What are some names for the outside area of a building called, specifically the one leading to its entrance? I know the word "plaza" would come to mind but I'm thinking more of the steps, especially a wide circular-type layout of steps climbing to its entrance.
How about perron? From The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Art Terms (1984):
perron: a flight of steps, usually double, with a platform and a parapet, forming the approach to an important entrance
perron: an outdoor stairway leading up to a building entrance; also a platform at its top
perron: An exterior set of steps and a platform at the main entrance to a large building such as a church or mansion.
In architecture, a perron generally refers to an external stairway to a building. Curl notes three more-specific usages: the platform-landing reached by symmetrical flights of steps leading to the piano nobile of a building; the steps themselves; or the platform base of edifices like a market cross.
A perron may be placed in front of the main entrance of a building or house, either as a single stone staircase or pair of such staircases leading up to the entrance and built in the Romanesque or Palladian styles and decorated with arches, balustrades and corbels.