Ever see a portico-like structure but didn’t know exactly what it was called? Ever come across a structure that was like a fancy carport but wasn’t exactly a carport? Well, we’re here to solve the mystery. What you saw is a porte cochere, or coach door. The name is French as if you didn’t know!
It is a roofed structure that protects passengers from the elements so that you can drop them off before continuing to the garage. Typically extending from the entrance of a residence, porte cocheres are the perfect combination of curb appeal and practicality. In its original form, a porte cochere was a porch large enough for wheeled vehicles to pass through. But it needn’t be wide enough to accommodate a car. Many times, people build a porte cochere as a covered pathway between, say, a garage and their residence. In that case, it’s also referred to as a ‘Breezeway’.
Porte cocheres can come in a range of styles to fit the specific look/needs of a home. For example, an arched stone porte cochere complements a French-styled home. They are very common characteristics of Craftsman or bungalow homes. For homes that have long driveways, a porte cochere is an elegant way to ensure the comfort of guests who can make their way to your front door while being protected from the elements.
While we cannot claim to be fluent in French, we are very fluent in building beautifully functional porte cocheres. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help you explore all of the possibilities!
Due to COVID-19 many of us are spending significantly more time at home than ever before. Why not take the opportunity to consider options that achieve greater curb appeal so you can enjoy your home now and increase its value when it comes time to sell? Here are the top trends of 2020 for bringing fresh ideas to tired places on the exterior of your home.
Beautiful, closely spaced shrubs offer privacy and an elegant accent to your home. Granted, adding hedges to your front yard will take some effort, but the results can be spectacular. They also help reduce noise and benefit pollinators and wildlife.
When was the last time you viewed the front of your home at night? Is lighting sufficient to ensure your guests’ safety? Does it cast a warm glow onto footpaths? Is it simply functional and not decorative? If your lighting is uninspiring, perhaps it is time for sconces and pendant fixtures.
Exterior Colors and Accents
Darker, more pigmented colors help homes stand out from neighbors that have more traditional hues. In 2020, black and blue doors are challenging the dominance of red doors. Glass and iron elements have become popular door accents as well. To complete the transformation, personalize your doormats, house numbers and door knockers. The total investment is modest, but the results can be priceless.
Front Porch and Portico
What is more inviting than a beautiful front porch? Not only will you enjoy additional living space, but you will also improve your home’s curb appeal (and value at resale). A portico is a wonderfully affordable way to guard your front door from the elements and protect your deliveries — all the more important as we do more online shopping then ever before. If you love the concept, but are not sure of your options, contact us — Georgia’s premiere porch builder — and we’ll share the many front porches and porticos we’ve built over the years.
- Replace an old front doorknob or address numbers that have seen better days. Add a brass knocker to your front door for instant formality and charm.
- Show off your personality with a new front doormat. If you want to step up your game, layer up your doormat with an indoor or outdoor rug.
- Window boxes are a great way to dress up your windows and add a splash of color that complement your home’s exterior hues.
- Add a group of colorful pots if you have steps leading to your front door, or you have a front porch. Consider your color options. Pink blooms don’t work well with a red brick home. A white home gives you more options like purple, blue or green. Keep things simple by limiting the number of different colors to two.
Take advantage of your quality time at home by upgrading your curb appeal. As the only company in Georgia that specializes exclusively in porch construction, we’re here to help.
Compared to the Northeast and Midwest, Atlanta’s winters are a walk in the park. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t get our fair share of cold days. The falling temperatures discourage us from spending time on our outdoor porches and patios. It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy your outdoor space even in chilly weather.
1) Keep you and your guests warm
Few things are more soothing than a warm blanket and throw pillow. Choose warm, cheerful colors to help beat the winter blues. Think about adding outdoor curtains to your porch. We suggest selecting darker shades because they will serve the dual purpose of absorbing sunlight while shielding your patio from cold winds.
2) Install an outdoor fireplace
Whether you opt for a permanent structure or settle for a portable version, an outdoor fireplace is a sure bet to keep you warm when you are on your patio or porch. If you don’t want to go the fireplace route, an outdoor heater is an excellent option. Most heaters are propane-powered and easy to maintain.
3) Add more lighting
Don’t let the early sundown keep you inside. Install solar and/or LED light fixtures on your porch or patio. Strings lights are a popular way to make your space more festive.
4) Protect your patio from winter’s chill
Enclosing your patio with screens, plastic, or glass walls is a sure-fire way to shield you from the cold. If you have an open or screened back porch, Atlanta Decking can install Eze-Breeze windows to keep your living space a little warmer and more liveable in colder months.
5) Consider a hot tub
Hot tubs are soothing all year-round but have almost a magical effect in winter. What can feel better than soaking in a hot tub when the temperatures plummet? When you are planning your hot tub, don’t forget the privacy screen or enclosure.
Whatever ideas you come up with, we can help you with that! Contact us to begin brainstorming ways you can truly enjoy backyard living year-round.
For many Atlantans, a screen porch is practically a four-season sanctuary. Is there anything more relaxing than a porch swing or a swing bed? Before you answer that question, let’s spend some time differentiating the two…
— Porch Swing —
While porch swings are typically designed for smaller spaces, they still look great on a wide Atlanta porch. Most swings fit two and are ideal for a relaxing conversation or swinging solo with a good book. You can choose from a wide range of options from teak, to cypress, cedar, resin or other materials. In most cases they do not come with cushions, so be prepared to do some additional shopping.
Installation can be tricky if your skills are a bit limited. We recommend hiring a handyman to ensure the chains are properly secured to your porch’s roof. That can be trickier than it sounds. Let’s not even consider what might happen if they are not installed correctly. Of course, one way to avoid this issue altogether is to choose a version that comes with its own stand.
– Swing Beds –
When you think swing bed, think luxury. Keep in mind you’ll need more porch space to accommodate a swing bed than you would require for a porch swing. Most available models fit a regular sized twin mattress which you can enjoy as a regular bed that is perfect for an afternoon nap. They are designed to sway more gently than a porch swing for the ultimate napping experience!
Half the fun is choosing the extras — whether they are cushions, throw pillows or blankets. Of course, all this luxury comes at a cost. Swing beds, on average, are much more expensive than porch swings.
Still undecided? Perhaps you should sleep on it!
Mulch. So misunderstood, yet so vital for your garden. Most of us don’t put much thought into what color we choose, the types available, or its many virtues. For example, did you know that mulch is a natural weed suppressor? It’s a great option if you prefer not to use pesticides. And, it helps to retain moisture around the base of plants and provides additional nutrients for the soil as it decomposes over time.
Time to shine a light on one of your garden’s best friends!
Types of Mulch
Each variety of mulch has its own qualities and best uses.
Shredded Bark: Made from woods like cedar and pine, this material is perfect for gardens on a slope. Another advantage is that it enriches your garden’s health by decomposing into the soil.
Pine Straw: It’s a little-known fact that pine straw is only available in the south. Pine straw is also ideal for sloped gardens because needles tend to hold well in place. This is a popular selection for azaleas, conifers, blueberries, and other acid-loving plants.
Bark Nuggets: Because they are less likely to wash away, bark nuggets work well for flat gardens. You don’t need to reapply it as quickly as shredded bark or pine straw because nuggets don’t break down as quickly. The bottom line is that it can save your bottom line.
Leaves/Grass: Free is a good virtue and mulch created from shredded leaves or grass clippings fits the bill. Be sure to avoid using chemically treated grass clippings, especially for edible plants.
Landscape Rocks: Pea pebbles, marble chips, granite stones and river rocks don’t break down, which means they don’t need to be reapplied annually. On the negative side, they provide no nutrients and require serious labor to remove if you opt for a different mulch type down the line.
Rubber Mulch: Skinned knees won’t happen on your watch when you lay rubber mulch in areas children play. It’s a sturdy and sustainable material for your garden and maintains its color extremely well.
Regardless of your mulch material of choice, the rule of thumb is to apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to your garden. For new gardens, be sure to start with weed preventer, followed by landscape fabric and top it off with garden soil and mulch.
Choose Your Colors Carefully
Depending on your preference, your mulch can either blend in so as not to steal the spotlight from your plants or can accentuate and highlight them. Mulch typically comes either in black, brown, or red. Choose a color that does not work against the color of your flowers. Black and brown are popular to help your flowers stand out in contrast to the mulch. Black mulch works well for gray and contemporary homes while brown is better suited for red brick homes. Red is a great choice if your exterior features terra cottas, golds, and warm tones.
Next time you prepare to lay mulch in your garden, consider all its virtues and the value of choosing the right color for your home. Once you do, you’ll join us in appreciating the quiet hero — mulch.
If you are lucky enough to have a front porch, you know it is the perfect place to chat with neighbors or welcome visitors to your home. Ironically, the first place you engage with people on your property is often the last you consider updating. Here are some ideas to make your front porch more welcoming.
Add Color: Consider placing colorful plants strategically on your porch that draw the eye and enhance your curb appeal. Adding a screen of plants provides both privacy and a scenic view. You can also brighten your front porch by repainting your front door and matching the color with outdoor chair cushions, pillows, an outdoor rug, or flowerpots.
Speaking of Flowerpots: Plant perennials for long-lasting foliage that will thrive during the growing season. Make sure your flowerpots suit the size of your porch. If your porch is on the small side, use a tall, narrow pot versus an oversized pot.
Have a Minimum of Two Chairs: If space permits, include two chairs rather than one. While you may be tempted to place them on either side of the front door for symmetry, positioning them in a conversation group invites a friendly discussion.
Substitute a Porch Swing for Chairs: If you enjoy the old-fashioned look of a porch swing, there’s no need for chairs. Feature a swing built for two but make sure it is safely anchored to ceiling joists. If you are not particularly handy, hire a professional to do the job.
Choose a Petite Table: Seating should have some surface for drinks or small plates. Your best bet is a little table that takes up minimal space.
Install a Ceiling Fan: Atlanta’s hot summers can limit outside activity, but it shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying your front porch. A ceiling fan will move heavy air and deliver relief from the heat and humidity.
Consider Curtains or Lattice: If you don’t have natural shade from a tree, an outdoor curtain could be the answer. Pull them open when you don’t need them and close them as required. While white is the traditional curtain color, if you opt for any other shade, choose a fade-resistant version. A classic lattice fixed to the side can also provide shade and privacy.
Keep Things Light: A well-lit porch sets the tone for a night visit. Place a pair of sconces near the seating area, lights above the door, and, if possible, above the house numbers to make it easy for guests to find your address at night.
Don’t have a front porch? No problem.
Contact us to see how you can enhance your home’s curb appeal and provide beautiful, added living space with a new porch or portico. We’re happy to share photos of our builds to get your creative juices flowing. We will even create photo-renderings of design options that will help you make a confident decision on your new porch or portico.
The concept of curb appeal is well known in the real estate industry. After all, enhancing curb appeal before putting your home up for sale is the equivalent of putting your best foot forward. But upgrading curb appeal should not be limited to sprucing up your home for sale. It is an opportunity to make your home more inviting and, in some cases, more functional. By making transformative additions to your home, you can give your home a fresh start. Here are some ideas:
- Add Low Voltage Lighting: Fixtures can illuminate a walking path or add accent lighting for trees. Solar fixtures are an excellent alternative to wired lighting with the caveat that solar lighting typically is not as bright or reliable as wired options.
- Replace Tired Shutters: If your shutters are long in the tooth, replace them with new versions. This is an opportunity to make a statement with colors or new material (think cedar).
- Clean Up Planter Beds: Prune growth, pull weeds, plant flowers, and add mulch to generate optimal results. If your beds are old, upgrade to stone or consider a decorative cast-concrete edging system.
- Create a Permanent Welcome Mat: Tile or paint a design that contrasts with your front step or floor. An added benefit is you’ve just eliminated the need to replace your mat when it begins to look worn.
- Update Porch Furniture: Take a good look at your existing furniture and determine if it delivers the ideal balance of form and function. As the weather warms, you’ll be spending more time on your front porch, so why not make it as comfortable and beautiful as possible?
- Add Depth with a Fence: A low fence around your property can be perfect between a busy street and your home. An added benefit is that it will make your front yard seem larger!
If you seek the ultimate transformative curb appeal upgrade, there’s no better solution than adding a porch or portico. You will be amazed at how dramatically either of these additions will change the look of your home. A front porch will extend your living space while a portico offers protection against the elements while accentuating your front entry areas.
Looking for a few ideas to improve your home’s curb appeal in a few easy steps? Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
- Create an Instant Garden: Container gardens add a welcoming feel and colorful appeal to any home exterior. Buy ready-made containers from your local garden center and fill with your favorite plants. To create a dynamic setting, plan a staggered, asymmetrical arrangement.
- Update Your Mailbox: Dress up your mailbox by painting the wooden post to match your home’s exterior color, or by surrounding it with a beautiful flowering garden.
- Install Window Boxes: Your boxes can be made from copper or iron for a traditional look, or painted wood for a cottage feel. Mix and match flowers and plants to suit your lighting conditions and color scheme.
- Add Shutters or Accent Trim: Exterior shutters are available in a variety of materials such as wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass. New composite materials, such as PVC resins or polyurethane, make trim details durable and low maintenance. Have a street view of a boring garage? Consider building a garage arbor and planting flowing vines nearby. Another option with solid curb appeal is a garage portico that features a steel or asphalt roofs.
- Replace Gutters and Downspouts: An older gutter system can not only make your home look tired, it may no longer be able to do the job. Replace yours with newer, snap-fit vinyl gutter systems that go together easily and require no painting. If you want to make a dramatic impact, a copper system, while pricier, will really stand out among the neighborhood homes.
- Front Porches and Porticos Add Value to Neighborhoods: Need mega-curb appeal? It’s time to seriously consider updating your residence while adding useable living space.
Georgia Front Porch specializes in exterior facelifts. In fact, we will recommend several different options via photo renderings so you can see exactly how transformative a new porch or portico can be. These realistic options will help you make your decision with confidence. Contact us today to start your home’s transformation.
TIMING IS EVERYTHINGIf you want to keep your lawn looking beautiful throughout the season, fertilizer should be applied every 6 weeks during the spring after mowing the lawn 2 or 3 times. Here are a couple of weather-related tips: 1) Try not to apply fertilizer during hottest part of the day or in extremely windy conditions 2) If rain isn’t in the immediate forecast, turn the sprinklers on after applying fertilizer to water it in thoroughly.
REALLY GOING GREENOrganic fertilizer is usually made from plant or animal waste such as manure and compost or powdered minerals like bone and cottonseed meal. In addition to releasing nutrients, as organic fertilizers break down, they improve the structure of the soil and increase its ability to hold water and nutrients. Over time, organic fertilizers will make your soil and plants healthy and strong. A couple of caveats with organics: 1) Organic fertilizer’s microorganisms must break down to release nutrients into the soil. That means they need warmth and moisture to do their job, so their effectiveness is limited seasonally. 2) Organic fertilizers break down according to nature’s rules, so they may not release nutrients as soon as you think. You have to be patient and you may even see a deficiency in your plants during the first couple of months until the first application breaks down. Hang in there! You’ll most definitely be rewarded! In selecting any lawn fertilization and nutrition program, consider the following: – The current nutrition of your lawn – How much money is in your budget – How much work you want to put into the application – initial and ongoing As technology in the field of lawn care, grasses, irrigation, and fertilization keeps growing, the choices and combinations continue to increase. Walter Reeves has great advice about lawn care based on the type of grass you have. Once you’ve fertilized your front lawn, why not top off your curb appeal dreams with a new front porch or portico? Click here to make a free design consultation appointment.
The holidays are upon us and as you navigate this very busy season, we thought you might find helpful some ideas to help make your front door reflect your personal holiday spirit. We’ve organized them to make it easy to find the designs that are right for you.
NOTHERNERS: Raised in the North with Plenty of Snow
• White Christmas: Use white spray paint on grapevines, twigs, and pinecones to create a wintry wreath and remind you of fun in the snow.
• Wooden Snowflake Monogram: Create a personalized snowflake door sign to make your own unique statement.
• Falling Snowflakes: Create paper snowflakes to adorn your windowpanes and give thanks that this isn’t really snow!
FLOWER CHILDREN: Can’t Get Enough of Flowers Even in Winter
• Red Floral Decoration: Make an asymmetrical arrangement of succulents, dahlias, and greenery to add a touch of spring to your holiday décor.
NATURALISTS: It’s All About the Great Outdoors
• Pinecone Bundle: Give pinecones a new job by tying them together with colorful ribbon and using them as your holiday wreath.
• Outdoor Tree: Welcome guests with a mini-Christmas tree. Keep it looking natural by leaving it untrimmed. You don’t want to upstage your tree inside!
• Cedar-Stacked Christmas Tree: Bind and stack multiple cedar wreaths together to form a Christmas tree.
COLORFUL CHARACTERS: Loves the Colors of the Holidays
• Gold and Silver Ornament Pine Wreath: Add some bling to your front door with metallic-theme wreaths. Mix in glimmering ornaments for a splash of color.
• Choose an Unexpected Accent Color: Christmas may be green and red but mix things up by positioning ripe oranges on your front porch and adorn your front door with a tangerine ribbon on a classic green wreath.
CONTRARIANS: Like to Be Different
• Vintage Ice Skate Door Décor: Tie a pair of skates together and hang them on your door. Talk about a conversation starter!
• Hang a Low Wreath: Who says your wreath has to be near the top of your door? Hang it low on your door and leave your door window clear to collect the day’s sunlight.
Most Atlantans like their winters, as long as they are brief and dry. While the season is indeed brief, winter can have an effect on your home’s appearance, specifically on your curb appeal. Here are some tips to keep up appearances despite the dreary weather.
• Take Care of Yard Leaves: Few things are more pleasant than fall’s colors. They are beautiful until they smother your lawn and damage your grass. Start by clearing dead leaves from your lawn. Give it a final cutting, but first, set your lawn mower one inch lower than usual. Overseed your lawn with rye or a similar annual grass option. Finally, feed your lawn with potassium-rich fertilizer.
• Plant Vibrant Annual Plants and Flowers: Not all plants go dormant in cold weather. Plant shrubs that flower during the winter season, such as blue holly that produces red berries. Evergreens are a great choice that look fresh all year long. Add color by planting barberry bushes and choose your favorite hues ranging from bright yellow-green to deep chartreuse.
• Be a Haven for Birds: Add bird feeders, winter container gardens, or window boxes to attract these beautiful visitors. A bright red cardinal or stunning blue jay can be beacons on dreary winter days.
• Paint Your Front Door: Painting your front door will instantly upgrade your curb appeal. Don’t be shy. Choose a vibrant color to make a statement that winter does not get you down.
• Bring Color to Your Front Porch: Consider brightly colored rockers and chairs with flannel or textured throws for your front porch to make your entrance ultra-inviting.
• Keep Things Safe: Be sure to clear walkways or any other obstacles near your front porch or portico that can be a hazard to family members or guests. Ensure steps and handrails are user-friendly and check for wood rot. Make sure you have plenty of light by your walkway, front door, or garage since it gets darker so much earlier.
If you are looking to make a dramatic change to your curb appeal, contact us for front porch and portico designs. We’ll show you before and after photos of work we have done for customers over the years, so you can see the impact these additions have on a home’s curb appeal and visualize what we can do for your home.
For many of us, Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday of the year. It’s a day when multi-generational families get together to give thanks and enjoy each other’s company. Whether you host the annual Thanksgiving dinner, or this is your year, here are a few ideas to give your guests a memorable Thanksgiving welcome as soon as they see your front porch.
Decorate the Front Porch for Friendly Curb Appeal
The mild North Georgia climate makes it possible to spend quality time on your front porch. Create a welcoming spot by placing cozy blankets and pillows on your front porch bench, chairs, or swing. Decorate your porch with faux pumpkins, berry wreaths, and potted plants. Add gourds, corn shucks, and ribbons to create the picture-perfect Thanksgiving welcome for your guests.
Because of its symbolism, a cornucopia is the traditional Thanksgiving motif. Representing harvest plenty, a cornucopia is a horn-shaped wicker basket filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables. If you have young children, creating your family’s own personal cornucopia is a great activity that they’ll remember for years to come.
If you don’t happen to have a front porch, no problem—for next year. You might be surprised to learn that several of our projects were the result of customers enjoying a relative’s front porch on Thanksgiving and wanting one for their very own. If you are so inspired, please contact us and we’d be happy to create the perfect porch for your home.
Simple Ways to Prep for Your Guests’ Arrival
When preparing for the your special visitors, it is easy to overlook taking care of the little things that can make a big difference — especially if your Thanksgiving gathering includes young children or the elderly. Take a moment to survey your driveway and walkway and clear out any potential hazards. Make sure stairs and railings are clear and easily accessible. Baby-proof your home if young children will be joining in the celebration. If your kids are older or you are empty nesters, it is easy to forget that young children need protection from their own curiosity.
Whether it is a walk in a local park, a family football game, or a stroll in the neighborhood, engaging in physical activities is a great counter-balance to a day or weekend of calorie consumption. Plus, it’s an outstanding way to clear out the kitchen and let you and your team of chefs work in peace!
Cooler weather is the perfect time to spruce up your home’s curb appeal. Did you know home sellers can increase their property’s value up to 20% with some well-executed updates? And, even if you plan on staying for the long-term, updates will make your home more inviting to family and guests and keeps your residence and property looking fresh.
Here are 7 ideas to add more curb appeal this fall:
- Replace fading summer flowers with seasonal mums, pansies, and kale. Stuff your flower baskets with these fall beauties and don’t forget to add small pumpkins.
- Make a bold choice with your front door color.It’s not a big job so once the season changes you can keep things fresh with another color choice. We think orange makes a nice fall statement!
- Add some bling to your home by painting your pumpkins a metallic gold with spray paint. Or, use silver and gold leaves to make a generally plain door shine. If the mood strikes you, add a silver striped ribbon to your pumpkin and really stand out.
- Add a festive touch to your mailbox with autumn flowers, corn stalks, and a pumpkin or two.
- Speaking of pumpkins, paint your house numbers on fall’s favorite plant. Better yet, if you have a steady hand, script your family name on your winter squash. Yes, a pumpkin has the same botanical classification as a squash.
- Decorate your front yard lamp poles with pumpkins and corn stalks. Fill a wagon with fall décor and plant it on your front porch.
- Frame your front door with pumpkins on either side. Add some corn garland and a seasonal doormat and you’ll welcome your neighbors and friends to the fall season.
Interested in a BIG idea?
One of the best ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal while protecting visitors, packages, and your front door from the elements is with a portico. To learn more, check out our short, but informative VIDEO.
Labor Day has come and gone, and fall is within sight. Why not celebrate and usher in the new season by hosting a front porch party? Here are a few ideas to help inspire you!
Make your party memorable with simple, elegant decorations. If you already have potted flowers on your porch, add fresh bouquets as accents. Hang lights and feature flameless candles for soft lighting.
Plan your seating so that everyone has a place to sit. Create groupings of chairs to make conversations free and easy. Porches are ideal for parties because porch steps and swings offer built-in seating.
Make things official by sending a fun invitation to your party. Nothing says, “I really want you to be here,” than by sending an invitation. Better yet, give your friends a call with the details.
Serve a variety of finger foods so there is something for everyone. Don’t put the food on one table. Instead space them around the porch. Group things logically like a beverage station, tables with fruit and cheese, a variety of meats, and desserts. Place trays in containers of ice to keep thing chilled. Use a galvanized tub or plastic storage container.
Speaking of food, keep things simple. Resist the temptations to prepare fancy recipes so you can focus on all the details required for your party.
Limit beverages to a few selections to keep things easy. Offer a signature cocktail that’s easy to prepare so when the decanter gets low you can replenish without batting an eye. Use a cooler or metal tub with ice so the drinks remain cold. Don’t forget the chilled water. Have a place for guests to set the drinks they bring so everyone can share.
Help guests help you clean up by setting up a garbage can or bag and be sure to have paper towels and wet wipes in plain sight.
Disinvite mosquito party-crashers with citronella candles and plants. Offer bug repellent if the annoying critters don’t give up easily.
A front porch not only provides protection for your home’s entry, it also makes a great livable space for entertaining or simply relaxing. If you currently own a flat-faced home, give Gary Zielinski a call for a free, no-hassle in-home consultation at 770-781-8234. He’s an expert at matching just the right custom design porch or portico for your home.
Ranch houses have quite a legacy. In fact, during the post-war housing boom of the 1950s they accounted for nine out of every 10 new houses built. While other styles have grown in popularity, ranch homes still have many fans because they offer owners large lots, friendly windows, and first floor master bedrooms — ideal for aging knees!
However, since many were built decades ago there may be a need to modernize your ranch home’s appearance. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
• Add warmth with rustic materials such as reclaimed wood for shutters and fencing. French doors are a nice touch to connect the home’s inside with outdoor living space like porches and decks.
• Freshen the look by painting the brick exterior. Many homes have undergone a virtual transformation by painting red brick white or light gray.
• If you love a retro look, paint the front door a bright color and replace your house and mailbox numbers with mid-Century Neutra options.
• Ranches can suffer from monotonous horizontal lines so break them up with landscaping upgrades. For example, select shorter shrubs (think boxwoods) that won’t cover a ranch’s lower windows. Plant taller plants like evergreen trees to frame your garage’s entrance.
• Ranches can tend to look boxy with hard corners. Soften your property by incorporating curved lines through rounded garden beds in front and along the sides. Make sure to plant colorful annuals and robust perennials. Add more interest to your entrance via a winding walkway that leads to your front entrance. There are many options to choose from including pavers, bricks or stamped concrete.
• Add a front porch to create outdoor living space, while making your home more inviting. Most ranches are missing a front porch, but it’s the perfect addition to increase curb appeal — plus, you’ll enjoy a new place to relax while protecting your front entry. If your space is limited, talk to us about a portico with a traditional gabled roof. Or, consider transforming your ranch style home with a timber portico for a Craftsman look. We’d be happy to meet with you and discuss clever, curb-appealing options for your ranch guaranteed to turn your dream into a reality!
If you’re like most homeowners, when you read, “enhance curb appeal,” you immediately think “expensive.” But not so fast. There are many ways to create instant curb appeal without breaking the bank. Here are our top 7 favorite ideas!
1. Paint the Shutters, Trim, or Front Door – Most exterior paint will run you about $30 a gallon. For your front door, pick a bold color that will give your front entrance some much needed character. Choose complementary colors for trim and shutters to complete your home’s fresh look. Make sure you take the time to prepare all surfaces properly so you do the job right the first time.
2. Add a Tree – Not surprising, planting a tree is one of the most common way to add curb appeal to your house. Before you race to your nearest nursery, consider the mature size of the tree and how that will affect your house. If space permits, plant two trees to create a frame for your house and entrance.
3. Clean Up Your Front Yard – Sometimes all it takes to enhance curb appeal is to take stock of your yard. For example, look closely at the bushes in front of your home. Are they overgrown and block the windows? If so, it is time for a serious trimming. Shrubs should never overwhelm or nearly hide your windows. Instead they should frame them.
4. Install Flower Boxes – Is your house is looking a tad drab? Flower boxes are fairly inexpensive and a great way to achieve double-take curb appeal. But remember, planting flowers in those new boxes is just the first step. Make sure you also maintain them. An alternate idea: deploy container gardens in pots and locate them on your porch or front steps. And, while you are in the gardening mode, put fresh mulch along your shrubs because it will protect your soil and stop weeds from growing.
5. Replace Hardware and Upgrade Your Mailbox – Something as simple as changing out your front door knob and lock can make a big difference. While you are at it, if your mailbox is weathered, rusting or dented, consider replacing it with a new mailbox that better matches your home’s architecture.
6. Replace Exterior Lighting – Consider both the style of your home and the function of the lights when selecting new fixtures. They should serve a dual purpose of adequately lighting your entryway and enhancing the appearance of your home. To save yourself some time and aggravation, look for fixtures that have the same mounting system as your current lights.
7. New House Numbers – House numbers are often the first thing new visitors notice and they set the tone of what to inside the home. Spare, slim numbers can hint at a modern interior. Fanciful numbers might express a sense of quirkiness, playfulness, or humor. New numbers not only spruce up your home’s curb appeal, they help provide a crucial first impression for visitors, emergency vehicles or Lyft/Uber drivers to be able to identify the right address. Simple house numbers start around $2 each or you can look for customized plaques that run $50 – 100. Check out Etsy to see examples of modern address numbers.
At Georgia Front Porch, we pride ourselves on our porch and portico designs. With over 10 years experience specializing exclusively as a front porch remodeler, we’ve become the #1 porch builder in north metro Atlanta. How? It starts with our custom design renderings which help customers make confident, informed decisions. Gary Zielinski, our curb appeal expert, gives you a behind-the-scenes peek into how our company renders front porch designs.
Q: Do you always provide options for both porch and portico customers using photos of their own homes?
A: Yes, in most cases we do because we think it is essential for our customers to see how the new porch or portico blends in with their home’s design. The images we provide work very well for obtaining HOA approval for the addition. Occasionally, a customer will see a portico on our website that looks very much like their own home’s design so they don’t need the photos.
Q: Do you always ask for a meeting (versus email requests) prior to serving up options?
A: A meeting isn’t required but we highly recommend one so we can discuss needs, budget, initial options, and more. It also gives the homeowner an opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts. But, a meeting isn’t always necessary. If both homeowners work during the day, I can drop by, take measurements and shoot a few images of their home for photo renderings.
Q: Do you ask the homeowners to take a photo or do you do that?
A: We usually shoot the photos but sometimes customers will email us their own photos, especially if they are a little outside of our area, for example, Acworth, which is about 30 miles away from us.
Q: How long does this take to turn around renderings? Any cost to homeowner?
A: Photo renderings typically take 1-2 business days after we have an image. We provide 2-3 different options for a cost of $100 which will come off the final invoice if we are awarded the project.
Q: Do you think renderings provide a competitive advantage for GFP? What do people say when they decide to choose Georgia Front Porch?
A: Yes, we really believe it does because very few builders provide photo renderings. Our customers often make very positive comments about the renderings because they find them extremely helpful in deciding on the best size, design style, and features for their porch or portico. For example, it helps them see the differences between a gable or flat roof in relationship to their home or what a portico might look like as an extension of their front entrance.
Q: Should I expect a front view only?
A: Yes, our customers only see a front-on view, but that is sufficient for these types of projects. We generally provide 2-3 options so they can make an informed decision.
Q: What’s the biggest surprise for homeowners when they see the rendering? What specific areas do they respond to most favorably (e.g. roofline, architectural details like columns, etc.)?
A: A lot of times, the roofline is the first thing they notice. For example, after they view different options, they might say, “I love the top railing – it really adds a lot of curb appeal,“ or, “I don’t want a flat roof – it doesn’t do anything for me,” or “Now that I see it, it looks a little small. Can we make the portico wider?”
Here’s an interesting story. Recently, a homeowner asked if I could take a photo of a neighbor’s portico that she really loved and wanted for her own home. She asked if I could make a rendering with the portico over her home’s front facade. I created the rendering and sent it to her. Her response? “Now that I see it, I hate that portico on my home. Wow, you saved me from making a big mistake!” Yes, our renderings can be quite helpful.
If you’re looking for an experienced front porch contractor who will give your home the makeover it deserves, contact Gary Zielinski for a free, no-hassle design consultation at 770-781-8234 today.
Go down memory lane for a moment. Where you grew up, did your family have a connection with your neighbors? Now consider your current neighborhood. Do you have similar relationships with neighbors? If the answer to the latter question is “no,” consider these ideas for helping build a sense of community by creating spaces where neighbors can mix naturally. When you form a relationship with the people around you, you create an environment in which people look out for each other. Isn’t that what a community is all about?
- Shade the sidewalk. Consider placing a tree where it will shade the sidewalk to help create a pleasant environment and encourage walking and visiting among neighbors. Trees provide rain and sun protection, and temperature differentials of 5 to 15 degrees are felt when walking on tree-canopied streets.
- Install a low fence at the front of your property. Placing a low fence near the edge of the sidewalk allows ample room for planting and creates visual interest for pedestrians. Consider planting daisies or velvety plants like lamb’s ear.
- Create a funnel effect to your front door. Increase the width of your home’s main path to act as a guide for visitors to your door or front porch. Plant low-water greenery vegetation at an angle and tier the plants to keep the views open to the neighborhood.
- Let there be light. No epiphanies here, but good lighting offers many benefits to your neighbors. First, it adds a level of safety and is a proven deterrent to crime. Second, when you eliminate pools of light and darkness, you make it less of a hazard for all neighbors—particularly those who are elderly.
- Do some serious planting. Use richly textured planting designs to establish the mood of your garden. Consider plants that are either native to the Atlanta area or have adapted to the area. Native plants are heartier and will be more sustainable over time.
- Have a place to hang out. Front porches are a natural invitation to hang out with friends and family. Heck, even Andy sat and played guitar to Opie, Aunt Bea, and visitors on the Andy Griffith show back in the day! Don’t have a front porch? Create a seating area in the front yard nestled among mature trees. Or better yet, contact us and we’ll build the perfect front porch addition or portico hangout for you!
- Have a ready-made entertainment center on your front porch. The more comfortable your front porch appears to neighbors, the more inclined they are to stop by for a friendly chat. Set up chairs so people face each other to encourage conversations. Add a table and you are ready to entertain at a moment’s notice!
If you’re considering a new front porch or a porch remodel, it might be challenging to sift through front porch contractors. Why not go with a proven team who specializes in designing and constructing the perfecting curb appeal addition for your residence? Georgia Front Porch builds everything from simple bracket porticos to full front porch additions. Reach out for a free design consultation with our expert, Gary Zielinski.
When you think of the word “porch” what visual first comes to mind? A farmhouse with a wraparound veranda complete with rockers and a porch swing? Ask architects and the responses will be all over the board. When they imagine a porch, they strip it down to its most basic elements while holding onto the advantages and uses for the space. And when it comes to modern porches, the sky’s the limit.
Designing a modern front porch offers special challenges due to the unique designs and shapes found on a contemporary home. Style options are typically simple and sleek without much ornamentation. For example, when it comes to boosting the curb appeal of your mid century modern home, less is more. The design aesthetic for this period of architecture (1945-1965) is typically minimalist with clean lines, flat or gabled roofs, dramatic edges, and large picture windows. Exteriors were usually constructed from natural stone such as unpolished marble and granite, concrete block painted white, red brick, or redwoods.
Modern porches create covered spaces underneath roof overhangs with balconies overhead. Now, that strays from the definition of a traditional porch with a separate roof. But this interpretation provides the protection of a porch via an overhang from the main roof and gives you much more flexibility to work with your home’s layout.
We are starting to see a trend with owners of ranch style homes who are looking to do a porch remodel. They are seeking a smart way to give their mid century residence an updated, sophisticated look with a contemporary porch. As an expert porch remodeler, Georgia Front Porch can often help achieve that by designing and building a front porch that matches their contemporary design aesthetics. Sometimes that means incorporating flat tiles, sharp edges and straight lines without having too much detail or accents. A simple architectural statement for a front porch addition can have a major impact. Yet these porch designs also need to create a cohesive indoor/outdoor living space. Add bold furniture and clever modern landscape design to the mix and your home’s curb appeal just jumped by leaps and bounds.
But let’s not forget the back porch. As one example, when paired with folding doors that open completely, you erase the boundary between indoors and out with the porch as the transitional space between the two.
The morale of this story? If you are considering a front porch, or a screened or windowed back porch, don’t limit yourself to traditional designs. Let us help you consider all of your options be they traditional or more modern interpretations. We’ll listen to what you have in mind, add some new thoughts, and help you come up with the perfect porch for your home.
Looking for a way to add charm to your front porch? Start by looking up—at the ceiling! Most porches either are open with visible rafter or covered with various materials. Perhaps you have an unfinished porch ceiling or are bothered by the look of underside roof materials.
Today, there are many choices beyond basic plywood to enhance your front porch ceiling to create a warmer, more inviting environment. Vaulted ceilings can be ideal in hot areas and on small porches since it is installed directly under the roof pitch. If you’re seeking a rustic feel, open porch ceilings can provide charm since they reveal the supporting rafters of your ceiling.
Closed Ceiling Options
For a more finished and tailored look with a traditional style, these closed ceiling options should provide just the right ‘fit’ for your makeover.
Bead board panels bring an old fashioned look to your porch ceiling — not to mention a very popular choice for Southern porch ceilings. It is easy to install over plywood and can be painted or stained. For little or no maintenance, use vinyl bead board.
Tongue and groove is arguably the most attractive of all ceiling materials. It comes in a variety of woods, is typically stained and can be customized to meet your specific needs. And you don’t have to employ it as a ‘straight run.’ If your front porch is wide enough, consider installing your new tongue and groove ceiling in a herringbone pattern for added interest.
PVC bead board is a solid core, cellular vinyl material that stands up well even under the severest weather conditions. It is ideal for a coastal or beach porch. Available in a variety of colors, PVC ceilings come in center bead or v-groove designs.
Composite is a great low maintenance ceiling. It resists moisture, will not rot and comes in v-groove or bead design.
A coffered front porch ceiling creates an unexpected and handsome statement to a wide front porch. Stately and traditional, this ceiling style adds dimension and character to your entry. Add recessed lighting and comfortable seating and your home will exude charm and hospitality!
Finally, here’s a little known fact. It is a Southern tradition to paint ceilings blue. Why? Well, blue adds a calming ambience for porch sitters (think blue skies), keep mosquitoes away, deters bugs from building nests there, but most important of all — it wards off evil spirits!
For additional insights about ceilings, be sure to contact one of our front porch experts at 770-781- 8234 or send us an email. We’re here to help.