Monday, November 10, 2014

Working on Curb Appeal

We've been working on improving curb appeal here at the homestead.  Our house is 42 years old this year; it's a child of the 70's.  :)  Now that we've gotten our son through college, we're focusing on making some improvements to our home.  Fortunately, we were able to have our kitchen renovated two summers ago -- what a difference that made!  Duncan is just about fully house-broken, so we're going to replace the carpet in our den and hallway after Christmas.

Currently though, we've been focusing on sprucing things up outside.  I thought I'd show you a comparison of our front porch and surrounding landscape from last winter versus now.  It's not a huge change, but it does look much better.

This is how the porch looked this morning when I took pictures,

and this was how the porch looked back in the summer.  We purchased this little bird house at Lowe's two or three months ago.  It looks sort of blue in this picture, but it's actually white.  I love the simulated copper roof and the scalloped trim under the eaves.  Little touches here and there really do make a difference.

Here's the porch back in February during one of our snows.  It looks a bit very sad and neglected.  There are no plants on the porch, the one rocking chair looks lonely (its mate is on the back porch), the little green table looks empty with nothing on it, and an old door mat is overdue for replacement.  To make matters worse, the shrubbery area to the right of the porch had gotten overgrown and somewhat out of control, with some big, thorny weeds trying to take over the landscaping.

Back at the beginning of the summer, and again this weekend, we cut our Cotoneaster (the viney ground cover in the foreground) way back and trimmed and shaped up the shrub directly behind it.  We got rid of those vicious, thorny weeds and pruned our David Austin climbing rose.  Fortunately, the Holly tree at the corner grows in a nice shape and doesn't really have to be pruned.

By doing just a few things, our porch looks much better and definitely more welcoming.  That first impression of your home is important, isn't it?  Hal brought my flower pots up from the basement for me, and I planted a mix of summer annuals in them.  I added a Tassel Fern to the little green table,

and we got a new, and much nicer, mat for the front door.

At the same time that we got the little bird house from Lowe's, we purchased these trivets with casters to set the big flower pots on.  They're painted wrought iron, nice and sturdy, and they make it so much easier to move these heavy planters around.

This was the result after all our work this summer -- much better in my opinion.  The climbing rose is propped back against the house, but we're going to have to put a taller trellis there since the rose has grown so much.  I love the one currently there, but we'll just use it somewhere else.  The Dwarf Japanese Hollies have been trimmed back as well.

So we went from this...

to this,

and now this.

You'll notice that one of our porch lights beside the front door is missing in action.  It's being sanded, rubbed, cleaned, and polished before we put it back out.  Then we'll do the other light.

I planted two dozen pansies and two ornamental kale plants this weekend.  See the plastic forks sticking out of the planters?  That's my "forktress" that I wrote about this summer.  :)  The forks look kind of funny until the plants grow and fill out, but they're great for keeping the squirrels from digging in my flower pots.  I got this easy and inexpensive idea from Lynn at Happier Than a Pig in Mud.

Here's the other side of the door -- more flowers, more forks  :-D  and my favorite little bunny.

The fern has grown quite a bit since I first planted it this past summer.  I'll have to bring it in the house soon; our weather's supposed to turn cold later this week.

My funny, coppery-looking snail.  ;)

A fall wreath for the door,

and a fall flag.  I've had the wreath and flag for years, but they're still in like-new condition.

The next thing on the list is to re-paint our rockers.  The paint looks bad on both, and the worst one is currently on our back porch.  After that we need to get our porch columns and all our trim work (including under the eaves) re-done, and replacement windows throughout the house.  We just do a few projects a year so that we can pay as we go.

These rocking chairs are special to us; as with so many things in our home, they were a gift.  Our in-laws gave these to us about 18 years ago.  They came from P & P Chair Company in Asheboro, N.C., the original makers of the Kennedy Rocker.  Ours are called Carolina Slat Rockers, and like the Kennedy Rocker, they're really well-made chairs.  They should probably last a lifetime, but we definitely need to re-paint them.

My husband took some pretty pictures of the fall colors in our yard late yesterday afternoon as the light was starting to fade.

and a few last pictures of the porch and landscaping that I took this morning.

After I finished all the lifting, stooping, digging, planting, watering, sweeping, and spreading a few pine needles, I was already tired and sore.  But I had a big smile on my face because it made me happy to see what we had accomplished since last winter and how much more welcoming everything looks.  This is not a spectacular update; we rarely do spectacular here,  ;)  but it suits us and that's what really  matters.

Thanks for sticking with me through this long post.  I'm sharing these little updates with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch, for  Metamorphosis Monday.  Have you made any changes to your house lately?  I'd love to hear about them if you have.  :)  Thanks for your visit and have a great week!



  1. Looks good Denise! Love that you've put cold weather plants in your planter, right now the only thing in my Forktress is... well, forks:@)

  2. Hi Denise,
    Your work has paid off and I hope you enjoy it. Your porch is a welcome entrance to your home. A little sprucing up and trimming of bushes works wonders!

  3. Lovely transformations to your front landscape and porch, Denise. It looks so friendly and welcoming. I think the rocking chairs are such a symbol of southern hospitality. I love how they even have them at the Charlotte airport. We have some that are white and every spring I have to scrub the green mold off of them :(.
    Your new birdfeeder is adorable and your hubby got some great shots of the autumn beauty.

  4. Your porch looks so pretty, Denise! I love that you tried the fork trick from Lynn and that it worked for you. Your pansies and kale look so good in the pots. You take pride in your home and your front porch is so welcoming.
    We are getting a cold front, too. It's supposed to drop 30 degrees tonight!

  5. Hi Denise. There is always something to do around the homestead, isn't there? It is looking really nice and I love the thought of you sitting on your porch rocking. I love a good rocking chair. I have one in the house but not outside. I was lucky I got a wreath on the door this year. Trying to get things done one room at a time means that when you are done, there is only one clean room in the house. At least that is a good excuse to let stuff slide!!. I got your posts by e-mail now so I'm catching up on Duncan. What a cutie-pie, but I can certainly see mischief in that little face..Happy Monday..Judy

  6. A pretty Fall wreath adds so much and I love the big pots and chairs on your home! Everything looks nice! Enjoy your week! Hugs!

  7. Love your porch! both the Fall and Winter....I need to start planting pansies now that the weather is getting cooler....your posts are getting back in to my email now!

  8. Yes it does look nice and I love the garden reflections in the door glass. Yes we re-carpeted downstairs last April and I think it will be on the blog somewhere.



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