined with boxwood shrubs. David Beaulieu

    This picture shows a textbook example of symmetry in a landscape design.

    Unlike the house in the prior picture, this one sets back enough from the street to invite more extensive landscaping. And the owners have taken their yard up on the invitation. The granite-slab pathway leading up to the front door entrance is lined with boxwood shrubs, drawing the viewer's eye to the entryway. Boxwood shrubs are very popular in such formal landscape designs. Symmetry is once again achieved at the entryway itself, using container-grown plants, and is perpetuated even in the uniformity of the foundation plantings. I'll provide further examples of the use of symmetry for front entries later in the photo gallery.

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    Cottage Style Front Entrance

    Welcoming vine-covered picket fence.
    Vine-Covered Picket Fence Exudes Homeyness This entryway design opts for a cottage style with a vine-covered picket fence. David Beaulieu

    From the austere formal style of the prior pictures, we move to an example of the cottage style.

    Those who approach this yard are virtually invited to set foot on the flagstone pathway and beckoned toward the door. Its welcoming aura is the result of an old-fashioned, homey front entrance design right out of the pages of "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." The vine-covered picket fence exudes the kind of warmth for which the cottage style of landscape design is famous.

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    Decorative Fences

    A modest yet cheerful entryway design.
    The Cottage Style Goes Miniature A modest, yet cheerful entryway design, made possible with decorative fences. David Beaulieu

    Fencing does not have to be all about security (keeping out intruders) or privacy (blocking the view of the neighbors into your yard). The fencing pictured here has a more creative task: to lead the viewer's eye to the entryway.

    In this picture, the miniature decorative fences lead the viewer's eye nicely to the front door entrance. As in the prior picture, the picket style is used for these decorative fences. A common element of cottage-style landscape design, picket fences have a charm about them rarely matched by other fence types. In conjunction with the colorful snapdragon flowers, these parallel decorative fences soften the harshness of the pavement pathway.

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    Cobblestone Path Front Entrance

    The hard edges of this cobblestone path are softened.
    Softening the Design With Plants The hard edges of this cobblestone path are softened not only by the presence of plants, but by color selection. David Beaulieu

    The silvery foliage of dusty miller plants is used in this example to soften a cobblestone path.

    The cobblestone path here is visually more interesting than the pavement pathway in the prior picture. But even for such an attractive pathway, the "rough edges" can stand to be softened up somehow. Otherwise, the cobblestone path would be perceived as too stark against the grass -- almost as if it had "imposed" itself on the lawn. But with the plantings of dusty miller and begonias, it seems to blend in better. Any plantings would have been better than nothing. But in this case, the dusty miller seems to work especially well. Its silvery foliage picks up the color of the cobblestone path, thereby further softening its edges.

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  • 05 of 12

    Landscape Steps at Front Entry

    Brick steps up a slope leading to a front door.
    Entryways Atop Slopes Present Challenges, Opportunities The brick steps up this slope are an elegant design solution to a potential landscaping problem. David Beaulieu

    When one must ascend a slope to approach your front door entrance, landscaping steps are usually the answer.

    In the examples of landscaping for front door entrances that we've considered so far, the ground between the street and the entryway has been level. In such cases, pursuing the objectives of leading the viewer's eye to the entryway and making the route to the house entrance inviting are not pressing matters. Rather, they are aesthetic considerations -- however admirable. The bottom line is that visitors to your house will eventually find the front door entrance, regardless of the landscaping.

    But it's quite a different matter when visitors must ascend a slope to approach your front door entrance. You have a practical, functional challenge with which to deal first and foremost. You must install landscaping that will provide access from the street to the front door entrance. Not only that, but it must be safe and must not encourage soil erosion on the slope. After functionality has been addressed, then you can consider "curb appeal" (aesthetics).

    This challenge is usually met by installing landscaping steps, as in the picture above, although some homeowners might prefer a multi-level deck (with stairs connecting the levels). For curb appeal, brick pillars frame the approach to the stairs, and the pillars are topped with pineapple ornaments. The white metal railings tie in with those on the porch above.

    All in all, I'd say the homeowners in this case turned a challenge into an opportunity. What could be viewed as a difficult slope to climb instead has become the canvas for an attractive entryway.

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    Brick Columns, Pineapple Decor

    Pineapple decor is popular in landscaping for entryways.
    Pineapple a Symbol of "Welcome" Pineapple decor is popular in landscaping for entryways, since pineapples are symbols of welcome. David Beaulieu

    How you landscape for an entry sometimes depends on what kind of property you live on. This house has ample room and takes advantage, welcoming guests with grandeur and with pineapple decor, in the form of finials.

    Finials are the small, ornamental, terminal features at the top of a gable, fence post, lamp, lamppost, stone wall, etc. Finials are optional, being non-structural elements: their job is aesthetic, giving a "finished" touch to a hardscape feature.

    In the prior landscaping picture, brick columns adorned with pineapple decor rested at the foot of a flight of landscaping stairs. Here, we are back to level ground. The brick columns, which are larger on this property, are part of a wall. Indeed, the brick columns must be larger here, to match the scale of their surrounding and to hold their own with the impressive array of perennials planted all around them.

    Pineapple decor has been used as a symbol of "welcome" since colonial America.

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  • 07 of 12

    Hedge Opens as Gate Into Yard

    The opening in the hedge functions as a "gate" onto the property.
    Welcome Visitor's in With Shrubs The opening in the hedge functions as a "gate" onto the property -- except it's always open! David Beaulieu

    Many plant-lovers like to keep "hardscape" structures (for example, fences and walls) to a minimum in their landscaping. Hedge plants can be a great substitute.

    So far, where the division between the street and one's property has been marked by some sort of physical barrier, it has been in the form of fences and walls. But for those who disdain such "hardscape," you have an alternative that rests squarely in the plant kingdom: hedges. An example is provided in this picture. Visitors coming from the street must pass through an opening in the hedge to approach the front door entrance, utilizing a flagstone pathway.

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    Wheelchair Access Ramps

    Colorful geraniums divert the gaze from the wheelchair access ramp.
    Disguise Wheelchair Access Ramps With Colorful Landscaping Colorful geraniums divert the gaze from the wheelchair access ramp for this front door entrance. David Beaulieu

    Front door entrances requiring wheelchair access ramps can still be attractive.

    A long wheelchair access ramp isn't very pleasing for the eye to look at. But in this picture, the planting of geraniums in front of the ramp is so colorful that the eye tends to concentrate on the flowers, not the wooden structure.

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  • 09 of 12

    Faux Entryway With Picket

    The white picket fence gate in this picture does not lead to an entryway.
    You Don't Need an "Entrance" to Welcome People In The white picket fence gate in this picture does not lead to an entryway, but it does suggest "welcome." David Beaulieu

    Here a crushed stone path leads to a white picket fence gate. This faux landscaping "welcomes" viewers in, but the gate is yard art, not a true entrance.

    In a previous picture, we already encountered an example of a white picket fence that was installed purely for aesthetics: it didn't function to keep anybody off the property in question. In the picture above, the white picket fence gate has, once again, solely an aesthetic purpose. An isolated structure at the far end of the yard, it does not welcome visitors towards a house entrance, yet it lends a welcoming charm to its landscape. Because white picket fences planted with flowers exude a homey feel, they can inject such warmth into a landscape even where they aren't functional. Such white picket fence gates are examples of "faux landscaping": they do one thing, but say another, if you will.

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    Full-Scale Symmetry at Entry

    Picture showing a symmetrical landscape design for a front entry.
    Example of Front-Entry Landscaping With Touch of TLC An example of front-entry landscaping meticulously planned and executed. David Beaulieu

    In this picture of front-entry landscaping, you'll notice an attention to detail that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

    Not only is there a nice use of symmetry in this picture, but the homeowners also capped off this exquisite front-entry landscaping with a touch of TLC: the pink tulips in the door decoration pick up the pink tulips in the container gardens flanking the entryway.

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    Planting Urns on Porch

    Picture of front entry with wrough iron fence and symmetrically arranged pots.
    Planting Urns in a Symmetrical Front-Entry Design Wrought iron fences generally call for formal plantings. David Beaulieu

    Some front entries don't just call for symmetry: they scream for it. Such is the case with this front entry, graced by an ornate wrought iron fence.

    This formal-style house is complemented nicely by the symmetrically arranged planting urns on its porch.

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    Framing a Front Entry

    A planting doesn't have to be located smack up against a front entry to have an impact on it.
    This Front Entry is Framed by a Lawn Planting A symmetrical planting on the lawn framing a front entry. David Beaulieu

    A planting doesn't have to be located smack up against a front entry to have an impact on it..

    This planting is located out on the lawn, several feet away from the front door. But from various points on the street, the two dwarf alberta spruce trees nicely frame the entryway.

    If you are interested in landscaping around front entries, then you will also want to check out my tips on foundation plantings.