August 24, 2010

First Impressions

We all know the saying about the importance of first impressions. Our homes, like ourselves speaks volumes about who we are.
If you were to pull into my driveway at the moment, you might think I am lazy.......weeds, drooping plants and yes I am a Landscape Designer .................. maybe you might think an overly busy Landscape Designer. Your initial image is lasting.

The presence of a gate, to me, is an enticement, a lovely bit of ornamentation.

And of course the other intent is additionally loud and clear.
But today's post is about the beautiful first impression you can create.
Last February I was in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California for a biz conference. Stolen time was a drive-through this fairy tail community.
Consider the placement............a no-nonsense stride to the front door
Think about the effect. No this is not derelict but a local style of the community adding to it's charm and casual lifestyle
Think of the style and it complementing and enhancing the architectural style of your home. Hints of adobe make this gate and fence appropriate.
 My personal favorite for many reasons;
The overhead arbor makes the gate very important
Love a double gate
The weathered wood blends with the homes colors


Live on a busy road? Or in the case of this town.........gawking tourists?
Have something to say? Look closely, inside the gate and arbor
The mystery of what beauty this gate contains
A rustic mix of materials and styles; the gate remains special with stone sentinels supporting it. The wood carries on but in a different pattern.
Not necessarily a means of securing the property but as an element of charm for artistic expression

Love it, but when it speaks to me it says.............."no surface unadorned" and that would be carried forth indoors, no doubt with good taste and a specific theme
This could go two ways, as is in the rustic style of the town, not particularly calling attention to itself. Or a classic white picket gate and fence mirroring the trim and style
SPANISH!   Loud and clear.........vintage sun bleached door with stone and stucco. The home has underlying tones of Tudor but who am I to judge :-)
Pure cottage..............the rounded undulating form of the stone wall, the wood fence capping and arbor perfectly mirror elements of this home
Enticing! Stone and iron............notice the curving path beyond. Curves say to me "slow down and enjoy". Also take note of the stone backdrop which highlights the gate.
SHEER PERFECTION! Don't you agree?
What I see that is so spot on;
-the stone adds weight, all iron would disappear otherwise. It's colorways compliment the roof
-the iron is a taupe/gray that blends. Take particular notice of the subtle arch in the fence, repeating the Tudor timbering on the house
-the separation of the "street garden" and the "interior garden"
-the personalization..........see below
And..........the sense of humor. I want to know these people!
Formal and curvy and subtly French
A nod to it's Spanish Architecture
The same stone as the house is carried forward creating the illusion of a more expansive home. The gate color is repeated on the house trim
"Look" but do not enter................
An artistic whimsical mindset...........a conformist does not reside here.
What about a set of gates for the drive?
This would be my absolute favorite............
-The gates repeat the style and materials

-Maybe they are always left open..........the effect is so good
-The planted drive
-The enticement of the "long view" and what lies beyond

The gates and the fencing need not match
Repetition of the garage door lines...............and........if one material is good (wood), two or three are better (stone and stucco).
  Lastly a moment of shameless self-promotion.
Back in Illinois..............this is one of my landscape clients' home with their free standing gate. Here is what we were attempting to achieve;
-Bring the garden "out" towards the street with repeated architectural elements
-The concrete posts are from my friend and artist Richard Taylor
-The gate is custom made by a local iron worker
-The gates do not function.............purely ornamental
-When the Hydrangea's mature and bloom the gate will stand out with the flora behind it
-WINTER INTEREST..........mandatory in Illinois.

Do you have a gate, want a gate? If you need help in deciding style and color send a photo of the front of your home, we can all learn about the process together.
"He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves, finds the gate open"
Rabindranath Taqure


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