The path to your front door should serve as your home’s ambassador, welcoming guests and suggesting the peaceful, cozy environment that lies beyond. The elements that make up the entry—the pathway, landing, and front door—should blend together seamlessly and provide a safe and appealing journey from the street to your dwelling.
A straight path, which encourages guests to advance directly from the sidewalk to the entry, works well for formal and evenly proportioned homes, such as those of the Colonial, Greek Revival, and Georgian styles.
You can avoid a boring mass of unbroken concrete by using large pavers or paver groups. To make the effect even more striking, embellish both sides of the pathway with strong, symmetrical landscaping.
Shape of a pathway also impacts the overall look of a home. A straight path can underscore the rectilinear lines of a contemporary home. A winding walkway, on the other hand, works well with homes of a casual architectural style such as ranches, cottages, and bungalows. The meandering path has the practical function of making a short front yard seem larger and is also an opportunity to charm guests.
Consider the elements that could accent the journey: colorful plant groupings, interesting boulders or trees, and fountains or other garden artistry.
You may even think about creating a bit of texture and drama by adding a few low berms to a flat front yard. You can use informal paving materials such as flagstone or broken concrete set into the earth, but be sure to size your steppingstones amply and keep them free of overgrowth.
If you have steps to the front door or a landing, you can create these structures from the same materials used for the path or from materials that harmonize with your walkway design to integrate the front of the house with the yard.
The landing is the place to signify that your guests have arrived at their destination; consider insetting a circle of stone or brick or some decorative tiles to mark the end of their journey.
Whichever style of walkway you choose, always light it carefully to ensure your entry is as inviting at night as it is during the day. Install proper lighting on your landing and step treads for safety, and consider adding an eye-catching fixed light or lantern to serve as an attractive—and illuminating—focal point. Staggered lighting on either side of the path will provide safe passage, while uplighting trees and shrubs will lend visual interest.