Entryway Design | At Home With P. Allen Smith


Imagine a street with no house numbers. How
would you help friends find your house? An entryway is one of the most, well, defining
aspects of your home. It is a signature, your signature. In my house, when I tell someone
how to find it, I say “Hey, it’s the house that’s grey with a red roof and white picket
fence.” You see, even the porch itself says “Welcome.” — it is a point of entry. But
let’s talk about the garden itself: Once you’re inside the picket fence here, you go around
the garden — I created several different entries, several different ways of saying
“Welcome” throughout this garden space. Let’s take a little tour. This is the fountain garden.
It takes its name from, well, the fountain, you can see right here. But these entryways
really define it — they give it a sense of “welcome.” What I did here is used elements
from the house itself — and I think that’s very important. You see, I took the same column
profile, a simple Doric column from the house, and created these arbors. Now, I have a 3
foot, just a little over 3 foot, entryway here, but the sense that you get: It’s much
larger. Actually, these columns from side to side, outside to outside, would be about
5 feet. So it expresses itself in a much larger way. And to carry on this idea of the same
element of architecture, I created this entablature, which matches the entablature on the porch.
And then above it, I did a bonnet to support growing vines or just to cap it off and give
it a finished look. And you might think that these are antiques, fragments from some other
building or something like that –you can certainly use that– but I actually had these
made to fit these arbors. And if you look at the very top, we just used a fence post
finial, a little fleur de lis at the top to finish it off. Now, if you take a look at
the sides, I had the same welding shop create some panels on either side to really give
this a sense of entry. And when you’re talking about entryways, you can’t forget about the
floor. For instance, here, I have brick panels laid down on sides, with a brick border that
serve as the foundation for these columns. If you look at the walkway leading up to the
house in the front, you’ll find that walkway and the steps are made of the same brick.
So I’m carrying that same element through the garden. I filled in with just gravel,
because I love to hear that crunch through this natural material. Now, let’s take a look
at some other examples of entryways in this garden. Over here on the side, I wanted to
make sure that I had an entryway for guests to come in from this angle, up to the house.
This entry serves two purposes: One is to say “hey, enter here.” And secondly, it’s
a support for this rose. This is a New Dawn Rose, and when it blooms it is fantastic.
This bonnet is designed where the pitch of the bonnet is similar to the pitch on the
roof of the house. And what I used on the top to help support this arching rose is some
rustic limbs form cedar trees — gives it sort of a unique quality. And you can see
here with these sides panels, I used the same type of material. Again, the floor here is
red brick, which matches the red brick from the other arbor as well as the entryway. You
see, by using elements that you see with the house, it creates harmony in the garden. This
continuity is a predictable element that brings a sense of cohesion to the entire landscape.
So let’s go take a look at another one. Now, this space, which is another entry, but it’s
also a living space, is called the breezeway or the loggia. Now, I want you to think about
something. You’re probably thinking: Allen, this is really dull because you’re using the
same materials over and over. I’m daring you to be dull. If you use these same materials
over and over in key places, it does indeed create a sense of harmony — and that’s what
it’s all about. Just follow the precedent of the house itself. The house was built originally
in 1905, then in 2005 –a 100 years later– I made this connector. Yeah, 100 years. I
know I don’t look like I’m a 100 years old. I think I’m holding up pretty well, don’t
you? So what I did is I built the garage and this connector, but I used the same elements
from the house. It’s so important to think that way. This entryway or passage, from one
side of the garden to the other side of the garden, is reminiscent of the porches of this
100-year-old house. The beadboard ceiling — again, we’re back to the white columns.
And of course, the floor, again, is the red brick. Be dull, don’t be afraid of it. Come
on, let me show you a couple of other arbors. Now, this entry into this small, narrow, side
garden couldn’t be simpler to create. What I did was planted a hedge and carved an arch
in it. Not only does it allow me to keep in line and cut this each time a shear the hedge
–I can clip it with precision– but it also allowed me to pull the tops of these two hedges
that are closest to this entryway over to create the arch itself. And this is a Camellia
hedge, a Sasanqua Camellia hedge — it blooms in the fall. It’s covered with pale pink blossoms
— it’s really pretty. Now, you might say “Well, what does this garden look like in
the winter?” Well, I gotta tell ya’, with these architectural elements through the garden,
when it snows, it becomes a magical place. So if you’r interested in any of these entryway
ideas or the plans or designs for them, you can learn more about them in my first book
“Garden Home.” If you’re enjoying these segments on style, tell a friend about them. And subscribe
to eHow Home.

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