Los Angeles Driveway Entrance Ideas for Landscaping
Go For Grasses
Ornamental grasses are a decorative alternative to turf at a driveway entrance and don't require mowing. Silver hairgrass (Koeleria argentea) grows in clumps of silvery green, thin leaves 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. Leaves are more silvery underneath, creating a two-toned effect. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 through 9, this low-maintenance grass tolerates air pollution well. Fountain grass "Piglet" (Pennisetum alopecuroides "Piglet") grows 9 inches tall and wide in graceful clumps of narrow medium or deep green leaves. In summer bears 18- to 24-inch spikes of bottle brush flowers that fan out like a fountain. Tolerating drought, air pollution and wet soil, "Piglet" grows in USDA zones 5 through 9.
Providing year-round structure and color, evergreen shrubs mark a driveway entrance without distracting viewers with showy displays. Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster astrophoros) grows 6 to 12 inches tall and 6 to 18 inches wide, bearing tiny white spring flowers followed by red berries. This tough shrub tolerates drought and grows well in full sun and partial shade in USDA zones 5 through 9. Shore juniper "Blue Pacific" (Juniperus conferta "Blue Pacific"), which is hardy in USDA zones 6 through 9, bears blue, needlelike leaves on low, spreading branches and grows 1/2 to 1 foot tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. Both shrubs require well-drained sites.
Understated planting at a driveway entrance can include perennials with unusual foliage. Lamb's ear "Big Ears" (Stachys byzantina "Big Ears") grows 6 to 12 inches tall and 12 to 24 inches wide in rosettes of thick, soft, velvety, silvery-green leaves. Rarely flowering, this perennial grows in USDA zones 4 through 9 and is evergreen in warm climates. English thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is a woody perennial that bears tiny gray-green leaves on its thin, spreading branches. Hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, it grows 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. English thyme and "Big Ears" tolerate exhaust fumes well.
Have a Heart for Hardscaping
Wood, gravel, brick, pavers, stone and other hardscaping materials offer a durable, low maintenance alternative to plants at a driveway entrance. Select hardscaping materials that provide a contrast to the driveway but harmonize with the house's style. Natural wood has a rustic effect, or can be painted to complement house colors. Gravel is available in different colors and sizes but must be contained within edging material. Recycled brick suits an informal or traditional style, while new brick and pavers create a formal effect. Stone has a natural look and tolerates foot traffic well.