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House exterior colors...

Posted by krelavie (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 1:40

Man, I'm glad I found this forum where I can solicit everyone's opinions! :)

So my hubby and I bought this house last year and for some reason the exterior really bothers me everytime I drive up...the snout house exterior with the windows remind me of Amityville Horror.

Here's my plan.

We won't be changing the vinyl color, but I'm thinking of adding black diy shutters that are functional (we live in FL). Paint the front door black, and spray paint the vinyl fence in the front yard black. Do you guys like the black idea? My house is the only blue one on the street. The rest are 1980s brown brick, creme, white, etc.

I would also like everyone's opinions on the front yard fence. Keep it? Get rid of it? The main bonus I like is that from the front porch, the front yard seems a little more private from the street.

I'm up for suggestions!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: House exterior colors...

Here's another picture...


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And finally, from the street....


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love playing with this program

Here is a link that might be useful: alside app


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Hi again,

I responded to your post about lights too. In my resonse, I was actually going to suggest putting black shutters on the windows. They'll look great against that blue AND dress up the windows a bit, which need it.

Also, retar the driveway so that it is black.

I'd take the front fence out and paint the back fence white.

Nice hanging flower pots between the posts of the porch. Maybe get some nice flowering trees (dogwoods?) in the front yard? Landscape slowly; it's expensive.


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I think the fence is too close to the house....I think it would look better down by the sidewalk or removed. I would paint the garage door and trim the same color as the siding so it fades into the background a bit and is not the focal point. Yes to lights on both sides of the garage and redoing the driveway.

On my monitor your house looks more like a baby blue or light gray...would you say it is more blue or gray? If it's more light/baby blue, I'm not sure I like black shutters..the contrast may be too harsh.


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Agree with Joanie about either removing the front fence or moving it to the edge of the front of the property.

I would not, though, paint the garage door, esp. not the same color as the siding. That will create one huge blank wall and will look very strange, in my opinion. what I would suggest shooting for there, is replacing the garage door with one with more architectural elements, i.e.: windows along the top, panels, etc. But that is also an expensive undertaking. Okay to take things slow and make improvements over time, prioritizing as you go along.


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I have to agree - I'm very hesitant on the fence. My house is more of a powder blue. It looks more blue in person, but it isn't a bright shade. When we bought the house, I really hated the exterior but it was the best one we could find in our price range.

I have seen those stick on things that look like windows but aren't really. I might do that for the garage door since I have some other home improvement things first on the list.

We aren't in the zone for dogwoods. We are in (what we call) Southern Alabama. Crepe myrtles do pretty well, so maybe planting two on each side of the house in the front yard. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions on planting so the roots won't effect the water or gas lines?


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Also, would you guys suggest painting just the front face of the fence white? I could paint the sides, but I'm not sure if it is worth it...


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The front fence sets up a barrier to making your front door welcome. I vote to remove the fence, but if you want to keep it, then move the section that is in front of your porch so that it is perpendicular to the existing fence. Also, in addition to others' suggestions to paint the garage door the same color as the siding and blacktop the driveway, replace the L-shaped path to the front door with a curve that intersects the driveway closer to the street.

This is a quick and dirty idea of what I have in mind.


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Wow - that looks great! Thanks for the visual. Would you suggest walkway stones versus concrete on the pathway?


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Re: stone path v. concrete:

Absolutely, yes, if you have that option, IMO. Lots of beautiful pavers out there.


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What a difference shutters make! Try the black, though. They'll bring out the blue more, IMO. I think the stark contrast will ADD to the house. They'll also go with the large window on the front porch.

Paint just the front of the fence, at least to start with. And you'll want to prime it before painting it.

Speak to both a landscaper and the gas company about plant roots. It's a good question and one to be sure about before you begin planting.


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Also, I would not put any fake facade stuff up. Seems to me it never works and always looks tacky instead. There is nothing wrong with your garage door. It's a garage door and is doing what it's supposed to do.

Once you have some extra money, put a new one with nice REAL architectural details in it. Meantime, dress this one up with planters on each side, that sort of thing


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I do think that the shutters definitely make the difference. The garage and driveway will have to wait, but I can paint and take out that fence. I'm thinking I will try to create a hedge and between my house and the neighbors, so I will keep the sides of the fence up for now (but paint them black to try and recede into the background)...not sure yet though.

Thanks everyone for your ideas and suggestions!


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I was also going to suggest painting the garage door the same color as the body of the house. The visual above confirms that for me.


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The only thing I worry about with painting the garage door is the subsequent maintenance. We live in an incredibly humid area (average humidity is at least 88% if not more) and with the sun...it makes me nervous. I think I will need to research paint concept.


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Excellent suggestions and wonderful virtuals too! :)

Yes -- another vote for black shutters BUT do keep the front door white to blend in with the white-painted screen door. This white door combination looks less choppy to the viewer's eye. IF possible -- in the future -- try to find a front door with a square window that would work with the shape of opening in the screen door.

Yes -- do re-think the front fence -- looks like a spindle or two may be missing -- so I would remove it. Of course -- you may be able to use it in the back garden too! :)
OR move the whole thing down to the sidewalk and add a tall bush to conceal the opening! :)

Yes -- do think about widening the front walkway -- you could add walking pavers (on a bed of sand and gravel with a low barrier) on each side plus an extension down the driveway (always handy for visitors)

You may be able to create a larger garden that follows the shape of the walkway on both sides -- add lots of gray stone rocks and gray plants (like lambs ear) Add solar lights to light the path for visitors.

Is there a walkway around to the back of the house? That could be widened too -- and consider adding a security light up there as well.

Yes -- adding outdoor lanterns on each side of the garage is always a great idea for safety -- and looks.

Is that a electrical transformer box near the street -- by the mailbox? You may be able to create a garden bed around it -- add some stones and tall grasses to help conceal it.


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I have to say, the idea of removing the fence is really growing on me. Or at least the front portion. I have some hedges on the left side of the house and the fence helps keep it out of the other persons yard, so that is nice. Probably the only bonus of it!

I'm actually going to try and find a screen door that is the full glass and look for a different front door that only has the glass at the very top. If I did find a different front door, would you suggest keeping it white, even with the black shutters?

I like the paver idea, and I've been researching thin pavers to over the current concrete sidewalk...not sure about how to transition to the front porch or driveway. I don't want anyone to trip. The backyard has a sidewalk similar to the front yard, but like the front, it is attached to the concrete slab.

The front yard does have a transformer box for the underground electrical...I have to say, planting anything near it makes me a little nervous. The area around it is primarily sand. Wouldn't planting something draw attention to the fact that there is a giant box there?


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With dark shutters and porch railing.


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Is this what you had in mind teacats?


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Wow suero - you are handy with that! I think the shutters definitely contrast. I'm not sure which ones I like better. What program are you using? It makes visualizing really easy!


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Here is the one side with the shrubs...


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And the other side (it needs a bit of work). I would like to plant some box woods but the ground is like a rock. I think it might be because of the roots from the neighbors oaks, but it took me 3 days to dig out a two bushes from the flower bed. And I CONSTANTLY have problems with sprouts growing from the trees above.

It also shows in what bad shape the white fence is. If I do keep the side parts, I will probably use the best pieces on the sides.


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Exactly. That kind of garden would work well around the transformer box (and the mailbox area) -- you would just plant tall grasses (check your local garden center for varieties for your soil type, drainage and drought-tolerance) around the transformer box.

And for extension and wider front walkway -- you could do the same kind of path on each side of the walkway -- BUT you would place large flat paver stones in a close-set formation for easy walking close to the current concrete path or the edge of the driveway.

The new paver/stone walkway extension is created by removing the top grass; adding a metal side/edge barrier and a layer of sand (damp and tamp down) and then the larger paver walking stones and fill in with the other stones - either small pea gravel or larger stones as pictured above. Add solar lights for safety.


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Here's a link to a Pinterest pin boards with DYI garden pathways .... I do like the idea of flat paver stones (placed close together) for easiest walking. But other ideas are on this board too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinterest -- DIY garden pathways


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Have to admit, I like the blue garage door. Suero, can you portray that with black trim, like the shutters (around the border of the garage door)? Curious to see what that would look like. Black driveway makes a huge difference. I definitely like the pop of the darker shutters. It's a simple house, so you don't 'want anything ornate, so style that makes the house pop needs to come from things like contrasts like that, IMO. I'd check with someone about putting pavers down over the existing cement.

Other problem with that front fence is that it looks odd with the second fence behind it. I'd just ix-nay the ence-fay.

Farmer's porches are so great. How about the hanging pendant lights and rather than hanging plants, putting some window boxes on the porch railing with colorful flowers and greens? So pretty.


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I use an old version of Fireworks. I haven't taken the time to learn Photoshop, which would make even more accurate visualizations, but Fireworks is sufficient for a quick and dirty visual.


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Suero, can you also "paint" the back fence white so she/we can see what that would look like? Take the font fence out? Cool program.


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I'm liking the idea with flower boxes. I tried hanging pots but they were drying out soooo easily. Even if I watered them everday. I like the idea of pavers, but I would have to figure out what to do with the current concrete walkway. What do you guys think about a stain, or resurfacing the concrete walkway and add a pattern/stamp?

I have noticed that there are no black driveways...not sure if that is because they end up sun-bleached or if there is a reason they can't be done. If I can't do a black driveway for some reason - any other suggestions?

With the bed down by the transformer, should I do one on each side to balance it out?


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I'm not a fan of a black fence and it looks as if it needs some repairs...any way it can be moved closer to the sidewalk to create a real front yard? Right now it looks like it's just caging in the house....


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I would remove the white picket fence. I definitely wouldn't paint the back fence. I wouldn't want the maintenance of painting it. If you landscape the front yard, the wooden fence won't be nearly as noticeable and the front yard will look lovely.

I also definitely wouldn't blacktop the driveway. Not in Florida or southern Alabama. I think if you landscape the front yard well the driveway won't even be noticed if it stays the color it is now. Think about that black driveway radiating heat in the hot Florida summer.

Also, you make a good point about transitioning the pavers so people don't trip. I wouldn't replace the concrete sidewalk with stone pavers, but instead would edge the already existing concrete driveway with some type of stone or brick. By edge, I don't mean turn the brick or stone up so that it sticks up from the ground, but dig a trench and edge with the rock or brick on its side so that the edging is level with the top of the sidewalk. I've seen that done very nicely. You could decide later if you want to edge the driveway as well, depending on how it works with your landscaping.

You have a cute house and I think you will be much happier with it if you focus on landscaping.

First, drive around homes in your area that have landscaping you like. Notice how their beds are laid out, where their trees are placed to frame the house instead of obstruct it, etc. You'll probably notice that the prettiest ones have beds that are curved, not square. Things like that.

Next, take pictures of your house from multiple angles. Notice when your home gets full sun, partial sun, etc. and which spots are shady. Then go to a local plant nursery that has people on staff who know a lot about plants, and take your pictures and notes about sun exposure with you. I wouldn't go to Lowe's or Home Depot, but would instead go to a local, independent plant nursery. Go when they're not busy, so probably not a beautiful Spring Saturday morning. Get them to help you with some suggestions on how to shape the beds, where to place trees, what type of trees to plant, etc.

Crape myrtles are nice, but a landscape architect could probably advise you on trees that have year round interest, are low maintenance and long-living and won't get too big for the spot.

I know someone suggested lamb's ears, but if I were you I wouldn't plant lamb's ears in my front yard. I would plant something that looks nice all year long and holds up to your heat and humidity. Ask a knowledgeable landscaper in your area.

There are many beautiful trees, shrubs and perennial plants you can plant in North Florida/Southern Alabama that will be gorgeous all year round and that will really add to the appearance of your home.

Your house has a lot of potential, and fortunately you don't have to cut down trees or rip out large shrubs. The front yard looks like a blank slate, and you can make it both beautiful and low maintenance.

We had a landscape architect help us with our first home and he did an awesome job. There was always something of interest in the front yard every season of the year - either bark, berries or flowers. Everything was low, low maintenance, drought-resistant and pest-resistant.

Good luck whatever you decide.


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I probably should add that if you plan to work on the landscaping, you might want to start soon. Now is probably the time to be planting trees and shrubs in your area. You probably don't want to be planting them in the spring or summer.


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Thanks so much! I appreciate your advice on the black top in Florida. It gets SOOO hot during the summer. I do like the idea of lining with pavers. It would add a nice "frame" to the driveway and walkway. Landscaping is needed, I guess I just need to figure what would work best. I REALLY appreciate everyone's opinions, it has been very helpful. I'm sure I will be posting many other questions in the future! :)


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Putting Suero to work here.

Can you also put some hanging pendant lights on the porch in the center between the posts? Maybe w/two flower boxes on the railing centered between the posts? Wish I had that program. Fun.

Re: no other black driveways. Start a trend? Lol.

Driveways are expensive to redo. Nice thing about black is that it hides all the oil and gas stains, among other things. If you can afford it, you can put pavers at the end of the driveway instead of the black, which might clash with the crossing sideways.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pavers at entrance to driveway


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I will probably start next week. Best thing about my landscaping? Cheap labor from my teenage brother! Just kidding...kind of.

It would be great to start a trend on everything! I have thought about leaving little notes for some of my neighbors down the street who's yards look like crap! ;)

I think If I put it on either side of the sidewalk it would look okay. I like that it would widen the driveway a bit. My husband has a truck and I have to park 4 feet ahead of him so I can get my door open!


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Our driveway is asphalt and we are in the 90's sometimes 100's in the summer. Not a problem. Every few years DH throws a topcoat/sealer on it to freshen it up. He buys it in 5gal barrels from Lowes or HD. It's not expensive. Not sure if you can do it over concrete.

No to painting trim around garage door black..that will just draw attention to an uninteresting detail and make that facade look cut up. I like both mock ups suero did with the lighter and darker shutters. A curvy walkway is usually preferable to a linear one..it softens all the straight angles of the house and is more interesting visually.


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JoaniePoanie, not suggesting at all that krelavie paint that trim around the garage black. Just asking Suero if she can do it on her program, just out of curiosity as to what it would look like.

I like the way the black driveway looks better, but it might be kind of weird to have the only black drive in the neighborhood.


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Not so easy to do the things everyone suggested. It would take time because the contrast between the garage and trim isn't so great that the computer program can do it easily. I'd have to learn Photoshop.


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My only thought was ... A black driveway in Florida? I've not seen that iirc. Too harsh, and too hot. Not sure the look will se right for FL either.


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The more I think about it, I think a black driveway is not for me. I don't want to stand out too much from the neighborhood, don't want to spend that much money on it, and I also think it would be incredibly hot.


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The more I think about it, I think a black driveway is not for me. I don't want to stand out too much from the neighborhood, don't want to spend that much money on it, and I also think it would be incredibly hot.


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I don't know if it's in your budget, but I've seen some pretty nice looking stamped concrete that could be overlayed on your walkway. They could also widen it to the width and layout you wanted at the same time. It doesn't add much thickness to the existing concrete.

I agree with everything daisyinga said. I live in the south, but north of you. Would definitely do much more research before you go wild planting anything without a careful plan. I also agree with others about the white front door. If you feel the need for some color, that might work, but definitely not black. It would like a big hole. think the charcoal shutters would look best with maybe some charcoal trim around the garage door. That would be a start. Then if you wanted to jazz up the entry door, you could go with a coral or just leave it white and bring in some color with plants in brightly colored pots (all one color) and a pretty chair or settee with coordinating pillows.

I'd also ditch the white fence in front. For the back fence along the sides, you could use an all-weather stain to make it look better.


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My first thoughts were yes to the shutters, yes to the black door (can you paint the screen door, or if you buy a new one get it in black); Make the porch columns and rail a darker shade of your blue; the garage door needs some other color than white trimming it also, and the front fence + porch fence doesn't work. Plus, the front fence cuts your yard in half for no reason.

Now, if you want to repair and keep the fence, you could create a reason for it by taking down the porch fence/rail (keep the columns) and using plants, trees, rocks and pavers to create an extension of the porch to the front fence -- making a garden "room" in that area with the bigger walkway like Suero depicted. Put some of the plant elements in front of the fence, too, to ground it and visually tie it to and frame the house.

Something like that would balance the big garage door, also, I think.

I also like the idea of removing the part of the fence in front of the porch. It would still need some plantings to anchor the remaining fence -- it is lonely out there all by itself.


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My first thoughts were yes to the shutters, yes to the black door (can you paint the screen door, or if you buy a new one get it in black); Make the porch columns and rail a darker shade of your blue; the garage door needs some other color than white trimming it also, and the front fence + porch fence doesn't work. Plus, the front fence cuts your yard in half for no reason.

Now, if you want to repair and keep the fence, you could create a reason for it by taking down the porch fence/rail (keep the columns) and using plants, trees, rocks and pavers to create an extension of the porch to the front fence -- making a garden "room" in that area with the bigger walkway like Suero depicted. Put some of the plant elements in front of the fence, too, to ground it and visually tie it to and frame the house.

Something like that would balance the big garage door, also, I think.

I also like the idea of removing the part of the fence in front of the porch. It would still need some plantings to anchor the remaining fence -- it is lonely out there all by itself.


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I have seen those concrete stamps, definitely something to think about.

Outsideplaying - funny you should mention the stain. My neighbor was just talking about doing her fence, so it might look nice if I do mine too. I am thinking about doing a charcoal for the shutters instead of black. And while my DH would NEVER let me paint the front door coral, I am thinking perhaps a red, grey or golden color. Even then, I will have to paint the door, and shout "surprise" to my DH when he comes home! ;)

Raee - I agree, there seem to be a lot of fences it my yard! I can see where someone had a nice rounded/curved flowerbed in the front (many years ago), so maybe I will go ahead and use that as a general blueprint for landscaping. I do like the idea of a garden, but to be honest, I know I won't keep it up. I need a zero maintenance area. :) But I'm thinking of doing some small trees and grasses at the front, in between the sidewalk and street.

I am trying to come up with some solution were I can remove the white picket fence but still have some marker between the properties. I thought about a hedge, but I'm thinking it might seem odd to have a row of hedges going from my backyard all the way to the street. Something to think about...


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I have a plain garage door on the front of my house also. I looked at the faux sticker windows but wasn't sold on those at all. I finally found online at Home Depot a screw on window set. Love Love Love them! Totally improved the appearance and I think your garage is perfect for them. They were very easy to install, I did it myself with a small drill and cost about $100 I think. They were hard to find last year, they weren't in stock to order online and I looked at 3 Home Depots and Lowes. Good Luck!


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I am trying to come up with some solution were I can remove the white picket fence but still have some marker between the properties. I thought about a hedge, but I'm thinking it might seem odd to have a row of hedges going from my backyard all the way to the street.

I agree, those rows of hedges that mark the edge of properties often look strange in a subdivision. But you could mark the edge of your property by putting beds that curve into your yard at the edges of the property. The side of the bed that is at the edge of your neighbor's property would be straight, and the edges of the bed near your home would be curved. With a tree and some other plants in the bed to frame the house, that would be very nice and mark the edge of your property.

The lovely thing about beds is that if they are well-done, they don't require as much maintenance as grass.

As far as black-topping the driveway - I love the look of black-topped driveways further north. But I was raised in south Georgia, and there's a reason our driveways aren't black. If you and your husband are young and plan to have kids, a light-colored driveway would be easier for them to tricycle on, color with sidewalk chalk on, etc.

Landscape your yard well, with a plan as outsideplaying says, and then pick the colors for your door.

Our first house was gray with burgandy shutters and cream colored trim. Our landscape architect was able to highlight the colors of our home by picking plants that played well with the burgandy. But it's much easier to pick paint than plants, so pick your landscaping first. For example, if you plant pink azaleas, you might not want a coral door. But if you plant some gorgeous Miss Huff Lantana, you might love, love, love an orange/red door with it.

If you are new to landscaping, I know it sounds so much easier and faster to focus on the door color, the shutters, etc. But landscaping will give you the biggest wow for your money. But get some input from a professional first. You'll be surprised how much better your home will look with some nicely laid out beds trenched at the edges and mulched with pine straw. Even if there are only a few plants in there to start with. But get a plan first.

Have fun deciding what to do with your new home!


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