Building a formal entrance garden

You don\’t have to be in Versailles to have a beautiful formal entrance garden to welcome visitors. If you have small garden entrance, it might not seem to offer much scope for an extended symmetrical arrangement. However, a small standard tree in a square bed can make a charming formal front garden. Here are methods on how you can build a formal entrance garden by yourself:

Things that you need:

  • paving stones
  • hedges
  • gravel


  1. Add hedges if you don\’t have them as they are essential to a formal entrance garden. Make sure that there is a gap between the hedge and the plants inside it. The reason is because these plants do not like to be crowded and hate any competition for light, moisture and nutrients.
  2. Try keeping the entrance garden soft but formal. A very narrow and long plot can seem difficult to deal with formality. You can try by softening the lines of straight paths by creating circular areas along the way. You can also plant dome-shaped plants and round-headed flowers. For example, gold marjoram and alliums, which will produce big round flower heads in summer. Rather than paving or brick, use gravel to soften the outline.
  3. When planning for large formal entrance gardens, use axes and vistas. The first decision to make is the direction of the main axes when designing a large formal entrance garden as this will actually determine where the main vistas will lie. Later on, the ornaments and features that close a vista can be added. In most cases, the main axis should relate to the main door of the house so that the garden and house can be seen as one entity in the plan. This should be like all paths must lead to the front entrance.
  4. Make good purchase on formal materials as the choice that you make matters to ensure a good end result. Gravel which is a versatile material combines well with other surfaces including concrete and paving blocks. Rounded cobblestones are attractive visually but are not comfortable to walk on. You can use the cobblestones for decorative details among other paving. Cobblestones or tiles laid on their edges can be used to mark transitions between two separate areas or to change the direction of a path.
  5. Install low growing plants for emphasizing the line of a straight border. To be used for a longer period of time you can use Alchemilla mollis which is a pretty greenish-yellow plant and they associate well with almost everything. The catmint (Nepeta cataria) is another great edging plant if your border is wide enough. Elephant\’s ears or Bergenia cordifolia will give a border a striking dark green edging which turns red in fall season.

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