A Grand Entrance – Driveways, Walkways and Landings
The front landscape is the first impression visitors get of your home, from curb appeal to the walkway and landscape lighting; there are many features you can address to help them make a grand entrance.
Plants give most homes their immediate ‘curb appeal,’ a term that summarizes the overall impression one gets of the property. The front landscape should highlight the architecture by enhancing prominent features of the home, creating balance and providing scale. New homes, especially, benefit from the sense of structure larger plants can provide. Evergreen foundation shrubs can be used to hide utilities while brightly flowering shrubs and perennials draw attention.
The material and design of the walkway should also complement the style of the home, whether of rustic stone, traditional brick or modern concrete. Most importantly the surface should be even and level to prevent tripping, eliminate puddling and enable snow removal. The main walk way should be wide enough for two people to walk side by side, typically 4 foot, while less important entrances, such as those to utilities and the mud room, can be denoted with a more narrow path or more casual material. A well-designed walkway can control the views one has while entering the home and set the mood as either relaxed or formal. Either way, avoid plants that encroach on the walkway, especially those that have thorns, attract bees or will leave a passerby soaked by wet overhanging foliage.
Steps should be easy to navigate with a low rise and hand rail, if needed, so that even elderly visitors can enter safely. A large landing at the front door allows adequate room to open the front door and comfortably greet guests. Including space for a bench allows a place to set packages or sit to remove muddy shoes before entering the house, while a portico may be added to cover the landing and provide shelter during unpleasant weather. This architectural detail can also add depth and style to the front of an ordinary house.
Landscape lighting can beautify a home as well as improves safety. Pathway lights illuminate the ground and define the borders of the walk while wall lights can be built into steps for added emphasis. Directional lights can, not only, highlight specimen plants and beautiful architectural details but also eliminate dark spots that burglars could use for cover. Used together these different forms of low-voltage lighting can provide a balanced and consistent effect that makes the home’s beauty visible from the street and its entrance easily navigable by residents and guests.
The driveway is the point of entry for most properties so the surface creates the setting. Crushed gravel is reminiscent of a rural country lane, while pavers and cobble suggest a more formal estate. Parking is a matter of necessity but with proper planning it can be made more convenient. Extra spaces or even a parking court may be required for large families while a simple turn-around and can be used to prevent frustration for drivers or damage by large vehicles. Consider paving an additional space, wide enough for a car door to open, where the walkway meets the drive. This allows room to drop off guests or unload packages without having to step into the lawn or bed.
Flanking an entrance with pillars is a popular way to separate the home from the surrounding environment. With or without amenities such as post lights and gates, pillars offer a sense of boundary and an impression of elegance. They can be constructed using masonry block and veneered to match the stucco, brick or stone used on the home or segmental concrete blocks manufactured by a paver company.
They say that you never get a second chance to make a first impression so make the most of your homes entrance by calling Stoneworx today to design and install an entrance that will help make it impressive.