The entryway garden is typically the most visible of a homeowner's gardens. This garden should capture the attention of the visitor, and passerby alike, as it draws one's attention to the main entrance of the home. The front door is the focal point of the entryway garden hence the name dooryard garden. The goal of a dooryard garden is, not only to add curb appeal, but also to guide the steps of the visitor to the front door. Keep this in mind as you plan the dooryard garden and frame it so it will conduct the visitor along a direct, but enjoyable path, toward the door rather than sending them along a meandering tour of the front yard. Notice the photos below. This is a perfect example of a dooryard garden which frames the pathway to the front door of the home. This garden is obviously planned as a multiple season garden. The Autumn garden is truly colorful and draws the eye up and along the path in an enjoyable walk to the front door. The warm season garden is more muted, but still adequately frames the path to the front door. Also note that the design of the gardens matches the style of the home.

Image ImagePhotos and thumbnail from

Before planting the dooryard garden take into consideration the style and scale of the home. A neoclassic or upscale home would appear dilapidated with a profusion of rambling cottage-style plants as a dooryard garden. This style of home would be given a touch of elegance with the clean lines of evergreen topiary flanking either side of the entryway. An under planting of blooming annuals would work nicely as an accent to the elegant topiaries.

ImageThis marvelous chateau would seem ridiculous with a cottage style garden planted along its entryway. However the elegantly manicured evergreens are formal and quite appropriate to the scale and architecture of the chateau.

Photo courtesy of

So we see that the type and size of plants to use in a dooryard garden are determined by several factors one being the dimensions of a home. There are many resources available to the gardener simply do the research to determine the best plants for your particular home's style. Keep in mind that guests will stop amid your dooryard garden to ring the doorbell so put in a variety of lovely plants for them to gaze at as they wait for you to answer the door. You might also want to toss in a miniature fairy house, a gazing ball or other decorative statuary to impress your guests as they admire your dooryard garden.


The graceful lines of a Grecian statue surrounded by the fern-like foliage of the Falsespirea, Sorbaria sorbifolia, as in the photograph would be an attractive addition to a dooryard garden. The Falsespirea grows to a height of 5'-10' tall and nearly as wide, so it is better suited to a large dooryard garden.


A pretty garden bench for people to rest on adds beauty and practicality. Give it a backdrop of fragrant flowers and your guests will never want to leave.


To create a touch of romantic ambiance in your dooryard garden plant fragrant climbing roses to frame the front door, at the entrance to the porch or even on an arbor or fence within the garden. The delicate sent of roses will waft into your home each time a guest enters. That is to say, if you can get them out of your beautiful dooryard garden and into the house.


If you haven't the room for, or the capability to care for, a dooryard garden then try container plants as an alternative. Containers make wonderful additions to a porch, the front door steps and even look well flanking the front door. The overall look is dependent upon the type of planter you choose. ~For a whimsical touch try a trash to treasure container.~


Window boxes are great entryway accents as well, and they are low maintenance.

When Creating the Dooryard Garden Think on These Things

~Your soil type. Amend if needed or choose plants which will thrive in your soil.

~The sun exposure your garden will receive. Plant accordingly.
~Your plant hardiness zone. Be certain the plants you choose are hardy in your zone.
~The color, style and scale of your home as well as the atmosphere of your neighborhood. Choose plants best suited to your particular environment.
~Your wishes. Do you prefer a cottage garden or a symmetrically formal garden? Remember to compliment your home by choosing plants which suit its style as well.
~Will you use shrubs, perennials, evergreens and/or annuals?
~Any additions you want to make such as statuary.
~The codes relative to your housing association as well as those of your city.

~Determine where your telephone, power, water, cable and any others are located before you dig.

~It is best not to use barbed plants which might 'grab' your guests as they walk through the dooryard garden.
~When using shrubbery it is best to keep it to a small scale nearest the house as tall, overgrown shrubs create a ready environment for criminal activity.

Inspiration through research

Perform an internet search for Entryway Gardens, Cottage Dooryard Gardens, English manor houses, villages or cottages. You will discover excellent photographs to inspire you.
Check out the landscaping or garden design books at your local library for ideas.
Tour your town to see how others have created dooryard gardens.
Go to your local nursery retailer and ask questions. They will be glad to help you.
Perform an internet search on the plants best suited for your dooryard garden.
Take a glance at the garden websites online, such as Dave's. You will find a wealth of knowledge therein.

My cottage style dooryard garden is yet in its infancy. I will, however, list a few of the plants I have in it.

ImageSweet pea; Lathyrus latifolius ImageColumbine; Aquilegia ImageContainers of annuals.

Roses work very well in the dooryard garden particularly my favorite the climbing rose as it frames entrances with fragrance and graceful ease. There might also be perennials, shrubs, evergreens and annuals. Plant according to your personal style.

Remember every garden is filled with variables. Trial and error is the best method in determining that which you can achieve.

Some photos courtesy of and All others are from my gardens.

~Pleasant gardening~