So many of us spend countless hours focusing on the interior of our homes, yet sadly dis-regard the front entrance! This is the first impression any visitor or potential buyer is going to get of your home. Most of my realtor friends tell me that buyers usually make up their mind about a house immediately as they see it and approach the front door!!! They say most buyers can already imagine themselves living there if the front yard makes a good impression and gives them that “good-feeling”. How important is this if you are trying to sell your home! Likewise, for our guests, the front entrance is like a window into your personality and sense of style!
Let’s start with the front door! So many times, with my job I approach people’s houses and it is a struggle to even get to the front door. Most often the landscape beds are over-grown with giant Sago Palms on each side of the walk-way poking at my legs as I try to squeeze between them, only to get to a front door that needs re-painting or re-staining and a good dusting! The front stoop is crowded with shoes, newspapers and other such items that do not belong in the front entrance, while something as simple as visible house numbers or door bells are hard to come by.
Get that door painted – depending on the style of your house – you can stain it in a natural wood color, paint it a navy blue if you love a Southern style, dark green if you are more into a New Orleans look, or a bright color if you are brave and have a fun personality! Evaluate the hardware on your front door – does this need an upgrade? Add an oversize knocker to add appeal. Take a look at your lanterns or lack of light by the front door. Very often I see lanterns that are way too small for the scale of the house. These should be functional, and add charm and drama during the day. and add house numbers!
Other times there is no walkway leading to the front door and I wonder—how does a visitor feel welcome or even know where the front door is? If we have room let’s create a pathway wide enough for two people to walk comfortably up to the front door. This can be done in plain concrete, outdoor travertine, or brick pavers — again depending on your style and the architecture of your home. In many homes that have large front yards I often design the walkway to open up in the center and create a resting point – where one can enjoy the view and anticipate what’s to come next. This opening could be an ideal location to add benches for those of us with young kids– a great place to watch them play from.
Remove any plants that impede on the walkway – anything mean with thorns or spikey leaves should be removed. Clean it up – I love using boxwood in the front as a border – this keeps the landscape nice and neat all year round. Boxwood can be easily maintained at around 10″ tall. Behind them you can add any other plants that suit your taste – topicals if you are into a tropical look – roses if you prefer an English garden or additional classical shrubs if you are more traditional.
Accessorize!!! Add architectural accents such as pots flanking the doorway – or a cluster of pots if you are into the cottage look. Add interest with a fountain to show off your personal style! Don’t forget your gates! If your home has a front gate, or driveway gate – accessorize them to give them importance.
Last but not least add FLOWERS – we all are attracted to flowers – and the best way to add curb appeal is with seasonal planting. In the Houston area we can get by with changing out these plants 2-3 times a year! I love adding annuals along the front walk way leading to the front door – offering a nice welcome and in a few other key areas. If that is too much work for you, add seasonal planting in your pots only!
Tell me how you make an entrance in the comments section!