July 10, 2016

As you are wrapping up construction on your home, the last question of how to create a welcoming walkway may be begging for an answer.

Okay, the thing about landscaping is that by the time the project gets to the hardscape (or stonework) to create walkways, stone walls, and patios, two things have happened:

  1. “Project Fatigue” has set in. Pure exhaustion over the project and people just simply want to relax and enjoy their homes.
  2. “Financial Woes”. Typically, the tap has been run dry due to the project running over budget and landscaping was forgotten or put on the back burner.

Regardless, creating a welcoming walkway is excrutiatingly important! I encourage you to give due attention to this vital part of your home. Why?

  • It is the first thing that your guests see and sets the tone for experiencing the entire home.
  • It is a functional necessity. HOW a person moves from the driveway or sidewalk to your front door, controls how they will enter your home.
    • In New England, many people are known for not using their front door (even to the point that furniture might be in front of it), so the walkway to the primary door that will be shoveled and marked for daily use is worth the investment.

So now that you have agreed that it is just as important as installing a kitchen in your home, how do you overcome the “Project Fatigue and Financial Woes”? Planning!

At the beginning of your project, as the earth is disrupted and excavation is taking place, start planning and budgeting for your walkway! This is your opportunity to create a welcoming walkway. Here are a few tips:

  1. Stand in the driveway or sidewalk and decide where exactly you think people will start their journey to your door.
  2. Walk this direction avoiding a straight path. Try to move away from the house in a biomorphic or somewhat curved shape.
    1. Every house should have a Drip Edge – a gravel space that is between the foundation wall and the line of the roof + 4”. This is where the water will land. Additionally, you want to keep mulch and planting away from the siding to avoid rot and insects from getting in the house.
    2. Foundation Plantings are a must on every home. These are plantings that buffer between your house and the lawn. They are very important in the visual experience of your home and should be partly evergreen so that in the winter they remain.
  3. The walkway should be on the outside of the foundation plantings. Using landscaping spray paint, begin to spray out your pathway. Once you are happy with the shape, call a few landscapers to come over and discuss the project.
  4. A good landscaper will give you ideas about materials and budgets. This is a conversation and process. Once you choose a landscaper, create a budget with them and commit to using them for the work.
  5. This is your budget for the end of the project. Take the plan and the budget number and make sure that it is preserved for the finish work.

Knowing that you have the plan and funds set aside will give you peace of mind and a relaxed knowledge that all will be well at the end of the day. It will also eliminate the stress and worry or simple avoidance of creating the most welcoming walkway ever!

If you need help in designing a welcoming walkway, let me know. I’m happy to help you with the process and design.