My house looks like a trailer. Ideas?
May 9, 2013 in Design Dilemma
This is my 1950s house we bought in November.

I need ideas on landscaping and/or how to make it not look like a mobile home - its stick built. New siding is not an option right now. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I've bought a new mailbox from pottery barn (I've attached the picture) that I haven't replaced with the old one yet. Thanks guys!
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Also, we are doing this on a tight budget. Thank you!
May 9, 2013 at 7:18am     
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Congratulations on the new house! What a cute house! It does not look like a trailer! I think you should paint the front door and the shutters. You house is fairly neutral , so you have a wide option for colors here!

Definitely remove the old yew by the stairs. Window boxes would look great on your house. Larger house numbers that are like your mailbox would be nice too.

What is that brick part by the left side of the house? If it is a planter, I oule consider removing it to make a large wide garden bed out in front of the house. Try and plan for a garden that sweeps around to the side of the house, not a straight line across the front and down the side. You could make a lovely circular bed at the corner of the house that goes wide and then flows int the side bed.

You could also make a quarter circle bed on each side of the sidewalk to welcome people to your yard. I realize money is probably tight, it always is with a new house, but putting in new beds if you do it yourself is free! You can add plants as time goes by and seasons come with new plants available.
May 9, 2013 at 7:29am     
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Jessica Ogg
remove the bush in front of the door to make the house look more inviting. Plant bushes under the side window to hide the cinder block type area. I would remove the storm door and add a door with a pop of color or something more modern. You can paint the shutters to give a nice contrast or color to the house. I would add some colorful flowers along the walk way and in that potting box you have.

You could also get rid of or update the awning over the front door. I would focus on the front door area since that it usually the first thing people see. Replace the walk way with more modern pavers. Have fun with the whole project, make it an exciting challange! [houzz=Xeripave Super Water Pervious Pavers]
[houzz=Best Builders ltd][houzz=Hickory Lane][houzz=SE Holgate][houzz=Lake Barrington Lake House]
May 9, 2013 at 7:32am     
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Jessica Ogg
SInce you are on a budget, thought this article would be helpful!

May 9, 2013 at 7:52am     
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Try a 4-5" wide decorative pergola above the door and windows all across the front and paint the foundation so it isn't so prominent. Over the door portion of the pergola you can install clear lucite to deflect rain.
Howard Roberts
May 9, 2013 at 8:08am     
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decoenthusiaste you are a woman after my own heart. I am always pushing pergolas on here!!! I would say every other post :) pergola pergola pergola :)
I agree, the house is not a trailer! it's really cute and I think just a little landscaping would do wonders. It will be fun!!! I think it's the awning maybe? that makes you think of a trailer..once you take that down, it will change everything.
May 9, 2013 at 8:21am     
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Studio M Interior Design
I think that a low-cost solution would be to add more shrubs or hedges in front of the crawlspace. Check out the garden center at Lowes, if your plants die within a year they will replace them hassle-free!
May 9, 2013 at 8:22am     
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I agree that the house is adorable and has lots of potential. If the siding and trim can be painted a fresh coat of sunny yellow on the siding and crisp white on the trim will do wonders and make it last a little longer.

For landscaping I would replace what you have on the left with a flowering shrub that doesn't need a lot of pruning such as begonias (if they grow well in your area) and put purple or blue flowers in window boxes below the windows for a pop of color. That overgrown shrub needs to go and I'd paint the front door blue, hunter green or black and add a fun door knocker. Finally, I'd give the black metal railing a fresh coat of black paint and hang some balcony planter boxes from the railing and plant them with vines to soften the railing.

When you're done you will have a cozy, cheerful and welcoming cottage without spending a bunch if you do the painting and landscaping yourself.
May 9, 2013 at 8:38am     
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Mina Soares
Very cute house but it does need landscaping to cover the cinder blocks. How about removing the storm door and change your front door to a spectacular one? Someone mentioned flower boxes on the windows and I think that's a great idea.
May 9, 2013 at 8:57am     
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Dixie Henrie
I don't think it looks anything like a trailer. It's a cute, little house. Down the road when you get some money for a house project, your porch could be a little more substantial, but for now I agree with painting the shutters and door.
May 9, 2013 at 9:00am     
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I think your house is adorable! I love the idea of windowboxes across the front. I would do the metal hayrack with the coco liners and plant them with trailing ivy or similar and then switch out the annuals every season. I would also paint the door and the shutters something other than white. Not a fan of white shutters . . . Those two things would make a huge difference! I would take down the awning also - it is bent and not in good shape. I also don't like how it attaches to the middle of the window - strange!
May 9, 2013 at 9:09am     
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Paint the shutters black and add black shutters to the side windows. Remove the awning above the front door , add a black light fixture. Plant also plant some of these along the side of the house
May 9, 2013 at 9:10am     
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It's a cute little house! You made a good choice! Congratulations, hope you enjoy it and have fun decorating it, inside and out!
May 9, 2013 at 9:13am     
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I agree with painting shutters and door as well as some flower beds but I also think if you added muntins in the windows it would be a nice improvement.
May 9, 2013 at 9:13am     
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A LOT OF FIRSTS! FIRST: It does not look like a trailer - it is an adorable cottage!! It makes no sense, first year to replace working, existing components. If your sidewalk is not torn up, you won't get a satisfactory EROI (enjoyment return on investment) to replace something you have. Same with the flower box. Scoop ALL the old dirt out (if its been reused a lot it would have no nutrition left for new plants) plant colorful annuals. They are cheap and can add fabulous color and beauty. It is small enough not to overwhelm you if you are new to gardening.

FIRST year you want to plant any trees you want for future. Always first year: trees, fruit vines. Spring or Fall or it will be too hard to keep them alive through either summer/winter.

What is giving you the trailer feel is the side foundation. There are inexpensive panels that will help hold in heat / AC that emulate stone, brick, wood, etc. I think if you chose a cottage than first year out you probably don't have the budget to install real stone/brick foundation. That alone will take away that "trailer" look you are not liking. Some year down the road, get real stone or brick to help make it more enegy efficient. TRIM your yew down 1/2 size. Take 1/3 off at a time though, not 1/2. The shock could kill it. tame it. Don't remove it. Attractive foundation plants take a long time 5+ years of things that don't grow so fast you are a slave to trimming. The yew can work until you study other plants, get to know your weather and conditions and IF you decide to replace - its not bare until you do.

The other two inexpensive suggestions to give you maximum change is colored shutters and door. I attached a couple that show you a big difference in dark shutters with your existing yellow/white but have much more powerful design. Also a pop of color on the door will help you stand out and give your friends bearings to get to your house. Most of these you can do by yourself - or if you are married can have help but still simple and cheap. Save up to make a covered porch that doenst cut into your BEAUTIFUL front window. I'm not a fan of just turning every architectural style into todays trends. It doens't work well unless you really take time to design and plan. Your awning is age appropriate for your house style. Everyone is saying loose the awning - but it provides purpose, especially during rainy times. I think its cute on the style house you have. Freshen it if you need to cover rust, but I think it fits the house until such time as you have 10K to re-do a covered foyer/entry. Coordinate your door/shutters with contrasting flowers. Blue door /orange flowers - green door - red flowers get it? It will provide bright contrast and is totally replaceable year by year. Your flower box on the house also seems age appropriate and I think you should think twice before you start removing things. If you get brick look foundation panels they will match the planter. A cottage should look like a cottage - not a slap-dash bunch of modern deco on an old architecture. You would loose the retro vibe. That's if you like retro. If you go with black or bronze or navy or dark shutters - paint the old mailbox - its shape is also appropo for the architecture. Get your money back on the modern mailbox. Navy and yellow or other shades of blue is a cheery combo. ~~ Just some suggestions, since you asked!
May 9, 2013 at 9:44am     
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Kelley Goodson
I completely agree with what Handyman stated! Details as small as house numbers make a big difference, perhaps even a contrasting color on the trim to make the yellow 'pop' more, since it is such a light yellow (I too have a yellow house-you are welcome to view my pics.) Also, if you like the white, you can accent it with a splash of black, i.e. black house numbers, light fixters and perhaps a thin strip of the trip to highlight features.

Also, i agree with what Handyman said about the brick planter. I would get rid of it and that shrub and start over, bringing your landscaping (smoothly) around the side of the house. The only thing that i would add is that if i were you, down the road when you do have a bigger budget, i'd consider widening that porch (or buidling a new one that is not concrete) out to the left of the house (towards where the brick planter is now) and creating a bigger, more inviting entryway/front porch. My Grandmother's house looked very much like this one. So many wonderful memories there. Landscaping can do wonders!
May 9, 2013 at 9:45am     
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Luella Andrews
Okay, what I have done in MS Paint is crude, but gives you an idea. I couldn't figure out a good way to handle the 'awning', but the rest shows clearly.
May 9, 2013 at 9:52am     
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Sage green shutters & door, leaving other trim white. One of our neighbors did this on a light yellow home & it looks fabulous ! Verdigris or black light fixtures, hardware, etc. Take out the large shrub & add some flowering plants. Take down metal awning & if/when you can afford it, have a new wooden overhang constructed & new wood railings, painted white.
May 9, 2013 at 9:56am     
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Rebecca Matz Rossiter
They're are so many varieties of hydrangeas, sun loving (little lime lights, Annabelle etc) or if u have morning sun the original hydrangeas are my favorite. Those mixed with some small box woods (there's a variety that stays small) in front of them or along a curve with some annual flowers ( like begonias or impatience once the fungus is gone in them) good luck- a small ornamental tree would also add some height and focal point.
May 9, 2013 at 10:08am     
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Build a larger wooden porch over the existing steps and orient the steps toward the street. Try a picket fence with annual flowers or perennials on the street side. Try an interlock walkway or a flagstone stepping stone pathway. I've attached a sketch - I'm a garden designer.
May 9, 2013 at 10:10am     
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Stamps Design Services
#1 on the list is get rid of the porch and house eating plants! They are not making your place look better! Paint your shutters a color...sage green, windsor blue, rust, burgundy or grey would all work. Add flower beds to both side of the front walk with some perrenials and some annuals and perhaps add planter boxes under the windows.
Next year you can buy a nice tree (like a river birch) and extend the flower beds...
May 9, 2013 at 12:27pm     
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You have a lot of color options if you want to paint the siding. Hard to give you advice not knowing your color taste. But you have many many options. For example...I through together this idea. Flower boxes, darker shutter color, accent door color and siding color. Just a thought.
May 9, 2013 at 1:46pm     
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Chism, that's nice!
May 9, 2013 at 3:01pm     
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digforaliving, nice plan! Nicer of you to do that work for free!
May 9, 2013 at 3:02pm   
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I know that this picture is not your house, but it looks close to your color. Remove the shutters and put mullions in your windows.

Then tackle the landscaping.

May 9, 2013 at 3:14pm     
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Ruth Felice
you need a welcoming path,short fencing and lots of colorful flowers and plantings and choose a coordinating shutter color to make you smile when you come home
May 9, 2013 at 4:05pm     
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Ruth Felice
oh and a nice deck!
May 9, 2013 at 4:05pm     
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Congratulations. Here are my top three.
Take down the aluminum awning. It is from the 50's but the house could date to the 30's - it is that classic a bungalow. Spend $ for a new entry light fixture - to match your new mailbox (!!) and get some big wooden house numbers at Michaels in wood and paint them with craft paint or rustoleum hammered silver spray paint, then put them on a bigger wood square plaque to hang to the left of your door. $75 max
Buy one quart of high gloss exterior paint (it holds up better) sw naval NAVY paint, [ ]
and paint your shutters, the plaque behind your new silver house numbers and use the rest on an outdoor table for your backyard (some left over or yard sale find). Buy one quart of lighter teal blue for your front door. Paint your storm door too so the look from the street is unified. Paint something else you find at a yard sale with the left over paint for your back patio for summer. $50 max
Plant 3ea not larger than 1 gallon climbing vines (appropriate to your zone) with 4ea 1 gallon spillover low bushy groundcover in the front brick planter. Lay them out with the climbers at both ends and center near the back and the spillover filling the rest of the box 2 on each side, Buy one vinyl white trellis panel and turn it sideways along the length of the box - you could hang it on the front wall siding just 8" above the box. (cut it down to be shorter than the box if needed) $30 trellis max, $50 plants max

Plant some 5 gallon abelia grandiflora (unless you are in the far north, this works in most zones) on the right side of the house at 4' on center - about 18" from the wall. This is a foundation planting / flowering bush that is very hardy. It will grow up and connect together after two seasons and is a pretty bronze foliage (purple) with little white / pink flowers. The sprawling architecture of the plant has made it a garden favorite since victorian times.
est 4-5 plants @ 20 = $100 max. If you can find 1 gallon, just put more in for now 7ea- and zig zag them so they have sideways room and it makes a little curvy bed when you are done.

Congratulations on your most charming yellow cottage - no one is thinking trailer, we are so pleased for you.
May 9, 2013 at 4:46pm     
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I think that you've received some wonderful advice and I agree that you have a charming home. If it were my home, I would have to remove the awning. I'd rather get wet in the rain. I think it will make a big and immediate difference in the appearance of your home before you do any of the excellent suggestions. Have fun and enjoy.
May 9, 2013 at 5:02pm     
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Precious cottage. Replace the awning with a portico or at least a canvas awning. (a deep charleston green would be a great color.) Widen the steps, create a walkway and relandscape the front and sides. A fence would cozy up the house. I do love the yellow.
May 9, 2013 at 6:18pm     
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WOW. This is the most helpful that anyone has ever been on this site. Thank you all SO SO MUCH
May 10, 2013 at 5:51am     
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I like the blue door and shutters idea. Our house is located in a beach town & it would go nicely I think. Also, I don't want to plant bushes in front of the basement windows bc then I wouldn't have any light down there, and its a pretty big finished basement. You all have been so helpful & totally just made my day. Seriously, thank you!
May 10, 2013 at 6:21am     
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If you want to reflect your beach location a shell wreath or shell or starfish shaped door knocker would be fun. If you have a glue gun and time it shouldn't be too expensive to make a shell wreath. There are instructions online.
May 11, 2013 at 5:30am   
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Newhomeowner, you could plant things out from your house a bit so they don't block the basement windows. And you could also use dig4alivings plan, with a small change. If you bump out the right coner a bit wider by the door, and move the whole planting he planned out a bit from the house by the basement windows.
May 11, 2013 at 5:38am     
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There are lots of great ideas here, but the problem you're wrestling with is the "trailer" look and no $. I think the root of the problem is the entry. If your budget will stretch to removing the railing and changing the direction of the steps, I think you'll have come a long way - that wrought iron railing and the narrow proportioned, side-facing steps are classic trailer. It's hard to see the length of the landing, (and is it concrete?) and it may look a little lopsided if you just pull out the bush and re-route the steps. One way to go would be to build a small wood landing, right over the existing concrete, with steps in front, or even fanning out frontwards. If it extends to one side of the door, just situate a potted plant or ceramic bulldog, or something for balance.

Paint the door and trim to contrast more with the house color. You could remove the dated awning, or paint it to match the trim (not everyone wants to "update" everything, and the awning is kind of quaint and definitely functional.)

Next step would be to either extend the brick(?) planter right to the steps or remove it altogether. As it is now, it does look much like the kind of thing people use to disguise a trailer hitch - if it's balanced with the front of the house, it won't give that impression. You'll also have to reroute the path.

Last, plant something on the side, to cover those cement piers - they scream "trailer".

You've got a GREAT little classic of a house there, Be careful not to "up-date" it into something it's not.
May 12, 2013 at 11:02am     
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Lots of great ideas for this discussion! I'll throw in my 2 cents (for what it's worth). Yellow and gray are great color combinations. I'd choose a charcoal gray with a bluish tint to it. Keep the white trim but paint the shutters and the front door. Since you're in a beach area... how about planting a few of the huge ornamental grasses along the side of the house? I love the idea of window boxes on a cottage like home. You do have a cottage like home... not trailer like. There is so much you can do with this style home. Just take it one step at a time and really consider each step before you take it. It's tempting to make as many changes as soon as possible ... but take your time so that ideas come to you as they feel more cohesive. Last, trim the Yew until you can afford to replace it. Let the planter bushes grow up and the Yew go down for a more balanced look. Good luck.. and have fun with it.
May 12, 2013 at 5:07pm   
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Russell N Gayle Jowsey
How about painting the house black :) I know its dramatic, but you have white shutters and could have a white front door. I would change the porch roof with the same shape as the roof line not sure what you call that, pitched! Plant circular gardens larger around the front perhaps with a winding path, cobbles or concrete & stamp a cobble pattern on it or put mosiac pieces in it for a difference. Large house number as someone else suggested on house. Plant native shrubs and have contrast coloured flowers in the garden that you like. Dramatic is good, red, or orange. But just have one colour theme for contrast. Most of all enjoy :)
May 12, 2013 at 6:23pm   
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Bonnie Russell
I would build a porch/deck that spans the front of the house.
May 13, 2013 at 10:06am   
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Arizona Native Roofing
We do roofing here in Arizona so we see a lot of actual trailers. Your home does not look like a trailer. The only characteristic that I see that your house has in common with a lot of trailers is the awning (mostly because of the type/shape). You'd go a long way just updating, painting, or possibly removing it until you find one to better suit the house.
May 13, 2013 at 2:35pm     
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