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How to Create Impressive Formal Entryways in the Landscape

April 15, 2013 2 min read

How to Create Impressive Formal Entryways in the LandscapeA first impression is a lasting one, and creating a beautiful formal entryway for your home or business is inviting to all who enter.

There are certain design techniques you will want to incorporate as well as certain kinds of plants. Generally speaking, a formal design is more neat and tidy as well as more symmetrical than designs that use a more wild or rustic look. But as with anything creative, you are free to break the ‘rules’ to suit your individual taste. Here are some guidelines to get you started…

As mentioned, symmetry is important. It simply means that, you have equal amounts of the same kind of plant on either side of your entryway. For instance, if you plant a row of Boxwood along one side, you may want to mirror that with a row of Boxwoods on the other for a very formal look. Symmetry is different than balance, although it achieves balance as well.

Sheered and manicured trees and shrubs contribute greatly to the formal design. There are certain types of plants that can best handle the stress of this kind of maintenance. Evergreens like Yews, Arborvitae, Boxwoods and Junipers can take a fair amount of shearing. Hollies, Privet, Euonymus and Barberry maintain a neat appearance with regular pruning. All of these shrubs make excellent formal hedges to line or accent an entryway.
Straight lines, right angles and grids contribute to a formal and contemporary look. Using curved formal hedges along a straight walkway will soften the look.

Adding statuesque elements like that of certain pyramidal Junipers, Spruce or Arborvitae fills in vertical space and adds a bold statement. Use them in evenly spaced rows or as a single accent in the landscape. Go a step further and light them up for nighttime ambiance and a notable display.

Of course, actual statues, fountains, sculptures, potted plants as well as lighting all have their place within the formal landscape. Be sure to leave room for them as you are planning your design!

‘Formal-scaping’ is often more concerned with structure rather than color. But don’t neglect it, as beautiful pops of color will liven up the scene and keep it from becoming too rigid. Well placed shrubs like Rhododendron, Hydrangeas and Azaleas are often used for both their blooms and their attractive foliage. Well defined beds of perennials, bulbs and annuals can be placed throughout to fill in and add splashes of whimsy.

With a few guidelines, any landscape can be transformed into a formal one. Use these tips, and your good taste… and your entryway will be dressed to impress!

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