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A Welcoming Entry Garden

By: Garden Gate staff
Take your home’s entry garden from ho-hum to head-turning with this plan full of long-blooming drought-tolerant plants that can take the heat and still look gorgeous.

Watercolor illustration of a beautiful entry garden design: Illustration by Carlie Hamilton

Add style to your entry

Get an entry that welcomes and wows! This foundation planting can handle the tough, hot conditions created by lots of concrete. And on top of adding lots of color, the plants in this plan provide tons of interesting texture, from the disease-resistant shrub roses to the attention-grabbing grasses.

Most architects just don’t understand gardeners! When designing a new house they often leave tiny planting areas surrounded by hot concrete and blank walls — in other words, a tough spot to put a garden. But if it’s near your front door, as the garden in this illustration is, you want it to be an inviting area that says, “Come on in!”

Fill an empty wall

This small space’s stark wall makes it a place to showcase your garden taste! Three containers of annuals set on pedestals add height and textural contrast to all the plants in the ground. Coordinate them with another tall planter near the front door for a pulled-together look. Not into taking care of containers? Trellises and vines with large flowers or leaves will do the same thing. Even a piece of garden art set into the bed would add an interesting contrast to all of the plants in this bed.

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Texture adds interest to an entry garden

Soft pink shrub roses are resistant to diseases, can be pruned any way you like and will still bloom from late spring well into fall. They make a terrific backbone plant in this setting. And they’re the coarsest textured plants in this grouping. While most of the neighboring choices do bloom, it’s their textures that really hold your interest. The grasses here are the finest visual texture in the bed, especially against the roses, coral bells and sedums. So use them as a contrast to frame the entrance and draw your eye that direction. But before you get to the door you may want to reach down and touch the cool, smooth, succulent leaves of the sedum or the soft lamb’s ear. Now you know what designers know — those challenging spots can become the showpieces of your garden. All it takes is choosing the right plants, making sure to coordinate colors and using texture wisely.

Maintenance tips

  • The flowers of the coral bell aren't quite as showy as the ruffled purple foliage. You can remove them or wait and deadhead by cutting the long stems off below the mound of leaves.
  • Lamb’s ear loves the reflected heat next to a sidewalk. If it grows too far out in the path you can go ahead and cut it back to the edge without causing any problems.
  • This easy-care shrub rose isn't fussy about pruning. Use loppers or pruners (depending on the diameter of stem) to cut the shrub back to within a foot of the ground in early spring.
  • The maiden grass needs to be cut back in early spring, too. Tie the grass together with twine then use hedge shears to cut it all off within a few inches of the ground.

Watercolor illustration of garden planting plan: Illustration by Carlie Hamilton

Meet the plants in this entry garden plan

Check out the lettered plan above and see the corresponding plant information in the slideshow below to find out more about the hard-working, texture-rich plants in this beautiful foundation planting!

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Published: Feb. 28, 2018
Updated: Jan. 5, 2021
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