Plant Around Your Home's Doorway

Your front and back doors represent more than just entryways to your home. They give visitors their first impressions of you and a cheerful greeting to friends and family who regularly come and go.

On The Early Show, Britain's star gardener, Charlie Dimmock, offered some ideas on sprucing up this important space.

A bare doorway looks dreary and boring. Many people place a couple of small pots in front of a door and call the space decorated.

However, front and back doors are actually quite large and these pots tend to get lost and fail to make a strong visual statement.

Also, doorways tend to be exposed to the environment; they are not as nicely sheltered as other parts of your yard. As a result, you need to use plants that can withstand wind, cold, shade or overwhelming heat and sun. Back doors are often stuck in the shade. If your back door faces a narrow driveway or alleyway, you may also be dealing with wind.

When planting around a doorway, you typically want each side to be a mirror image of the other.

Around your backdoor space, plan on choosing a couple of shrubs or grasses that you can place directly into the ground. Plants in containers need to be watered more often, and you don't want to have to put too much work into your backdoor area.

Shrubs tend to be better options than flowers because wind can wreak havoc on delicate blooms. Instead of flowers, focus on contrasting foliage colors and shapes. That said, you can have too much color in your foliage.

Chose plants with solid-colored leaves, not variegated ones. It's difficult to match variegated leaves successfully.

Along these same lines, don't try to pair two different yellow shrubs, thinking they will look nice together. The monotone trend is not going to work here. Contrasting colors are your best bet.

When dealing with a shady, windy spot, you need resilient plants. Look for things with smaller leaves such as baby pines. Also, any succulent with a thick leaf will be successful in a backdoor area. Many types of ivy thrive in shade.

For many people, the front door brings a whole different set of challenges. Often, front doors are exposed to direct sun. In the summer, these spots become even hotter as plants must deal with the reflected heat bouncing off the house.

Because this is your front door, you probably want to add more pizzazz than you did in the back and spend a little more time maintaining this area.

Containers look nice on the front stoop, but stay away from just using small ones. Bigger is better here. You want to make a bold statement. When designing a container of plants, or grouping several pots together, be sure to include a flat element, a round element and a tall element.

In general, you don't want your containers to be full of flowers that make a splash for a month, and then fade away. You want to get a lot of mileage out of these plants. If you want to leave a space in one of your containers for pansies or other seasonal flowers, do so.

Topiaries are a classic plant that always looks attractive. They can be trimmed into a pyramid or spiral shape.

Any succulent that holds onto water is going to withstand the heat and perform as well here as at the back door.

Lavender is good near the front door. Heat actually makes this plant more aromatic, giving your guests a nice whiff of the herb as they enter your home.