Striking doors, bold planters brighten boring entryways

by Mary McKenna

Curb appeal. It’s often there in plain view when it comes to someone else’s home – both picturesque and inviting – and yet completely elusive when trying to add that signature charm to your own. If you’re looking to spruce up a dull porch or entryway and enhance the look of your home but aren’t sure where to begin, take a tip from the experts.

Interior designer Julie Johnson, with Pine Tree Barn, suggested that the first place to focus might very well be your own front door.

“Everybody’s front porches are different,” she said, but it’s “a pretty easy change out for a pretty dramatic look to just change the door.”

One upgrade to consider, according to Johnson, is a shift to more on-trend materials.

“Some of the largest trends going on with the exterior of the homes right now are what I call natural material. Wood porches, stone porches, brick. [The] wood front door has really come back into play in a large way,” she said.

If you happen to have steps leading up to it, Johnson advised making use of them.

“A couple different pots on the actual steps themselves or to the side of the door is a very popular look right now,” the designer said. Just be careful of using too many of them, she cautioned, adding that the key is to keep them seasonal and “again, very intentionally spaced.”

Horticulturist and Director of Operations for Suncrest Gardens Rob Cowie agreed that a “punch of color” by way of a few artfully placed container plants can certainly up the wow factor.

“Flower pots are a huge deal,” he said, adding that you needn’t shy away from bold use of color in ceramic planters. Consider a colorful pot, whether “cobalt blue or oxblood red, silver, gold, or black,” said Cowie, and “change the plants that go in and out of it seasonally.”

A common mistake homeowners make, according to Cowie, is “two plastic urns on either side of the door.” He recommended picking your pots, then “mixing it up,” possibly with two pots for one side and a single pot for the other, or selecting pots that are similar shades but different colors.

As for a floral showcase, Cowie recommended an early spring wave of pansies or primrose and summer displays mid-May in “that old theme of the thriller, the filler, and the spiller.”

“Put something in the pot that draws a lot of attention, like hibiscus, then something filling the lower part of the hibiscus like petunias, and something trailing down the pot, like sweet potato vine or any other trailing plant to give some interest,” he said.   

Depending on space allocation, Johnson suggested adding an Adirondack or rocking chair for the ultimate warm welcome to an entryway. Otherwise, she said, as long as “the front door’s inviting and the plants are inviting” you’ll achieve desired results. ∞