Lacking curb appeal - Need help!
bieberje
May 9, 2013 in Design Dilemma
We will be moving into this house in June and it needs some pretty obvious work! Last summer the previous owners put in a new sidewalk & driveway, so we need to patch in a lot of the lawn, as well as re-grade the front of the house (per our inspectors comments).

We'd love to rebuild the stoop, landscape the front and possibly add some new colors in the shutters and door frame. We would love to know how to cover up the air-conditioner (to the right of the door), but still keep it accessible. Ideas (and photos) are greatly appreciated!!
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moyerclan
I'd love to see large round (crescent?) shaped brick steps with the sidewalk done in the same bricks. As for the AC unit, can you plant a nice large yet casual shrub there in front? Something like a hydrangea or gardenia. In fact, some shrubbery around the base will soften up all those hard straight lines of the outlined beds. I'm no pro, but that's *my* take on it :)
3 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 8:52PM
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LB Interiors
Cover AC with lattice panels and some fast growing plants.
2 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:23PM
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iamsugar
Canvas awning over the front door would soften it and protect guests while you answer the door.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:28PM
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LB Interiors
7 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:33PM
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bieberje
LB Interiors - I love the idea about covering the AC with lattice and plants! I don't think we have enough yard in front to add a porch (nor do we have the budget!) but I like the idea!
moyerclan -- we were thinking about changing the landing to a semi-circle --we were talking to a mason about it today!
amsugar -- I never thought of canvas awning! Could you post a picture of this idea? I'm not quite sure of what you mean...
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:34PM
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LB Interiors
2 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:37PM
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LB Interiors
I would love the semi-circle steps.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:37PM
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LB Interiors
Window boxes are great also.
1 Like   May 9, 2013 at 9:40PM
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LB Interiors
Curved planters are always interesting.
1 Like   May 9, 2013 at 9:40PM
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iamsugar
http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/100374205?productId=100374205&storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&MERCH=REC%2d%5f%2dproduct%2d3%2d%5f%2d100374151%2d%5f%2d100374205%2d%5f%2dN#.UYx6uZVW7UQ
This burgandy would look better with the gray and some purple plu bushes have matching leaves, grow fast to hide the airconditioning unit. Bright pink flowers twice a year.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:44PM
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0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:46PM
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LB Interiors
You could paint the vertical rain gutter the same as the house color. It will get lost.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:48PM
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bieberje
I never thought about painting the vertical gutters. Thanks for the idea!
1 Like   May 9, 2013 at 9:56PM
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bieberje
Another picture (from earlier this winter).
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 9:57PM
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bieberje
LB Interiors - Do you have some pictures of curved planters that you like? I've loved your thoughts and would love to see what draws your attention.
1 Like   May 9, 2013 at 10:01PM
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LB Interiors
Irregular planter beds
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 10:24PM
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Tres McKinney Design
Your house is charming. If you can't afford to create a porch structure at this time as suggested by LB interiors then make the porch deck and steps wider. Extend it closer to the drain pipe on one side and to the window shutters on the other side. I think the paint colors look fine but I would remove the storm door when you don't need it and paint the front door red, yellow gold or any color you like. I would remove the shutters on the bay window and paint the strip along the bottom the dark gray of the shutters. consider adding a window planter box under the window to the left of the door. This will balance the bay window on the right. Replace the iron hand rail with a painted wood handrail in either the gray or white. Choose evergreen or flowering evergreen foundation plants for year around appeal.
3 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 10:30PM
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LB Interiors
Curved planter (freeform planter) - green line - something like this.
5 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 10:49PM
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sharongee1
Navy Blue shutters would be nice and green bushes and some purple flowers. get rid of storm door and piut a Navy blue door.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 10:58PM
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sharongee1
hide a/c unit. statement light sconces.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 10:59PM
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libradesigneye
Here's the right style of entry awning - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_nr8sLebLgg4/TTDvkhEsqlI/AAAAAAAAIzQ/9oKwnO5DM-4/s1600/Scroll+Awning+San+Diego+1.jpg
charcoal / darker gray than the house is perfect - but not black.

You need some large shrubs in the foundation planting areas - all along the back in line with the curve whether you change the edge or not. Evergreen on right - , flowering on left - bronze foliage like abelia grandifolia would be great. Something smaller in front. Larger classic lanterns in black. See http://www.lightingdirect.com/troy-lighting-b1461-one-light-post-light-from-the-andersons-forge-collection/p1106023

Something like gray-blue slate on the top of all the stairs. I wouldn't go navy here, but add yellow to your front door - something really bright. sw confident yellow is a good one.
0 Likes   May 9, 2013 at 11:47PM
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bieberje
Thanks libradesigneye and sharongee1! I appreciate the input a lot. Thanks for pointing out the lights -- I honestly asked my husband, "Do we have sconces now?" before looking at the picture again. Obviously they didn't make much of a statement, so an upgrade would help immensely!
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 9:05AM
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bieberje
Tres McKinney Design - I love your suggestions!! I had not thought of removing the shutters or painting the front door! We have definitely considered adding a planter box under the left window and extending the front porch. We were considering just not having handrails at all on the stoop, but I love your suggestion about a wood handrail in white or grey. Thanks!
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 9:10AM
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bieberje
These are some of the ideas I've liked for the front porch.
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 9:50AM
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bieberje
Also this one. We've thought about sticking with brick on the porch, since there is a brick chimney on the right of the house (which is also in need of repair). We love the brick accents with the other colors of the house.
2 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 9:53AM
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LB Interiors
It's funny, 'bieberje' I saw three of those when I was searching earlier, so yes, I agree, like the half circle approach.
0 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 9:54AM
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LB Interiors
I like # 4 above, for your home.
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Something like this would look good : a small blooming tree on each side of the house, no lawn, plant beautiful blooming shrubs, low growing evergreens, perennials and annuals. Add a colorful window box for seasonal color, a red door and continue the walkway with the same brick as the stairs.
7 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 5:15PM
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judianna20
I am getting so crabby...so feel free to tell me. I hate vinyl shutters that do not fit. It reduces the attractiveness of your house. Take them off. And the storm door with the safety bar...

Paint your front door, the storm and that bar one color.


2 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Ginkgo Leaf Studio
I agree with Sweet Caroline's advice of an ornamental tree in the space on the right side of the yard. Hard to suggest a specific tree without knowing your locale. Because of the asymmetry of the front of your house (larger gable portion on the left) and the single window vs bay window, you can plant foundation shrubs and/or other plants that don't necessarily match side to side. A brick porch and steps with a matching brick walk might give your home a little more of a Cape Cod or cottage flavor. And rather than a curvilinear bed, I might suggest a simple but bold half circle bed that sweeps out from one corner of the house to the other with the walk cutting through it. A local professional landscape designer could come up with a plan using plants hardy in your zone and appropriate to the size of your front yard and in scale with your home.
2 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 5:33PM
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curryj
Precious house! I would keep the paint color. Remove the storm door and paint the door red. Landscape and be sure to add lots of Cherry Red Knock Out Roses and evergreen shrubs so that during the winter you wont have bare shrubs next to the house. (boxwood and Holly) Add a Picket fence. A big impact would be to add window grills to the windows. Redo the steps with slate or old brick. Carry the stone down the sidewalk.
2 Likes   May 10, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Rare Bird
curved steps and shrubberies of evergreens Phormiums and grasses can add colour. a few trees like acer japonica ,cordyline u have a very pretty house
1 Like   May 10, 2013 at 6:19PM
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bieberje
Sweet Caroline Garden Design -- I love this idea of making the whole front lawn into a garden. We don't have much of a front yard, which is what has dissuaded me from considering a picket fence (which would look adorable, but also really small!) Thanks for the ideas of plants -- I'd love to know specific plants you like to use. We live in NE Iowa.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 10:11AM
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bieberje
judyg -- I like the idea of painting the door, storm and storm-door-bar. I'm not a fan of the storm door, but it's fairly new, so I don't think we'll be replacing it anytime soon. When you mentioned that the shutters don't fit, do you mean they don't fit with the style of the house? Or do you think they're the wrong size (I know nothing about shutters!) We were thinking of bordering the windows with trim similar to the door and then painting all of it white, to make the newly colored (red?) door really pop!
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 10:15AM
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bieberje
Ginkgo Leaf Studio -- Thanks for your suggestions about landscaping! I've been pushing for a brick wall that will match our new brick porch. A half circle bed from one side of the house to the other is a new idea -- and one we'll definitely consider!! We're still trying to figure out how much lawn/garden we want in the front of our house. We live in NE Iowa, so we'd need to have some more evergreen shrubs, etc. to have color/coverage all year round.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 10:20AM
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bieberje
curryj -- Thanks for the suggestions on plants (and for the pictures!) We had considered a picket fence, but feel it would make the short front yard feel even smaller. Thanks for the specific suggestions about plants -- I haven't done any landscaping planning before, so I greatly appreciate it.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 11:04AM
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bieberje
Rare Bird -- Thanks for the compliments on our house and for the specific plant suggestions!!
2 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
Need to know how much sun/shade you ge and when you get it t, bieberje, before making recommendations.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 12:02PM
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bieberje
Sweet Caroline Garden Design -- the front of the home faces the east. The right side (bay window side) has no shade other than the house and the left side has a (maple?) tree partially shading that corner of the home.
0 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Sweet Caroline Garden Design
I believe you are in the same zone as Chicago. Small ornamental trees that I like : Asian Dogwood, Japanese Maple ( Bloodgood is the hardiest ) , Winter King Hawthorne, Magnolia Liliflora ( dwarf ) , Stewartia ( Japanese or Korean -flower looks like Camelia ) and Chinese Fringe Tree. Blooming shrubs : Korean lilac, Endless Summer Hydrangea, , Knockout rose shrubs ( bloom from June 'til November non-stop ) dwarf Wiegela, Evergreens : Japanese cypresss ( outstanding specimen ! ) , low spreading Japanese yew, and Japanese rock garden juniper . Google these or visit your local garden center and ask to see them.
3 Likes   May 11, 2013 at 1:34PM
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Tres McKinney Design
To answer your question regarding shutters: For shutters to look authentic they need to be large enough to look as if they could close over the windows. The shutters on the window to the left of the front door look OK but the shutters on the bay window are extraneous as they could not functionally close. Authentic wood shutters and hardware would be more attractive than vinyl shutters (can't tell from the posted image what you have). If you add a window planter box under the window to the left make it wider than the window and as deep s the base of the bay window and paint it the same color. If you do make a wood handrail, paint it white or the dark gray of the shutters.
1 Like   May 11, 2013 at 8:32PM
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bieberje
Sweet Caroline Garden Design -- Thanks so much for the suggestions! I hope to make a trip to a local garden center soon to see these varieties and get any suggestions specific to our locale.

Tres McKinney Design -- Thanks for clarifying my question about shutters. I'm pretty sure they're vinyl shutters, but I could be wrong. I love the idea of adding a planter box, so thank you for your suggestion about how large it should be. Much appreciated!
1 Like   May 12, 2013 at 11:45AM
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The Brothers that just do Gutters
The house needs some tall flowers/ bushes. This way it will add color and hide those long downspouts! Good Luck!
0 Likes   June 12, 2013 at 7:20AM
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chezron
I love Sweet Caroline's suggestions for plantings, and i would also widen the entry landing and stairs, and remove the wrought iron railings. Definitely change the shutters so they look like they would function and paint the front door. I would also add a small portico over the from door. It looks naked without one.
0 Likes   July 17, 2014 at 8:11PM
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bgfuqua
older post
1 Like   July 17, 2014 at 8:18PM
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plum54
If you need access to the AC unit, you could box it out to blend in with the house.
Weatherboarding on the upper half painted the same as the house, and plain sheet panel on the lower at the same height as the stucco painted the darker grey to suit, a simple hinged gate would allow access.
From a distance, it should blend in with its surroundings.
0 Likes   July 18, 2014 at 2:35AM
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mfwolfe
Old post
0 Likes   July 18, 2014 at 6:36AM
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