5 Ways to Make Your Entryway More Welcoming

From paint schemes to plantings to entry porches, we've got upgrades for every budget

1. Make it Welcoming: After

This new-old Colonial Revival, in Palo Alto, California, had plenty of appeal, with its impressive portico, beefy trim, cedar shingles and roof shakes, and well-placed windows. But not until new owners enlisted designer Carolyn Woods to add billowy symmetrical garden borders and a wide-swinging gate did the place come to life.

Shown: Sturdy shrubs form the backbone of an English-cottage-style garden.

Architect: Roger Kohler, Palo Alto, CA

2. Make it Welcoming: Before

Out came trees that had hidden the house from view. In went 4-foot-wide beds edged with boxwood and tall 'Iceberg' rose standards, with unfussy perennials, such as yarrow, lavender, and catmint, spilling onto the brick walkway. More sheared boxwood crisply wraps the yard and is tucked into vase-style cast-stone urns. Setting off all this greenery is a 3-foot-tall square-picket fence with an arch-top gate that swings open to point the way to the front door.

Shown: The handsome house lacked a garden frame.

3. "Welcoming" Ideas to Steal: Fence and Gate

Replacing a hedge with a square-picket fence created an enclosure without dominating the landscape. For a similar style in easy-care vinyl, look for pickets and posts with steel cores and frames to ensure the gate won't sag.

Similar to shown: Chestnut Hill cellular PVC picket fence, about $120 per linear foot; Walpole Outdoors

4. "Welcoming" Ideas to Steal: Front Door

The cool-gray stain on the house's individually applied cedar shingles gets a lift from a pale-blue door color.

Semitransparent stain: Driftwood Gray, about $34 per gallon; Cabot Paint: A Capella, about $70 per gallon; C2 Paint

5. "Welcoming" Ideas to Steal: Entry Lights

Three-light lantern sconces flanking the door and a five-sided pendant hung from the ceiling illuminate the landing and highlight the leaded-glass fanlight and sidelights. A pair of tall candle lanterns at the base of the door adds a romantic glow.

Similar to shown: Livex Lighting's Westover series, about $300 and up; Wayfair Lanterns: Malta, bronze finish, about $120 each; Pottery Barn

For more tips on Curb Appeal, go to thisoldhouse.com.

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