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Past Articles Library | Gardening Design | Landscape Design: Showing People the Front Door

Landscape Design: Showing People the Front Door

The front door, in many landscapes, is over looked as a design element. The door itself represents the entryway by which we want people to enter. To be effective, one must guide the guest in the direction they need to go for the correct entry. Sometimes, this direction is not clear and can be seen when people create their own path to the door instead of using the sidewalk or are confused as to how to enter the home. The following guidelines will help you design a front door landscape that is welcoming and creates a roadmap for any guest to follow.

Choose the Correct Door Color

The color of the front door is very important and should consist of the brightest color in your outdoor painting scheme. Many people paint their shutters or detail the garage door with this same color but do not follow this procedure. The brightest color should be used like an accent color and only used on the front door. This way there is no confusing signal as to what is the most important area.

Colors that will add a punch and some superstition to the front door include red and yellow. Many individuals feel that a door painted red will protect the residence from evil sprits. If you are trying to sell your home, some believe you should paint the door yellow. Research has shown that houses with yellow doors sell quicker.

Test the Path to Your Door

Many homes have sidewalks poorly designed. They either come from driveways or appear out of nowhere. This poor design causes people to make their own path through the yard or even the landscaping. These paths typically are more convenient then what is designed. Do not ignore these paths. This information can be used to create a better flow in your landscape. This flow can be translated into a better path that will be used by your guests instead of being ignored.

Before you think that the existing sidewalk will need to be removed, do not fret. The existing hard surface can be incorporated into the design.

Plant Color Choice

The same rule that applies to the door color applies to the plant color. To guide the visitor to the front door, you also need to have brightly colored plant material. Do not confuse the visitor by having competing bright colors throughout the landscaping. The bright colors guide the subconscious mind of the visitor to the house.

Remember though that the door color and plant color need to work together. One of the easiest ways of doing this is through the use of colors in the same family or monochromatic design. An example of a monochromatic front door design would start with a yellow door. The door would be surrounded with plants in different shades of yellow.

Another way to design the front door area with color is through analogous design. This utilizes three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Using our yellow door example, the plant material would consist of yellows and greens going in one direction or yellows and reds going in another.

The last design technique is complementary. In this type of design, the colors are on the opposite side of the color wheel. Using our yellow door example, this would mean the plant material would be a purple or violet color depending on the color of yellow.


Plants do not bloom forever nor do they stay beautiful and green year round. A solution to this problem is accessories. These landscape frills can add seasonal interest to the front door area and color.

Mums in complimentary colors can be planted in containers and sat near the front door. Glided planters with evergreens can add a festive touch to this area especially when lights are added. Spring can be welcomed to the area by planters planted with spring bulbs, just remember to follow your color scheme.

Another accessory that can aid your visitor in finding the front door is landscape lighting. There are two types of landscape lighting. The first type illuminates pathways so that they can be traveled safely. The other type is used to illuminate a special feature, such as a tree or door. Both of these types of lighting have their place in landscape design but when considering this accessory always put safety first.

Some landscape lighting can be changed from white light to colored light either through a colored filter or colored lights. Before considering using these, test to see how that will change the color of the front door and if it is attractive with the rest of the design.

In today's landscape design, the color scheme of the landscape is not a carryover from the inside color scheme. The key point to remember is to make it inviting not only in color but design. Do not fall victim to design flaws that direct the visitor away from the front door. With a little observation of your front door space and a color wheel, you will be able to guide your visitors to your front door not with the spoken word but instead with unconscious signals created through color.


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