Set the tone for your home or business with an inviting entrance garden. No matter your style or how much space you have, there are plenty of ways to infuse greenery into every entrance space.

It’s amazing the difference an entrance garden makes to a building. Whether it’s a home, apartment block, retail space or standalone business, the welcoming touch of greenery makes the setting more appealing to both you and your visitors. Even a low-maintenance garden or a potted plant can have a dramatic impact.

Why entrance gardens matter

Entrance gardens at home are a calming welcome, especially at the end of the day. And in residential settings such as apartments, it's often the case that the entrance garden is the only greenery in the building. Financially, the advantage of a well-maintained entrance garden is enhanced street appeal. We all know that first impressions count and this is especially important if you want to sell, attract tenants or add value to a property.

For businesses, the impact of an entrance garden goes beyond aesthetics. Research has found that consumers will go out of their way to shop at stores with greenery. In professional environments, the presence of plants has been linked with lower stress levels and improved productivity.

Be inspired to inject more greenery into your space with these entrance garden ideas.  

1. Use a statement feature

 Images L to R via  Glamour Drops , Designer: Sue Carr x Paul Bangay and  The Small Garden

Images L to R via Glamour Drops, Designer: Sue Carr x Paul Bangay and The Small Garden

As entrance gardens are typically small, a single focal point is sufficient and can be used to add depth and impact. In these spaces, simple greenery and hedging adds presence to the sculptural elements without being overwhelming or distracting. The use of lighting underneath the urn is a fantastic way to enhance its impact, while the creeping fig on the wall behind it softens the entrance and is a space-saving way to add more plant life to the entry. In the Queenslander home, the presence of a plant beside the front door ensures there is continuity between the front garden and entry to the home.  

2. Reference the building’s architecture

This garden perfectly complements the architecture of the home. Large offset in situ concrete pads give prominence to this front entrance and bring the architectural lines of the house into the garden. Like the gardens above, the restraint shown with planting ensures the entry isn’t overwhelming, and the use of the cloud tree makes the perfect statement. When planning an entrance garden, choose a single feature plant or sculpture and surround it with smaller mass-planted plants.

3. Offset white walls with greenery

 Image via  Estilos Deco  Photographer: Mark Roper, Stylist: Glen Proebstel

Image via Estilos Deco Photographer: Mark Roper, Stylist: Glen Proebstel

Plants are the ideal way to bring an all-white space to life. The choice of plants and pots in this space creates a boho feel that sets the tone to the home (though you could also use a more structured approach if you want to set a more formal tone). The plants are all low maintenance and their height adds further scale to the space. Details including the pot and white rocks in the garden bed show attention to detail and create continuity throughout the small space.

4. Create an unstructured look  

 Image via  Gardenista , Designer: Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture, Photographer: Art Gray

Image via Gardenista, Designer: Mark Tessier Landscape Architecture, Photographer: Art Gray

With an off-form concrete path and use of grasses and water, this entrance sets a relaxing and highly inviting tone. The size of the path ensures the space doesn’t feel overgrown, and the raised water ponds are calming additions that add height. Like many of the gardens we have featured here, the planting is simple but effective. Using grasses in a space like this is a great way to enhance the calming effect of the trees.

5. Add definition with pots and coloured doors

 Images L to R via The Small Garden and  Away in Style , Designer: Stuart Membery

Images L to R via The Small Garden and Away in Style, Designer: Stuart Membery

When planning an entrance garden, consider how you can add impact with existing features such as doors. In these two spaces, two symmetrical pots frame coloured doors. This draws attention to a key feature of the entrance while also softening the space with greenery. The pots have also been carefully chosen to complement the overall aesthetic of the entrance and the building’s architecture. The great thing about the simplicity of these entrances is that they are low maintenance. This scheme is also a great idea for businesses with limited entry space and/or time for upkeep.

6. Use screens and plants for privacy

In small spaces such as apartments and townhouses, the entrance to the home is often your only piece of outdoor space. In this outdoor area, screens and plants have been used to create privacy and bring structure to the space. The bamboo adds a sense of lusciousness and is ideal for this small space, as it grows vertically and doesn’t become too bushy. The timber slats still allow breeze and light to filter through, while the use of different paving styles adds texture and interest.

7. Integrate steps into the design

 Images L to R via  Dwell  Designer: Tary Arterburn of Studio Outside, Photographer: Arien Kennedy and  HomeDSGN  Designer: Tim Davies Landscaping

Images L to R via Dwell Designer: Tary Arterburn of Studio Outside, Photographer: Arien Kennedy and HomeDSGN Designer: Tim Davies Landscaping

These gardens are two very different styles, but they are both elegant solutions for dealing with the raised entry of the homes. The floating platforms on the right become a sculptural point of focus that is softened by the plants. Additional focal points are kept to minimum in this space and the lighting not only adds ambience at night, but is also an important safety consideration for steps and uneven surfaces. In the space on the left, the large rush plants disguise the raised area behind them and soften the hard surfaces. The earthy tones are subtle and the ideal complement to the greenery.

Practical considerations for entrance gardens

To ensure your garden is functional as well as inviting, ask yourself the following questions in the planning process:

  • What style of architecture is my building or home and what style of garden will complement this?

  • Are there other gardens on the property and how can the entrance make reference to these?

  • How much time can I dedicate to looking after the garden?

  • Where do elements such as paths and steps need to go?

  • What other practical considerations need to be thought through? This will ensure your plan accommodates elements such as storage, bins, taps, lighting, watering systems, etc.

Get even more garden design ideas in our free ebook, Small Spaces, Big Ideas.

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