The first warm days of spring always generate Real Estate listings, bring homeowners outdoors to chat with neighbors and prompt a walk-around-the-yard inspection. Inevitably, my phone rings a lot on Monday mornings in March and April…
“The front of my house looks awful”
“There’s nothing special about my entry – how can I make it a focal point”
“No one knows which door to use when they come over”
“Getting ready to sell our home and need the WOW factor to attract buyers”
If these comments sound familiar, could be your home is in need of a facade face lift. This is often the solution for a client lamenting their lack of “curb appeal” or the mediocre “first impression” of their home. A major structural change or a new paint job isn’t your only recourse for a significant facade improvement. Oh yah, I’ll evaluate your plantings too, after all, that’s how I make my living. But simple structural add-ons, some windowboxes, trellises, a new landing or walkway can make a big impact at a reasonable cost.
Some before and after examples to get you thinking…
BEFORE - a lost path & blank wall
Adding a new arbor directs visitors from the front driveway/parking area to the entry door the homeowner wants them to use. It not only frames the view, but gives an Asian touch and preview to the interior decor. The homeowner made the custom trellis from my design – its pattern repeats the shape of the upper windows, adds interest at the entry to fill the blank wall and balances with the door and window shapes on the facade. The perennial vine used in the cedar planter keeps from year to year, but the varieties and colors of the annuals can change each year to give a whole new planting look.
The new Bluestone walk includes the square shape repeated in the trellis and upper windows - a unifying feature at the ground level
A secondary Bluestone walk with gravel was added for circulation between the greenhouse, front entry and the right side steps that lead to a screen porch.
BEFORE - 2 story home with massive scale
AFTER - Awning Trellises added to the lower windows align with the roofline of the covered porch
The awning trellis around the 3 lower windows is just enough to add character and draw the eye down from the massive Dutch Colonial facade…now even the plants are more noticable.
- BEFORE – House “disapears” with larger homes beside it
This homeowner said, “My house disappears with the larger houses next door on both sides. I need something to draw attention to my house”.
The plantings were completely redone and a large tree was transplanted from the backyard to fill and cover the left side of the house where there are no windows. The front entry needed scale added to draw attention away from the neighbors homes, so a new Granite Porch, steps and wood Pergola with railings were added to give it a new focal point, not to mention “curb appeal”.
AFTER - Granite Porch, Steps, and Wood Pergola add scale to this entry
Here an Arbor and Trellis Fence are used to connect the narrow garden space between the house and a property line hedge, while framing the “Garden Room” for privacy from the street view.
These planters, selected for clean lines, blend well with the architecture around them and plants hide an electric meter on the front facade
After a new car port was added next to this mid-century style house, the owner wanted to unify the space between the entrance at the side, the car port wall and the driveway. We used left over concrete pavers (purchased from a neighbor) set in gravel for the stepper path from the driveway to the side entry deck. Again, the square pattern of the windows is replicated in the path material to create unity and interest.
The concrete stepper path blends well with the house style and a wide, gravel dripline seperates the lawn from the foundation to make mowing easier.
Plantings are used to soften the hard surfaces and Car Port wall
If your house sits close to the street or sidewalk, think about eliminating any narrow strip of grass and just go with plantings in scale with the bed depth and front windows of your house.
BEFORE - Sunken brick landing is a tripping hazard and salt spray killed all the plantings (except 1 shrub)
AFTER - The brick landing is re-laid with a cobble accent strip and new plant selections are tough enough to survive road salt and winter plowing. Annuals are added to beds each year for summer color.
You can always use matching planters to frame a doorway, clamp-on planters spilling over with plants on a railing, or add widowboxes bursting with annuals for an inexpensive, quick fix to add color, scent and eye candy to any entry or facade.
Try putting your houseplants outdoors in unique wall planters this summer. It gives them a growth spurt while they perk up a shady area or covered porch.
Don’t forget the finishing touches:
Happy Spring! It’s just around the corner.