Walkways and Front Entrances
A warm and welcoming front walkway design is the perfect way to charm your guests, increase curb appeal, and add style to your front yard. Investing in a well designed walkway that compliments your home, your landscaping, and your style will not only increase your property value, but it will protect your lawn and provide an easy way for guests to reach your home.
Tom Bahler wrote a great article and we want to share some of his insights from his knowledge and expertise.
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Creating a Front Walkway that Charms & Welcomes
When choosing a new front walkway design, there are some important considerations to help customize the new look with your home.
Choosing a walkway style that matches or compliments your home’s architecture and design is one of the easiest ways to customize your new look. For example, a more flowing, naturalistic walkway would compete with a structured modern house design, but a sleek design with straight lines would pair well with modern architecture.
Consider using the form and shape of your walkway to highlight the detail of your existing landscaping. A winding walkway can accommodate a mature tree, for example.
Materials are an important consideration as well. Choose materials that will hold up over time and in various weather conditions. The right landscaping company should be able to make recommendations as to what materials are right for your home and terrain. Accent bands and borders or stone edging are also great ways to add style to your front walkway design. Consider a complementary shape or color to create rich contrast and elevate the overall look.
Don’t forget the details such as lighting and landscape design. Incorporate lighting for safety and ambiance. A well-lit walkway not only enhances safety, it presents a welcoming entrance to your home. Add curb appeal with flower beds and other landscape upgrades like water features or pillars. Even a simple design with manicured shrubs or properly placed ground cover can enhance any look.
Entrance & Walkway Design Considerations
Incorporating the perfect elements to your new design is where hiring a professional can greatly enhance the end result.
Scale is perhaps one of the most important design considerations to make when determining the overall look. It is essential to create a walkway that blends seamlessly with your home and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.
To achieve the perfect sense of scale, be sure to choose the right materials to achieve the look you want, as well as to suit the area in which you live. Typical walkways should be wide enough for two people to walk side by side, usually four feet. Your new front walkway design should complement your existing landscaping.
Finally, when considering scale, don’t forget to choose the proper placement of your new walkway, as it will guide guests from the street or the driveway to your home. Practicality is key.
Accent elements such as pillars, lighting, sitting walls, or water features are all possibilities to personalize the design of your new walkway. Curb appeal is not to be underestimated, both for your own enjoyment of your home and should you consider your home’s resale value.
Architectural style is a key consideration when designing a front walkway as well. A modern home would not work well with large concrete pillars, just as a Craftsman style home would not work well with more modern touches.
The primary versus secondary entrances to your home are important to consider as well. If your home has a main entrance plus a visible side door or a garage door, consider incorporating both into your design so that guests feel welcome and charmed either way they enter, and so that the front of your home has a cohesive look.
Quick Fixes for Improving You Current Walkway
If you don’t have the budget to design and build a brand new walkway, that’s okay. Here are a few things you can do to improve your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank.
Consider repairing or refinishing stained or cracked concrete with an overlay or with veneers. Overlays blend polymer resins with cement, sand, and other additives and are applied in layers over existing concrete to improve its performance and extend its life. Veneers function the same way, but are made from fiber-enforced concrete to go right over existing concrete to improve its performance and extend its life.
Adding new steps to your entranceway is a great way to provide aesthetic value to your home. They are practical and provide safety, making it easier and safer to move around your property. Steps can be as simple or complex a design as fits your taste and budget.
And, don’t worry, if a full redesign is not in your budget, a cost effective way to update your look is to use stone stone or pavers to update an existing walkway. There are lots of options to make the old style look fresh and new.
Safety Concerns with Updating a Front Entrance/Walkway
Safety should always come first and is at the forefront of every project we design.
It is important to ensure you can see out from the inside of your home. You don’t want any elements of your walkway or entrance to prevent you from being able to see who’s at the door. Proper lighting ensures that those walking can see where they are going at night. Lighting has the added benefit of adding ambiance.
Make sure to consider what steps are needed to navigate a steep yard. The last thing you want your new walkway or landscaping to do is create hiding places for intruders. Adding landscape lighting can help with this, by creating a safe, secure, and welcoming environment.
Don’t Forget About Maintenance And Upkeep
Like any other upgrade or home improvement, maintenance and care are essential to preserve your new investment (or rejuvenate your older one).
Joint Re-Sanding involves sweeping high-performance Polymeric Joint Sand into the joints of existing paver stones. It is then compacted down and moistened with a hose to activate the polymers.
Cleaning is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to maintain your hardscaping. We use a stripping agent to remove previous sealants and residue, and then use a Hardscape Cleaner/Paver Primer to remove any ground-in dirt, staining, or oxidation.
Sealing is a great way to update paver stones, typically in conjunction with cleaning. Using semi-gloss finishes, the paver surface is sealed with your choice of a natural, wet, or clear look.
There are many options available to customize a front walkway design that suits your taste, home, and budget. Here are some examples of popular walkway materials:
- Cut Natural Stone
- Interlocking Concrete Pavers
- Irregularly shaped Flagstones or Stepping Stones make a walkway that offers a more informal look and combines the natural look with a lot of flexibility for plantings.
- Pea gravel offers a satisfying crunch as you walk and is great in a more rustic setting. Although it can be a little unstable to walk on, pea stone can be less expensive than pavers or natural stone. It does require a curbing stone along it’s edge though to keep it neat and tidy.
The best part of choosing a new walkway for your home is that a front walkway design is a relatively small project with very big potential for impact.
Are you excited and ready to start planning your walkway renovation, but not sure where to start? Get in touch with us for a consultation.
The original article by Tom Bahler.