Entry gardens fill many roles in the landscape. On a busy street, a well-executed fence garden or bermed planting bed can muffle traffic noise and foster a sense of privacy. Tall ornamental grasses, statuesque tropical plants, and vines trained on arbors form living screens that can shield front yard living spaces from passersby. Add a trickling fountain, and the surrounding sounds all but disappear. Instead of using a picket fence, create small- town welcome by focusing on billows of blooms. Planting beds brimming with flowering annuals and tender perennials dress up a home with alluring color and make it the talk of the block. Even the tiniest dooryard can support pretty plantings. If your entry has hard surfaces, group containers to fill the space with waves of beauty. A mailbox perched at the edge of a yard provides a classic invitation for a colorful garden design. To save your mail carrier from painful encounters with stinging insects, avoid packing plants too close to the mailbox. Using seasonal color in a front yard works well for several reasons. It provides a loom on which you can weave different planting patterns year to year. For a gardener who enjoys designing plantings, an entry garden furnishes endless opportunities to satisfy the craving for staging something new. In areas with rugged winters and ample snowfall, quick color that disappears with the frost means no worries about plant damage from road salt or piles of snow. Whenever you trade turf for quick color, you reduce lawn-mowing duties—a cause to cheer.
When designing entry garden plantings, adapt these techniques to make your home the toast of the neighborhood. Consider scale. Design planting areas and select plants so they don't overpower a small space. By the same token, select plants and designs that won't disappear beside a multistory facade. Use structures. Add a pergola, bench, birdbath, or entry arbor to transform a planting bed into a focal point and destination. Choose structures to complement your home's architectural details and motifs. Position them to accent or emphasize the entry, being careful not to overwhelm it. Define a path. Leave ample walking space— 4 feet wide is ideal. Don't allow plantings to obscure or block an entry path. If a path branches toward another part of your yard, define public and private areas with an arbor or gate. Be artistic. Choose plants that match or complement your home's color scheme. Or, if you find a plant you can't live without and it clashes with your exterior color scheme, try giving your front door or window trim a new color that bridges the gap between the shades. Screen with care. In a small entry space, achieve privacy with latticework or vine-covered trellises. This type of peekaboo screen creates a shield that doesn't feel confining. Count on containers. Prepare potted plants to provide punches of color during seasonal downtimes. Select containers that are lightweight and easy to move. Keep them stocked with seasonally appropriate plants, or grow plantings elsewhere and pop them into place when they look their best.
Some quick-color annuals have what it takes to survive life on the street. If you're designing roadside plantings, choose a few of these tough-as-nails beauties. They withstand heat and drought without missing a blooming beat.
This mounding grower is blanketed with daisylike blooms.
Groundcover types available in many colors boast true flower power.
It stands up to intense heat and drought. Its blooms beckon butterflies.
Burgundy leaves add texture and movement to plantings.
Flowers sparkle and shine above drought-resistant foliage.
Cheery blooms in bright colors dance atop feathery leaves.
Colorful foliage can steal the spotlight or accent other blooming plants.
Choose bedding types or drought-tolerant shrubby forms.