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Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

Posted by judy1ynn Wisconsin (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 11, 11 at 17:50

In 2 weeks basement wall repair of our ranch home will require excavating and removing all the existing landscaping from the front of the house. I hope to be save 2 or 3 of the rose buses (bad time of year to do that I know), but see it as an opportunity to improve the entry way, without any guilt from removing the huge evergreen/yew and the brick planter (which I think makes the house look shorter).

Any suggestions of ideas? Sooooo appreciated!

Here's a link to a pic of the house:

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

Clickable link to the OP's photo:

Here's another vote for getting rid of the yew.

I don't know that I'd say the planter makes the house look shorter -- you've got bricks of a similar height along most of the front wall. But from the photo, it looks like the planter makes a bottleneck to anyone trying to get to the front door. Consider replacing the planter with a small patio that extends out into the grass a few feet.

What are the two white objects to the left of the lamppost by the driveway?

RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

Wow, that is a major job! Do you expect that there will be anything left of your front yard after the heavy trucks and equipment have done their work? The soil compaction is often a nightmare afterwards. Good for you for thinking of it as an opportunity to try something new.

The tan brick that you have on the foundation seems to closely match the colour on the roof, separated by the blue of the siding. Unfortunately, on a one story ranch such as yours, it makes the body of the house appear from the curb like it is being squeezed between a giant's thumb and forefinger. That may be one reason why you think your house looks short - it HAS been "squished". In the ideal world, you would eliminate the cut-off. If the current brick doesn't survive the foundation work...or even if it does... replace it with the same siding used elsewhere to visually extend the height of the facing wall.

Another trick in making your house seem taller is to avoid a too narrow front planting bed. Instead, extend the towards the street in a graceful, inverted U so that the minimum depth of the bed is at least as tall as the wall behind it. The left arm of the U would be a continuation of that garden. The right arm should mirror it in size, becoming instead your new extended patio and walkway.

My last thought would be to paint the garage door in a slightly deeper shade of the siding colour, the front door in something contrasting and brighter . Have fun.

RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

I don't disagree with Adrienne's proposal but I do disagree with the objective of making your house look taller. Seems to me that its long low lines are core to its character, so I wouldn't try to fight them. Even with respect to the planter that doesn't change anything - like MTO, I'd want to open up the entryway.


RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

  • Posted by mjsee Zone 7b NC (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 15, 11 at 17:13

oooo....what karinl said. That's a classic MCM ranch--let it be what it wants to BE. Long, low, and lean. There's lots of period landscaping books out there. You needn't be completely true to the period...but it might help to see how houses like yours were "supposed" to look.

Interesting discussion over on retrorenovation linked below. ALSO...go to the library and look for Sunset publications books from the 50's and 60's...

Here is a link that might be useful: rerto renovation on MCM landscaping

RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

What your local library doesn't own, they can request for you from other libraries through their Interlibrary Loan service (sometimes free, sometimes for a small fee).

RE: Help! Ranch Home Re-do!

Interesting viewpoints. I would contend that the characteristic low profile and strong horizontal planes of a classic ranch-style home is actually more respected by decluttering the exterior facade and by mitigating the apparent roof-to-wall disproportion through visual means. Cheers.

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