Before-and-After Home Exteriors
These before-and-after exterior makeovers will give you all the inspiration you need to spruce up your curb appeal.
Homeowner Alexis Walter loves all things French. "When we bought this house, the first thing we thought of was adding a bit of France to the yard," she says. Such formal structure was needed to bring order to the overgrown cottage garden. With a fistful of inspiration photos, she began to implement her wishes. Later, landscape architect Aaron Adolph of NOLA + Design refined the plan.
Making the garden both formal and functional topped Alexis' list. A parterre garden was the key to fitting it all within the postage-stamp-size front garden. The Japanese boxwood hedge and corner cones add structure. Pruned 'Savannah' hollies near the street add height and screening. Rosemary, thyme, and oregano bring herbal aromas to the plantings, while ivy softens the stairs. Alexis almost doubled the foot-print of her front yard by placing parterres in the sidewalk strip.
For the young family who moved in, this older cottage needed an update. Overgrown azaleas had swallowed the front terrace. There was no direct route from the street to the front door, leaving the yard a confusing mess. Landscape designer Todd Dorlon of TMD Landscape Designs came to the rescue. He advises homeowners not to cut corners. "Have patience, do the job right, and plan it in phases," he says.
Todd removed the offending azaleas in front to give better access to the door and the updated terrace. The level front lawn just steps away from the terrace became a new play space for the family's young kids. Boxwoods are the garden's backbone. Todd also replaced the original dogwood in the yard's front corner with a 'Winter King' green hawthorn. A new gravel parking space by the street welcomes guests. Larger columns with subtle copper lights direct you to the front walk that now connects to the terrace.
When Alex Smith decided to renovate a 1920s bungalow, the goal involved more than gaining office space for his design firm. It combined the three things he strives to offer clients: respect for the land, a passion for horticulture, and a love of Southern architecture. The big idea was to honor the home's architecture. He also wanted to create curb appeal to showcase his team's work for visiting clients and friends.
Strategically placed American boxwoods in a sweep of pachysandra anchor the corners. A stewartia tree adds height as well as four seasons of interest, while period-appropriate nandina graces the garden with berries in fall and winter. A manicured 'Zeon' zoysia lawn provides a place for the eye to rest while taking it all in. Vintage camellias and paper bush brighten up the borders in winter. 'Thalia' daffodils and moss pinks tucked into the beds welcome spring, and ox-eye daisies on the front embankment flower into autumn. These ever-changing elements keep the landscape vibrant in all seasons.
Garden desginer Daniel Keeley was drawn to this cottage, built in 1948, because of its simple, symmetrical design and relatively level, corner lot. He saw opportunitiy for creating unique spaces for gardening and outdoor living.
The new windows, brick cladding, lamps, front door, paint, gate, and planters made a huge difference in this home's curb appeal.
"The house was already charming, but the brick was hard and it was lacking something," says Jeremy. "It needed some depth and lightness to reflect the homeowners' lifestyle."
Inspired by the architecture of Colonial Williamsburg, Bill gave his home the authenticity and substance it needed with a few elegant upgrades.
Bill first got rid of the lifeless siding, asphalt roof, mismatched windows, and flat, nonfunctioning shutters. He opted to cover the exterior walls and roof with more tactile cedar shakes. "The house was static before, but now it's more animated," he says. "The shadows and textures all enliven it."
Bill put every inch of his small front yard to good use by forgoing grass for a more impactful garden. He replaced the unruly vines, sloppy shrubs, and front walk with a tailored parterre of boxwoods and paths of antique bricks.
Wendy called in Atlanta architect Brad Heppner, and the two immediately started working on curb appeal as their first project.
“We made subtle but important changes to the front exterior,” says Brad, “such as painting the brick a warm light brown to help the house nestle into the surrounding trees.” Brad also added a cedar-shingled roof, a flared awning over the front door, and charming black shutters to the upstairs dormer windows, all giving the house more architectural definition.
While many of the porches' floorboards and railings had rotted and needed to be replaced, the front door (including sidelights) and all of the front windows and siding needed only cosmetic maintenance. The ebony door was restained, windows reglazed, and siding repainted with Sherwin-Williams' Palais White.
Using old photos as inspiration, Ashley had skilled carpenters copy the home's original second-story porch.
Landscape designer James Farmer helped Ashley complement her home with a low-key front garden of iconic Southern plants and casual pea-gravel paths.
Historical Concepts took it back to its stylistic roots, emphasizing the distinctive gambrel roofline.
"The new design made simple, effective changes—a second entry, similar in size and detailing to the original, was added to balance the facade," says Betty Dowling, Professor Emerita at the Georgia Tech College of Architecture and guest judge of the 2013 Southern Living Home Awards. Then, new matching, equally spaced windows gave the exterior a more cohesive and pleasing look.