Before & After

Design for a welcoming front garden


When designing a front garden there are two important issues to consider. Firstly, the space needs to be functional and easy to "read". Your visitors should immediately be able to see where to go to reach the front door. Circulation routes should be as direct as possible with good slip-free surfaces. Secondly, since your front garden gives the first impression of your property, it should be attractive, welcoming, and nestle your house comfortably into its environment.

Design for a welcoming front garden


The brief for the photographed scene was to design a circulation route to the front door so that it, as opposed to the sliding doors, becomes the main entrance for visitors. From the position where the photo was taken the front door is not actually visible, but it is situated just past the last of the three windows along the front of the house.


Design for a welcoming front garden


For people parking on the road, a path that leads directly to the front door would be the most practical, but it may be useful to also allow for access from the driveway. A direct route divides the long narrow front section in two parts and completely changes the appearance from the street by turning the front door into a focal point. Both paths lead to a rectangular area in front of the door that is wider than the door itself so that the entrance appears larger and thus more welcoming. Colourful pots on either side of the front door can be used to frame and visually strengthen the focal point. Various surface materials are suitable for the paths, such as pavers, concrete or a combination of concrete with aggregate or aggregate with hardwood timber.

The ground surface slopes from the house down towards the road. The direct route can be constructed so that its surface follows the slope. The path along the front of the house may need to be positioned quite close to the house where the ground surface is horizontal. 

Instead of following the contours of the land, the section could be terraced as in the draing. The path from the road to the front door should then include a couple of steps. Depending on the actual slope, a concrete nib may be sufficient to retain each terrace.

Terracing like this does add extra lines to the scene. Since the front section is already dominated by straight horizontal lines, it would be a good idea to incorporate some curves or semicircular shapes in the planting on either side of the lawn and to add a vertical dimension in the form of a porch or a few small trees.