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cathybagwell_marsh

Front door hidden by garage

Help! I don't know how to make the front door more appealing / create a walkway for people to actually go in through the front. Here's the deal: our house is up on a giant hill. The driveway leads to a garage / parking area. The front door is set far back behind the garage; you have to walk around the garage to get to the front door. Right now there's no landscaping, pathway, or anything. The area in front of the front door is a great place to see the sun set. It would be great to have some seating, and some fragrant plants, but mostly I want people to be inspired to use the front door instead of going through the garage. I truly can't think of a good solution. Someone smarter than me please help!


(PS) these photos were before we replaced the missing shutters



The front door is around the corner of the garage.


Comments (29)

  • 3 years ago

    I would make a walkway as wide as the steps straight out from the doorway, turning to create an L shape back toward the driveway, but with a large round brick landing area at the turning area, so it can be seen from the driveway as well as the front door. Widen the beginning of the walkway near the driveway like the example below. You'll need a good contractor due to your slope, and may need steps along the way to keep it level.

    Just a Fabulous Place to call Home · More Info


  • 3 years ago

    Good idea! I hadn't considered widening the path near the driveway. Thank you!

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  • 3 years ago

    I'd move the front door to the garage side of the house even if that means some interior remodel. Make the old front door a deck off the living space

  • 3 years ago

    Interesting thought! Thanks!

  • 3 years ago

    The reason I say that is because the only way you can make the current front door work as a main entry is by building a retaining wall system that makes a LARGE level terrace to get there from the garage.

    The cost of that could be more than relocating the front entry and interior room changes.

  • 3 years ago

    I think it's a good point! It's awkward the way it's set up now. We don't really have a "front drive" or street per se- we're down a gravel road, so I'm not overly worried about how the house is facing. I'm going to look into it and will keep you posted!

  • 3 years ago

    The easiest solution would probably be to widen the front porch across the entire area between the garage and other side of the house. Add a big walkway. And center the front door. Maybe a double door. Moving it to the garage is also an interesting idea but much more costly.

  • 3 years ago

    Just a thought... I would make the landing have the railing across the front. I would remove the steps in the front and relocate them to the right side. Also make the sidewalk go around and attached on the side. Maybe put a hedge in the front of the landing.

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked M L
  • 3 years ago

    From the garage to the frontdoor you have to go 'downhill- uphill and up the steps'and you'd like to have a seating area. Why not make it as easy as possible? Are frontdoor and garage same level?

    A wooden deck that starts next to the driveway/garage and keeps the same level up to the frontdoor. Remove teh stairs and make a wooden deck/seating area, adding some big round planters with herbs. This way you can leave the hill as it is, put some groundcovers under de decking and some larger (perennial/grasses) planting alongside if you like. Done

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked signatuur
  • 3 years ago

    Other elements such as landscape focal specimens could help too. The idea would be to create interest once one exits his car. I like the idea of a curvilinear path that's widest at the driveway. (I'd personally avoid any sharp angles.) Simple amenities like a pole lamp or two along the path could also help give cues to the visitor where to enter the house.

  • 3 years ago

    I felt compelled to do a little sketching based on HU-187528210's thought. I think this could be really smart and not appear like an afterthought. Maybe a wooden (or composite) deck extends across the area between the garage and the front entryway in 3 levels. I would however retain a planting bed in front of the bank of 3 windows adjacent to the front door. Otherwise you'll likely have created too much hardscaping which cold make the area appear uninviting. (Think soft evergreen tree specimen--light and airy so as not to obstruct too much of the window view, or a flowering dogwood or similar that could be pruned to retain its size to frame the right side of the entry and perhaps some low shrubs around it.) This bed would have to be about 12 feet or so from the house I'd think. The bed could serve as a counterpoint to a couple large planted urns or boxes on the deck itself.


    This would be easier if the house were of a more contemporary style, but I think it could work if done properly.



    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Joe Kraus
  • 3 years ago

    Hate to add a discouraging thot, but the exterior design of your house is quite awkward. The best way to ameliorate that is as HU-187528210 said, and make the entire space at front door between garage and other side of the house a platform deck, level with the front door. That way, the steps from the decking can come down in front of the garage wall. This will then add to the ability to better guide folks from the front of the garage/parking, on a path around the garage to those steps.

    I don't see any need to change location of the front door, nor to have the decking anything but one level [door threshold level].

    Since the garage comes out further than the other side of the house, the deck could be L-shaped. This decking solution also gives you seating options to watch the sun set.

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked lazidazi
  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Wow, this is a tough one. That garage was added after the house was complete, I think, and that was the easiest place to put it. I think you can still use the door where it is but you will need decking to accomplish it. First, build a deck across the entire front where the front door is. Then, using the same width, build steps down to the ground. Now, do a curve or a circle for a sitting deck out from there. Be sure to make it loop around the corner of the garage. Next, install a deck path to the driveway. I like the idea of making it wider at the driveway so it is more noticeable. Use a light post at the point of the driveway and deck furthest from the garage as an anchor. Plant pencil trees (whichever variety you like) every 6 to 10'. You could also use climbing roses on trellises or something similar. You want to do something eye catching that will pull folks towards the door. Lastly, paint the front door a bright color. Good luck, this is not easy.

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked vtlady52
  • 3 years ago

    Thank you all so much! These are great ideas! I will definitely update you once we figure it out. At least I don't feel so lost anymore!

  • 3 years ago

    The biggest issues are elevation, distance to walk on a daily basis (so may only be used by guests) and cost. I would have landscaper designer (s) in to provide solutions and provide a quote. They will have the best advice.

    I was thinking that to make the investment worth it, you mentioned you would like to have an area to sit and you could incorporate into the plan.


    Walkway below might be the least expensive.

    Create a sitting area along the garage, but elevation will have to be addressed. Phase 2 😊 could have a pergola added.

    If budget allowed, I’d extend the stairs right across the front. Again could be done in Phase 2 or 3. Ask designer if cheaper to do now or having them come back


    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Maureen
  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Have a walkway that goes in front of the garage (plants/landscaping next to the building and walkway about 2.5-3” out), then level the land in front between the garage and other side of the house and put a patio in. Decorate that with comfortable seating and planters that attract the eye. Maybe even have some of that in front of the left side of the house even with the walkway in front of the garage.

    I find decks collect water and grow mosquitoes underneath, as well as can become lovely homes for raccoons and other rodents, so I prefer patios...

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Lynn G
  • PRO
    3 years ago

    Many of these comments are all leading to one thing. Landscape, Landscape, Landscape...hire a landscape architect, you'll love their designs and what this will do for your curb appeal. Don't over think it.

  • 3 years ago

    An inviting arbor with plants greeting guests as they exit their vehicles would lead one around the garage.

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    Rather than tearing up the grass and re-grading the slope, embed pavers in the grass to continue the pathway (and slight steps where needed) around to the front door. Landscape the garage wall with deep beds and impressive large plants.

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  • 3 years ago

    You did not mention budget. So this is a simple solution. First paint the front door a bold color. Next add some type of walkway even if it just stepping stones, light it up with solar path lights. then border the path with some pretty flowers. As budget permits, add some kind of garden under that window, annuals at first adding a perennial here and there as time goes by. Maybe a birdbath there also or some type of fountain. You can always do it little by little after that, one bigger job at a time.

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked HU-489810002
  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I definitely agree that changing the color of the front door so that it did not match the shutters would help it stand out more, then add a larger light fixture. If it were my house, I'd probably change the whole door assembly to a set of french doors with divided lights to match the windows rather than the single door with sidelights. From there, it's really all about budget. On the lower end, a pathway and plantings would certainly help. On the higher end, a deck or patio would make a huge impact. I'd also consider creating a pergola over the new seating area that would tie the two prominent parts of the house together and visually bring the front door area out. Something like this would be look nice with your home. The beams could either run in the direction shown or run from top of garage wall to top of the opposite wall. I think that would be nice visually and create a really welcoming spot for you and your guests to hang out.

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    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Donna Collins
  • 3 years ago

    Gee, I have a similar problem at my house! Guests use the side entrance beside the garage, where there is level parking, rather than the front door, which is downhill from where people park. I've accepted it, but I'll need to improve the outside look of what has become 'the main entrance'.

    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Brenda Wale
  • 3 years ago

    Paint front door & the white trim a dark grey or asphalt colour. Extend the porch width to the garage brick wall. If railing required black with glass panels. The biggest impact will be landscaping. Suggestions could be to have a garden bed extending fm the porch down the length of the garage wall with some soft curves & stagger different heights of plants with the taller close to the wall & shorter in front. Also planters flanking the front door on the porch(size of planters should be to scale with the door/patio)


    Cathy Bagwell Marsh thanked Deberz
  • 3 years ago

    Recurring themes here are doing something to alert visitors to where the front door is and making the area around it more important. Thereby confirming that it is in fact the main entrance.

  • 3 years ago

    Paint the brick white or light gray on the section of wall the front door is on. Build a patio to the right of the front door to watch the sunsets. Build a wide walk and landscape the walk and the front of the house. Maybe the patio should be somewhat or completely elevated. Add good front and walkway lighting.

  • 3 years ago

    Our last house had a brick walkway from the driveway to the front steps. Each four-foot section was raised one brick level until the "path" reached the level of the first step. A flower bed fit perfectly between the path and the porch foundation.

  • 3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Put in a walkway and then keep the garage doors closed.

  • 3 years ago

    I've not read thru the rest of the comments since I posted last, so forgive me if this is mentioned elsewhere.


    What about putting in a circle drive. Would come off of existing drive, go in front of garage, to front door, then circle around and head right back to the existing drive.


  • 3 years ago

    Build a front porch that extends to the corner just before the bay window and have all the area in front of it to the front exterior wall of the (side of the) garage be almost level, barely sloping away from the house so you can create a sidewalk from the new front porch to the driveway or a single visitors parking space you add just in front of the garage.

    (If you can save the steps to be used for landscaping, do. You might even want to consider using them to help create a terrace/knee wall from the house beginning where the left and center sections of the house meet and aimed straight out toward the road, parallel to the garage and extending the same distance from house to road as the garage extends into the front yard -- creating a level place both above and below the knee wall -- or save the brick for outlining a planting area.)