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Prettying up the front of my house - how?

(39 Posts)
JustBeingJuliet Sat 23-May-15 06:14:10

Bought a 1950's ex local authority semi at the beginning of the year and I'm in the middle of doing a million and one jobs on it. One thing that really bugs me is the front - it just looks so unappealing, so I'm after ideas!

There's a front "garden" directly onto the street (no fencing, nothing in between me and my attached NDN), which consists of a knackered old bit of concrete to park on, then a scratchy bit of mud grass next to it (about 6ft x 12ft) which needs to go as the grass is never going to look nice due to being North facing/under the shade of a huge tree thus never getting any sun. There's then a concrete path bordering the property which leads down the side of the house.

Front door is an old wooden one, which is as scruffy as hell, and the previous owners kindly wrote the house number on the wall in some kind of completely permanent gloss paint, in huge writing! Any tips on getting this off, or how to disguise it?

Things I want to deal with:
Front door - replace or refurbish? Rest of house is UPVC
Grass - dig out and gravel/concrete/pave as a temporary measure? Or save up and get the whole front dug out and done nicely?

Any ideas, on as small a budget as humanly possible, would be great! Just need to create a bit of "kerb appeal". Did I mention my budget is like £3.77?? grin

Sunnyshores Sat 23-May-15 16:04:02

As the budget is limited, Id just get something done quickly and cheaply for now. You need to smile when you arrive home!

Front door - a new door will cost at least £1k, so I'd take it off sand it down, fill if necessary, paint, new chrome door furniture about £100.

parking area - you could spend £3k+ getting this all paved. So just dig up grass and use gravel, purple shale, small pebbles etc, for time being with border of flowers. A few pots maybe.

Painting on wall - a high pressure washer? cover it with a proper sign with on?

sacbina Sat 23-May-15 21:11:21

for the house number could you get a nice piece of wood from proper wood yard, or paint some wood, driftwood, slate etc and fix numbers. how big did they says scrall it on????

What's the tree OP? Could you dig up the grass and replace with some shade loving/woodland plants?

You could get a basic wood engineered door for a few hundred but I'd be tempted to paint your existing one and maybe replace the hardware, get a nice knocker.

Flower pots too but you're north facing so not sure what would work - ask on the gardening board maybe?

We have a 1950s ex council and it's never going to be drop dead gorgeous but we're working on prettying it up - the front garden is quite big and west facing so have planted one herbaceous bed and also have a wildflower area with fruit trees. We put a porch on the front with climbers and raised beds with evergreens. Planning to dig out the scruffy bit we park on and replace with that plastic grid stuff you grow grass through. We still have the ugly concrete path though, would love to replace that, but it might stay on practical wheelie bin grounds.

Next door have terraced their front garden and have a lovely sitting area that gets the evening sun, plus some raised beds.

CointreauVersial Sat 23-May-15 22:06:00

Definitely refurb the door - they are expensive, and as long as it's in good shape it's worth keeping a decent wooden door. Just sand and give it a few coats of outdoor varnish or gloss paint. Buy new door furniture if necessary.

Good idea about sticking something over the painted number - online companies sell slate or wooden signs in whatever size you want. Heaven knows how you get gloss off brickwork.

If you dig up the grass and replace with gravel - two tips. Firstly, put a sheet of weed block under the gravel so you won't get stuff growing through it. And secondly, choose small pebbles rather than gravel, or every cat in the neighbourhood will use it as a toilet!

Add a few pots planted up with geraniums or another annuals... job done!

(I pretty much did all this to our house over the last few years; also out some hideous old conifers.)

NoMilkNoSugar Sat 23-May-15 22:16:54

Miniature conifers in pots either side of the door, they can take a lot of abuse yet still manage to look nice. Can you use masonry paint to cover the house number up? Even if it's only to create a bright square to act as a border come background, when you put a brass/modern house plaque up.

JustBeingJuliet Sat 23-May-15 22:22:14

Some good ideas here, thank you smile

No idea what the tree is; its a great big thing that sheds sticky shit all over my car! That's about as technical as I can get grin

Covering the numbers up is a good idea, as I've tried thinners and a jet wash and it's not budging. The main numbers are about a foot tall and at waist height next to the door. Then they've kindly also painted the house number smaller on the wall at eye level, plus one of the kids initials under it. Why? Just why?!

I fancy a nice bright red front door; any recommendations for paint to do this?

Dulux weather shield is good exterior paint. I think they do a bright red.

sacbina Sun 24-May-15 00:28:39

a foot!!! blimey - someone seriously pissed off at not receiving their takeaway confused

CointreauVersial Sun 24-May-15 00:59:13

Can you stick a trellis over the painted number and grow something up it?

CheerfulYank Sun 24-May-15 01:04:09

Marking for ideas! smile

antimatter Sun 24-May-15 01:15:52

Take photo of one leaf and upload it here - we can help to identify it.

JustBeingJuliet Sun 24-May-15 09:53:41

This is the tree.

Trellis is a really good idea smile

antimatter Sun 24-May-15 10:06:13

It is Maple tree

Psippsina Sun 24-May-15 10:10:13

That's a maple of some sort. They can get massive, if it's near to the house that may be a problem.

I would contact the council tree person to come out and have a look - will be able to advise, either if it's a threat to foundations, or likely to be in future, or drains, or if so whether you're allowed to fell it.

International do a good 10 year outdoor paint. Or Dulux, etc.

Psippsina Sun 24-May-15 10:10:46

Oh x posts! I type slowly when ds is 'helping' grin

JustBeingJuliet Sun 24-May-15 10:15:12

It's very near to the house. That photo was taken with no zooming in from my front bedroom window.

Psippsina Sun 24-May-15 10:16:14

Well it depends on the species but it's probably worth getting someone out to have a look. You would have a lot more light without it, and could put in something smaller for privacy.

SavoyCabbage Sun 24-May-15 10:20:31

I think replacing the grass/mud with gravel is going to make it bleak. Something living, either more grass or shade loving plants would be better.

JustBeingJuliet Sun 24-May-15 10:23:05

Yes I'll get someone to have a look. It's irritating me because of all the tree sap on my car all the time, plus I'm worried about damage to the house when it's windy.

JustBeingJuliet Sun 24-May-15 10:29:42

It can't look any more bleak than it does at the minute, believe me! I certainly didn't buy this house for its kerb appeal, that's for sure! It's got a lot of potential though and the inside space is brilliant. Will just take a few years and a lot of cash to get it nice.

lalalonglegs Sun 24-May-15 11:44:47

If you shingled the front and established where the car was to go then you could plant a lot of perennials around the rest of the front yard - they are very cheap in autumn when garden centres sell off their stock. You can also plant a lot of bulbs (again very cheap via internet stockists about end of October/early November when you have missed the ideal planting time but they will still come through). Once in, they don't need a lot of care and they tend to spread.

Yes, get rid of the tree. Keep the front door - original front doors always have a lot of charm, a good sand and some fresh paint (go for quite a bold colour but make sure it doesn't clash with your brickwork if there is any). If the painted numbers are gloss, try scrubbing them off using some paintbrush cleaner.

Geneticsbunny Sun 24-May-15 12:01:25

Nitromors might shift the paint on the walls. It is designed for stripping paint off woodwork so should be good for getting gloss off walls.

antimatter Sun 24-May-15 12:12:10

Re: tree
Would your house get too much direct sunshine if you chop it down?

grumbleina Sun 24-May-15 12:19:07

Another vote for refurbing the door. Makes a big difference and it's not expensive. Mine was foul and a weekend with sandpaper, paint and new accessories later it looks well fancy.

Trellis to cover the old numbers is a genius idea - rose/jasmine/wisteria/clematis, depending on light/shade could be lovely and will make the front look nicer too.

For the lawn/non lawn what about a shade tolerating ground cover? I've seen Mondo grass do well in shade, or else even a moss. Or else don't worry for now, save up to pave it. Don't gravel, unless you also fancy starting a thread called 'how do I stop the neighbourhood cats using the front of my house as a litter tray'.

A fence between you and the neighbours? Or a low brick wall? I think it always looks better when you divide the space. Alternatively a hedge, if it's not concreted and you can live with waiting for it to grow.

Cutting the tree down is probably a good idea if it can be done!

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