Residential walkways and entries, like driveways, are often an afterthought for many contractors. Often front entries are equipped with plain, precast concrete steps and have no walkways to get visitors to the door from the driveway or street.
Some homeowners, looking to create an established walkway, may settle for a simple, narrow asphalt sidewalk that lacks beauty and curb appeal. If you’re considering adding or renovating a front entry, it’s important to remember that the space leading up to and into your house is the gateway to your home and creates a critical first-impression for guests and other visitors. So how do you optimize your walkway and entry space to welcome people to your home?
Establish primary and secondary entry points For some people, the front door is the primary way into a home; however, a large number of homeowners use a garage or side door as the preferred way to gain daily access. Determine which door will be used for daily entry and which for intermittent visitors’ use. By establishing primary and secondary entries, you can budget accordingly to create functional, attractive entry spaces appropriate for their level of use.
Bigger is better Being stingy with the walkway and entry space tells guests you don’t care about their comfort. Crowding them onto a small front step that doesn’t allow for the door to open without hitting them, or making people string out in a row as they walk up a narrow sidewalk sends an unwelcoming message.
Instead, create a wide and deep landing, long and generous steps, and a walkway that enables two persons to walk side-by-side – especially important if you have elderly or handicapped family or friends who may need assistance getting into your home.
Plan for worst-case scenarios Nothing is more aggravating than trying to get into a house in the pouring rain or dark without getting wet or stumbling. If you will be using your doorway to bring groceries into your home or have guests showing up with packages or containers of food for parties, it’s important to provide adequate space and shelter from the elements, such as a large overhang or other covered entry.
Create a “super stoop” This is a spacious landing that provides room to set packages down and can accommodate a chair or small bench, even a boot scrape to clean shoes before entering.
Get creative There are lots of interesting materials for landings and walkways, including brick, pavers, flagstone and more. Consider unique combinations of color, shape, and texture. Add dramatic elements to accent entries, such as interesting plantings, edging, even sculpture and other manmade objects. Use landscaping to draw the eye into the entry and create a warm and inviting environment that adds tremendous curb appeal and says “welcome to my home.”