Sandi has a problem and unfortunately, it’s a common one. Sandi’s home has two front doors that are close enough to each other to confuse guests and delivery people. She is hoping that some creative landscaping will help her visitors get to the right spot. Now, if this was my home, here is what I would do.
First, we have to address the issue of two front doors. One of them, visually, has to go. Unfortunately, in this case, it’s pretty obvious that the white door is the true front door and the brown one is the one that gets the most use. To solve this problem, we need to visually make the upper door more of a feature.
I would consider enclosing the lower door in a screened porch, using the over-hanging roofline as a guide for the walls, bringing the porch out to match the depth of the stairs. Next, add decorative elements like your large pots and planters in front of the newly created wall that draw the eye away from the brown door, which is now shaded and not visually a focal point.
The porch needs to be updated next. First, increase the length of the stairs so they go from the existing railing (by the gas metre) to the edge of the new screened-in wall. This will eliminate the small pocket on the deck where the little bistro table is currently sitting. Think of the railing as someone’s shoulders. When someone with opened shoulders greets you, it feels more welcoming. If that same person turns one shoulder in (like the small section of railing), their body language is more closed-off and less welcoming. This simple step visually opens up the front area instead of the way it looks now — enclosed with that small section of wall.
Add a big and beautiful bench to the right of the door. Choose something that has some height to help fill the empty negative space currently being filled with the wreath.
Also, the red has to go. I would consider resurfacing the porch and steps and using a stain that matches the existing brown around the garage. Alternatively, get rid of the brown and the red, and stain them both black, painting the white door to match.
Finally, your entryway needs some grandness. I would eliminate the patio, concrete, multi-leveed sections on the ground and re-grade at one height with a man-made stone product like a paver. I would also sacrifice the row of shrubs and double the size of the stonework. If you are worried about it looking like a parking spot, add decorative elements to the new patio like a band of stone that matches the new colour of the porch. This new courtyard patio is a perfect spot for your bistro table.
Remember, when a front door is hidden or obscure, it makes first-time visitors to your home uncomfortable because they are not sure where to go. Your front area needs to be inviting and anything you can do to highlight a front door with seating and decorative elements makes that first impression so much more welcoming.
Carson Arthur is an international landscape designer and media personality with a focus on environmentally friendly design and low maintenance outdoor rooms.