Before & After

Improving the entrance


The first impression of a house is generally the front entrance, and so it should be. With clever architectural and landscape design it can be made to look elegant and inviting. But what if the main entrance is at the side of your house, next to the driveway and with little opportunity to create a welcoming statement?


Improving the entrance


Due to the position of the house in relation to the driveway and the garage, it is not immediately obvious where the main entrance is. Most visitors tend to go to the porch you can just see in the photo, a bit further from the actual main entrance porch. The driveway creates a strong line towards the garage, which itself is already quite dominant.


Improving the entrance


There are several ways of dealing with this issue. One is to concentrate purely on planting. Removal of the pseudopanax next to the door, and pruning the Luculia gratissima, would open that area up. Instead of the pseudopanax, a lower-growing plant with architectural qualities such as Astelia chathamica 'Silver Spear' or one of the many colourful flaxes, would help to draw attention away from the garage. I have added a similar plant on the left of the drive. Instead of these plants, large pots (with or without plants) could be used to that effect.

If the driveway is to be renewed, then one could consider adding strips of pavers, bricks, or railway sleepers across the driveway, and level with the driveway surface, to break the strong line towards the garage. In the drawing I have also widened the driveway opposite the main entrance, to create a more spacious feel. In reality the strips will be less obvious than they are in the drawing, but they will be sufficient to reduce the dynamic character of the driveway.

In general it is a good idea to open up the area around the main entrance area as much as possible, whether this is achieved with plant selection, ground surface detailing, or a combination. It feels more comfortable to walk toward a light and spacious area than towards a dark, confined space.

Creating focal points near the main entrance, using plants or large pots, will reduce conflicting viewing lines to other elements or structures on the section.