The property now
The property is a detached house in Costessey, Norfolk. The entrance to the property is imposing with a gravel driveway, good quality entrance gates, and steps up to the front door. The property has been extended over the years resulting in a cramped feel to the area with little room for cars to turn.
The entrance, turning and parking area extends to approximately 230m2.
The clients had already done some work to improve the property (replacing windows and repainting the timber cladding; previously it was yellow!). They now wanted to create a welcoming entrance area consistent with the style of the property.
There’s nothing to be done about the lack of space, but there are several issues with the approach to the front door that could be addressed:
- The sloping site creates a very high threshold that feels disconnected from the ground.
- The steps are very wide and, with no side supports, feel precarious.
- The step treads are quite shallow, so descending must be done carefully.
- The pillars each side of the door are a bit too ‘bling’.
The proposed garden layout
The new design adds a brick wall and pillars to create a planter on each side of the steps. This narrows the steps and anchors the house to the ground. The planters will be filled with evergreen shrubs and a climber for the wall.
The step treads are replaced with sandblasted stone and a landing stone is added at the bottom of the steps to give a more slip-resistant surface. The same stone is used for the wall copings.
The pillars each side of the door are removed to make room for more sophisticated, potted topiary.
A pattern of setts is added to the driveway surface to highlight the entrance.
There is some room to increase the depth of the step treads. As this would mean entirely rebuilding the steps, the clients decided to leave them as is.
Planning permission may be required for hard landscaping to the front of a property. Always check with your local planning department before starting work.