Many people don’t give much thought to the entrance doors to their Toronto home, other than to open and close them when they enter or leave. Whether the entrance to your home is understated or grand, there are a few little landscaping tips that will help increase the overall visual effect and add to your home’s “curb appeal.”
A Word on Entrance Doors
The one common element in a nice looking entry area, is the entry door itself. There are literally hundreds of different entry doors to choose from, varying in design, size, configuration, composition, and even color. When choosing the right entrance door for your home, you will need to take all of these factors into consideration, then factor in the price. The style of the door is going to play a major part in the overall look you are trying to achieve.
If you took a rustic, rough-hewn door for a southwestern pueblo style house, and put it on a classic, two-story colonial, the colonial would suddenly look like an over-glorified barn. Now, this might be an extreme example of a mismatched door, but it illustrates the point: start with the right door. When the look of the house is complete, you can begin to augment the aesthetics of the exterior with some landscaping. Here are some elements that are versatile and easy to come by.
- Trees – Decorative trees are available in a wide range of species, styles, and sizes, and can break up vertical and horizontal lines to add texture to the look of your front lawn.
- Bushes – Again, these are available in a range of styles, and can be pruned and kept at a specific size and shape. Being for the most part, smaller than trees, they are generally used by landscaping contractors to break up the horizontal plane of an area.
- Decorative Grasses – These longer grasses often have ornate fronds of leaves or seed clusters at the top, and can range in height from less than a foot to nearly eight feet tall. They are great for softening harsh vertical lines or obscuring less desirable aspects of your lawn, like your central air conditioner’s outside condenser unit.
- Flowers – Depending on the climate zone you live in, certain perennial flowers make an excellent ground covering for beds near the walls and porch of your home, and range in height from low spreading ground covers to tall, ornate bushes. Choose flowers based on your desired results.
- Ground Covering – These include some grasses, moss, and flowering plants that like to creep and spread, like Spanish moss or Love grass. These also vary in height, but generally stay close to the ground, giving color and texture to an otherwise flat, boring landscape.
Breaking the Plane
One simple rule that applies to almost every front entrance door landscaping job is to break up the horizontal plane. A perfectly flat, unadorned lawn may be pretty, and easy to take care of, but it is doing nothing to make your home look better. By breaking up the monotony of the flat horizontal plane, your eyes have more to do, and the perspective of the property is enhanced as well, making it somehow look like a larger space. Landscapers call them “dimensional elements,” and use them frequently for this exact purpose. You don’t have to be a licensed landscaping professional to buy plants, and put them where you think they will look good. Here are some examples of landscaping plants and their uses.
Holly bushes are hearty, durable shrubs that can be pruned and shaped to fit any size or shape requirement you might have. Their prickly leaves and sturdy limbs make excellent home protection when they are planted under ground floor windows. Any prowler, burglar or other would-be home invader won’t be interested in finding an unsecure window with all that thorny goodness right under the window.
Topiaries are generally decorative bushes in free standing planters that have been groomed and shaped to give them a much more artistic look. These little dimensional elements will pack an economical punch when landscaping, plus, since they are generally in free standing planters, they can be moved to change the look, or to preserve them from bad weather.
Spanish moss actually covers several species of hanging moss, at least one of which should be available in your climate zone. Since these mosses hang, they can add a whole new dimension and texture to your design.
Shade trees as the name implies, grow tall and leafy, offering large areas of shade to your lawn and the front of your home. When started as saplings, it may be several years before you see the benefits from this landscaping investment. Both deciduous trees, and conifers are in this category, as the species available for your area will differ, but remember, conifers like pine trees, will leave a bed of needles under them. You decide if this is a desirable effect or not.
As you can see, there are a lot of choices available to you when you decide to landscape, and many of these can be applied to the decoration that will enhance your front entrance doors. If you have a raised porch, consider breaking up the ‘edge-line’ of the platform with either decorative grasses or shaped hedges. Corners can be enhanced with topiaries in large, squat planters, and the steps can be bordered with shorter decorative grasses and low flower bushes to create the dimensional effect we discussed before.
Remember, every front entrance door will compliment the style of your home, be it subtle or stately. The landscaping choices you make should fall in line with the overall look, and not distract from the beauty of your home, but rather enhance it. These basic tips should get you pointed in the right direction with your landscaping choices, but bear in mind, the first element in the desired look is the entrance door itself. If you have questions about entrance doors for your Toronto home, call Toronto Doors and Windows. We’ll be happy to help.
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