From bland to beautiful - street appeal needed!

Sue Hamlet
March 28, 2017
last modified: March 28, 2017

Our 1990s house is small inside (though lovely) and we live in a regional area where value is a bit stagnant so we don't want to overcapitalise, but I'd like it to be more welcoming for us and to increase its value with better street appeal. The front faces East. Here are the challenges as I see them:

1. Just bland.

2. The entry. The patio juts out only slightly which is worse than not at all. It breaks the line of the house but doesn't look intentional.

3. The budget. We can do soft work ourselves and minor building, but once any work tips into council approval etc we start to use up funds we don't have. Prior to this, we got a quote on reconfiguring the roofline at the front and it was prohibitive.

We like contemporary styling for house and garden, not into cottage gardens.

Very open to adding some built landscaping such as screens, etc.

Advice on house and landscaping would be appreciated greatly!

Comments (33)

  • oklouise

    consider a vine covered pergola along the front path with a gable roof section in front of the entry...should be at least 2m deep to be comfortable

    Sue Hamlet thanked oklouise
  • PRO
    MB Design & Drafting

    Landscape. Spent the money on a designer to come out and do a design. Our's was just $800 for hand drawn sketch's. Doesn't need to be a Landscape Architect just a good designer.

    I see no major issue with roofline, it is what it is. I've seen some pretty woeful thing's but this quite ok. Maybe some chunky hardwood support post's perhaps?

    Spend money on maintenance issue's as well, leaking downpipes, poor stormwater control's, broken light fitting's, etc. then landscape.

    Sue Hamlet thanked MB Design & Drafting
  • PRO
    oski & fig

    I think giving yourself a proper entry or divide between the road and your home would be a great start. I added some images for some ideas:

    A Country Place · More Info

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    TERRAcourt · More Info

    Sue Hamlet thanked oski & fig
  • Sammy Elder

    Landscaping & planting. If you add plants of different heights & colours in front of your home it will draw the eye away from the bland front of house, add value and interest and can be done fairly cheaply. Paint your front door your favourite bright colour to draw attention to it and keep and eye out for some sort of large garden art or sculpture for the front wall between the two windows.

    Sue Hamlet thanked Sammy Elder
  • PRO
    oski & fig

    Love the painting a bright door idea. My go to are the primary colours or red, blue or yellow, but of course- personal choice!

    Sue Hamlet thanked oski & fig
  • Sue Hamlet

    Some great ideas, thanks! As for the door, I do like the idea of primary colours but we have a Crimsafe black security door which is discreet, but you wouldn't really see the coloured door behind that.

  • siriuskey

    Looks like the front door should be black, any closer photos of this , I don't really see a problem with the roof from your photo the house is a lovely simple design. Are you in a dry area?

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • Sue Hamlet

    A black door would be great, it's currently charcoal. I liked what someone earlier said about chunky patio posts too. Yes, we are in a warm temperate zone - we get frost and not much water.

  • Sue Hamlet

    More photos from several angles. In these you can see additional gardens since the above photos were taken, but we're willing for it to be a blank slate, I really like the idea of opening up the area in front of the patio area for some landscaping, pebbles, etc, and bounded by a partial screen, or plants, as shown in some photos offered in the comments. In the closeup you can see how the patio juts out just slightly, which really bugs me.

  • siriuskey

    Love the black door to match your screen and the chunky posts, it you have a second hand timer yard near by that's a cheaper option. A couple of photos of a house near us that has been renovated and the other is similar to what it used to look like, you are way ahead of the un renovated house.

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • siriuskey

    Perhaps a pergola added to the Patio to extend that part out would balance it

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • Sue Hamlet

    Closeup of the patio area.

  • siriuskey

    you'vealready made some nice changes love the roof as well, will look to give you more ideas tomorrow, dinner time cheers Sue

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • Sue Hamlet

    Thanks @siriuskey --- totally agree about extending out at the juncture of the 'little' jut out - I'm trying to work out what would work best ... maybe chunky posts but no roof, creating a courtyard out front???

    Any ideas on plants? As you can see, we were given some yukkas so have gone with that, but they do seem to be vastly overused in landscaping lately.

  • siriuskey

    Love free plants, actually anything free, you can make good use of these. Yes agree with chunky posts with no roof as this would make everything too dark inside.

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • Sue Hamlet

    I would love to call in a landscaper @MB Designs, but the quote was $40 per m2 for design only. With 120m2 of front yard.... that blows the budget. We live in a regional area and don't have a lot of choices.... luckily my Houzz community is not limited geographically. We are in regional Qld, 2 hours from the capital city.

  • brixnmorta

    Hi Sue

    Nice Lil House on the Prairie, you have there. :) I would put a verandah all the way across in colonial style, esp if the front rooms get hot?

    If the building line (& budget) allows, maybe a double garage in front and use the old one for a new room in the house. About 3 yrs ago, a d/gge was about $50K - maybe do it as owner builder and get quotes from a concreter, bricky and chippy etc and compare.

    Do yukkas transplant well? ...maybe shift 1 or 2 and put in cordylines for colour.

    Sue Hamlet thanked brixnmorta
  • Country House Gal
    I like the idea of the chunky timber posts. Maybe something like this?

    27 Bridge Lake Dr. · More Info

    How about a native garden? Flowering gums, grasses etc.
    Sue Hamlet thanked Country House Gal
  • Country House Gal
    beatnic burraneer · More Info
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  • Country House Gal
    Also think some blinds on the windows facing the street could brighten things up.
    Sue Hamlet thanked Country House Gal
  • siriuskey

    brixnmorta & Sue the renovated house I posted above turned the
    existing garage into living space and had the space to extend the house
    to fit a new garage, Unfortunately Sue doesn't have this option which
    I'am sure is cheaper to build (minus 1 wall).

    Maybe a nice double/single
    carport that could be used as parking and BBQ area, linking the rest of
    the house with a matching timber pergola, with the pergola stepping out
    from the entrance with a privacy screen facing the neighbours, or something like the carport at this end for out door living

    Your garden has changed since the first photos, you've done some great gardening.

    The pebble garden across the front needs to be re planted and perhaps some stepping stones from the boundary to the front entrance. Take you photos to a local Nursery and they should be able to advise what plants to use, the Yukka's can be moved to another spot.

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • siriuskey

    Avalon Garden · More Info

    Saxe Home · More Info

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  • Sue Hamlet

    Some fabulous inspiration in these photos - thank you !!!! I should have mentioned we do have a fabulous outdoor living area behind the house, and a half acre backyard, so the living at the front would be more incidental; definitely not the place for a party. All about the feel of the place as we arrive home, and its street appeal. I'm starting to think I want some ornamental pears to form part of the landscaping, perhaps a curving line from the front driveway, sweeping in to meet up with a pergola that extends from the little zigzag in the roof. Yes to fat posts, vines, screens, pebbles and some feature stone, etc. Sounds do-able. Unfortunately we have already considered and discarded the idea of adding a garage and purloining the garage as living space (for now). We would lose an internal room to get access to that, leaving us still with 3 bedrooms, so the idea is nice, but not going to yield much return for us. We could upgrade to another location and a newer house for that cost. I am so pleased at the input you have all given; I've been mulling this over for years and not got this far. Thank you!!! (keep them rolling if anything else occurs....)

  • siriuskey

    thought you had a bigger picture than what we were shown, the block looks quite large and there had to be a hidden outdoor rear area

    Pleached ornamental Pears would be lovely if they grow in your area, good luck

    Sue Hamlet thanked siriuskey
  • Sue Hamlet thanked brixnmorta
  • Sue Hamlet

    What a great resource thanks @brixnmorta

  • gardentime
    All you need to do is:
    *a modern version of a low picket fence and gate - just a flat top. Will define the space)
    *Put a foot path from the front gate to the front door
    *put a hedge in along the garden bed that's immediately in front of the house
    *maybe a cool feature tree like a magnolia Little Gem. A posh looking tree
    Sue Hamlet thanked gardentime
  • kate waetford
    Chunkier posts, pergola along pathway with a colourful vine (boug, mandevilla or jasmine). If budget allowed it I'd spray the bricks lighter and put a narrow deck along the front too.
    Sue Hamlet thanked kate waetford
  • philippawright

    How about breaking up the front area by add a carport pergola with pergola style sides in front of the garage.

    You could create more of a yard by extending the patio and fence it in using the same materials as the pergola

    Sue Hamlet thanked philippawright
  • pottsy99

    I like all the garden ideas ( it does look a bit sparse and 'rental property' look about it IMO ) , with a low fence along the front , a wooden screen a couple of metres in front of the door , etc , BUT when I looked at the very first photo -- the wider angle one -- the one thing you notice first is the yellow marker post on the left hand side of the driveway fence . So take that as a cue , and paint the garage door a bright colour to stand out -- primary or metallic or trendy , just one that you like , and personally I'd probably change the curtains ( or even dye them ) to the same colour as the garage door .

    Right now , everything is various derivatives of off-white and red brown earth brick -- needs a decent spot of colour to lift the houses look IMO .

    Another option would be 'natural' timber blinds , especially if you had them the same shade of stain as the screen and the front fence , but I'd still do the garage door ( and maybe the guttering ) your current favourite colour .

    Sue Hamlet thanked pottsy99
  • aconway70

    Trees. Traditional, tried. tested, true. A treed "avenue" for your drive and trees to frame and border your front yard. deciduous mainly but withe carefully placed evergreen or 2 depending on site requirements. Redefine your front patio to more generous depth and plant generously beyond. But try for a good bit of lawn near house as it will be used by young and old. Traditional.

    Sue Hamlet thanked aconway70
  • cathix

    Hello Sue,

    I like the ideas from siriuskey for a timber pergola with slats instead of a roof and including chunky posts and coming out about 2.5/3.0m from the existing patio roof.

    Remove the concrete edge and garden from in front of the patio area and pave under the pergola with the same charcoal pavers with gravel in between as you have done already. Include a couple of large feature pots in this area- I assume you will have a shade area out the back for BBQs and outdoor living, so the front pergola is purely for 'kerb appeal'

    Replace the yuccas in the narrow garden with softer shrubs that will grow to 1.0m to hide the brickwork under the windows- I think the reason the façade looks 'bland' is that the ratio of windows to brickwork is too small. If the windows were larger, or even with the sills placed lower, the whole façade would look more pleasing.

    Good Luck

    Sue Hamlet thanked cathix
  • Sue Hamlet

    cathix you have completely confirmed and expanded my take homes at this point after all the input and ideas, on top of the ideas I had before posting. I didn't mention any of them as I wanted to give free rein to everyone's creativity - which has been awesome. Thanks so much. In addition, I'm going to do a vertical wooden screen (varying heights of lovely thick posts to echo the pergola) placed at the back of the garden strip, extending upwards to break up the wall of brick. Hedges either side of this should look good, but possibly retain some yukkas in front of the screen to continue the green.