At A Glance: A Gorgeous Entrance

making an entranceMy clients in Ann Arbor have an entrance to their front door that stops me in my tracks. Per my request, they sent pictures.

making an entranceThe proportion and scale is unusual and striking.

making an entranceThere is plenty of room for Banjo on the generously scaled steps.

making an entranceBanjo helping to make an entrance

making an entranceThis entrance is all of their own making. It is incredibly beautiful, is it not?









  1. Paul Lenhard says

    I love this look! So simple and different. I didn’t catch the symmetry of the pots at first glance, but after looking closer I can see it. What a beautifully elegant and welcoming entrance.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Paul, I like everything about this entrance. It is personal, and so well imagined. Dreamy. structured. thoughtful. beautiful.

  2. Robert A. Beebe says

    I think the near-but-not-quite symmetrical arrangement works incredibly well. I’m glad that it is NOT a perfectly balanced arrangement of pots – just appears to be.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Rob, I can always count on you for a very thorough and thoughtful reading. all the best, Deborah

  3. I am not a huge fan of topiary’s but I love collections of objects. This really works…it suits the house with all its windows and metal vents. And the placement leads your eye right to the door! I love seeing something new that really works : )

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Laurin, this is a very unusual and incredibly thoughtful arrangement from clients who bought a large property including a stone farmhouse from the 19th century. How they handle that age,and their aesthetic is is a wonder to behold. best, Deborah

  4. Sheryl Kammer says

    Beautiful but how does one get to it?

  5. It looks like something you would find in Europe. Beautiful!

  6. Jeanette says

    A beautiful home. after reading all the comments, I was shocked. I think it looks awful with all those pots lined up. Those need to be in a pergola or greenhouse collection nort on the front entrance. Deborah, Help these people…..

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jeanette, in my opinion, this client does not need any direction from me. I think the arrangement of the pots on this beautifully over scaled porch and steps is brilliant. I would not change a thing. The fact that you had such a strong reaction speaks to how unusual and provocative this entrance is. That you think it looks awful means you had a strong reaction to it. I like landscape gestures that evoke a strong response. The landscape can be very powerful visually-for good or for ill. I do not in any way think you need to like this entrance. You have your own ideas about what constitutes a beautiful entrance. I respect that. All I have to offer anyone who reads Dirt Simple is my opinion. I greatly value the discussion, and your opinion. Many thanks for writing. all the best to you, Deborah

  7. It doesn’t really look right to me. The little pots with topiaries look way to small and in the way. The darker grey ones look okay as far as scale. But of course, gardens are personal, so it’s okay it just didn’t look right to me, sorry.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Cindy, first and foremost, you are entitled to your opinion. Do not be sorry for it. You are in charge of your own garden It is what you think and feel it should be. Others are equally entitled to their opinion.This is what keeps the gardening world so lively. all the best, Deborah

  8. virginia skold says

    The design really enhances the stonework.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Virginia, I agree with your assessment. Everything is working here. What an awesome entrance. best, Deborah

  9. What a beautiful and creative arrangement!

  10. Jennifer Taylor says

    It is lovely! Unusual, light, creative, almost whimsical. I love the simplicity in front of the stone walls and decorative panels above. The fact that there is no well defined path makes it even more special. Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Jennifer, this is a very old American farmhouse.The iron panels above are vents. I would think that no one ever went to the front door, in the day. Nor was there ever a walkway to get there. All the life and business of the farm went on in the back of the house. all the best, Deborah

  11. I absolutely adore this Entrance!!!! So nice for a Stone Farmhouse. I know every one has an opinion but so glad they made this house elegant…..not flowers everywhere, AND I love flowers but in the right placement! Thanks for sharing Deborah.

  12. Brenda Marean says

    I love reading your comments, Deborah. You are masterful in defending one’s rights to their thoughts and the designs of others. That we all could be so non-judgmental!
    Thanks for these beautiful, thought inspiring photos!

  13. Is this the house with 100 pots of boxwood?

  14. Cindy at enclos*ure says


  15. Cathryn Jackson says

    A substantial stone house needs substantial pots. it’s a shame, but this comes across as ‘bitty’ and it makes you think that the smaller pots would be at risk of frequently being knocked over by foot traffic, pets, suitcases, bags etc.

  16. absolutely stunning and oh so original. now my mind is roving “which client would enjoy this look?” maybe even me!

  17. Sandra Pryce Maher says

    I am knew to your site thanks to Garden Design. I am an interior designer in southern CA and I find this entrance enchanting and very creative juxtaposed against a strong facade of beautiful stone strength.

  18. Charisse says

    I love the arrangement. I think that when one arrives to the front, because of the varied sizes and placement, one would stop and linger, simply because it is whimsical and unexpected! My kinda design. Love the stone house. My first guess would have been Pennsylvania.

  19. Thanks for posting these images. I like this entrance arrangement very much, but at the same time I understand that it might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s a very bold and confident arrangement — looking at it, I feel the way I sometimes feel when I look at certain works of modern art. It’s a strong design, full of energy — and the spaces between the pots seem just as important as the pots themselves. I think whoever put this together must be pretty artistic. Banjo looks pretty artistic, too!

  20. Mary Worobec says

    This arrangement of topiary made me smile…reminds me of a group of carolers come to sing, waiting expectantly for the lord and lady of the house to appear. Some personal thoughts- I might have made one size of the topiary “win.” The sizes seem to be too evenly distributed. Perhaps even the addition of a “grandad” to the group, with the “babies” grouped around the “grownups.” These are my personal thoughts and again I smile to know that the owners’ arrangement has evoked such responses. It is a fun and unique arrangement. Good for you!

  21. Ella Steele says

    I think the house and wide steps are elegant. I am not fond of tortured topiary. It’s too up tight for my taste.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Ella, Happy to hear your opinion. My tastes are not so clearly defined or consistent. Some days all I want to look at is a well grown and trimmed topiary. Other days I have no use for them. Some years I think all the pink white and rose pink spring flowering trees are breathtaking. Other years I think they look silly. Ha! best, Deborah

  22. Elise Hilliard says

    I absolutely love the entrance, the containers, the topiary and most of all the dog! What a beautiful combination, it looks like a happy home.

  23. Siobhan Semmler says

    I rather like this design idea. The jumble of pots on the steps makes for an unexpected
    entrance design and a rather fun appearance. I would tend to see this and think that the owners were fun loving people themselves and not fussy or stuck in some idea that your
    entrance has to be a more conventional one, some of which just elicit a yawn from onlookers.
    The dog also looks happy so it must be a fun home to live in. One thought .. having lived in the North East for many years I know that wind can be a problem and heavy rain so wondering about all these pots being knocked about in bad weather. And, saw there are no hand rails on the porch either … nothing to grab onto on a icy morning or snowy day ? Not sure our insurance company would allow that where we live. Beautiful home .. love the artistic grates in the walls above the windows ! A home I would love to own myself !

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Siobhan, as I mentioned in one of the comments earlier on this post, this entrance is never used. It is to look at. thanks for writing! best, Deborah

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