Front-of-House Face Lift

Have you ever made  a change around your home and then wonder why you didn’t do it sooner? A re-do of the front of our house was one of those times.  We’ve been in this home for 11 years and the trees and shrubs were getting too over grown. The shutters needed painted. I wanted to change the color of the front door and get new light fixtures. Well, this is the year we made those changes.

This is what our colonial style home looked like before the re-do.

The previous owners did a great job of landscaping the entire yard and they used a lot of specimen trees and a variety of shrubs that provide nice contrast and interest around the yard. The tree to the left of the front door was a  fabulous tree with tons of character, but it grew like crazy and both trees on either side of the door were just getting way too big.  They had been bugging me for the past couple of years and I finally convinced my  hubby to take them down.

Our shutters were previously green. The front door was a dark raspberry color.  A little Christmas-y now that I think about it. Our shutters were due for a paint refresh and I was stuck between two colors; a dark slate blue or the dark taupe that I ended up choosing. The dark taupe does make the shutters blend in more with the house, but in the end, that is what I wanted them to do. Choosing a neutral color for the shutters allows me more choice in paint colors for the front door in case I want to change it up again in a few years.The shutters are just a shade darker than the color around the door.  I really didn’t want the shutters to be the attention grabber for the front of our home.   I wanted the front door and the landscaping to be where your eye was drawn. I repainted the front too.  l love the color, but I actually think I need to go a little darker with the color. Another paint job coming soon.

When we removed the two tall trees from either side of the door, I knew immediately that we did the right thing and that was the moment when I wished we had done it years ago. It just opened up the whole front entrance. We took about a year to decide what we wanted to put on either side of the door. I was actually fine with nothing, but my husband wasn’t.  We eventually decided on these dappled  willow trees There is  story with these trees. Both of these trees went through some kind a transfer shock and all the leaves turned brown after we planted them in the ground. It was awful. I thought we might have to replace them. But I did my research and found that this can happen with dappled willows and to be patient and they will bounce back. All the brown leaves fell off and then we had naked trees for about and month. After about two months, they bounced back! I really like the dappled willow because the tips of the leaves turn a light peach color and look like the trees are flowering. The dappled willows are not too dense and can be trimmed back so that they don’t get too big.  I think they are just perfect for this spot.

We added the dwarf Japanese maple a year or two before and it is another one of my favorites. This will stay small and the red color gives some interest to the landscaping. The previous owners had added a lot of rocks in the landscaping. Again, the rocks make the landscaping more interesting.  Just a few weeks ago we switched out the lanterns on either sides of the door. This was another one of those things that I had been wanting to do for years. I think I was over-thinking my choices.  Me… overthinking??? Because of the colonial style, I had to select something that was in keeping with that style. The new fixtures are simple, but another subtle change to the front of the house.

We pulled out three of the boxwoods. I hate yanking out trees and shrubs. It seems so anti-nature, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Thinning them out just made the front open up and now you can see the hydrangea so much better. The front of the house doesn’t look as heavy and congested.

In the background, you can see the weeping cypress that we put in a few years ago. It is a really neat tree and I like it because I cut some of the greens off and use them as garland at Christmas time.  This cypress is growing very fast though. I hope that it doesn’t get too big for where we have it.

Just another view of the landscaping around the front door. This poor hydrangea has been moved about 4 times while I worked everything out in the landscaping, but it is a trooper. It held up through it all producing beautiful blue and pink flowers. And of course, my love ’em/hate ’em hostas.



So now when I pull into my driveway, I am happy with how the front of our house looks and wish we would have made these changes sooner. Better late than never I guess!

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