This is an original photo I took one day before we did any work to the outside of the house.  It’s hard to tell much with this big tree blocking most of our house.  I spent a lot of time staring at this photo, making decisions and mentally changing things.

Sadly, I knew the tree had to go.  Trimming it would of helped for sure, but this is a maple tree and they aren’t the best choice for our climate.  Also, the tree roots were shallow and starting to crack up the driveway, another huge factor in our decision.

We started looking into updating our front door.  I really liked the black door, I think they look very striking on houses but this door was in poor shape.  It had a very bad paint job, but also the metal door had a lot of dents.

Our actual front porch is tiny, with barely enough room for a flower pot and we had small area with a row of clunky overgrown shrubs that were doing us no favors.

So we decided to rip them out.  Bye bye clunky shrubs, we’re gonna make ourselves a larger front porch!  Brian was also able to dig out and lower the valve boxes.  We never have to open them anyway.

We then added decomposed granite and stone.

The old shrubs were insane!  We were non-stop trimming them and they would grow back practically overnight.  They had super powers.

The tree was finally removed, then the dirt was leveled and sod added.

The clunky shrubs over on the left side of the house were next to go.  These were the shrubs I hated looking at from my dining room.  I enjoyed watching my husband rip them out of the ground with his truck.  Oh that was a fun day!!

The house looked bigger with the shrubs gone, but it also looked naked.  We immediately started planning our new front flowerbed.

Right around this time we also replaced our house lights.  The tiny faded house lights looked much better with a fresh coat of black spray paint and that held us over for a while, but I really wanted larger lights.

I will admit once we put these up on our house I was a little freaked out.  The last lights were so tiny and these lights seemed so giant.  I was convinced my neighbors were laughing I was the big light house.  I posted on Houzz and everybody calmed me down, they said they looked great and I could of even gone bigger (I’m not too sure about that).  You can see the size difference above.  I just needed to get used to them.  I love them now, but I definitely have the biggest lights in the neighborhood though.

I love our fancy house jewelry.  These are the Portobello Lantern from Horchow.  I looked everywhere for exterior house lights and no other store compared.  I wanted these.  Like I said above the large size threw me off, but now I’m used to it and I’m happy with our choice.

We decided to go with a stained wood door.  We purchased this one from Home Depot.  Replacing our doors have been so complicated!  You normally just swap the old door for the new door…but not with us.  It’s always filled with drama but eventually we got it worked out!

I wanted to warm the house up a bit and decided to paint the garage doors in Texas Leather by Benjamin Moore.  I also used Texas Leather on our back patio door and the kitchen window that’s in our square foot garden.


Our side fence is still doing great!  It really ads curb appeal, you can read our Fence Update story if your curious.

I like the lights, they make a statement.

We couldn’t be happier with our front porch extension.  The bench is the Almafi Bench from Grandin Road.  I love boxwoods in pots, they are so easy and fuss free.  Green and sweet all year long.

When we redesigned our front bed a large spot was left for flowers.  I need my flowers, they make me happy.

We use stones everywhere.  They just look so cute, they add that sweet homey appeal.  They’re also super helpful because I’m usually barefooted a lot outside.  It was Brian’s idea to have a stone pathway short cut through the flowerbed and it’s helpful when I’m weeding the flowerbed.


Another very simple thing we did to improve the look of the house was to remove our screens.  This might not work for everyone.  We have air conditioners so we don’t need to open our windows anyway and now the windows have a pretty reflective sparkle.

We have plans to redo our 3 side trees eventually.  We have another maple and 2 other trees that aren’t that desirable.  I would like to have oak trees added, but we’re overall very happy with our upgraded exterior.  I no longer cringe when I pull into the driveway.  Neighbors have been really kind, complimenting our efforts along the way.

Thanks for reading!  If you’re searching for ways to add curb appeal to your home it’s all in the details and best of luck!


Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment