How to Create Curb Appeal

How to Create Curb Appeal

Everybody wants to add some curb appeal to their front yards. A great entrance design includes a clear path to the front door, good lighting, and attractive plantings, but the details are up to you! In the photo above, a central staircase and straight walkway form a stately approach for this gracious Colonial house. Designed by Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio (the same designers behind the Home Outside online landscape design service), this entryway is traditional, yet thoughtful details make it stand out. The curving stone walls at the base of the stairs soften the formal design, while the stairs grow wider towards the base, seeming to beckon visitors in. The stair landings are illuminated by recessed wall lights that provide safety as well as night-time drama.

Welcoming Zone

how to design a welcoming zone 

Above: Your entryway conveys the first impression visitors have of your home, and, by extension, your personality. Design by: JMMDS. Photo by Susan Teare.

Landscape designer and author Julie Moir Messervy calls the front of a property the “Welcoming Zone.” People yearn for a beautiful entrance that makes them happy to arrive home at the end of the day—and one that looks inviting to family and friends. How welcoming is your entrance? Try imagining that you’re a guest arriving at your home at various times of day or evening. Is there a clear approach to your front door? Does it express your style and personality? Lighting and plantings are as important as pathways and stairs for guiding people into your home, safely and beautifully.

Vertical Elements

vertical design elements to improve curb appeal

Above: Sketches featured in Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love by Julie Moir Messervy (Taunton Press, 2013).

Home Outside landscape designer, Bethany, created this sketch to illustrate how tall, columnar trees anchor the house in the landscape and make it appear larger. A repeating element, such as the blue containers, helps to balance out the design and call attention to the primary entry point. A no-mow groundcover right up to the sidewalk’s edge looks good year-round and makes maintenance a snap.

Transform Your Entry with Containers

decorative containers front front entry

Above:  From New Landscaping Ideas That Work by Julie Moir Messervy (The Taunton Press, 2018). Left image: Design by JMMDS. Photo by Susan Teare. Right image: Design by Janet Lohman Design. Photo by Mark Lohman. 

Want an instant makeover for your entrance? Purchase an attractive container or two and fill to overflowing with beautiful plantings. Sometimes a single, striking variety of plant is all that is needed to make a big impact, as with the paddle plant (Kalanchoe) in the elegant ivory containers pictured above. For a formal entry, choose matched pots on both sides of the front door. For a more casual, relaxed style, use a single container or an odd number, asymmetrically arranged. The citrus tree shown above, underplanted with a flowering annual that spills over the edges, lends a cheerful, rustic charm to a casual back entrance. There are containers available in a range of materials (stone, clay, lightweight resin, concrete, metal) at every price point to match any style of architecture. The landscape designers of Home Outside collect ideas on Pinterest—check out their Planters & Containers board for inspiration!


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