I posted recently about two lovely entrances in the Russian River town of Guerneville. I wanted to broaden my rustic selections to include two urban entrances in Healdsburg near the famed Healdsburg Plaza. Both of these are on Center Street half a block down from the Oakville Grocery. The first entry is a classic American white picket fence. The Saggio Hills office features extra detailing on the pickets including a routed groove down the center and well shaped tips. The entrance itself has double swinging gates, usually left open to invite people inside. The gate is tree shaded with a hint of roof feeling, echoing the full arbor we saw on the rustic wooden Guerneville gate. The pickets repeat the vertical railing on the porch as a strong architectural element. If Saggio Hills executes as well on their high end development as they have on their downtown office, it will be a welcome addition to Healdsburg’s resort reputation.
The Barn Diva walking entrance features a thick, square-cornered stone wall entry capped by plants flanking either side. Unlike the continuous hedge in the stone wall from the Armstrong Woods area, these accent plants highlight the entry, but don’t block the view of the restaurant or courtyard from passersby. The wall is a comfortable height for seated privacy in the courtyard, but isn’t a visual barrier to the doors and windows of the restaurant. There is an iron gate that is closed in this photo, and the restaurant was closed as well. The gate serves as a convenient way to indicate the availability of service. Menus and hours of operation are posted on the wall along the sidewalk for the convenience of the public.
Farther down the road is a driveway for Barn Diva accented by a taller iron gate, more appropriate to vehicles than people. The gate is set into the same thick stone wall but is large enough to physically block access to people and vehicles. Behind the gate you can see the vertical landscape elements that pick up the vertical siding on the architecturally interesting Barn Diva building.
Both of these entrances serve commercial establishments well. They are open and inviting when required, and closeable, but not intimidating, when their businesses aren’t open. All of the entrances we’ve looked at feature smart planting to emphasize “doorness” in their walls with plant materials that include flowers, hedge materials, and trees. Let me know if you see a great entrance in your neighborhood.