Curb Appeal and Function in Front Yard

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Here's my front yard. I want to add curb appeal and have it function for me as a driveway/ parking my car. It's rather large and plain. We are in north Florida with lots of humidity and sun for most of the year; it does get cold from December through February. It is on a slope with a bowled area in the middle. Please be kind and gentle; single mom with three college kids!!
curb appeal and function in front yard, curb appeal, landscape
curb appeal and function in front yard, curb appeal, landscape
curb appeal and function in front yard, curb appeal, landscape
  18 answers
  • Donna Byram Donna Byram on Jun 22, 2014
    First thing I would do is have the roof cleaned off. It detracts the beauty of your home. Then I would extend the flower beds to the walkway, encompassing the tree on the left side with some type of landscaping blocks or stacked stone. Can't tell if there is another tree on the right side, but end the bed at the end of the house on the right side. I think I would also do away with the bed in front of the steps and place the plants and bird bath in the center between the bottom left windows. You may have to paint the bird bath a different color to get it to show up against the brick. I feel the front flowerbed hides your entrance of your home that could be highlighted by placing some nice pots of flowers on each step on left side. I may be misunderstanding about the parking, but I would not add parking to the front of the home. I'm not familiar with what grows best where you live, so I will leave that up to someone that does. The bowled area in your yard, either fill it up and sod or make a new flower bed there. Hope this helps. By the way, you have a beautiful home.

  • Joan @ Nicer Than New Joan @ Nicer Than New on Jun 23, 2014
    I agree with cleaning the roof first. I find all the blocks red a bit distracting. I suggest painting all the shutters black or similar to your roof and just have the door red. Try colouring it in on a photo to get the idea. Move the bird bath elsewhere. It is too small for the size of your home and it detracts from the entry. Add add some interest to the front door. It looks like there is only space on the left of the door. Add a nice urn with plants to add some height. Then in the garden on the other side, plant an evergreen like an Emerald cedar or Alberta Spruce or whatever grows in your area. The space between the lower windows on the right needs some greenery. Perhaps something slow growing or a variety of perennials. Not sure about adding parking unless it is on the far right. It's a lovely home that just needs some landscaping. Research perennials that will grow in your area. Once they get established, the maintenance is minimal.

  • Linda Bailey Linda Bailey on Jun 23, 2014
    The more flower beds the less mowing. You might want to use stacked blocks where the low, and I am assuming, damp spot is in your lawn to lay out a central round flower bed. Start with laying down landscape fabric, stack the blocks to make the shape you want. We cut out the grass to keep the blocks stable, and put the first layer in the cut out lawn. Layer a second layer, and then use the lasagna method ending with soil to fill the bed. Your township might have free materials ( mulch, compost) to fill bed with. Once the bed is filled, see if your neighbors will give you cutting/divisions from their perennials to fill the bed. The main cost is the blocks, if you can hunt around for give aways on the rest.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jun 23, 2014
    Yes. clean roof. Leave shutters red - need colour and saves work and expense. I might do front door another colour like a shade of turquoise/green Do you have a back yard to park the car? The yard is huge. Would leave area to right in case you ever sell - big enough for a pool, tennis court, etc. Think you need an fairly large area laid out in an irregular patter with a variety of low growing evergreens, grasses, shrubs, river rock, ecc. to break up lawn. Expand area by front door with patio stones but not rectangular in shape - maybe irregular - curved is likely expensive). Then the birdbath, some big pots with flowers, and a bench can add interest. Shop thrift shops, check for throw-aways, etc. It is amazing what people throw out. Recruit your 3 kids to help you!

  • Centrd Centrd on Jun 23, 2014
    You've got such great bones to work with! --emphasis just needs adjusting. I agree that your house would look much more impressive with the shutters painted black. Right now, the red is overpowering your brick and is giving the house a slightly cartoony feel...black would create a more stately presence. If you want some color, leave the door a bright color. I don't know what your funds are like, but if you have them, I'd also consider installing a more impressive front door and widening the porch into more of a terrace look. If the porch is not do-able, at least switch out the door. That door is so recognizable as a Home Depot 80's style door and I think your house calls for something much nicer. If it were mine, I'd also want to do some plantings to the left, but keep the larger ones on this side of the sidewalk to not block your light but still downplay the fact that the windows are so close to the ground, which look a little out of balance with the front door being so much higher off the ground. I think large curving flower beds would really add to the home's curb appeal, nothing too linear since the house already has a very linear look to it. Do you use the fountain or is it just decor? If you use it, I'd move it closer to the door for some water sounds near the entrance. Or I'd move it elsewhere entirely. Or you could leave it but include it in a larger bed with a bench near it, rather than make it the major focal point for your house as the scale is too small. Hiring a landscape designer for a plan that you could work on as money allows would be a wise investment, imo. As for a place to park cars? The only way I can see that happening is if you incorporate a circular drive into your landscape plan with some nice plantings to take the eye away from any cars that might be there. From my experience, cars parked in front of a home don't add curb appeal, unless the driveway & landscaping are impressive. And if you do add a circular drive, don't forget to think about your view from inside. Looking out the window at a car isn't the most aesthetically pleasing thing when you're trying to enjoy your home. Good luck, it really does have all kinds of potential to become a gorgeous home by just enhancing what you've got.

  • Yes, clean the roof off first and freshen up with a new paint color on the door and shutters (I like black for yours), then start with a good backdrop for your landscaping by working on improving your grass. Aerate your soil and lay some grass seed to make the lawn thicker and cover up those bare spots, then I would work on adding texture and interest against your house like planting boxwoods and hostas. Then I would add a kidney bean shaped landscaping area and add a decorative tree....maybe one that flowers like a cherry tree, crab apple, etc., and some eye catching flowers like some knock out rose bushes, butterfly bush, and a few lilies and tulips. I would also add something for interest like a stone edging or some large rocks/boulders to plant around. You already have a water feature with the bird bath so you could move it away from the house and put it in this landscaping area and plant flowers around it to create a focal point, then do your rock edging and some up lighting on the tree and it would be really nice.

  • You cold also add some path lights to your long walkway too and add window boxes under the two windows on the upper left side of the house with a variety of colorful plants. This would really pop if you painted the shutters and door black. Keep the house neutral and let the landscaping and flowers add the pops of color. That would be my suggestion.

  • Barbara Ahern Barbara Ahern on Jun 23, 2014
    You have a beautiful home!! The first thing that I would change is the color of the white second story to blend with the rest of the house. Love the red but I am not a designer and certainly would have to get opinions from other people as you are doing. No one else said anything about the white so that may show you how much I know!

    • See 1 previous
    • Centrd Centrd on Jun 24, 2014
      In fact, if this house were painted all the same color, brick and siding, it would have a very french country estate look to it, because of those roof lines, which would be beautiful. Add some plants out front and you've got a major transformation.

  • Andrine Andrine on Jun 23, 2014
    The space between the lower windows does need something for balance and I agree about adding the circular drive. They are really classy looking as well as functional.

  • Patty Patty on Jun 23, 2014
    I agree clean your roof, if you don't you will be putting a new roof on. I used to live in Tallahassee and you can grow so many beautiful flowers , especially azalea's and camellia's and hellebore and wisteria, there are just to many to name. You have a beautiful home and with the right landscaping it could be even more gorgeous. Go into some of the older neighborhoods and look at the beautiful landscaping, you can get a bunch of great ideas. Good luck.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jun 24, 2014
    You have a lot of comments about cleaning the roof to make it look better, but consider that the straw holds in moisture which is not good for a roof! I agree that the shutters would look better painted black. As for the car park area, it looks like you have enough concrete on the garage side of the house. If you need more, think about laying out more parking space behind the parking pad toward the back of the lot by putting in some landscape timbers and gravel, crushed shells or whatever is used in your area. This could be removed after your need for lots of parking is no longer required. I would not put anything in the front yard. But whatever you do, be sure and check city/county code with regard to curb cuts and/or setbacks! Good luck!

  • Centrd Centrd on Jun 24, 2014
    I commented up above that I agreed with Barbara about changing the white. I'd either paint the siding a soft taupey or light gray color to blend better with the brick, or I'd paint the brick & siding both a nice cream or light gray. You could still do the shutters black, or darker hue of your siding color for a tone on tone look. If you did paint it that way, the house would take on a very country french look because of the hipped roof line and varied roof heights. If you really wanted to turn it up even more, you could add a copper awning somehow over the living room window, along with thicker muntins on the windows. Then, if it were mine, I'd definitely add some stone work to the landscaping, a low stone wall would add major impact and presence. To add some serious wow and make the french transformation complete you could even add a stone chimney or two in varying heights. This house could easily look like an estate home. But even if you just did a unifying paint scheme and added the stone wall you would make a major impact. Here are some quick examples of these ideas, painted brick, awnings, chimneys, hipped rooflines, etc...Nothing exactly like yours but maybe you can get a feel for what I'm talking about...I can totally see your house in this style...would certainly update and upgrade what you've got.

  • Doreen Marie Camplone Doreen Marie Camplone on Jun 24, 2014
    No I would keep the white, goes with the trim around the windows, a solar light path, a bird bath, some rocks and wallah!

  • 153091 153091 on Jun 25, 2014
    Go to Lowes or Home Depot they both have magazines and all sorts of yard/garden how-to information. Find a picture of a house similiar to your style and see what they did..or copy a house plan picture like yours..make several copies and you can color and sketch some ideas.

  • Sharon McKusick Sharon McKusick on Jun 26, 2014
    I would first clean the roof. Then paint the White part of the house a yellow based light green, with Creamy Yellow Shutters, then a rust colored Door. Looks like the house faces somewhat north so landscaping in light chartreuse bushes( such as spirea or Chartreuse Smoke bush) would lighten it up. Maybe some hosta in a green and white. Maybe some pivotal arborvitae at the ends of the home. And a big pot of peach/yellow begonia/w greens on the front stoop by the door. If the fence is yours brighten it up with a good wood wash. You have a fantastic home.

  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jun 26, 2014
    Hard to tell but isn't your vehicle already parked in your yard? Why change? I understand from what you said that you are on a fairly strict budget? I'd spend the $ on landscaping. I definitely would not paint the brick. If you do paint, I'd do the white area a similar colour to the brick. You can still keep the white trim and red shutters and maybe just do the door a different colour. .

  • PattyV PattyV on Jul 02, 2015
    My suggestion would be to paint the white a tan that matches the brick. Black shutters and doors. Finances permitting, I would do a circular driveway across the yard with gravel and move your circular planter in front of the driveway between the driveway and the street.

  • Lynne DiCenzo Lynne DiCenzo on Sep 18, 2016
    I agree with Patti...start there and then lets have another lookskie