Designing your front entrance way

I have the pleasure of designing outdoor spaces for clients in the Ottawa area.  One of the areas that I am often asked to design is the front arrival area of the home.  What I try to  do is  create a welcoming and pleasant arrival space from the road to the front door.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when designing the front arrival area:

  • Create a walkway that is a clear visible path that can be used day or night.  No one should have to guess how to get to your front door.
  • The walkway should be designed so two people can walk side by side to your home without banging into each other or having to follow single file.  Ideally the walkway should not be smaller than 4′ in width.  I recommend between 4′ and 6′ wide.  If you have the room for 6’…go for it.
  • The walkway should not be built with a surface that is slippery when wet.  I have seen paths made out of polished granite, beautiful but VERY dangerous when wet.
  • It should also be created with a surface that can be shoveled in the winter without getting the shovel constantly stuck.  I have seen front walkways in Ottawa created with pea stone.  Not a good idea for an area that has to stay clear from the snow.
  • The entryway should also complement the home.  It is a nice idea if it can show or mirror some of the character or personality of the house.  This can be achieved by adding furnishings, potted plants or sculptures that show a personal side.  It can also be achieved by creating paths or walkways that visibly work with the house and suit the style of the home.  For example a Victorian style home might be suited to an English style garden and cobblestone style path.
  • One important thing to remember is to make sure that there is adequate room to enter the house keeping in mind the swing of the front door.  This is a very common problem in older homes where the arrival point outside the door is very small.  It is difficult to open the door without having to step back and down….not good especially in our slippery winter conditions.  This space should function similar to the indoor foyer of your home.  Preferably it should be large enough to allow for people to gather outside your front door without being knocked over by an opening door (it happens).
  • When choosing plantings for your home, keep in mind that the focal point at the front of your home should be the front door.  Plantings can be designed to lead the eye to the door.  Keep in mind the four seasons when choosing your plants and remember to add some evergreens to your mix to cover winter.

How to get your mind designing?  Working with the points above with help.  I also suggest checking out reputable company websites for ideas and flipping through Home and Garden magazines.  Have fun with the outside and enjoy the process.

Pictures below are from Mallette Landscaping.


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