Before: Formal, and Flat with No Curb Appeal
Earlier this summer, we featured ‘Skinny and Tricky‘ front yard design from scratch. This time, we’re showcasing an existing front landscape that needed a complete ‘do over’. Carol and the clients had worked together on their previous home.
The Design Challenge
The new house was big enough for their growing family and just down the street from their former home, but the new house had some problems. First, the “real” front door was on the side of the house and everyone used the mud room entry instead. The great room windows were too close to the public sidewalk. The existing front walk, the one everyone used, was a narrow awkward shape, and not at all welcoming. There was a lot riding on the redesign of the former mud room entry into the front door entry.
They were already using the formal front porch as a sitting area. They put a big comfy wrap around sofa on it even though it was not yet private. The heart of the family porch was already there, it just needed to be remodeled a bit and screened. Since they live near a very popular dog park….there were far too many doogie dooleys in the lawn but they didn’t want an unfriendly fence in the front yard.
After: Easy Care and Inviting
To make the insides and the outsides work properly, Carol brought her partner Bob Lindsay, home design/build Urban Renaissance LLC, to work with the clients on redesigning parts of the home that did not fit their family. They designed and then remodeled the mud room, added a wall that made the flow into the kitchen and great room great and added a fireplace. He also created furniture grade cubbies and cabinetry for the family’s new entry so it could function perfectly as the primary entry for the family AND the new front door. The interior’s style morphed into more of a Cape Cod beach house which fit this family’s laid back NW ways better.
The Perfectly Integrated Solution
Carol’s landscape design added a wide and welcoming stone front walk. The big hit was the custom stone wall that acts as a raised bed and is visually dramatic and drop dead gorgeous year round. It also provided seating for visiting with the neighbors or watching the kids play. To achieve a classic ‘northwest natural’ look, Carol mixed boulders with rich and warm toned stone tiles.
A Place to Repose
The original formal front entry made a lot more sense as a private family sitting porch with a breathtaking view of Mount Hood for morning coffee. Last but not least, the planter and plantings create a barrier that blocks most dogs from leaving gifts on the lawn.
In addition to a landscape design for the back yard which included a large edibles garden, the clients also wanted a cistern for watering the landscape. Bob Lindsay, Urban Renaissance and Joe Hurd, installed a 1,500 gallon cistern under the second story deck.
Rob says, “We’re collecting winter rain and using it to grow our food and have a garden! Using all that city water to maintain the lawn…well it didn’t feel good. Now it feels right and I love it!”
Perfect Blend of Fit and Function
The large stone planter and planting provided enough visual power to balance the Cape Cod home’s style. The planter fits this very social neighborhood by providing seating for visiting with neighbors or watching the kids play.
The new wide entry walk is also big enough to use as play area which in a neighborhood with lots of kids is ideal.