Adding a Front Porch to Improve Curb Appeal
By: Danny Lipford
Curb appeal is the overall look of a house when seen from the street. Improving your home’s curb appeal not only will allow you to enjoy it more but can make a big difference in resale value should you decide to sell.
To improve this house, we added a front porch, brick planters, new driveway, and landscaping—turning it from average to the envy of the neighborhood.
Prep Work and Front Porch
We started by marking the location of the new asphalt driveway and removing the existing concrete walk along with some of the old trees and shrubs.
Work on the front porch came next. Since the front of the existing house was straight and flat, we added a protruding brick entranceway to give it character. After laying a foundation of concrete blocks, the sidewalls were framed for the brick and stucco finish.
When everything was ready, the masons arrived to lay the bricks for the porch and steps, being careful to match the bricks and mortar on the existing house.
If your budget doesn’t include a new front porch, consider simply replacing the front door instead. Exterior doors are available in wood, fiberglass, or steel. While all three are fine, nothing gives a house more character than a solid wood door.
Choosing an Exterior Door
An exterior wood door can take a lot of abuse from the elements, so make sure the one you choose has been treated to protect it from rot and decay. Wood doors from JELD-WEN Windows and Doors are treated with AuraLast preservative to prevent termite damage, decay, and water saturation. Since AuraLast is clear, the wood can be stained and finished to any color desired.
When the porch was complete, brick planters were laid on each side of it. Before construction began on the new driveway, the planters were filled with topsoil and the plants put in place.
Next, the forms for the border of the asphalt drive were constructed and concrete poured around the perimeter for the footing. When the concrete was dry, the masons were called back to lay the bricks that form the border of the drive.
After the forms had been removed, the asphalt was put down. To keep from damaging the brick border, the asphalt near it was raked and shoveled by hand. While a roller was used to compact most of the drive, the areas around the edges were tamped down by hand.
An asphalt driveway should be sealed every few years to keep it in good condition. Before sealing it, clean the asphalt thoroughly with a pressure washer and repairing any loose spots. Next, pour on the sealer, smooth it out, and let it dry.
Once the driveway was finished, the landscaper returned to complete the work near the street. When undertaking a major yard renovation project like this, it’s important to have a comprehensive overall plan in place before work begins. This allows pipes that carry wires for outdoor lighting and the irrigation system to be run before driveways and foundations are poured.
When the last of the sod had been laid and the landscaping was complete, the house had undergone a real transformation. The brick planters, new front porch, and asphalt drive all work together to give added character and much needed curb appeal.
Other Tips From This Episode
The hard plastic end caps on an extension ladder can damage the paint or siding on the outside of your house and allow the ladder to slip while working on it. To keep this from happening, wrap the top ends of the ladder with carpet scraps and secure them in place with duct tape.
The Nature’s Retreat collection of patio furniture from Thomasville is made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified eucalyptus and all-weather wicker. Since eucalyptus is a fast growing tree, it’s more sustainable than many other woods, making it an eco-friendly choice. It comes in a rich, dark Espresso finish that will complement any porch or patio and is available at The Home Depot stores.
Thinking Green with Danny Lipford:
How to Make Compost for Your Garden
Adding compost to your soil is one of the best ways to improve your garden. Make a compost pile from a mixture of organic matter—such as leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds. Turn the pile once a week with a pitchfork to introduce oxygen, and keep it covered with plastic to hold in moisture and heat. Adding red worms to the pile will speed up the process, since they digest and process their body weight in organic matter every day.
Power tools used on Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford® are provided by Ryobi.