Bernard ChapmanHow to make an entrance garden

A wonderful garden, when first viewed, can be greatly enhanced by what the visitor first sees. An important matter when choosing the garden entrance is what the house looks like. Does it have a particular architectural style or character? If the house is formal, a structured entrance may be more appropriate. If the house is stone, probably the fence should be of the same material. A weatherboard house will probably be better complemented by a picket fence.

White timber house and picket fenceThe placement of paths, driveways and the front gate can also be crucial. Importantly, do not make the gateway too mean in width. If it is complementary to the period of the house, a lych-gate might help define and embellish the gateway. A lych-gate is a structure, usually roofed, that stands above a gate. Sometimes a seat is built in.

This lych gate design echoes the house gables without being to matchy-matchy

This lych gate design echoes the house gables without being to matchy-matchy

Obviously the style of the lych-gate must be sympathetic to the garden, house and fence. Decide whether the structure stands effectively on its own, or would be improved by a climber such as an old fashioned rose. Climbers such as bougainvilleas are best avoided near a gate, as their thorns can be sharp and dangerous.

A very appealing entrance with painted lych gate in front of a period home

A very appealing entrance with painted lych gate and potted mandevillas in front of a period home

When planning the entrance another matter to consider is the placing of mail boxes and taps and where rubbish bins can be stored. If a tap must be on display consider investing in a brass fitting to cover the top, such as one in the shape of a bird or native animal. Hoses are also best stored hidden, or at least wound up neatly.

Timber driveway works well with this bush-style front garden

Timber driveway works well with this bush-style front garden

Consider the paving you use for paths and driveways. Again the material used should be chosen to complement the garden. Crushed quartz or gravel can be effective for a cottage garden; sandstone flagging may be more appropriate for a parterre style garden. If you choose a brick paver decide on the pattern that will work best with your house and garden. A stretcher bond is simple, herringbone more sophisticated.

A grand entrance for a grand home. Design Paul Bangay

A grand gravel and geometric clipped hedge entrance for a grand home. Design Paul Bangay

Traditional stone flagging enhances a period home

Traditional stone fence and flagging and cottage-style planting enhances a period home

Perfect plants and maintenance enhance this Boston terrace

Perfect plants and maintenance enhance this Boston terrace

The plants that decorate the entrance are obviously the most important part of all. It is crucial the plants be healthy. Not surprisingly, if plants are healthy the garden will seem more welcoming. If a plant is diseased or leggy, treat it or remove it!

Consider the importance of perfume at the entrance. Gardenias and roses are natural choices. Daphne, Osmanthus fragrans, and Luculia will all add another fragrant dimension to the visitor’s experience.

Consider plants that complement the garden style. For example, if the garden is cottagey, perhaps use heliotrope, lavender, pelargonium and salvias. Perhaps for a more formal look, a pair of standard Iceberg roses could define the front entrance. Around a contemporary home, you can use wispy grasses and bold colours to good effect.

Vibrant kangaroo paws make a bright welcome. Design Secret Gardens

Vibrant kangaroo paws make a bright welcome. Design Secret Gardens

Sun-loving succulents and Australian plants enhance this home

Sun-loving succulents and Australian plants enhance this home

Do not neglect lighting. Obviously your first consideration for night visitors is safety. Make sure steps and paths are well lit, but also use lighting to add drama and highlight plants or features of interest.

Night lighting lych gate. Design by Gardens at Night, Sydney

Lighting design and installation by Gardens at Night

Ultimately, all you do in your garden should please you and make it your own personal piece of paradise. However, if you are successful in producing a welcoming entrance it is very likely to add to the value of your home. Remember the first impression of a visitor of prospective buyer will be guided by the entrance you have created.

Bubbling fountain and crisp hedging make an inviting entrance

Bubbling fountain and crisp hedging make an inviting entrance

 

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6 thoughts on “How to make an entrance garden

  1. I think it’s really nice too, to allow people out in the street at least a glimpse into your garden. I hate all those posh suburbs with super high walls all around and closed-in security gates. It makes the street seem a very unfriendly place.

    • Bernard Chapman on said:

      Agree, Catherine. I also feel, when people close in their gardens, they don’t get the benefit of “borrowed landscape”. This, of course, is where your garden is enhanced with what you can view of your neighbours, from your garden!

  2. Sometimes you can change which way you enter a garden and the result is transforming. And you may never have realised it was possible. We bought some land and suddenly we had a new entrance – a view over the garden!

    Now nothing makes me more mad than people coming in via the old entrance…

    See bottom four pictures for the new view http://veddw.com/south-garden-grasses-parterre/. Previous first view was of the ugly side of the house.

    XXXx

    • Bernard Chapman on said:

      Wow, Anne, what a beautiful garden! I have friends who find their friends use their back entrance most of the time. This upsets them, as there is a lovely Iceberg climbing rose over the lychgate at the front entrance, which greets visitors who do use the front entrance!

  3. Bernard, your lovely story-telling style of writing is most enjoyable to read. Your knowledge and stylish aesthetic resonates through your fluid, conversational manner and your selected images perfectly explain visually, the ideas your are conveying, bringing the gardens and home entrances to life. Thank you for sharing your expertise in this post.

    • Bernard Chapman on said:

      Dear Angela, you are very kind. You are an artist and interior designer, so see all the observations I make already! We both know that one can create a stylish, welcoming entrance without spending lots of money or making the space too busy!

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