How to add charm to my cottage?

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How would I make the outside of my OLD lakeside cottage look up to date again. It is the first cottage in the subdivision years ago. I seen it’s charm but am on a retirees budget. I would like some ideas because there are now many beautiful homes here. I want to keep the charm but make it look like it’s loved.

q how to add charm to my cottage

It has a side cement slab and sidewalk that goes around the house that needs help also. I was thinking of a pergola on the side and just not sure what to do. HELP. Judy from Michigan

  10 answers
  • Ro Ro on Aug 04, 2018

    Wreaths on shed doors, change w the season

    Some low maintenance shrubs, hydrangea or boxwood

    hanging plants on shepherds hooks

    i love the cottage

    best wishes


    • Judy Sharma Judy Sharma on Aug 06, 2018

      Thanks so much. I love the wreath idea. The inside has taken my son and I all summer to get it up to date but keeping the UPNORTH feeling. Yes, the yard will help improve the overall appearance. Thanks much.. judy

  • Rymea Rymea on Aug 04, 2018

    I love the blue garage door and the natural stone wall on the left.

    You need more landscaping in front of the house. I feel sorry for that one little lonely tree by the door. Restore the lawn and plant flower beds around both of the large trees. I see a chair there so if that is where you like to sit maybe that is where the pergola should go. Paint the storage shed same color as the house.

    If you could move all the vehicles, trailer, wheelbarrow etc. out of sight that would help immensely and should probably be #1.

    • Judy Sharma Judy Sharma on Aug 06, 2018

      Hi and tnx so much. My son and I have been so busy getting inside up to date but keeping it country. I plan on using so many of these suggestions it sme of them will either be done in the fall or early next spring.. yes, the work that my son does for me is so valuable BUT he always leaves clean up for me. So I see why you say it should be the first thing tackled.. I love flowers and English gardens so cannot wait to get started on them. Thanks so much. Jude

  • Ann Ann on Aug 04, 2018

    although the blue garage door is a pretty color, maybe a brighter shade or brick color-wreaths great idea as well as plants-can do hooks under overhang and chain for plants- split rail or picket fence in front-doesn't have to cover whole front of house-nice cottage-have fun

    • Judy Sharma Judy Sharma on Aug 06, 2018

      Ann I totally agree. I was thinking the same line of color. There is no pazaze? Or pop!. I love flowers so they will be the first thing to get. I also will wait till fall to get some closeout prices on shrubs. I love all the great ideas and it makes me feel encouraged about being able to do it on a budget..thanks so much..Jude

  • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Aug 04, 2018

    Since I don't know what part of Michigan you live in, and first frost dates range from Sept. 1st to the end of October I would recommend not planting anything this year as it takes more than 30 days for (especially shrubs) to establish before a frost. I would concentrate on planning beds and preparing them to receive plants in the spring when the last frost date has passed. I would focus now on the driveway. It should be repaired and resealed and will make a huge difference in curb appeal. Just my opinion.

  • Barbie Barbie on Aug 04, 2018

    Such a cute cottage! It just needs a few things to make it feel even more cozy

    A deeper stone color pulled from the stone wall on the left would tie in the siding better with that cute wall,

    and im pretty sure that you don’t want people’s focus to be on your garage so paint it the same color as your new siding color.

    Save a color pop for the front door and for a new flower box under the window by the door. Maybe a small paver area there for a few rockers (also painted in door color) so you can enjoy your new window box and your beautiful trees

    You can fill the box with spring and change to summer plants then with cut greens just stick into the soil in the winter

    Enjoy your beautiful cottage!!

  • Judy Sharma Judy Sharma on Aug 06, 2018

    Barbie, thank you so much. I live in the upper half of the lower peninsula and the dates you gave are pretty close. We usually don’t get a killer frost until late September. I do not plan on any major landscaping until spring because it is just too much with trying to finish the inside to bring it up to date and still keep the charm..On the garage door I think I would like a pop of color but a brighter blue with the shed color the same as the house with the paint I had left from the house. I will definitely bring the flower box into play. I love that idea..and I hope to have enough blue paint to do the flower box and a couple other accent pieces to bring your eyes away from the garage door. Thank you so much.. Judy

  • Ann Ann on Aug 06, 2018

    Hi again-you certainly received a bunch of great ideas-I take back my paint for the garage door-Barbie was right on the ball-so work on the pop of color for the front door-we will all come see you in spring-I didn't know you lived in the upper part of Michigan-spring should arrive around May 18th (maybe)

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Aug 06, 2018

    Hello Judy,


    Shutters, planter and window boxes a fresh coat of paint on the front door in an inviting color with a new door mat maybe a new mailbox go a long way!

    Decorative or patriotic flags, door wreath are some other ideas.


    Best wished in your exterior decoating!


  • Sivan7 Sivan7 on Aug 06, 2018

    I would line the driveway with a hearty perinneal like Monkey Grass or something for your zone. I would also put a gate or tall shrub in front of the shed or paint it to match the house so that it's not looking like an afterthought. Not terribly expensive.

    Fall is a great time to get it in the ground.

  • Christierei Christierei on Sep 05, 2018

    Judy: I guess your front door is open in the photo ? In this photo, it is hard to find the front door. It is hard to look inviting when it looks like there is no way in! Mys suggestion is to add wide moulding all around the door. You can play with different profiles. I'm picturing black and white to visually grab you. These kind of mouldings and trims are at all the big box stores and very user friendly. Prices start at about $20 and they glue on.

    Second, look at the little evergreen tree near the door. Imagine that area almost like a bouquet. A large colorful pot with tall narrow evergreen and flowers between the evergreen and the door. If space allows add more plantings. Also consider : window box, ( trim out that window too) and a trellis in the blank spot between the windows. The garage door could be a softer periwinkle blue with added metal hardware.