The entertaining season is revving up and of course you want to impress your guests. Decorative walkways make guests immediately feel welcome when they pull up. What better greeting than a beautiful path leading them right to your front door?
Front walkways have come a long way from the traditional cement sidewalks. They’ve gone from merely carrying foot traffic to creating curb appeal and increasing the value of your home. Whether you prefer formal and grand or whimsical and natural, your front walkway is literally the first impression that your guests will have when visiting your home.
Yes, unique walkways add style and value, but they are also a practical investment. Common sense will tell you that you and your guests would rather walk an even path than stumble over grass or uneven ground – especially if it’s raining. Not only will it provide safe footing, a walkway will protect your lawn from being trampled on, preventing patchy grass and worn dirt spots. But who says functional can’t be stylish?
A first impression is important to impress, but it also sets the tone for what the guests can expect when entering your home. When starting the design process, keep in mind your current style and taste so your new walkway will flow with the existing context of your home.
There are three main considerations when planning your design:
While making decisions about the above, it’s important to think about how the walkway will be used to ensure the final design meets all your needs.
The width of the sidewalk is probably not high on the priority list, but it can definitely make a difference in functionality. A standard width is 42”, but you may want to consider at least 60” so two people can comfortably walk side-by-side, especially if it connects to a driveway.
The fun part comes when you start choosing the shape and materials you will use. It’s smart to enlist the help of one of our experts given the enormous variety of materials, colors and design options. Our designers bring years of experience and can help customize the perfect walkway for your style and needs.
Front Walkway Ideas
The exterior of your home should live up to the beauty of your interior and complement the architectural style of the house itself. Luckily, the options are virtually unlimited for creating a walkway that’s perfectly unique.
The shape for your walkway should be appropriate to the size of your front yard. If your lawn is on the smaller end of the spectrum, don’t worry – there are a multitude of ideas that look great and create a coziness that will entice your visitors to come right in. A straight and narrow walkway may be the perfect fit but it certainly doesn’t have to be boring. You can add different colored edging, create a more dramatic entry with two or three broad steps, or use natural materials like cobblestones or flagstones for a more unique look. If you’re worried the straight line looks too severe, landscaped walkways adds softness to a more structured design.
Obviously the opposite direction would be a curved walkway. These can also fit smaller lawns, especially if there is landscaping or a small garden near the entrance.
Beyond the shape, there are many ways to make your new walkway stand out. A unique color pattern can create a lively and vibrant entrance to your home. From alternating color patterns to contrasting inlays, a creative design can truly make it one-of-a-kind.
Circle and rectangular inlays are becoming increasingly popular. A circle design is made of pavers that are tapered at one end to create a tight fit while rotating around in layers, while a rectangular inlay mimics the look of a rug. The change of pattern instantly draws the eye and adds an element of sophistication to even the most basic design.
If you have a longer walkway or spend a lot of time relaxing in your yard, considering building a resting place with a sitting area. Or add a vertical element such as a trellis, archway or pergola that guests can pass under. This will pair nicely with a sitting area or provide shade for an extended walk.
Whatever design you choose, nothing is more welcoming than a beautifully lit path guiding guests inside. Pathway lighting creates ambiance while being extremely functional, preventing trips and falls on the way to your nighttime festivities. Lighting is especially important if you have elements such as steps or a unexpected curve, but luckily it will only add to the beauty and style of your new walkway.
Why Use a Professional
Even the handiest homeowner may find themselves in over their head when installing a walkway. Unlike laying a tile floor, there are changes in grade and slope, and tricky issues with fill that have to be considered. Remember – the floors in your home are level, the outside ground is not. If the leveling and fill isn’t adjusted correctly to how the ground is configured, you may wind up putting stress on a section of your walkway causing it to buckle and creating an expensive fix. Many walkway jobs that come our way are correcting a mistake from a well-intentioned but inexperienced installer.
If you’re considering sprucing up your entry and increasing the value and curb appeal of your home, click here to contact our designers and get your free estimate. You could have a brand new walkway to welcome family and friends for the holidays!