Entry facelift

A narrow planting bed refreshes a front yard
Julie Chai

"An entryway is like a business card," says garden designer Laurie Callaway. "It tells people something about you." Most of all, it should be inviting to your guests.

When Callaway began redesigning Mary and Edward Solomon's front yard in Menlo Park, a wide driveway and a carport obscured the couple's entry. So Callaway replaced the original asphalt driveway with salt-finish concrete, accenting the new paving with slate bands to match the slate on the Solomons' front porch. But rather than repaving the entire space, she left a long, narrow unpaved strip to the right of the driveway for the owners to use as a planting bed, and she converted the area directly beyond it into a walkway. The planting bed visually separates the driveway from the new entry walk. Sculptural plants fill the bed and welcome guests with fragrance.

The 30-foot-long walkway is generous enough for two people to walk side by side as they come and go; lighting directs guests down the path at night. "I wanted visitors to know where to enter," Callaway says. "But I also wanted to create beauty."

DESIGN: Laurie Callaway Garden Design, Palo Alto (650/325-1790)