Need advice on fixing the exterior of this fixer upper

Just moved in a few months back. Hoping to get rid of the horrible tree.
need advice on fixing the exterior of this fixer upper, curb appeal, landscape, painting
  40 answers
  • White Oak Studio Designs White Oak Studio Designs on Jan 10, 2014
    Why cut down the tree? This look like it will provide a lot of wonderful shade and cooling for the front of your home? Once it is in leaf the chunky truck will recede into the background and barely show. In addition, if it is cut down and the truck pushed/ground out your front lawn will be a disaster and need to be totally redone. That's a lot of work and a lot of money!
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Jan 10, 2014
    Get rid of the panels/shutters first or repaint solid color.It will make a huge difference in curb appeal.
  • Kathie taylor Kathie taylor on Jan 10, 2014
    I agree with white oak studio's. It need major pruning. Front of house needs landscaping as well. Cute house! If the roof is okay, you could have the shingles cleaned.. I would do that before changing the shutters, which I happen to like. Landscaping may prove them to be too fussy.
  • Abbe K Abbe K on Jan 10, 2014
    I recently had my home rehabbed, the shutters were removed and the exterior stuccoed. It truly updated the look. I like the tree but it definitely needs a major trim. Congratulations on your new home. Enjoy it!
  • Anna Ibarra Anna Ibarra on Jan 10, 2014
    Agree with loosing the shutters, or replacing them or painting them they are so dated. I also agree to keep the tree, most places a tree enhances your property in many ways, cools your home, gives great shade and just look a home homier. I also give it a good spray wash on your brick and paint your door a different color. You loose the front door with so much around a bright color will seem more welcoming. Some DIY landscape leading to the front door w/ be welcoming too. Nice home though.
  • Clopay Garage Doors Clopay Garage Doors on Jan 10, 2014
    Congrats on the new home! Your house has a lot of potential with small cosmetic changes. Some suggestions - the garage door takes up about half the facade. Have you considered replacing it with a more decorative model? There are many affordable, low-maintenance steel carriage house designs that would add instant charm to that side of the house. If you don't plan to paint the brick, you may want to consider a stained steel garage door, which offers the look of wood without the upkeep.The warmth of the finish looks great against a light exterior. Depending on the age of your garage door, you may want to upgrade to a polyurethane insulated model to keep rooms next to the garage more comfortable year round. It does make a difference. Some potential garage door designs to consider looking at on the Clopay website ( are the Gallery Collection ( and the Classic Premium series. Clopay also has a free online design tool at You can upload a photo of your house and try on different garage door styles to see the impact it has on your home's curb appeal. I would also suggest replacing the shutters or at least painting them a solid color and possibly painting the front door.
  • Sharon's Interior Images Sharon's Interior Images on Jan 10, 2014
    Looks like a fun rehab. I might suggest popping the door with a color and paint the shutters solid - no need to replace when paint can do the trick. I would also keep the tree and add a curvilinear plant/flower bed to enhance the curb appeal. Maybe think of a natural stone walkway to the entry. Have fun!
  • Sharron Johnson Sharron Johnson on Jan 10, 2014
    i would paint the brick a lovely earth toned color, because the brick is very dated. Hint, when painting brick, hose the house down to fill the pours of the brick. This will keep the cost down and the water will dry through the paint. Also, I would remove the shutters and maybe replace the with refashioned pallets that were either stained and sealed or painted a contrasting color. A nicer porch light and down lights in the soffit for a modern bit of drama.
  • Moxie Moxie on Jan 10, 2014
    Great house! I like the brick...and the tree...and the shutters lol; I love the idea of painting door to make it pop. I also would redo the walk to the front door with natural looking pavers (the square ones) and a planting area along the walk to charm people to your amazing front door. A foundation planting with perhaps one trellis planting would also really pick up the curb appeal. I would also I think be easier on the eye if the garage door was painted to harmonize with the house, the white seems a bit out of place and separates - then paint on faux door lites on the top panel of squares or add the faux hardware to make them look like the swing garage thoughts.
  • Janis Hill Janis Hill on Jan 10, 2014
    Before you do anything to the tree you will need to determine its value! depending on what area of the country you live in it could be very valuable. It looks to be old and the age adds value as well. so don't do anything before checking with an arborist first. Changing the shutters, having the trim painted and replacing your sidewalk will go a long way toward updating it. Add a new light fixture and paint the door in a bright color that will draw the eye. If you like the brick keep it, but if you aren't crazy about it go ahead and have the house painted. It will completely change the look I can't tell if the roof needs to be replaced or if it needs to be cleaned. If it only needs to be cleaned that will also make a huge difference. And lastly, but very important is adding some landscaping. Landscaping can completely change the look of a house with out doing anything else!
    • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 11, 2014
      @Janis Hill That's for sure! I saw on a TV program where a lady was suing a neighbor that cut down her tree in small claims court. She was awarded $5,000 for a tree that was worth over $40,000! And that was years and years ago!
  • Jennifer Bender Jennifer Bender on Jan 10, 2014
    did you see the rehab addict with Nicole Richie and her tree design they did cut it in to yard décor awesome
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on Jan 10, 2014
    I agree re: not cutting the tree down! Trees take a long time to grow; this one is def. a source of much-needed shade in the hot months, & it's deciduous, allowing the sun to warm the house in the cooler months. I def. wouldn't be cutting it down! I would def. repaint the shutters--a solid colour. I painted ours--originally a faded maroon colour, now 'Flame Blue'. Makes a huge dif. Also adding a no-fuss garden bed to not only add curb appeal, but to draw the eye to the front door--which could do w/a pop of colour. Enjoy your new home! We're enjoying ours! :)
  • Janet Smith Janet Smith on Jan 10, 2014
    The shutters would look better in a solid color, perhaps dark grey or black. I'd also paint the front door either to match the shutters or a deep red or dark green. The front definitely needs some landscaping which will soften the stark appearance. You might also consider painting the brick as it is a bit dated. That would certainly give you more options on trim color too.
  • Deborah G Deborah G on Jan 10, 2014
    I think a courtyard out front would be awesome.
  • Carole Carole on Jan 10, 2014
    Regarding the tree. I would definitely check with an arborist They will be able to tell you whether the tree is an asset or whether it is a threat to your home and your safety. Trees have more growth below ground than will show above ground. Makes sense really as the roots are what hold the tree up. If the tree is healthy and is not in danger of dropping anything on the house or yourselves and the root system is not causing problems either to the foundations of the house or drains and so on below ground then it might be worth keeping. It is very expensive to remove a tree that size. Also check with local council (if you have such a thing) as some trees are protected and you need permission to remove them. This is usually done by completing an application form and paying a fee to your local council and they will send an arborist out to assess the tree for you before granting permission.
  • Gracie Pete Gracie Pete on Jan 11, 2014
    Wow, thank you for all the suggestions. I agree the door needs a pop of color. I was thinking red! As for the tree, I think having someone coming out and looking at it is what I need to do. As Carole said the roots and the possible damage was my main concern.
  • Barbara Sawyer Barbara Sawyer on Jan 11, 2014
    All the suggestions above are good ones. I agree with having a solid color for the shutters, I would have the brick pressure washed and see how it looks after that. Brick is so hardy, you can always paint it. So many great color combinations out there now and help making decisions to find the color you like. I love a grey house, and black or white shutters. paint the front door a bright color, such a good background for landscaping. If possible leave the tree, a tree specialist can give you an idea of the health and perhaps trimming, if needed . If the roots are a probable, I suggest a surrounding deck, incorporating the front walkway The yard is crying for landscaping, this alone makes the curb appeal pop!
  • Lorraine Chipman Lorraine Chipman on Jan 11, 2014
    Once you paint the brick you have to maintain it and if the paint doesn't take and starts to peel it will be an ongoing nightmare. The brick is beautiful. The neutral colour gives you endless possibilities to paint your shutters and door. Paint your garage door something slightly darker than your brick so it's not a feature, or a lighter shade of the colour you choose for your shutters. Benjamin Moore has a beautiful colour called Napolean Red. It has a dark earthy base with no pinky undertones. It would look fabulous on your front door. It looks like you have a white outer door, make sure you paint that as well. I would paint around the door the same colour. Then get some big house numbers and put them beside the door, a gorgous tall slender planter and change the light fixture and it will be beautiful. Find colours that you love for the shutters and bring home plenty of paint swatches. Put them against the brick and see how they look at different times of the day. Choose the darker chips on the card because the sun tends to wash colour out. There are programs online where you can download a picture and paint your doors and shutters to see what works. Try the paint manufacturers websites. Have fun.
  • Lorraine Chipman Lorraine Chipman on Jan 11, 2014
    And absolutely keep the tree.
  • JeanieRP JeanieRP on Jan 11, 2014
    You will be amazed at what a professional pressure washing will do for that brick! I think it is a nice neutral color and would not paint it if you don't have do. Do you need a new roof? if so, you can take the color of the roof into account when deciding on the color(s) for your doors and shutters. I would suggest two colors - one for the doors and garage doors, and the other for the shutters.
  • Colleen Colleen on Jan 11, 2014
    Congratulations new homeowner. I would suggest hold off on doing anything too expensive until you've given yourself some time to live in the place and neighborhood for awhile. Paint is cheap,though so painting the door and shutters an easy fix. Love the tree. Not sure what kind of tree it is,a local nursery can help with that. Definately some curvy landscaping with inexpensive flowers for the first year. That'll give you an idea of where you want to go with it. What ever you do, be creative and have fun.
  • Your Organized Friend Your Organized Friend on Jan 11, 2014
    Nice looking home, I am sure you will enjoy living there. I would suggest that the bricks need a good pressure wash to spruce them up. Pop the color on your front door ( match up your shutters) to welcome people and I would also have a flower bed or rows of containers with flowers along the walkway to welcome people to your home.
  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Jan 11, 2014
    I agree with everyone about power washing first. We have renovated over five houses and each time I want to paint over or tear something that is unsightly, I stop first and clean it. Can't tell you how many times it has saved me the cost of a redo. I would also suggest painting the door and shutters. Clean the sidewalk and outline it with small pavers as an accent and then put in some annuals to see if you like the configuration. That way you don't spend a lot of money the first year with plantings until you decide what will work. Nice house show pictures along the way.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 11, 2014
    You probably do not want to cut that tree! It gets awfully hot in Texas. I get sick of leaves but we cannot breath in our Air conditioned house in the upstairs if we cut down our trees. Make a big pine island to hold the leaves...less mowing too! Leave it plain. First of all, I would clean the careful and do not let some pressure washing guy break the glaze on them! Some old fashioned scrubbing with bleach would help. I would paint the house. Redo the walk with some pretty stone and some flower beds. You can plant a lot of things like grasses that stay in place...trim them back in the spring and they come back out. The big box stores make a product to clean the roof. Good luck!
  • Lyette Lyette on Jan 11, 2014
    I agree, paint the shutters, door and power wash the brick. Inexpensive Drive around or go on line to get some landscape ideas. Take your time with landscaping so you don't overdo. Keep tree. Have it trimmed. I am in Tx and I had hard scraped my yard do to the droughts. Use the tree as a focal point and use statue, fountain, metal scruptures etc.. Add drought tolerance plants to start with and build from there. Have fun!
  • A A on Jan 11, 2014
    I always try to think, "OK, what exactly is dating this house?" For this one, I think it is the shutters. Don't just paint them, but change them. Maybe add window flower boxes. I definitely LOVE the reno from Clopay above, especially the stone wall addition as an entry. You could do that easily. Good Luck!
  • Paint out all woods to match. keep the door and garage door to match, something in a warmer wood tone. the house needs some warmth. make a court yard out front to conceal the front and take away from all the plain brick.. use a warm element like wood to match the doors. if you don't want wood then use metal in a warm color pallet. it comes in many colors and is maintenance free. or use another type of stone. I would actually take off the shutters. it dates it. if you decide to keep the tree then make a build around seating arrangement and let it be inside the courtyard. it will act as a canopy for shade. and will conceal the base of it. make use of your space.less watering and more physical will bring your home into the current style. there is so much you could do to improve the look with simple things. start looking on line for courtyard ideas.
  • Louise Louise on Jan 11, 2014
    Definitely paint the shutters one solid color. Paint the door something to make it stand out way back in that shadowed area. Go to a paint store and get some of the paint swatch books that put colors together for you and see which combinations appeal to you. For the bigger parts, neutrals are generally better with shutters and door something more exciting. But avoid colors that are TOO exciting because that can make your house the one people say, "It's the house with the horrible purple shutters." Keep in mind what other houses in the area look like that you find attractive. I think the tree is beautiful. If it's not a danger to your house, I'd keep it. Trees add value to homes and this one surely adds lots of shade which will keep your AC bill in line. I'd put some kind of greenery next to the house to soften it a bit. Some low-growing shrubs or something. Again, look at what other houses have that appeal to you.
  • Sharon T Sharon T on Jan 11, 2014
    You should also pressure wash the roof. The stains are aging the home. I would replace the shutters since the style does not blend with the house. Paint the door a bright inviting color that can be balanced with landscaping.
  • Barbara Turner Barbara Turner on Jan 11, 2014
    Couldn't resist adding my 2 cents; Uh, you're probably trying to keep costs down but roof really looks like it needs replacing. I agree, pressure wash the whole house to see how it "perks up" then I would change out the shutters and def paint the door. I was thinking a pretty emerald green. I'd also change out that white garage door to an either a gray or one to match whatever color trim you use. Just some ideas. I also agree that for curb appeal I'm not sure what exact climate you're in but if it were me, I'd extend with stamped concrete the front "patio/porch" and stain it (you pick all that out, of course) and put a hip seat bench around the patio and then for trim greenery I'd put in some succulents and low growing perennials or low growing hedges - see for tips and tricks for ideas and then redo the sidewalk with the pavers you have now or some decorative ones easily gotten at Home Depot or Lowes. It's a good start though. Seems to be in pretty good shape. As far as the tree goes, Is it a Sycamore, those are pretty hardy, it appears to be fairly healthy HOWEVER you never know with a STRANGE tree you've never met before so I agree to have an Arborist come out and assess it for disease / safety issues. Just be glad it's not an Oak, they have a very top heavy shallow root system. And when they topple in a storm or high winds, trust me, you don't want to be the recipient of that! Been there done that! We lost 5 trees during Hurricane Isabel during 2003 and our Grandmother Oak about 15 ft. in front of our house thank God she fell out towards the street! That storm's tail came right up through the middle of our subdivision's culdesac - split her tail winds and threw our trees to the street and directly opposite our subdivision on the other side and threw theirs into their house! It was a short 3 trunk oak and huge, just about the size you have! Went right through the middle of their rancher! Took 'em about 6 months to rebuild! Whew! Scary. I've been through 3 hurricanes, 5 tornadoes and 5 ice storms. Not fun! Oh, and be sure to get a generator. You just never know!
  • Maggie Maggie on Jan 11, 2014
    The tree isn't so bad. If you could work in some landscaping, maybe with a sitting area in front of the windows and some plants and stones and work around the tree it wouldn't look so stark. Also, to give the front an instant update, paint out the shudders in one color like a dark grey and similar tone on the garage and than paint the door in a darker shade of red. Pick up the red with some flowers and other plants in the new landscaping. Good luck!
  • Lynn5280 Lynn5280 on Jan 11, 2014
    I would bet you will be sorry if you get rid of the tree. It looks like it provides some shade in the summer, trees are beautiful,. help clean the air ,provide shelter for birds etc etc
  • As a builder I concur with everyone above as to first power washing the entire home. However, that 3 tab roof needs to be replaced with an architectual style roof, then cut the tree down it is what is causing a lot of the dark mold areas on the roof as well as the brick. By cutting it down it will also open up a great view of the front of the house. Then I would repaint the shutters and the door with a good eye catching color. Never paint brick it will not last. Lastley I would landscape with beds across the front and up the walk. The house has lighting in the soffits (roof overhangs) witch at night will make the brick and flower beds pop. Good Luck with your new home
  • Evergreen Turf Evergreen Turf on Jan 23, 2014
    A fresh sod lawn would definitely spruce up the front of the home pronto!
  • Laura Laura on Jan 23, 2014
    Oh gosh- I think the tree is nice and it is so well established- unless its roots are too close to your foundation. I agree with the idea about pressure washing the brick. I would then paint the shutters a solid color- like a charcoal as well as painting the front door in charcoal. i would then add a brass door knocker and a simple grouping of plants- or ferns in charcoal gray urns. Good luck, Laura White Spray Paint blog
  • Gwen Gwen on Jan 23, 2014
    i also like the tree. I like the brick. One thing I've found is that several of our local nurseries worked with me when I brought in a photo and measurements. They gave suggestions on making my entry unique. Their suggestions for plants were valuable too. It kept me from using boring plants yet using plants that would work for the area I showed them! I did all the work. Even a place that sells sprinklers designs the plans for free and their price is lower than Big Box stores plus they choose the correct sprinkler for the job. I chose to use plants with staggering flowering times and fill in with annuals and perennials. As the plants grow, less $ is needed for annuals. There are self watering window boxes from a company that would help with the drying out of the boxes in the summertime. It would be woth looking into these and they are not overly pricey. It would be fun to change out the window boxes with your annuals and give interest at eye level. To save money, I'd paint the shutters in all one color of your choosing. I'd paint the garage door to match. Then give your door the wow factor!! See the narrow strip next to the entry?? Plant it full of everything light and bright. Yellows, whites, tall, short, in between. I have this same strip and I take full advantage of making it always full of annuals and I have a couple plants that stay at 18" and flower (camellias)... And I have a bright narrow pot at the doorway planted taller, filled with coleus in chartreuse in summer, and small winter hardy plants with a timer candle. Hope these tips get you started.
  • Linda G Linda G on Jan 24, 2014
    Power wash the exterior, new shutters(old ones are very dated), paint shutters, trim and garage in warm, neutral tones to compliment the brick. Definitely needs improved landscaping. Leave the tree, have a professional arborist trim it. Last but not least, a new,(not expensive), light fixture in the front entry, or install a can light. Good luck!
  • Sandra Sandra on Aug 15, 2016
    I would paint the front door a teal , paint the shudders a light brown, tan that matches house. then enlarge the walkway to door may flowers between walkway and house, really enlarge. CUT THE TREE, I don't like leaves.
  • Danielle Spence Danielle Spence on Aug 16, 2016
    The only thing that pops out to me is the shutters. They look very dated. Any color would be a great improvement . Paint the front door. Also some flowers or scrubs to add some color and greenery .
  • Julie Medved Julie Medved on Sep 09, 2017
    I think a bench in front of the tree to match your front door colour and potted flowers would be lovely for a start

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