Homework: Lessons

The desire for great curb appeal often is undermined in modern homes by the necessity of front-facing garage doors. While they are an efficient and convenient way of parking and storing your cars, their placement can wreak havoc on the front elevation. Their prominence engulfs the rest of the façade. The added fact that half (or more) of the front yard is taken up by a bland, concrete parking pad adds insult to injury. But there are some refinements that can bring charm back to your home’s presentation.


Example Sketch

Revised Sketch

» overall composition
The hardest issue to deal with is one of composition. In the hypothetical example shown, the triple garage doors present a symmetrical element that is the largest (and basically unintegrated) component of the elevation, outweighing the front door and angled bay. In the revised sketch, the gable over the right garage door is eliminated, and dormer windows are distributed along the width of the house. Eliminating the angled bay component allows for a wider façade element with bigger windows in its place, which becomes more important than the garage doors. The revised front door with transom window, coach light and centered dormer now seems less buried.

» the details
Once the composition has improved, getting the details right is the next priority. The revised sketch shows whitewashed brick over the entire façade to help tie things together. Forest green is used as an accent color on the garage doors and new shutters, which also unites the entire composition. Finally, brick light piers and a garden wall with gate present a charming new feature that further subdues the garage doors.

» integrate the parking pad
The last initiative is to make the parking pad feel like part of the landscape. New cobblestones and colored concrete panels break the surface into smaller elements. Clipped hedges between the garage doors add greenery to this once barren area. New shade trees (including one between the drive lanes) frame the elevation, and evergreens at the property lines hide the neighboring houses. Admittedly, there are a lot of changes shown here, but any of them could be used separately to improve a home’s overall effect. This proves that there are a number of techniques that can be used to take the curse off the front-entry garage door.


Homework is penned by Paul Doerner, founding partner of The Lawrence Group. If you would like your home critiqued, contact us at homework@townandstyle.com.