Ecology + Design

Front Entrance Masonry & Front Yard Native Landscape Design | Putnam Valley, NY

This estate in Putnam County, NY is set in a stunning location, surrounded by hardwood forest, streams and fields. The beautiful home was plagued, however, by an awkward front entrance: the asphalt drive extended all the way to the front door and side door, obscuring any distinction between driveway and walkway. We knew we had to redesign the hardscape to include natural stone masonry to better delineate the entrances.

BEFORE PHOTO: asphalt extends to house.

That design choice was intentionally made to accommodate a wheelchair, but the client now desired a more aesthetic front entrance. GJLD was hired to complete a Landscape Design Master Plan that focused on the front yard.

Designing Front Entrance Masonry 

We knew we had to remove the asphalt around the house and replace with a natural stone walkway. The steps to the side door, next to the garage, also needed a stone distinction. Both masonry designs needed to accommodate cars moving in and out of the garage.

We designed a wide, irregular flagstone walkway that flares at the front door and out to the driveway. Colorful native garden beds flank either side of the walk, immersing you in nature as you approach the home.

A flared stone landing for the side door steps is just enough to characterize the entrance, while removing the excess asphalt allows for a new garden bed.

We also added a steppingstone path to lead from the front walkway, around the house to the backyard.

Thanks to our expert mason Aztlan for executing this project flawlessly.

Landscape Design Master Plan in Putnam Valley, NY

Front Yard Native Landscaping  

There were a few areas of the front yard that really beckoned for a garden bed. There were many large boulders and rock outcroppings that created edges for garden beds. We designed one at the main driveway entrance, that doubled as screening for the electrical box.


In the sunny front yard, we designed a bed around an existing sprawl of boulders. Taking advantage of rock outcroppings adds texture, contrast, and a natural border around a planting bed. We chose long-blooming perennials for the front border, complimented by native shrubs, ornamental grasses, and taller accent perennials, all of which collectively create pollinator habitat.

On the other side of the driveway, we break up the expanse of lawn with a native shrub bed designed for bird habitat and as a low-maintenance, beautiful border garden.

Selecting Plants for a Front Entrance

 When selecting plants for a front entrance we have a few considerations:

Multi-Season Interest:

Long bloom periods, fall foliage, winter berries, evergreen shrubs…plants that serve multiple visual functions make for a low-maintenance, high-impact combination

Native Habitat Value:

Is the selection providing food, nesting materials or shelter for wildlife? Every garden is an opportunity to extend habitats and increase biodiversity

Form & Scale:

Is the plant the appropriate size for the entrance, and does its scale relate to the other plant selections appropriately?

We designed a garden with native flowering and berry producing shrubs, of various heights but mostly smaller than six feet. Waves of evergreen Inkberry holly and Juniper create visual consistency throughout the year. Long-blooming perennials provide color from April thru September.

Newly planted native landscape in fall with boulder accents and natural stone masonry.

This site has the advantage of a slope and naturalized area behind it, which provides a visual backdrop and connects the garden to the broader habitat environment.

Work with Us!

We are currently scheduling design clients for the ’23 season! Start your design project this winter to enjoy by the summer! Schedule your consultation or free discovery call.

Green Jay Landscape Design

Where Design Meets Ecology


Contact Us To Schedule a Free

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Let’s discuss your goals and determine if we are a good fit for your project.

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