Courtyards, trellises and gates—entry structures and patios can enhance, embellish and transform a simple access point into an architectural centerpiece that draws attention and transitions circulation throughout the property. They bridge functional areas of the residence and act as sign posts to both guide forward or encourage meandering and contemplation. Mark Reynolds, owner of Reynolds Landscaping and Garden Shop, has been designing and installing unique entry features on LBI for over 37 years and offers the following advise when considering the right entry structure for your property.
Formal and elegant or simple and rustic, according to Reynolds, the entry structure should be designed to meld seamlessly with the architecture of the home and complement the individual style and personal tastes of the homeowner. Yet to be considered successful, however, personal aesthetics must be combined with functionality in order to create a unifying element in the overall outdoor design plan. The entry feature must, in fact, grab attention and actively guide the individual to the front door, onto the main pathway or from the patio to a lagoon-side dock.
The choice of material for the entry feature will enhance the mood and stylistic effect of the design intentions. Reynolds suggests that a cool, natural stone marble tile and central fountain framed by a tightly clipped evergreen hedge and stately small trees would befit the formal entry courtyard of a large classic home. On the other hand, a custom designed rough-cut cedar entry trellis and gate may be equally fitting for an informal oceanside cottage and encourage relaxation and pause.
Nevertheless, Reynolds points out that an entryway need not be a costly construction built of wood, stone or metal in order to function successfully. A planter box filled with brightly colored flowers opposite an opening in a simple dune fence can be most effective in delineating the entry access point to the beach. A cluster of complementary ceramic pots filled with bright annual flowers on either side of an entry landing can create an inviting and eye-catching beacon to guide guests up to the main front door.
Well-placed, low voltage outdoor lighting can enhance the effect and functionality of entry structures at night. Along with providing a safe and secure environment, lighting can subtly draw the eye to an entry trellis or create the perfect evening ambiance for guests entering into a front courtyard setting. Reynolds advises, however, that with outdoor lighting more is not necessary better--careful balance must be maintained to achieve both illumination and ambience.
Whether an ambitious and elaborate construction or a simple, economical container grouping, Mark Reynolds emphasizes that to be impactful and effective the entry courtyard, trellis, gateway or simple design element must cohesively blend functionality and aesthetics as it transitions and defines movement thought the outdoor living area.