Planting At The Front Door

One’s front door-it keeps out the cold, and the babble.  On one side, it sheds all the noise of the street.  On the other side-sanctuary. It welcomes friends and family. It is a visual symbol for home. Containers at the front door do a great job of reinforcing that welcome, and dressing up the public presentation of what we all call home.  Choosing the right containers has a lot to do with intersection of the architecture of your home, and what best represents your feeling about your home.  These galvanized and acid washed steel lattice boxes with medallions are stately, and in perfect concert with this period house.  Their sharply geometric shape is in contrast to, and highlights, the beautifully curved stone insets to the door.  The plain panel at the top third of the box repeats the horizontal wood frame piece on the door.  This works for me-but better yet, it worked for my client.  

This gracious tudor makes much of a summer planting-my clients so enjoy this.  The front door is set at an unusual and beautiful angle.  The simple terra cotta pots stuffed with rosemary accents, but yields the floor to the enchanting placement of the front door.  You can barely make them out in this picture-they say welcome, very very quietly.  These pots do not dilute or draw attention away from this striking architectural feature. 

This exuberant and low key home features a giant front porch and pediment.  The clients like big, easy, and relaxed.  A series of related pots make a big porch entry more intimate.  The mix of French glazed pots and contemporary concrete pots is interesting, compelling.  They invite a visitor to wend their way to the front door.  I like entrances that give a visitor time to shift away from their day, and anticipate their visit. A front door and porch is a transitional space.  Great containers provide time, space and interest to the transition.  When I open the door to welcome guests, I hope I can tell they have experienced that walk to the door. 

An offset front door might suggest an informal entrance-but this is not necessarily so.  A left spaced formal planting of boxwood, and a classically shaped limestone urn on a simple limestone pedestal balances the right spaced door space beautifully.  The urn speaks much to the taste and intention of the client.  The boxwood in the urn is a formal arrangement, making much about architecture, space, and reserve.  I so love the contrast of the asymmetrical space, and the formal and geometric elements.  This may be quiet, but it is enormously successful. 

I like a generous entrance, a big porch, a front door with width.  Multiple lead pots draw the eye to the door, in this case.   Big front doors lacking a chorus of containers-lonely and unsettling.  These lead containers and wirework plant stands-they whisper welcome, they repeat that whisper- in response to a very big space.     

This vintage modern house-the front door and its approach is part of a front of a greater front of the house terrace.  I had this to work with. These 1920’s French faux bois rectangular planters not only direct visitors to the door (not seen in this picture-but to your right)-but they distinguish the the front door from the front terrace.  How beautiful are these old containers, placed on a slate terrace from the forties.  Should you have a mind to study this picture-the view is  really good.  Good containers at a front door-they enchant, and they have the additional strength to direct traffic.

Some homes feature pillars near the front door.  Any container set on top of a pillar needs to have just the right proportion.  I like wide and low and footed.  This looks generous and appropriate.  The simple lead containers at the front door-they frame the hard surfaces that make up that front door.  In the event the gates were to be opened for company, every visitor would have visual and emotional time to focus on that visit, and be pleased to see that front door open.  

The iron lattice of these boxes refer to the ironwork attending the front door. Large steps are narrowed down, given these lattice boxes.  The plants that might brush up against a guest-so personal.  A front door and attendant container presentation needs to work from the street, and  work up close as well.  Choosing containers for a front door-look long and hard.  Consider what might not immediately come to mind-pay much attention to the architecture, and even more attention to your point of view.  Those friends that you might welcome-consider them too. 

This front door-a huge and wide swath of lawn provides the approach. In this particular instance, the approach figures more prominently than the front door.  Handmade Italian pots mark the changes of grade.  The big idea here-your front door is unlike any other front door.  Study it.  Be armed with your point of view when you go to shop.  What exactly do you want to say at your front door?  The answer to this will help you garden in containers at your front door, successfully.


  1. Very helpful post as I am just now in process of planning some flowerpots for our entrance. Our big boxwood that has flanked our door faithfully throughout the cold part of the year, now will get a deserving place in the garden.
    Love your informational posts. I always learn something. The pictures are beautiful too.

    Have a great day!

  2. What a wonderful series – as a city gardener I have only containers to create nature around me. This is very inspirational!

Leave a Comment