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Porch ideas please

29 days ago

60 yr old cottage porch wants to look more updated and modern for little cost. There is access to the septic right outside the shed so need to leave that. Very hot and sunny most of the day. Pavers ? Concrete? Flowerbeds? Shape? <$5K

Comments (48)

  • 29 days ago

    Will your dog stay out of flower beds? Does the lampost work and you use the light often? What does it illuminate and do you need any additional lighting?


    How many people use this patio area and what do you want it to be used for - eating, reading, lounging?


    Do you have a wider view picture of your entire front lawn? Is this how you enter your home? Do you want to replace the pavers up to the patio?

  • 29 days ago

    It’s really cute but you have too much stuff. Does the shed have to stay? Please step way back and get another picture.

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  • 29 days ago

    Thank you, I really need fresh eyes to see this. This is actually the back of the house.

  • 29 days ago

    I sit there in the morning for coffee. The lake is on the other side of the house. It blocks the wind nicely. I use the shed but would buy a newer one. Lamp post is only on at night when I’m there.

  • 29 days ago

    This is the front of the cottage.

  • 29 days ago

    A Bistro awning and umbrella



  • 29 days ago

    Doesn't look like there is enough space over the door for any wall mounted awning.

    The roof pitch is so low that I question if it is even possible to add an attached porch.

  • 28 days ago

    You are correct. The pitch is too low. I had a company come out and tell me that.

  • 28 days ago

    Could you build a pergola to provide shade and a place to sit. With a stone patio underneath.


    Like this one of these..



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    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago




  • 28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    Nice spot. I agree you have too much random stuff. I battle with this too - I was a poor kid and pinched pennies for years but I don’t really need to today.

    Three or four really nice features/furnishings that go together well are much better than 10 cheap random thingies. I still have to force myself to cough up the $$$ for handsome items.

  • 28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    @littlebug Zone 5 Missouri I know what you mean about pinching pennies! My mother was born in a log cabin on the plains of Montana with no electricity or plumbing. I still hear her voice, 'Paul, do you really need that?' when I make a big purchase.

    I could afford more too but because of her I do get a kick out of a deal and saying "Costco, HomeGoods or Clearance" when someone compliments me on my furnishings. Still use her phrases too "Ugly as a mud fence", "Dumb as a rock" "Old as dirt" :P

  • 28 days ago

    I'd paint the chairs to match the shutters and add more flowering plants.

  • 28 days ago

    A quick improvement you could undertake now is to take out the grass to the left of the patio and plant a garden there.

  • 28 days ago

    The front of your house is beautifully done and I'd repeat some elements from there for cohesion. Plus, why reinvent the wheel?


    I don't think you need another pergola or awning. One on a house this size is enough. If you want shade, go for an attractive umbrella that matches your blue paint color. To the right of the right window add three upright evergreens that echo those in the front of your house. Add ground cover at the base of them. Remove the iron trellis.


    Remove the stove and the lamp post. Place a large outdoor rug over the right half of the patio. Keep the chairs on that side and move them another 2 feet away from your house. Get a small table to put in between them for your coffee. Would you like to have matching Adirondack ottomans? Man are they comfortable.

  • 28 days ago

    Thanks ! Great ideas!

  • 28 days ago

    I like the evergreen idea. It’s very hot there I wonder if they’d survive.

  • 28 days ago

    I think another pergola would be a bit much as the one on the front of the house is a Costco one that I just love.
    Wondering if I should do pavers or poured concrete or save money and just have it lifted and a new base put done under it all? Do a different shape maybe as Celery.Visualization suggested.

  • 28 days ago

    How about a white pergola (no planter, though) about this depth all the way across the back? Leave the pavers as is and remove some stuff: 2 fern planters; window boxes; paint Adirondack chairs same as the door and shutters, and two shrubs. If you want to replace pavers, then poured cement, lightly tinted the pale color of your house would extend the footprint.

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    Create couple very deep curvy garden beds like this one on each side of your stepping stones. Incorporate the current shrubs into the plan since they seem to be growing well. They just need company? Get professional advice about what perennials will do well in your hot, sunny location. Tidy up the foundation beds you have against the house.

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    Can you paint your shed the same color as your house siding or blue like your door and shutters?

  • 28 days ago

    Is it much hotter than where the evergreens are in the front of your house?


    I think the pavers and squares look a bit better with the squared off MCM vibe of the front and sides of your house.

  • 28 days ago

    Work on the landscaping. Remove the 2 round shrubs at the end of the walkway. You want landscaping to blend, not stand alone. You should have foundation plantings next to the house with shorter perennials in front, and maybe add some annuals if you like to garden. No round shrubs please. Is that yellow thing an umbrella? Does it work well and do you use it? You do need shade if it’s hot, and an umbrella in a pretty pattern would be a low cost way of getting shade.

  • 28 days ago

    I just love all these new ideas and fresh eyes. Thanks everyone.
    The umbrella works well and I use it a lot but has shifted due to the wind. Will try something new there.
    The front of the house is very windy as it is on the lake. I should paint the shed, as suggested.
    Beef up the planters on either side ? Was thinking about maybe grasses? Nobody suggested that. Wondering why? Too much stuff?

  • 28 days ago

    What is making your garden uninteresting is that everything is solid green. Couple that with a huge expanse of green lawn.

  • 28 days ago

    Ok good. You are right. My umbrella is bright yellow. Maybe some yellow plants ?

  • 28 days ago

    Yes. And there's lots of plants with yellow and variegated foliage. There's pretty golden grasses too.

  • 27 days ago

    Zagreb coreopsis would be a good choice for yellow in a hot and sunny location.

  • 27 days ago

    T the hanks I will look for that.

  • 27 days ago

    Am not certain of the constraints of planting over or near access to your septic system. Where, exactly, is the access to that located on your photo? Could those who are suggesting landscaping advice indicate how that should be addressed? My suggestion is to better address the shed. Turn it in to a space with purpose. Does it have any windows? If you can replace it with a larger one that has windows, an access door, you could better incorporate it as an anchor on your patio.

  • 27 days ago

    You mentioned that you might buy a new shed. A metal shed is too utilitarian to have so close to the patio, so it is a bit of an eyesore. The type of shed that would add to the scenery are the ones that look like little cottages with real windows and doors. They become the focal point of the garden. Either way, it looks like you have room to move your shed further away from the house. Even moving it a few yards would make a big difference. If you buy another metal shed, you could plant those tall conifers along the side facing the house to screen it.

  • 26 days ago

    A mix of pavers and stamped concrete for a modern look I think would look nice. Adding a pergola or shade sail will help with the hot sun. For the septic access, try removable pavers or a hinged garden bed cover. Updating or moving the shed can also make a big difference. Best of luck with your project!

  • 23 days ago

    The location of the shed would depend on what is stored in it. If the OP needs to access stored items frequently, it makes no sense to move it farther away.

  • 23 days ago

    It’s basically just gardening tools, garbage and recycling in there. We do use it a lot. I think I will paint it to match the house so it blends in, as suggested.

  • 23 days ago

    The current utilitarian shed with colors that echo the home are just fine. It just receeds into the background. I would not get a shed that looks like a cottage as you don't really want the shed to become the focal point.


    Focus on shape, size, and texture before you concern yourself with color. Everything near the house if flat. Everything away from the house is symmetrical. I'd try to break this up like in the photo below:


    1. Against the house left side - remove the grass patch on the left and turn it into a small perennial patch with medium height whispy and leggy flowers with varying shapes and sizes. This will all depend on your light, but the flowers here are where you can get your color going: Allium, butterfly weed, yarrow, bee balm, salvia, black eyed Susan, coneflower, cosmos - to name a few.


    2. Against the house right side - three tall evergreen shubs. Odd numbers look best. Even if you have room for four, just use three and space accordingly.


    3. Remove the large round shrubs. They are not adding much interest and the symmetry is too much. Your house is so symmetrical, your landscaping here can break it up.


    4. Add a tall fountain grass where the left shrub was.. It will be a nice diagonal echo to the tall evergreens against the house.


    5. Add a nice flowering shrubby like perennial where the right shrub was. Perhaps amsonia hubrichtii. It is spectacular in spring, summer, and fall. Looking different each season.





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    Amsonia Hubrichtii

    "Clusters of sky-blue stars in late spring. Deep green thread-leaf feathery foliage waits until Fall to strut its stuff, turning bright rich yellow. Intersperse Amsonia Hubrichtii in your border to provide texture and color all through the growing season."






  • 23 days ago

    Thanks for the great ideas. I really hate to part with those 2 mature Spirea bushes because they are more than 60 yrs old and been there since I was a child. That is the consensus though, I guess it is time. They do flower pink in June , I cut them back and have a second blooming in September.
    The flower bed under the left window has black eyed Susan and tiger lilies, they are just not in bloom yet.
    I like the 3 evergreens idea too.
    I agree about the shed. Some of the plasticky ones look too cutesy and detract from the house. Great ideas, much appreciated.

  • 23 days ago

    I wouldn't remove them since they have sentimental value. Memories are more important than a perfect garden.

  • 22 days ago
    last modified: 22 days ago

    Since this is the back of the house, does anyone ever see this view that you have shown us from the back of the property? I wonder whether we shouldn't be more concerned with the closer view of someone sitting on one of the chairs, and looking away from the house.

    Then I'd add more flowers where the lantern post is. Maybe take some pictures of the current "view" that you have, when you're enjoying your morning coffee. That's the view that counts. It would also be nice to see some flowers looking out the house windows. The flowers along the house can't be seen from inside.

    Looks like you have a garage back there and maybe some tall hedges. Are there any views you want to block or enhance?

    If you're looking for a cost-effective approach, reuse the pavers that you have and re-lay them flatter. Is the current size and shape working for how you use the shape? Painting the shed is the most cost-effective approach, and it looks like it's in good shape. Maybe its current position is giving you privacy?

  • 22 days ago

    60 year old spirea - yes, keep them. If you want to change up the look, you could always expand the area around them and plant next to them.


    I too was curious what your view is from sitting there and looking out.

  • 22 days ago

    That is the gravel road, farmers field on the left. I have a huge cedar and 2 yr old apple tree to block the view of the home behind my car. On the cement pad.

  • 22 days ago

    Sorry, my yellow umbrella needs to be straightened and its base re done.

  • 22 days ago

    Thanks for the spirea support. ❤️ Memories are important, agreed .

  • 22 days ago

    Yes, keep the oldies!!❤️ I would focus on a seating arrangement on the patio that is comfortable and has a nice view, or a view that could be improved with plantings. For example, I could see my neighbors garage door from my front porch, so I planted a dwarf birch in a spot where it would fill in and block the garage door. We sat on the front porch tonight and I remarked how nicely the tree filled out and how we can no longer see the neighbors garage door. I am not worried about how my porch looks to them! The sunset was lovely.

  • 22 days ago

    So I would think about adding privacy to your patio by planting trees and shrubs that look nice from your patio and block out the neighbors.

  • 22 days ago

    Good plan. I will def think about the point of view and maximize my view.

  • 22 days ago

    I'm envisioning some style appropriate downsized version of a mid century carport with storage incorporated. Not exactly this but the photo represents the general idea.

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  • 15 days ago

    Interesting and very nice! Love the lighting too.