This idea guide will help you improve the curb appeal of your home. Great ideas for different ways to improve your home’s curb appeal with various types of steps and walkways.

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.

Stone steps and pillars nicely compliment the wide wood entry gate. © David Mcshane |

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.

contemporary house wood path garage door
Like a boardwalk, the straight wooden pathway to this home’s front door reinforces the house’s rectilinear lines. Christopher Meder /

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.

outdoor stone stairway
Heavy stepping stones broken by plantings and changes in direction make the climb casual and visually interesting. ©Elena Elisseeva /

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.

Colorful decorative tiles punctuate the Saltillo pavers on these stairs © Sinastraub |

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.

Smart outdoor lights
Smart outdoor lights create an interesting architectural detail while keeping these entry stairs safely lit.


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About Don Vandervort
Don Vandervort has developed his expertise for more than 30 years as a remodeler and builder, Building Editor for Sunset Books, Senior Editor at Home Magazine, author of more than 30 home improvement books, and writer of countless magazine articles. He appeared for 3 seasons on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert for several years. Don founded HomeTips in 1996. Read more about Don Vandervort