In modern landscaping, there are a few focal points which naturally attract attention. Entryways, whether they are to the entrances to the driveway, garden, or home itself, are critical transition pieces on a piece of property. From a design standpoint, they represent an opportunity for homeowners to help passersby, visitors, and residents to get a sense of what lies beyond. Entryways are also unique in that most are located at points where hardscape (patios, porches, driveways, and paths) meet plant-based softscapes.
Symmetry is perhaps one of the most fundamental concerns for DIY entryway landscapers. Paths, driveways, gate entrances, and doors all effectively “split” the softscapes that surround them. Many homeowners call attention to this fact by placing identical arrangements of shrubs, plants, and flowers on either side of the structure. This creates a perception of orderliness, though homeowners should sketch out their ideas dimensionally beforehand. This is because such symmetry does not often appear in nature. If the symmetry is duplicated for an extended length, such as along either side of a long driveway, the result may seem extraordinarily regimented and artificial. If orderliness is a top priority, however, symmetry is a relatively easy way to work toward it. For DIY landscapers who are interested in planting symmetrically but are hesitant to do so, the use of landscape architecture software is recommended. These computer programs allow the rendering of potential plans in three dimensions.
Though the textures used by many commercially available programs may not be exact, they can still offer an excellent picture of what symmetrical planting (and a whole host of other options) would look like prior to an initial planting.
As entryways are also a point where hardscapes and softscapes meet, they often require “softening” to blend the transition. Cement, concrete, asphalt, and other conventional materials in driveway construction contrast sharply with lawns. DIY landscapers may use mulch or small stones to line planting beds. Dense shrubs and groundcovers can then be used to obscure the visible divisions between hardscape and softscapes. The overall effect is more organic than simply allowing the hardscape edge to show unimpeded. Denser hedge bushes may be used as entryways themselves—simple topiary (plant-shaping) techniques may be used to create a solid hedge for lining the property. DIY landscapers can then cut a section of the hedge away to leave an opening over any paths—this both allows for entry and creates a feeling of seclusion. Taller hedges also serve as natural windbreaks, so homeowners may use such plants to support and shelter more delicate plants and flowers.
Tags: entryway, landscape, homeowner, contrast, softscape, driveway