Cottage Curb Appeal!

Lilyfinch z7 mid tnMarch 7, 2010

I took a walk today through the neighborhood, i love seeing how some houses are tweaked to look different, and how charming some are. Id love to see a pic of everyones front of house, if you have any! I love my neighbors front gardens, some are just so complementary to the home. I admit i dont have any, just this one, of my montauk daisies. But id love to see yours! Next year i promise to take more pics!

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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

This picture is from early August 2009. The narrow bed running along the top of the ditch was added in May 2009 so it'll take a few years before it fills in completely but it did quite well for its first year.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 8:35PM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

That is just beautiful! Is that white phlox? If you were my neighbor id defiantly have to step up my game! :)

    Bookmark   March 7, 2010 at 9:56PM
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I think the Montauk Daisy's nicely compliment the cute little pooch on the right! Woodyoak- what a beautiful bed! It looks great for a first year!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 7:45AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

The white phlox is 'David'. I think those Montauk Daisies would look great in my garden too - but I've never seen them here. I wonder if they're not hardy here...?

Lilyfinch - gardening is the neighbourhood competitive sport :-) there are lots of very avid gardeners on our street and the next and we all - politely - try to out-do each other :-)

I was surprised at how well the new bed filled in last summer. The point of it was to turn the remaining front lawn into a grassy path. It seems to have worked better than I expected! It's going to be interesting to see how it develops this year as things mature a bit more.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 8:48AM
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Beautiful curb appeal from each of you! I'm sure your flowers and gardens stop traffic on your street.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:00AM
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Our house was completed in March, but still had piles of dirt and clay in the yards until early May. We bought the bushes and my wonderful children came to the rescue by dividing many plants from their own gardens. Since these photos show the very first months of the yard, I am very pleased with the results. More will be put in, a lot will be moved and well.. isn't that the way of gardens?

sod and plants 2 days old

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:10PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

The front of my house is an ever changing idea. I'm trying to hold off doing too much planting in that area, knowing that I need to rebuild the front porch and cover. The wood is rotten and I really, REALLY hope this will be the year it gets done. I want to change it up a bit too.

Right now, the idea is to remove the brick steps. I'll replace it with a heavy wooden stair and thick white railings. I want to replace the square column with a round. I'm thinking of removing the porch roof, and extending the roof from the dining room that sticks out from the rest of the house. A slight curve to it would give me enough headroom and completely change the character of the house. More cottagey.

The shrubs are in place, and should really put out some good growth this year. There are tea olives in the back, gardenias in the middle, and nandinas in the front. I've got some heucheras in there too, since the area doesn't get a lot of sun. On the sloped section, I've planted knockout roses and lavender. A blue grass, , should fill in the bare spots. It's blue, like the lavender foliage. I've also got Baths pink dianthus to plant along the edge of the wall, spilling over. The goal is to have a lot of pink, blue, and purple in there all summer, with foliage to carry over through the winter.

Enough talk, here's the pictures.

The purple is a color in some of the bricks in the walls. You can see them better at the front door. This is the only place I do any container gardening, usually just sticking a fern and some indoor plants outside.

Coming from Main Street, you see the gardens before you even notice the house.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 6:19PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Token - that's a very attractive house! I'm biased, but I don't think you should replace the square pillar with a round one. I think square ones have more character :-) and your house has a lot of character. Are you on a corner lot? I like corner lots - lots of room to dsplay the garden. But most corner lots around here have very little depth to them - that doesn't look like a problem in your case though.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 7:10PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Thanks woodyoak. There are other houses in town that have round columns, and I suspect this one did too at one time. I'm still doing research to see if I can find out from the son of the former owner.

It's not a corner lot, but it is a double lot. Lots 41 and 42, bought with $300 cash in 1939. The house was built in 1946. It acts like a corner lot since there's a gully/stream along one side where the garden is. The small side yard is only about 10' wide. The depth is 250'. I've got just over 1/2 acre.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 7:33PM
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Beautiful photos! More, please!

Thanks for sharing.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 9:32PM
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Tom - I really think the purple is perfect with the brick. Your house and gardens look wonderful.

I am sure that I had friends who lived on your street. I wish I could remember what their house looked like. I lived three doors before the high school during my high school years. If you ride by there, you'll see a front chimney on the house, built in the 40's, sitting on a hill. I built this house with a front chimney because I loved the look!


    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 10:46PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I think a porch would be nice on your home, Token because who wouldn't want to spend oodles of time there relaxing and viewing!

Lilyfinch, I'm oddly attracted to the frame around your front door. I think that is very unique and gives your home character!

I grew up hating brick. We had a grey brick house, and EVERY house in Toronto was brick. My grandma had a paintable house (but sided it with some weird stuff instead) but had always kept it white. I could not wait to get a wood sided home to paint PURPLE! I moved to Georgia and my dream came true (however, painting homes is NOT my favorite sport, and I find I do it more than I'd like :)

You can see the house better below

You can see in the above photos we had no "foundation" plantings the last several years. The drought did a number on our elephant ears. We're hoping for a banner year, like this one was:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:54PM
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Heh. My house has no curb appeal, at least not from the landscaping. The front is this year's project...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 10:10AM
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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Token, i love the eggplant colored paint you used as an accent! It really is beautiful. I also love the trellis you have going up the side of the house. I was thinking of using one as well near my front door. I always love seeing your house and garden!
GGG- Oh wow does your house have curb appeal! I love it. I love that every nook and cranny has a plant living in it, and your arbor is great! I think your no trespassing sign is funny, in that if I walked by your house id be knocking on your door to get a tour of the garden! I also always disliked brick, but i am so thankful we own a home, so i dont think about it much.(also we are lucky, as our next door neighbor has orange brick, which makes me cringe!) Id love to get siding sometime tho! i am wondering, do your neighbors have painted homes as well? When i lived on long island we lived in a beach community, alot of the homes were painted fun colors!
Citytransplant, your house is so charming. I love the blue siding, so cheerful! I think its wonderful that your children also gave plants to add to your garden, it makes it so special. I always smile when i look at plant that someone gave me.

Irene, if youre feeling brave, why not post a pic and we can help toss around ideas? I got some great suggestions for my house, that i cant wait to start!

Woodyoak, i agree, it can be a neighborhood sport. I feel like im the only one playing the game lately around me, my neighbors love hedges and shrubs and no maintence, and for the past 3 years theyve been here my neighbor across the street has planted red geraniums with orange marigolds in a row. Thats it! lol

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 4:49PM
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GGG - I love your purple and green house! Your gardens really have a fantastic background. Perfect colors. I didn't realize that you have so many foliage plants out front. The colors of purple, lime and silver foliage are stunning! Such a welcoming look.

PS We have no "curb" so visitors have to travel down our long driveway through our mowed 2 acre meadow.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 6:59PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Oh, thank-you everyone. Yes, I now have a green and purple no trespassing sign. I live on crackville ave and one fellow in particular has even entered my home when they were doing some renovating! Then we have a lot of folks attempting to go door to door and "Sell" you things (they look in and see if you have anything worth stealing, come back and kick your door in). So it's not very elegant, but the reality of our community. You can see the Brinks sign, and I also have a community police protection sign. Someday I hope things will settle down.
Cameron, the foliage was from before the drought kicked in here. Those photos are a few years old. Hopefully this year all that is going back in since we seem to have plenty of water now :)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:36PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

These photos are so beautiful.

Lilyfinch, I love your doorway with the stone and brick and the urns are so beautiful. Are they iron? Who's that pup in the picture. What a cutie!!!

Woodyoak, I always love to see pictures of your yard. It is so nice and inviting. I think you posted a picture on another thread that showed your grass paths and that's one of the reasons I'm leaning towards grass paths in my backyard. I really like that look you have going.

Token, your house and gardens are so beautiful. My old house had its door painted very close to that color. It's such a nice, strong color and really makes a statement. I would have never thought of pairing it with brick, but it is perfect on your house. I'm with Woodyoak on keeping the column a square! Would you stain or paint new stairs?

GGG, your house is so full of character! Such a bold move painting it that color scheme, and boy does it work! The plants and the color of the house compliment each other so well.

Cameron, you have such an outstanding garden. Can we pretend to be driving down your drive and have you give us a glimpse of what we might see? Pretty please?!?!

We don't have any friendly gardening competition on my street. There's only about 10 houses and aside from a couple shrubs here or there no one really has much planted.
For fun here are shots of my front yard in the different seasons. With such a short season up here I've always tried to challenge myself into extending well into fall.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2010 at 8:52PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

GGG - What a fun combination! I particularly like the picture with the vine covered arbour. Your neighbourhood sounds a little scary though :-) I agree that Toronto can be a bit drab - especially this time of year... Toronto to Georgia is an unsual move - are you from down there?

Lilyfinch - while there are avid gardeners in our neighbourhood, there are also lots of homes where there is minimal to no gardening going on. Those are the places that really make you realize that you are not the norm :-)

Thyme2dig - I love the 4 season pictures. One of the things I've resolved to do this year is the first of each month I want to take a picture of the front bed through the arbour from the front porch so I'll end up with a sort of time lapse sequence, which should be fun/interesting. How long have you been developing your garden? This will be the 11th year for the garden here. Other than some mature and maturing trees we pretty much started from scratch. I believe in the genius loci - 'spirit of the place' - concept and the garden has more or less told me what needed to be done each year as it developed. Obviously, it's heavily influenced by gardens I've seen and reading I've done etc., but it feels like the garden tells me what it wants to be and I just listen and follow along. We're at the point now that the entire property is one coherent garden, so this year is mostly about refining things and adding vertical space. I have the advantage of being home full time and DH retired last year at 56 so we have the time and interest to devote to the garden.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Wow, you all have fantastic gardens. The greatest thing about this thread is that the houses and gardens are all so different! The front of my house on a hill and mostly hidden by a hedge in the front, but this is what you see if you walk up the steps:

The front yard is very private and is difficult to photograph because of the hedge. It looks best from the porch, which was my intent.

I use a shared driveway that is not next to my house, but ends up in my backyard. So my backyard is what most people see and it needs to be made more appealing. I should stop lurking and get some advice here.

Woodyoak - I enjoy your posts of the Landscaping Design forum but am not brave enough to actually post there!


    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:38PM
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I am really enjoying the photos!

And to humor you, here's a laugh:

I still wasn't standing at the non-existent curb! LOL :-) Ha!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:41PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Maureen - I think it's 'safe' to post on the Landscape Design forum these days. The really cranky people seem to have mostly stopped posting there. 'Curb appeal' is one of the red flag terms that raises their ire though - I think because it usually signals someone who really isn't interested in design, just 'prettying up', often in the context of a sale or quick flip of a property. What they really want are posts that lend themselves to a broader discussion of design issues, often becoming somewhat philosophical. Certainly my first experience there years ago generated lots of heat - I was as cranky as they were! And they still don't take me very seriously, seeing me as a 'flower nut' I think :-) And flowers don't register on the list of important things... But I'm an opinionated so-and-so and enjoy the discussions there.

What is the white shrub - mockorange maybe...? Big, arching shrubs that cover themselves in bloom really appeal to me.

Careron - You certainly have lots of space there! Any plans to fill that or will it stay as green space?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 6:55PM
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Woodyoak - that 2 acres (not all is in the photo) must remain green meadow grass (mowed below 9") per the covenants. I'd love to grow a lavender field. That's all southern exposure (north is behind the house, east is to the right of the house).

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 9:06PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Oh my goodness. The space!!! You all have so much room - even people who reckon they have a small 'front yard' have rolling acres compared to me. This is the view through my front door. Doorstep, pavement (sidewalk to you), kerb, road. That's it.

And this is the 'front garden'. A bit lop-sided because one of the Santolinas died this winter.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 5:20AM
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lisa33(6b Bucks County PA)

I've posted pics before, but here's my house with the new retaining wall and front porch in the process of restoration. First picture is of the garden in the summer. Plans for this year are to add some vertical elements, foliage plants in chartreuse and silver, and plants to cascade over the walls. I'm planning to plant pale pink climbing roses by the porch (Annie Laurie McDowell, a pale pink, double sport of Renae).

And here it is in the fall with a new porch roof, half round gutters, picket gate, etc. I still need to strip and paint the front door, trim and the shutters you see sitting on the porch. Any suggestions for shutter/trim/door paint colors? For now the main house colors will remain the same because of budget constraints. I do plan to do a limewash on the first story just to make it cleaner looking (it'll be some shade of beige/taupe, a touch brighter than the current rock face block). Among other options, I'm actually trepidatiously (is that a word? LOL) considering pink shutters (Cameron, I mentioned my thoughts about using Giverny as an inspiration for my humble little home!). GGG's lovely purple and green house gives me courage! I've also considered eggplant, black, some shade of blue...LOL...I'm all over the place.

Here's the view from the porch. I am truly on the curb. Luckily the view across the street is of a nice park. The empty space you see in the garden has since been filled with gaillardia and kniphofia.

Of course here it is when I bought it:

Better now--but still lots to do. Suggestions always welcome! I was hesitant to post since I've posted pics before and there is so much I'd like to improve. Whenever I look at it I can't wait to make more changes!


    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 9:35AM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Flora - do you have a back garden or do you garden in an allotment? Are those interior shutters I see...? Those are one of the things I associate with England... How old is your house?

Lisa - vey nice changes you've made there! I wouldn't lime-wash the first story if I was you. For some reason, that style of blocks has always appealed to me and I think painting them would just make them more difficult to keep clean. Have you ever used a photo 'paint' type program to experiment with colors? I find that really handy to get a feel for how alternative colors would look. I've been using Photoshop to try out different colors for painting our shed this year.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:51PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

Lisa, what you have done with that house is AMAZING! I love it. And I love the idea of pink with the green roof and those beautiful huge stones on the front. I also think that would blend with your neighbor. The house next to ours (which is also ours) is baby pink with hot plum (more like a fushia or magenta) trim. It does NOT match ours at all. Every other house on our street but one is beige or brown. Ours really stands out now :)
So one thing to think about is blending to some degree into the street and landscape. Our plan is to eventually raise the houses on either side of us, and have the purple house just be surrounded by an acre and a half of garden. So I didn't much worry about blending in....

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 2:33PM
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Lily -

I actually have a plan - I just need to implement it. ;) With a bit of luck and hard work, I might even be able to afford to do so, lol.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 12:59PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Lisa, I really like your porch. It's a feature which British houses just don't have. I suppose it's because we don't have the weather for sitting outside much and when we do we like to do it round the back of the house in private. Much less neighbourly. I would also agree that if it were me I'd leave your stone unpainted - it responds to your front wall with that natural reddish colour.


Yes, I have a tiny back garden about 20 feet x 15 feet. I also have an allotment but that is for growing edibles, not ornamentals, although everyone has some flowers on their plots.

Yes, those are interior shutters. But they are quite rare in Britain. You only really find them on houses built in the eighteenth and earliy 19th centuries. We are lucky ours were not ripped out in a fit of 'modernisation' in the past.

My house was built around 1818-19 and first lived in in 1820.

But please don't run away with the idea that we all live in historic homes or thatched cottages. For every one of those there are thousands of ugly, boring houses which most Americans would consider microscopic and old fashioned I should think.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 2:28PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

Flora - your comment re age and houses etc. makes me think of the old riddle 'Q: What's the difference between an Englishman and an (North) American? A: An Englishman thinks a hundred miles is a long distance and an American thinks 100 years is a long time.' :-)

    Bookmark   March 15, 2010 at 8:16PM
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quanyn(6 oh)

Lisa33 - I would go with an warm toned shutter - to coordinate with your neighbors porch roof. A light burnt orange or red? if you look at the picture with your house and the neighbors house together the impression might be more clear. You've done amazing things with your home. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2010 at 10:38PM
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happyintexas(z7 TX)

Here's my house last August on the day my son got married in our backyard. I have a yellow front door and have been toying with the idea of a purple door. I already have a purple porch swing in the back. Since the yellow door caused a few heart attacks in my neighborhood, I can only imagine what a purple front door would do. Too bad (snicker) that the HOA covenants don't address brightly colored front doors.

Anyway...I'm trying to reduce the amount of lawn I have both front and back. Right now, I think a pretty white picket fence and roses would look dandy across the front....

I love the Boston Ivy on the front...reminds me of Europe.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 5:36PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

I think a deep grape-purple front door would look great! Have you tried mocking it up using something like Photoshop? I find that a handy way to try out options - much easier than repainting things with a brush several times!

I wouldn't be so keen on the picket fence - but that's partly because it's not part of the common venacular around here. I like the sweep of green but understand the urge to reduce the amount of lawn. I think, with a house with as much presence as yours, you should have an overall plan for what you want to achieve before you start putting things in piece-meal.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 6:01PM
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"late" Spring, 2009.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 8:00PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

ooh - those are my kind of colors and I love shingled houses!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 8:39PM
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happyintexas(z7 TX)

LOL, woodyoak, an overall plan? Yes, my overall plan is MORE. lol I have an idea of how I want things to look, but everything is done piece meal in order to afford it. My plan is pretty darn flexible because you never know when you are going to find a great sale on something wonderful.

Hmmmm...I've considered that one of the reasons I want a low, swooping white fence well planted in the landscape is because very few other people have one. ;0)

I'm loving all the many different styles of houses and landscapes.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 9:35AM
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This is the closest to having a front of the house shot I could find. The flower beds in front are two years old.I need to add some height yet this summer.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:05AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Remember the song years ago about " The Purple people eater." that's what came to my mind when I saw pictures of your house. It is so cute and your gardens help make it. Now it took guts to use those paint colors but the style of the house suit them to a tee! You should send photos to BH&G magazine. Seriously!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:57AM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Thyme2dig..that last photo with the snow looks like a picture post card. Would make a great Xmas card.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:03AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I've been following along and really enjoying everyone's photos. From Flora's European fla*vor stone with wrought iron window box support, to Cameron's acres and everything in between. All very colorful, welcoming and inviting. Great thread!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 5:40AM
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lavendrfem(z6 CT)

I love this! Here's my house when I first moved in in 06

And here's a pic taken after the new porch was built and before I painted it white-

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 9:19AM
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I love this's our cottage early spring. From Stonegate Cottage From Stonegate Cottage

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:11PM
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