Photo: Hanging baskets and urns or flower pots can bring color to even a narrow front stoop or otherwise unassuming entryway. Try using all one color of flower for maximum impact.
Decorative planters allow you to place color right where you want it – on steps, a porch, or walkway – and can be tailored to fit any size entrance from a sweeping front porch to the narrowest of stoops. The type of planter you use can impart as much or more style as the plants you put in it! Urns can add a hint of elegance to even a clapboard country farmhouse like mine, while moss-covered terra cotta pots can lend a sense of age and patina to a newer home. Bring glamour to an entrance with tall topiaries in blue and white Chinoiserie planters, or go country with galvanized metal tubs.
I also love planting flowers in hanging baskets as they draw the eye up to the doorway itself and can be placed so they don’t interfere with narrow walkways or steps. They look gracious spaced across a front porch and are an easy way to add color to a back door. When placed on either side of garage doors, they make a welcoming sight when you pull in the driveway. If you like the look of hanging baskets, I recommend investing in nice permanent metal or iron baskets rather than just hanging the pre-planted plastic ones. I also like to place a coco fiber basket liner in my hanging baskets so the plant’s plastic pot isn’t visible. You can find varying sizes of liners for under $10 a piece at plant nurseries, Home Depot, or even Walmart during the summer. Though permanent baskets and liners can be a bit of an investment, once you own them, they will make a $10 potted plant look like a $50 floral arrangement, and you can use them year after year.
When selecting flowers for your planters, stick with one or two colors for maximum visual impact. Though a variety of contrasting colors looks beautiful in a flowerbed, using one color family in a planter makes a stunning statement and will ensure your display really pops – especially when viewed from a distance like the street or sidewalk. Begonias, petunias, and impatiens are all hardy annual flowers that are readily available and impart lots of color, but each one likes a different amount of sunlight. If, like me, you’re not much a gardener, work with a plant expert at your local nursery or landscaping company to find the type of flower that will thrive in your entryway’s sun or shade levels. Then determine your “signature color” for the summer and stick to it. Whether it’s varying shades of blues and purples, or clusters of bright pinks and reds, a single colorway in your containers will keep your entryway looking balanced and bright.
Don’t forget your windows and walls! Just as you would hang artwork to decorate a big blank wall in your home, window boxes, planters, and trellises can dress up big blank walls outside your home. My home’s front walk meanders from the driveway past a hedge to a small door tucked in the side of our home, and it first appears as if you’re just walking towards a plain white wall. Rather than leave this space blank, I repurposed a wall-mount garden hose holder to display flowering plants. With a quick coat of paint to it and two flowerpots, I created an inexpensive focal point for our front walkway. In addition to wall-mounted planters, you can decorate blank exterior walls with well-placed window boxes, a climbing plant on a trellis, or even a few pots planted with tall flowering trees or topiaries. They can all be removed come colder weather or replaced with hardier winter evergreen plants.
Whether you have an expansive yard and garden or just a few front steps a stone’s throw from the village sidewalk, a few colorful potted plants can transform your front door. Find the right flowers and planters for your entryway, and you’ll have a cheerful “welcome home” all summer!
Kitty Burruss is an interior designer, writer, and beginner gardener with an inexplicable penchant for garden gnomes.