Grand Entrance

Problem solving: Cameron Park, California

Even royalty would feel welcome ascending the vast new walkway to John and Joyce Wilson's Cameron Park home. "The steps seem to sweep visitors right up to the front door," remarked a juror. "It's very gracious," said another.

Before the redesign, visitors had to ascend an 11-foot grade of multilevel wood decks to reach the front door--if they could find the entrance, that is, since the door wasn't visible from the driveway and the decks didn't look as if they led to an entry. To hide the magnitude of the grade, landscape architect Gary Orr offset the walk and created patio-size pads with low steps. Handsome stone retaining walls line one side of the walk and a grove of 30 birch trees softens the 20-foot-tall house wall. At the top of the walk, an impressive arbor covered with lush vines directs visitors to the front door. When does the prince arrive?

Designer: Gary Orr, Orr Design Office, Sacramento (916/441-4500)

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