Collage of new entryway to brick home

Grand Entry in Wenham

The Task at Hand

Our Wenham clients came to us with hopes of creating a grand entry to their home. They wanted to revamp all of their entrances – front, side, driveway (garage) and back patio. Their yard was overtaken by large globe arborvitae that lined the driveway and walkway. These large globes were so big you could not see the front walk.

Rendering of new hardscape work
A grand new entry

The front entrance, was hidden behind large globe arborvitae. We needed to open the view to the front door and create a more interesting walk. Instead of the harsh right angle and straight path, we added curves, widened the walkway and added a fresh new planting scheme.

The driveway had many issues for this family of 4+. First of all, it wasn’t wide enough. The homeowner could not turn the car around easily and there was not enough parking. Their kids liked to play basketball in the driveway, too, but with all the cars and the overgrown greenery, there wasn’t enough space. So the plan was to remove the globes along the driveway and remove part of the lawn to widen the driveway for basketball and more parking.

Our clients wanted more patio space that wasn’t quite as open to the public view for the back entry. Since they had a large area to work with, we designed a more secluded space using plants and trees as a natural divider. This  provided more room for the family to relax and unwind.


The driveway was challenging to maneuver. It was difficult to back out of the garage and there wasn’t much room for parking. Our designer decided to create a bump out space to make it easier to back out of the garage. It also provided for the extra parking that they needed. Due to the grade (elevation) changes of the driveway it was necessary to build a retaining wall. The challenge then became a design opportunity: the wall matched the new walkways and patio and the new level space provided the basketball/extra parking area.

Images of front, back and side of house
BEFORE Cole Landscaping

Finding ledge on site also posed another challenge. New plantings require an adequate amount of soil in order to thrive. Thus we had to relocate the proposed greenery to an area better suited for it.

Prep Work

Landscape Design Plans, Marking plantings
“Grand Entry” planning stages

After our designer went on site to identify all plants that were to be removed and relocated our crew got to work digging up pink-taped plants/trees (including stumps) and transplanting all green-taped plants/trees.

Then came the demolition work. We removed the original front and back walkways and patio and hauled away the debris. Then we excavated out the driveway for the basketball court/extra parking area.

To properly prep the site, we excavated down to 24″ below the finish grade, removed all loose material, compacted and installed geotextile fabric. Then we added 20″ of stone pack to ensure stability for the retaining walls and the paver installation. To allow for proper drainage, we installed crushed stone  (minimum 12″ depth) as backfill behind the retaining walls. Part of the prep work included digging a 4’x20′ trench for the electrical installation.

Prep work for front, back and side yards
Making the grade

Our Design Approach

Our goal is to get to know each of our clients so we better understand their likes and their needs. We readily welcomed input from all members of the family, including grandpa and the kids. Their main objective was to keep things neat and tidy. For us this translated into a very clean planting and hardscape design that was not overwhelming. We selected plants based on a low maintenance plant palette.

The overall design was very much tailored to the family’s busy lifestyle and love for basketball and lawn games. It was especially helpful that our clients were not afraid of to use color because we were able to incorporate bold colored plantings and specimens that are typically underused. We got creative in the basketball/extra parking area. The retaining walls flair outward, accentuating the curvature of the driveway, walkways and patio.

Materials Used

Out clients chose Techo-Bloc Blu 60 pavers for their proven durability and the natural look inspired by slate stone. In addition to the pavers we installed two granite landings in the back. In the front we also installed a granite mailbox and light pole that added to the overall curb appeal of the project. We installed the cement footings for the basketball hoop and the retaining walls with 2″ overhangs.

Collage of walkway and patio with plants being added
Finishing touches

The Finishing Touches

Last but not least was the new plant installation. We created  an intimate setting in the backyard by strategically planting trees and shrubs as a natural border to provide privacy for the back patio.

Per design, we used the original soil for the new plantings. However we enriched the soil with amendments including compost and root fertilizer for each plant to encourage growth and root development. We also dug water wells around each plant to allow better water absorption and prevent runoff. After we graded off all beds and defined the edges we installed the bark mulch.

The End Result: the Grand Entry

Our clients now have a welcoming grand entry for their home from every point of access: front walk, driveway, side walk and back door.

The finished walkways-front back and side
A Grand Entry Complete

The original walk was hidden by large globe arborvitae which made it hard to distinguish where the front walk began.  The new walkway is more welcoming. It naturally meanders through a new garden bed with plantings that have seasonal interest and varying bloom times. The newly enlarged patio space in the backyard is now more private and functional to accommodate entertaining a large group of friends and family. Our Wenham family couldn’t be happier with the end result!

If you have an entry way that isn’t quite welcoming, our Cole team will be happy to work with your family to design a grand entry that works for you.




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