Adding curb appeal

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We are getting ready to move in to our first home in April. Our house has no curb appeal. We would like to make some inexpensive changes to the exterior of the house? Any suggestions? We were thinking about a burgundy front door. Would that work with the yellow siding and brown trim?
q curb appeal, curb appeal, doors, gardening, landscape, Our house from the road
Our house from the road.
q curb appeal, curb appeal, doors, gardening, landscape, Our hose side sideview
Our hose side sideview.
q curb appeal, curb appeal, doors, gardening, landscape, The rear of our house
The rear of our house.
  26 answers
  • Phillip Williams Phillip Williams on Mar 02, 2015
    The first thing to know is: DON'T RUSH! Take your time and make a DETAILED long range plan. Think about what your plants will look like in 5-10 years. Buy a book or two or three on landscape design. A good landscape can do wonders for a home and can return many times its cost in value added. Some money invested in a professional plan can be executed over time and will be money well spent. Or, contact the local Master Gardener group through you county extension agent.
  • Lucy Nunn Lucy Nunn on Mar 02, 2015
    Red is traditional, but don't get stuck on it. Walk around the neighborhood and see what others have done that you like...get paint chips and find 2 colors you love together. I would brighten up the shutters and the door, and get a rocker and little table or 2 chairs and paint them one of your bright new colors so everything coordinates. You will want some foundation plants, with at least 2 colors of foliage, like a reddish barberry and something greeny-yellow. A pot of seasonal flowers would be pretty just to the right of your porch, with flowers that fit your color scheme. That will be a very cute house! Congratulations! It looks like you have a super view from the back yard too!
  • Sue Peet Sue Peet on Mar 02, 2015
    I agree with Phillip, DON'T RUSH! Go to the library and take out different books on garden designs. Find out what plants will grow in your area, wait and see what the trees look like in Spring and Summer. I go with what appeals to me, I also have flowers to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. The reason I say wait to see what the trees look like is how much shade will you have versus full sun. That can make a difference in what you plant, too.
  • Becca Becca on Mar 02, 2015
    There are internet sites where you can download a design plan sort of like houseplans and map out your own lot and footprint. There are also tons of good ideas of what to plant and where. I would say, focus on one area at a time instead of a little here & there. When you find plants you love, buy a bunch of the same plant, it makes a bigger and more noticeable statement when areas are dramatic. Also, check on which plants do well together according to sun needed, color and texture. Also, tons of help online. It's not going to look amazing the first year because you need space for them to grow and fill in. Good luck!!!
  • Sue McGee Sue McGee on Mar 02, 2015
    Painting your front door is a quick and inexpensive way to add some pop, good call! My house has the same color brick as yours, with dark brown shutters. Our white trim needed paint badly and I decided it was time to change the color. Initially, to go with the brick and shutters, I was looking at tan and burgundy shades but I wasn't sure about it so we drove around several different neighborhoods, looking at houses with our same color brick. I realized that the burgundy looked scary and garish and the tans looked boring. So, back to square one, I looked at greens and knew instantly that was the way to go! Our trim is a pale creamy green with a hint of grey in it. The contrasting color makes the brick look prettier! Of course you can go with a bolder color on your front door than I could with my trim but take a look at greens before you decide..
    • Schwarzy Schwarzy on Mar 02, 2015
      @Sue McGee I would love to see some pics of the exterior of your house if possible. I am not a fan of the brown brick and didn't really want red. But couldn't think of other options.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Mar 02, 2015
    You're starting with a big tree with good structure. You're ahead of the game!
  • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Mar 02, 2015
    I would have a tree person come check tree out front, maybe he will trim some branches.Put a little flower garden at base of tree with little garden fencing. Flower gardens first thing and flowering bushes to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, roses would look nice. if you need a windbreak and privacy, evergreens. Hope that helps. My place was a mess and 9 years later much better, take your time.
  • Patricia Patricia on Mar 02, 2015
    Congrats on buying the house! It's a bit hard to know exactly the color of the brick in a picture but I think burgundy in the right shade would be lovely as well maybe an olive color? Also I would beef up the 4 wood beams in the front of the house.....I would also add 2 window boxes to add immediate color with annuals. Once you know where the sun is and the amount of shade you have under that tree then you can figure out what flowers or bushes will work well.....if you do not have a lot of time to garden and everything that goes along with that I would suggest you stay with flowering bushes, non-flowering as well, a small Japanese Maple would be nice.....good luck!
  • Mansetomboy Mansetomboy on Mar 02, 2015
    Phillip makes many excellent points, and so do the others! However frustrating it may be, do NOT rush. Make a complete plan for the whole exterior of the house - brick,trim, siding, door, shutters - and seek help if you feel overwhelmed. Colours work in a mysterious way with each other. We live in a semi and did it jointly with our neighbour, it was well worth the expense. I agree with Sue that cool greyish greens would probably work well with the brick. In your case, you will then need to paint the whole back of the house as well. As for the garden, wait to see the trees in action, that will help determine what you can grow and where. Do check your soil to determine what shape it is in and if you need to amend it - it is the foundation work for a healthy, thriving garden. Also find out about potential watering issues: slopes, hot sunny locations, poor sandy soil, big thirsty trees etc. and install your hose bibs accordingly. Getting advice from professionals, such as local MGs, is very worthwhile, especially if you are not a gardener yourself [yet]. A cohesive plan - after you have lived in the house at least for a while and see how you use the yards - will be invaluable, as it will also take into account the "hardscaping" - fences, pathways, patios, retaining walls etc. When you are ready to start planting, you can do it smartly and economically, choosing the right plants and also planting them right, and getting tubers or cuttings from friends and neighbours, buying them at plant fairs, or at the end of the season at discount rates. A super fast, easy and cost affective way to add some punch to the front entrance is to invest in a good quality, very large planter and fill it with really good soil, and a mix of showy annuals and hardy perennials that can be later planted in the ground. Changing plant material according to the time of the year will make it look good all through the seasons for years to come, and watering will be a breeze. Last but not least, if at all possible, plan to compost - it will save you thousands of dollars in the long run and your garden will thank you.
  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Mar 02, 2015
    You will never regret having a professional arborist trim up your tree. It usually costs more than having a "tree trimmer" but it will improve the structure and shape of the tree. There seems to have been several non-professional trims. It would definitely be worth the little extra to have it done right.
  • Alys Alys on Mar 02, 2015
    You've received lots of great suggestions here. One inexpensive way to spruce things up is the use of large container plantings. You can buy containers in beautiful colors, shapes and sizes depending on your taste. Since you're moving in in April, it's the perfect time to pot pretty annuals. Even three plants and a couple of chairs along the front will say "we're were, and you're welcome" to your new neighbors. Along those lines, you can stake a welcome sign into one of your plants. Weather permitting, a nice outdoor area rug will add a cozy effect. Best of all, these items are removable and interchangeable so you can keep things fresh and interesting.
  • Bstevenb Bstevenb on Mar 02, 2015
    Congrats on home buying! Your big tree: Knowing who NOT to work with can be a valuable tip. Join the White Hall Garden Club. Gardeners love to show off and share unusual plants you won't find easily. It looks like that yard has quite a slope. Respect gravity in any changes. If you hate to mow and that tree is healthy enough to provide many more years of shade it's time to search understory shrubs. Off the cuff I'd say a few dwarf Japanese maples for color and a bottle brush buckeye could offer a low maintenance "forest" under that tree.
  • Lee Lee on Mar 02, 2015
    We just did this. Don't rush to make big changes. We added color with a front door change. In the spring I spray painted big big pots and filled them with flowers and potato vines. Spray paint is cheap and can revive about anything. Think about breaking the project into parts. Do each section as your budget allows. We drove around and looked at what others did. Check all areas regardless of the type of neighborhood. We then laid out a plan and took it to our local Lawn and Garden store. They will want to know the size of the space, direction facing, sun... I took pictures and took my iPad with me. They were fantastic about giving ideas. Don't be afraid to be creative.
  • Lee Lee on Mar 02, 2015
    That was the before..
  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Mar 02, 2015
    If you are not looking forward to mowing that slope down to the driveway, you might consider filling that area with a groundcover. You'll have to ask at a garden center what is best in your area. Some pots with flowers near the entrance would brighten the area. Then treat the other side of the porch with some shrubs and perennials. I like perennials in beds better than annuals. You only have to plant them once. Just remember to not plant small shrubs too close. Look at their mature size on the tag and space them for their future size not for the size they are in the pots. They will fill in before too long and you'll like them better if they are not overcrowded. I liked someone else's suggestion of green shutters. A creamy butter yellow might be pretty to. They do need to be lightened up so they can be seen. Planting beds and new shutter paint will take the eye away form the brown brick.
  • Darlene Matthews Darlene Matthews on Mar 02, 2015
    Mix spring &perennial flowers and bushes. You NEED plants! @CS www.burpee.com is a traditonal seed co I love. There are many others. Take your time grow from seed and it can be both cheap and rewarding!
  • Katie Dillon Katie Dillon on Mar 03, 2015
    I agree with Darlene. I have a slope as you do and if you don't want to have all of your water flow off of it plant a strip of annuals like marigolds along the curb line.they are hearty and can withstand heat and moisture.Another suggestion is buy dwarf bushes.They are so much easier to control.I worked at home depot in the garden center and believe it or not they sale the outside perrinials even when the exact same plants inside are not.Just rember good soil will give you a good plant.I could go on just don't be afraid.The worst that can happen is you don't like what and where you put it and remove and reseed.Nature is very forgiving.
    • See 2 previous
    • Nancy Jenkins Nancy Jenkins on Mar 04, 2015
      @Katie Dillon We used to live on Vancouver Island, BC where lovely gardens throughout Victoria and area. Dad was a green thumber as I am. Just the deer or someone is taking my bulbs. Have to pick up a box of Daff's when I go to Island. The nice smells from what my dad planted.
  • Becca Becca on Mar 03, 2015
    If you have a freecycle.org in your area you can put a post there and request plants to share. Many people are more than glad to share some of their perennials when they need dividing. I got a car load of ground cover once from a post on freecycle. I had to go dig it, but well worth the effort for free plants. We personally have given people loads of daylilies and perennial herbs when it's time to divide them.
  • Lauren Lauren on Mar 03, 2015
    Once you have some landscaping in place, like bushes and flowers, adding in some garden lights might be a nice touch. You can find motion sensing path lights that just mount into the ground with a stake. They can be relatively inexpensive and easy to install. Good luck!
  • Bstevenb Bstevenb on Mar 04, 2015
    The Montreal Botanical Garden shows one way to "embrace" a big tree!
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on Mar 04, 2015
    I think your house is an open slate rather than lacking curb appeal. I agree with embracing the tree, they offer shade, fresh air and don't always look dark, it is the time of year. I would do some landscaping, not expensive or difficult to do, A few flowering shrubs can wake up a dark space. Absolutely paint the front door so it pops to the forefront. If you are nervous about the changes call a landscaper, get some brighter greens and pops of color in plantlife. Have Fun, congrats on your new home.
  • Pam Mariner Good Pam Mariner Good on Mar 04, 2015
    Good advice from the posters here! I think I would focus on painting the front door with something bright (burgundy, rust, red) first and when it is warm enough for plants to survive, add a couple of chairs and some pots of colorful flowers in yellow, the door color, and some variegated greenery. You can also get coordinating outdoor fabric (check JoAnne's outdoor fabric and use a 50% off coupon) for pillows to make the chairs comfortable and welcoming.
  • Schwarzy Schwarzy on Mar 04, 2015
    Thanks. I'm still really at a loss with color ideas. We're working with the dark brown, white and yellow (though my husband is insisting it's beige).
  • Lindcurt Lindcurt on Mar 04, 2015
    A porch rail, similar to the one on your back deck might be a good choice for the porch posts that are on the left side of the door. I'd probably paint it and the posts white to match the window trim. My mind keeps going back to a creamy yellow shutter and a green door. Those colors could be repeated in a variegated shrub. A big pot of blue lobelia to the right of the front door would be beautiful. Wish I could grow it in Kansas but it just burns up when it gets hot. Bet it would grow in MD. I liked the Freecycle suggestion. I helped an elderly neighbor thin out her daylily and iris beds in exchange for all the extras that I wanted. It took a bit of effort but the price was right. Stella D'oro daylily would make a pretty ground cover for the slope. The foliage stays green all winter in KS. Some ornamental grasses would soften the corner of the house on the down hill slope.
  • Jeri Jeri on Sep 29, 2016
    I like the idea of a short railng in front. Hang a couple window boxes on the outside of the railing filled with right colored flowers. Maybe a bright rust color on the door?? J.J.
  • Jeri Jeri on Sep 29, 2016
    I see my post is quite late compared to the original post, What did you eventually do? (oh, and I meant "bright" not "right".
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