Help with this 1941 bungalow

cbachick17May 21, 2010

Hello! I'm new to this forum but have seen the wonderful help coming out of here, so this is my first post.

We are currently renovating a 1941 custom home. The interior is coming smoothly, but we are completely stuck on the exterior. Our budget is limited, but we are willing to DIY our butts off. Specifically, we're looking for advice on removing the overgrown foundation plantings?

The only thoughts we've had so far:

-Painting trim and shutters dark navy blue or black

-Staining the cement back to its original brick red, laying brick pavers alongside the front walk

-Painting front door red

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I look at your house and see a LOTS of potential with minor changes. It is one of those houses that is a few steps away from gorgeous. The ultimate question is really how big is the budget?

Putting brick along the walkway would give you a more welcoming walk and help accent your brick chimney. I would leave the cement alone to keep it as a contrast to the brick edging. Paining the shutters is a yes, but maybe replace them with a set just slightly wider than what you have now?

I also see that an entry portico would make a HUGE difference. If you are DIY folk, this is fairly inexpensive in term of materials. Nothing large, but a small triangular-roofed entry (to mimic the left side of the house) with basic collumns going down to the stoop.

At that point, probably having blown my budget, I would selectively remove some of the bushes and reevaluate at every stage. On the bushes that I leave behind, I would try to do some rejuvination pruning (you can google for directions). What I would not do is just lob them off at the tops. The cottage look that goes with your house needs irregular shapes. Leaving a little evergreens behind will give you year round color. Then, depending on you sunight and zones, you can plant some lower growning annuals or perrenials to serve as "underplanting" for the pruned evergreens.

That's my ideas. I wonder if anyone else has anyting better?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 8:11AM
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I like much of what dianaadele said. I think the path would be lovely left alone and edged in brick to widen it. Of course to do that you would have to remove that taller clumpy end of the hedge. Removing that will open up things a lot. If you decide to keep the rest of the hedge--When you remove it you will find that the next one is unsightly with no green where it was butted up to the other one . That's because it had no sunlight there. Prune out any dead branches and when the light reaches it it will soon bush out.

I do think that if you paint the shutters and the door they should be the same color to keep the continuity of color. A red door might be too many colors of red with the brick and sidewalk. Navy would give presence to the door that you want and matching shutters would give that same burst of color to the other side of the house.

I don't like those 2 ball shrubs on the other side of the house--too much symetry for a flower bed, I'd take 1 out and fill in with perennials. I'd also widen that bed and put some more flowers in there. Don't overcrowd the perennials, leave room for them to grow. Just mulch around them.

Just a few ideas. Landscaping doesn't have to all be done in 1 year. Draw up a master plan on paper so you know where you are going. You can always add flowers other years. What you want to do now is get the sidewalk done and maybe painting

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 11:46AM
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Shutters are really cheap and easy to make yourself. You could make them wide enough to actually function instead of those thin fake things.

You can see the shutters we built if you scroll down a bit on the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: shutters

    Bookmark   May 22, 2010 at 1:07PM
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karinl(BC Z8)

Rejuvenation pruning is all very well if the shrubs in question are the right ones in the right place, but these ones don't seem to be. They are too big and too close to the house. In addition, their root system is extensive, and will drive fast regrowth that this poor overwhelmed little house doesn't need.

The house is small enough. Nestling it into a big mass of shrubs just makes it disappear. Clear its base and put your plantings out further in the yard.

This is a corner house, yes? So I would make a good side-yard shrub planting to close in the yard a little. I do not believe in perennials as landscaping plants - the landscaping is in the bed you make for the perennials and the edging you use - because their appeal is brief. Perennials are just jewelry. But shrubs have year-round presence, some evergreen, some deciduous. One corner house I drive by often has a lovely island bed of shrubs, a very well-selected grouping, placed diagonally across the corner of their lot.


    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 2:27AM
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I agree with KarinL ..... again.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 5:55PM
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What karin said only more bluntly: dig up and throw away all that green stuff. Then a couple of questions, do you really want to accentuate the brick chimney with a walkway and can you see this three dimensionally so that the chimney is NOT the main feature?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:10PM
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pippi21(Z7 Silver Spring, Md.)

Photographs are sometimes deceiving as far as actual color. What color is the siding on your house? Is there a basement? If you have a basement, there's got to be some windows hidden behind all those evergreens, blocking out light to the basement and also causing other problems like dampness,etc.
Is the sidewalk concrete that has been stained? Get rid of the house # painted on the steps. Add an attractive exterior porch light, with attractive house numbers on the opposite side. This house has a lot of potential; have you purchased this home to live in or is it going to be rental property? I don't see any storm door on the front door. Call it old fashion but not only does a good energy efficient door help with heating and a/c bills but it protects you from unwanted other words a security feature. You can always lock a storm door from the inside and still let in daylight. I noticed the front door was wide open when this picture was taken. Think of all the heat/ac going out the door and letting all types of insects into the house. Remember Rome wasn't built in a day. When you are a homeowner and buy an older home, there will always be something to be fixed up, vs buying a brand new home. Homes built in that era were usually well built, compared to some of today's brand new homes, even though today's building codes may be better. It all depends on the quality of the builder back in 1941. Look around in your neighborhood, not just on your street. See what others have done, take pictures. Sometimes taking walks in one's own neighborhood can give one ideas. If you see a house that is well maintained, has attractive landscape or curb appeal, take a picture of it. Look through magazines for ideas. In these home building/remodeling magazines, you might find a house similar to your style. There may be features on the new homes that you like and can use on your 1941 home. I think maybe adding a wrought iron railing or even a nice vinyl railing would dress up that entryway stoop/landing. The idea that somebody else suggested of a small portico to match the line of the front of the house would be nice. Even just planting beautiful, colorful flowers in a container and putting them on that landing/porch/stoop would change the appearance.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2010 at 3:17AM
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