sara_jar

Need inspiration for the front of my house and driveway!

Sara Jar
6 years ago
The front of my house is utterly bland and boring, no features and totally exposed. Apart from the york stone in front of the stairs it's all concrete. I desperately want to inject colour and greenery, get a bit of coverage on the sides, and do something about the concrete short of ripping it all up. I want relaxed informal look, lots of curb appeal and prettiness, any suggestions would be most welcome!

Comments (43)

  • Ash McGregor
    6 years ago
    What a handsome facade - I certainly wouldn't plant any climbers against the house! Large potted standard bay trees at either side of the bottom of the steps. Build large raised planters against the left boundary wall and plant up with large structural plants like bamboos for impact
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  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Thanks minnie101! I didn't know you could plant a wisteria in a pot, thought you had to dig a couple feet into the ground? But would love one. Agree i need a lantern porch light, and a pretty farrow and ball colour on the doors. I love that tree in the photo, though looks like it would come with a hefty price tag..? I definitely like the idea of climbers all around the edge, wooden planters you think? Maybe a wire trellis to support? What about painting the plant pots on the porch, maybe to match the door? What about the concrete, which is the most annoying feature?! I don't own the bit on the side, it belongs to a housing estate next door. Thanks so much!!
  • minnie101
    6 years ago
    Yes, I checked quickly before writing as gardening is not my forte! I would check it out properly though and keep it pruned so it stays over that area of the house. Most trees/plants will be dear, as will the pot, but shop around online and independent nurseries. It doesn't have to be massive, just something to add some height otherwise it may be a bit flat. Wood could be good for the planters or something with wrought iron. You can buy these adjustable balcony/wall hangers, these are from gardenxtras. I think Plants pots in the same colour leading the eye up to the door would work. Personally I'd go with the urns or bay trees at the foot in keeping with the property but I know you want colour and informality and I'm sure it would look pretty! Gravel is the obvious choice for the concrete but gravel becomes slippery on a hard surface. You could always create a small paved area in front of the window that shouldn't cost too much? Or put down a thin layer cement for the gravel to adhere to which I think would be fine (?!)
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    You have been so helpful thank you! Lots of research and hunting to do now, will post a photo once i've made some headway!
  • minnie101
    6 years ago
    Good luck with it all. If I find any pics for inspiration I'll post them. I've attached these from david domoney and kaem. The first one is different coloured pots placed informally which you may like and the 2nd is just showing the blue and white planter which could look great in the front,
  • maggieandrichard
    6 years ago
    Beautiful house. Wisteria in pots don't do well for very long, unless the pots are enormous. Your house looks very classic so topiary in pots would look terrific.
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Topiary in pots is a classic and beautiful solution but just to formal and clean cut for me. I used to live just up the road in an identical house but we had a lovely rustic looking front garden, photo attached. This is the kind of thing i'd like to achieve again!
  • pannacotta
    6 years ago
    You need some beds/border to create the look you are after, is there any soil there or can you create planting pockets?
  • pannacotta
    6 years ago
    And I agree a Wisteria would look great there but best planted in the ground with the house walls wired up which is a bit of an undertaking....
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    No soil, i need to put planters all the way round. I think i probably should dig down for the wisteria, a square foot perhaps. I want it to drape to the side more, and we're also putting in window railings on the big ground floor window which is a missing original feature, so some wisteria could drape on that.
  • vicky lee
    6 years ago
    In St Johns wood I saw a beautiful old wisteria which wasn't attached to the house it stood a little way off. It seemed to wrap around itself. It's They do need pruning and are a problem when you come to paint the house. My builders killed my beautiful three storey beautiful wisteria.
    Beautiful iron railings add interest to these period houses and define the boundaries. The are the classical spear like ones that were removed in the war, and the patterned lace like railings. They definitely need professional design.
    Car parking or not, rubbish does sweep into open spaces. Beautiful gates create boundaries.
  • vicky lee
    6 years ago
    Simple elegant gates
  • vicky lee
    6 years ago
    Right move image doesn't seem to work
  • juliepickett
    6 years ago
    Have a look at a strawberry tree, think you can grow them in pots and also , a banksia climbing rose to grow along wire, I would run parallel yacht wires horizontally in between wall posts, then it's easier to grow and prune , banksia will give a quick result but is way to prune , it has small clusters of yellow roses . I also think a potted tree would look good in the opposite corner to the tree in the roadway, to give a balance and screening to soften. Leave the rest of the driveway clear for easy sweeping etc.
  • alant1000
    6 years ago
    It looks absolutely beautiful as is. As mentioned many be some contemporary pot plants.
  • Jane Bateman
    6 years ago
    If you have no restrictions on what you do to the exterior, why not paint the window and architectural features in a colour?
  • bagpuss2
    6 years ago
    Raised flowerbeds at the edge would let you have shrubs? Smart topiary in pots at the door will be in keeping with the building. Lovely house- enjoy it
  • DHM 001
    6 years ago
    Beautiful classic house. (The photo doesn't enable us to see the concrete drive too clearly so difficult to comment). The inescapable problem to overcome is that the walls to both sides and to the front have been built and planned to take chunky, and expensive, railings. Anything else, such as hedging in boxes sitting on the walls, sadly will be a compromise. Good luck!
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    I would love to paint the front but the house is grade ii listed and so cannot paint over the buttermilk facade, windows have to be white i believe, even the railings must match the originals exactly.

    Sadly the previous owner planned to have railing all the way round but i really dislike the idea of building up a huge gates exterior, hence the idea of soft greenery.

    I'm now considering laying yorkstone all over the drive...

    I also wondered, would the planters have to be a certain depth to take the climbers i want it them, ivy and various other evergreen climbers..
  • soozmacrae
    6 years ago
    Symmetry is the way to go. Perhaps Japanese style. Simple yet so stylish.
  • minnie101
    6 years ago
    Hi Sara. what age is the house.? I don't think it would have had white windows or the wall colour originally. You can change it with permission. Mine is the same colour but seems to be getting a darker cream by the day so the job for next year and I may do the actual sash in a darker colour!
  • ladyfreespirit
    6 years ago
    Paint the house Wedgwood blue, pick out the columns, window frames and stair handrails in immaculate White. Create raised planting beds along the inside of each garden wall, approx. 18 inches wide, all the way along each wall. Plant all your favourite things .... English cottage garden plants would be very pretty. Include some trees for height : ie. Buddlieas, tall roses.
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    It's Georgian. I know for a fact that the facade as it is is protected, cannot change rails, colour or anything like that. And to be honest i would not want to, the street is beautiful the way it is and it would be crazy to alter the character of the few houses left that weren't bombed to pieces! It's just the driveway that lets it down, but there are some beautiful front gardens on the street, check it out on google it's Glengall Rd in South London. The actual building i love very much, the driveway is badly designed, it used to be factory offices, with a factory next door where the new estate has been built. It also is the only house on the street to have around a third more space, due to its previous use, which is why the front is a bit bigger and less cosy, i think. I'm slowly forming an idea for the design, planters, large potted tree, gravel, gates possibly, colour on the door and planters, some great inspiration from you guys! I'm aiming to have it all done by summer :)))
  • PRO
    Landscape Design by James Brunton-Smith Limited
    6 years ago
    The house looks amazing and certainly deserves enhancing, I would strongly recommend that you keep any solution simple and green. I love the idea of some formality to echo the period features and strong architecture - maybe some pleached Hornbeam or box trained Hornbeams set in planters on either side of the driveway (assuming there is no depth of soil).

    A large specimen Magnolia grandiflora in a planter adjacent to the front steps up lit with LED uplights will add a strong evergreen accent to the frontage.

    The concrete driveway is an asset from a practical perspective and would serve as a suitable substrate on which to adhere a resin bound aggregate - further enhanced with a tiled surround that is fixed directly to the concrete. Finally I am a big fan of lighting, particularly in the front garden - here it could be used to good effect as an uplighter on the proposed specimens or to enhance the house façade.
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Amazing response and a lot of excellent ideas to consider thank you! I'm definitely not a fan of anything resin bound, but lighting is a great idea i had not considered!
  • Yasmin
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago
    Personally, I find it great that the front of this house is bland as you can add your own ideas and make it more you. I will grow some nice flowers by the wall and get a red Benz to add some colour. ;) By the way, I love love love this house!

    In addition, for someone who loves taking photos, this house will make a good back drop for anything.
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    We actually have two cars parked on the drive, not quite a red benz but an old brown one! This makes our options a little limited, and it also doesn't help with trying to make it cosy. Does anyone have any thoughts on sprinkling shingle over the concrete and containing it, making it work somehow without digging?
  • PRO
    ReHabitat
    6 years ago
    Well, to me the facade looks really nice, at least it has potential!
    I would play with some colours above all with the pilasters, columns and decorations. An anthracite painting of these details would make them more relevant and give to the front a lovely look maintaining its classical and delicate design.
    The main problem I think is about the enclosure: it seems as it hasn't been finished, it lacks of something.
    I would think about a stone coating, not covering all, but only in certain parts, to give it some importance and maybe some wrought iron. Personally, I won't exceed with lots of colours or flowers: your house looks elegant and that's how it should remain.
  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Update- repainted the doors, fitted a porch light and added potted plants.
    Next- gravel on the driveway and potted hedge all the way round!
  • PRO
    David Chatfield Architectural/Int Photographer
    6 years ago

    Its crying out for a small tree.....indian bean tree (catalpa) i have two which i cut back each yeah and then they put on a meter growth. If you cut the back the leaves get big 8-10 inches but if you leave them they'll flower like mad and have long green bean pods hanging down. I have a yellow one and a green.

    If the pics are on the side i do apologise! !.



    Www.davidchatfieldphotography.com

  • PRO
    David Chatfield Architectural/Int Photographer
    6 years ago

    Love the house by the way

  • Sara Jar
    Original Author
    6 years ago
    Love the idea of a tree, also wisteria!
  • PRO
    Crystal Driveways & Landscapes
    5 years ago

    As a professional I'd look into a shingle driveway.

  • winterfloods
    5 years ago
    We've got a gravel driveway; it does tend to get redistributed over the roadway/pavement. Google "RHS front gardens" for some advice and inspiration.
    We've got large-scale topiary trees in pots but we used privet (rather than box) to keep down the cost and bought the pots locally. One photo shows our driveway, the other shows a fabulous front garden which won all sorts of awards at RHS Chelsea in 2015.
  • PRO
    MC Interiors LTD
    5 years ago

    Have you considered resin driveways? Look at my website www.mcinteriorsltd.co.uk

  • nicolettemckenzi
    5 years ago

    This is a handsome house. First...symmetry. Can you make the front pillars the same height. I would lower the LH one to match RH. A strong iron railing along the LH side and in the small front piece LH. Keep front door a strong colour....dark green/blue, navy, whatever, and paint the iron railigs the same colout. Avoid lots of small pots...messy and lots to water. You could

    i) have a narrow raised bed along the RH wall between you and the next property planted with a mix of small evergreen shrubs and trailing plants..small Choysia Ternata, etc., There is a trailing euphorbia (Amagloides ?) which is sculptural but relaxed.

    ii) Acquire or have built two or three large tree pots. When they are empty, position them in various places, with bamboo canes, to see where they would work best, and how many you want. I would suggest something deciduous with autumn colour and blossom, like a prunus autumnalis; a crab apple; a quince on dwarf stock; a columnar flowering cherry,Prunus Amanogawa....the choice is huge.

    Avoid cottagey annuals and too much patchy, mixed planting. I would keep pots square, in harmony with the raised bed. This house is formal and urban. Keeo it elegant and with strong lines broken by the foliage and trailers. I needs beauty, not prettiness. cheers

  • PRO
    MC Interiors LTD
    5 years ago
    Hi, lovely house
  • PRO
    DrivewayWise
    4 years ago

    Decorative concrete in darker blend such as platinum grey or at the other extreme Terracotta would enable you to frame this house. Yes, simply adding some shrubs or Topiary will definitely make the house warmer. But from what can be viewed the driveway area is in need of updating. The concrete at the front is bland and boring and some colour and pattern could take this house on a different kind of journey!

  • PRO
    Celery. Visualization, Rendering images
    4 years ago

    two years old post.

  • Becky Johnston
    3 years ago

    The front of the house looks lovely from my perspective. Clean lines and easy maintenance; something I would be looking for if wanting to purchase a property being that we all live such busy lives. Having said this, a bit of greenery would be nice, just a small amount to draw the eye as a focal point. Perhaps a few pots, all the same colour, on the steps, but not over doing it. That would balance the view as you have next door's large tree overhanging into your property. So I think any shrubbery on that side of the garden would be overshadowed by their tree. With a few pots on the steps, it would balance everything rather than digging up parts of the drive.

  • Becky Johnston
    3 years ago

    I just noticed that this is an old request, It would be interesting to see a picture of what was done.

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