How to create a first impression
What does the entrance to your home say about you? Organised? Creative? Or just plain dull?
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so think hard about how you can best present the public face of your home.
On a recent trip to Amsterdam, strolling past the canal-side homes, we were struck by the inventive use of even the tiniest space outside each house. Flights of steps to the front door were lined with neat pots and vertical space was used to display clematis or wisteria.
When outdoor space is at a premium, you have to think creatively. This house has a flight of steps leading to a landing by the front door; no space for permanent seating so, a fold-up bench is the solution.
A tiny corner can be cultivated by surrounding it with scented plants and taller shrubs – the perfect place for a sundowner after work or to read the newspapers at the weekend.
It would seem the folk along Amsterdam’s canals are an honest lot. At Jardin, we often find city dwellers doubtful about leaving pots outside their front door. Sure, they can be stolen, but isn’t it worth the risk? There are ways to secure items – filling the base of large pots with a bag of grit, weighty and good for drainage. Here, pots weighted with grit provide a home to herbs and lavender, providing scent to and from the front door.
To keep the look cohesive, think about the colour of your paintwork and how it blends with the planting.
A glossy black front door always looks smart, if safe, and goes with everything. Dark green and dark blue are other smart options. Greys and light blues from heritage paint ranges are popular at the moment. If using a strong colour, think about the colours in the hall it will open on to. In the heart of an inner-city, the cheerful red of this house and its planting lifts the spirits on the dullest of days.
A mass of disparate pots is okay if you live in a country cottage; otherwise, stick to a theme – all terracotta, all lead (or lead effect), or modern stainless steel to streamline and unify the look.
In the same way, when space is limited, use one or two key colours in your planting. Do remember plants in pots will require regular watering, preferably in the evening, and occasional feeding; regular deadheading will keep the show going. Drought tolerant plants include herbs and lavenders. Evergreen planting includes bay and box , trimmed into topiary balls or pyramids, and always look smart.
So, come on – let the front of your house reflect the stylish, cool people within. If this is a tall order, Jardin can help!
(All photography mine)