Covered Front Patio Digital Makeover


The weather outside is frightful, but my computer — so delightful. Ideas are coming from my brain… let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.

OK, so poetry is not necessarily my strong suit. But the point is that I refuse to give up on that confounded front porch, even though it’s raining horizontally where I live and probably won’t stop until, oh, about May. And it’s not that I mind working outside in the rain. I enjoy it. But my camera is not so thrilled about it, and neither is my son! Hah! So the front porch makeover has gone digital for the duration.

So. Where we last left our clueless intrepid decorator (that’s me), she had cleaned up the front porch and gotten it to this, more or less so-so state…

…and enlisted your help. Once again, I have to say, you people are AWESOME. What great ideas!!!

And you requested a wider view, so you could get a better feel for the house. Good point! So, here’s what the whole front of the house looks like:

You can see now why I’m struggling. Mr. Magpie calls that a “chalet” roof. At least, when he’s being nice. Mostly he just calls it names. Let’s just say we don’t love it. But the house was a great choice for us otherwise, so it’s what we’ve got.

At any rate, one of the great suggestions people made was to clear everything away from the front porch and start fresh, so I could really see what was working and what wasn’t. So I did that, and ended up with this:

Which is when it started to rain really hard and I thought I’d better take my camera inside.

But then I thought… a ha! Photoshop! So I pulled in my pictures and started to add things that we had all talked about.

The big thing about the house, of course (aside from that roofline “feature”), is that it’s flat. Like FLAT flat. So I have been working on trying to add depth and interest. Aside from dramatically extending the plantings in the front, I had already started to install a low split-rail fence around the front yard. Here’s the section I added this year, for example:

So for my digital makeover, the first thing I did was add the fence in all the way across. Like so:

That definitely helps a bit. So I thought I’d add in all the other things I’ve wanted to do or that you all suggested:

  • Paint the front door grey-green

  • Add a path and step up to the front door

  • Add shutters and window boxes under the small windows

  • Paint the garage door

  • Add some height on either side of the garage door

  • Extend the lawn to the driveway and fill in the plantings

  • Put a bench in the seating area

I really want a bench. It’s a great place to watch the kids play or rest when gardening. What I really wanted when I moved was to bring my old bench with me to this house, but the new owners requested it, so I left it behind. BUT, I saw this awesome example of a headboard turned into a bench at It’s the Little Things, and I happen to have a headboard floating around waiting for such a project, so hopefully I will eventually have a bench there. But with fewer pots!

Anyway, this is what it might look like with all that done:

Not bad, not bad!

But still, not quite there. The big problem, as so many of you smart people pointed out, is that the focus is in the wrong place. It shouldn’t be on the window, it should be on the FRONT DOOR. Duh!!! (Sometimes I’m kinda slow.)

So, how can we redirect emphasis to that tiny front door area? I’m thinking porch, right? A real porch. So I drew this:

Ta da!

That’s a big project and I don’t know if I will be able to do it. I’m toying with getting the look with a freestanding arbor, but we’ll see. But if I could pull something like that off, it would look pretty good I think!

But, just to double-check, let’s go back to our close-up view.

Here’s the porch again, cleared of all the stuff. (Especially, please notice, the star over the window — thank heaven you guys will tell me the truth and not let me embarrass myself, right? Thank you. Goodness.)

And here it is, all fixed up:

Now, if I can’t do the porch, it’ll still be pretty good. Not AS good, but still pretty good:

But I definitely like it with the porch. Maybe an arbor of the same shape would work — that I could definitely do.

I also planted river birches along the front of the house last summer to add depth. It’s hard to see them in the original pictures because they’re small and have lost their leaves. So I mocked that up, too, and grew them a bit to see what they’d look like in a few years.

Hmmmm…. what about from the street view?

Uh, yeah. I *might* have put in too many trees. But so much work! I don’t want to take them all out. Hmmmm…. what if I just take out that middle one by the house.

Maybe, maybe…. close up view?

I think that just might work!

So, genius bloggy friends of mine. What have I missed? What mistakes have I made? Truth. Friends don’t let friends accessorize badly. In other words, let’s not have another “Star Gate” situation. Lay it on me! And… what’s your absolutest mostest favoritist thing about the front of YOUR house?

You guys are the best!

P.S. Meanwhile, I’ll keep chipping away outside, but there’s not going to be a ton of real-life action on the porch until Spring, because…. The holidays are coming! I need me a living room! More on that in a couple of days.

Love, Angela



14 responses to “Covered Front Patio Digital Makeover”

  1. I LOVE what you have planned. Yes, on the porch! If you can do it, do it – it adds so much and takes away from the straight lines across the front of your house.What do I love about the front of my house? The big tree we planted the day we closed on the house – and the wonderful porch ‘over-hang’ that has a planter box underneath right now but, hopefully, will become a real porch addition next spring.Can’t wait to see more of your transformations! I have to get Photoshop! I’m thinking of the things I could do and save my sweetheart the skeptical looks.~Adrienne~

  2. You did a great job! I didn’t think about emphasizing the front door but that is exactly right. I like your idea of using an arbor to create that look. If you wanted, you could make the chalet go all Craftsman/Arts & Craft by paint colors…Here’s a Yellow and Green Craftsman House here’s the link to all kinds of houses painted with Craftsman colors – a Flickr group apparently. think your house is a fun one to try and figure out. I’ll look forward to seeing what you do with it. :-)DixieDixie

  3. Linden Townhouse Avatar
    Linden Townhouse

    It could be on “Curb Appeal!” It looks like you can do quite a lot on your own except the porch and the paved walk to it. That can be pretty pricey! Laying your own flagstones as a path could save a lot of money. Check out the blog, “Canadian Cottage” and see how they bought flagstones cheap on craigslist and did it themselves. It’s really charming, Angela. I knew you had it in you!

  4. It looks good Angela! Have you thought to have a new front door with sidelights put in? I think that would also add more presence to the entrance especially if the porch isn’t something you can do right away. The picture window is a large one and does seems to draw one’s eye to it. That’s why I thought sidelights on your door would help.We just recently pull out all of our old landscaping in our front and had new sidewalks put in with new low voltage lighting and new landscaping. I blogged about it. We plan to get a new Pella front door next spring and landscape around our screened in porch/deck next year.

  5. I like all the trees, I like the porch overhang, I like the fence, but I love the walk to the front door. That takes the focus off the window and the garage and puts it on the door. Lets you know where to go when you arrive! Great job so far. If nothing else do the front walkway and the fence

  6. Thirkellgirl Avatar

    I like the porch/portico idea, but I don’t think you even need it. Just creating a path that makes the front door the focus will do it. And definitely a wreath on the front door. And I agree with the person who suggested sidelights… but that’s a big expense. Love the window boxes! How about a pot (the black one?) right near the front door?

  7. The front porch thingy really makes a huge difference, I’d definitely do that if you can find a way. I really like the idea of the shutters and windowboxes too, and the fence adds a lot also. I also really like the color of your front door.

  8. Much better!Hey, until you can get the porch on there, try putting two tall white urns out on each side of the porch. It will heighten it, sorta like posts.

  9. Hey Angela!Thanks for coming to see my blog. I always get excited when I hear that someone reads and is nice enough to comment!I really like the front yard makeover. I love the fence and walkway idea, especially because the street is lined with a sidewalk as well. What do you think of a rock walkway? We have a couple around our house. If you live near an hilly expressway like I do, you could “borrow” some giant flat rocks off the side of the road and lay them yourselves…just make sure to put sand underneath them. The grass growing between them could add to your cottage feel. Just an idea!Angela

  10. Nice work-up but think about the river birch trees, we planted them too close to our house 10 years ago. They are huge, messy and fill our cutters with debris. I love the bark but not enough for the other messes. I think all those trees make the house look flatter and small. I like it before you added in all the big trees.

  11. WOW, your photoshop work looks fantastic! Love the overhang porch and the bench and the front walkway and the trees. But it looks good without the front porch too, if you have to wait a couple of years to afford that big job. But I DO miss the table and chairs out there! And two of the planters! Oh well, it is clutter-free, which most people like, I guess. :)Well, you did a great job in real life and in make-believe/photoshop life and you should be proud!Best,GloriaP.S. I guess I am the only one, but I did NOT mind that star being there! LOL!

  12. P.S. I forgot to say: I love that little gate and fence that you have on the right hand side. I LOVE a rounded gate/door like that!gv

  13. The height on the end of the garage roof; if you evened it up, the whole house would look better. And g0t rid of those slitty windows in the garage door.A lot of concrete there, counting the driveway; how about a flagstone walkway instead?

  14. I wanted to share one of my favorite trash finds that you might consider as a cheap porch substitute. Freestanding arbors are great but expensive. I was driving in a parking lot behind a strip mall a couple years ago and spotted three 8-foot sections of abandoned deck railing. I had my handyman screw them together into an arbor to shelter the chairs in my garden.It’s 8 feet wide across the top and 6.5 feet tall (one and a half feet of the uprights are buried in the soil for stability). It is very sturdy and substantial looking and provides a great trellis for growing flowers or even pumpkins on and over. All for free except a small fee to my handyman.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *