What's on the outside counts too...
1 a new perspective
Go outside and take a long look at the front of your property. Try to view it with fresh eyes. What do you see? Be honest. Then you can start planning. ‘Walk around and find an area with houses that are similarly aged and styled – see what resonates and which homes feel welcoming, and borrow those ideas,’ says John McDavid, director of property agent Aucoot.
2 express yourself
Use your front door as a way to express your personality. ‘Choose bold hardware, or contrast fixings with a tone that matches the paintwork – a nickel finish looks fantastic with anything,’ says Willow & Stone’s Sarah Wilshaw. ‘Don’t be fooled by a cheaper product with an inferior metal body, plated in a thin coating of chrome; deterioration won’t take long once it’s exposed to the Great British climate.’
3 the real thing
When considering windows, bear in mind that repair work is often more expensive than a complete replacement. Opt for timber frames over uPVC if you can. ‘The advantage of wood frames is that they can be made to replicate the original design in your property and look more appealing, too,’ advises Michelle Dilean at Original Sash.
See the style secrets behind a cool outdoor living space.
4 light up
‘A well-thought-out mixture of task and ambient lighting will make a big difference,’ says Charlie Bowles, director of Original BTC. Consider path or step lights to make dim or steep walkways easier to use, while box wall lights or exterior bracket lights flanking the front door give a warm welcome.
5 master of disguise
‘One of the most unsightly aspects of outside spaces is refuse. Having big plastic bins can take the shine off your carefully designed and maintained garden,’ says Jenna McDiarmid, buyer at Garden Trading. ‘There are lots of creative ways to hide them, such as screening with trellises and trailing plants or bespoke log storage. For a quick off-the-shelf solution, there’s also our Spruce wheelie bin cover.’
6 flower power
Plants and garden design are just as important as architectural elements. For Martin Ogden of Petersham Nurseries, simplicity is the key. ‘A welcoming focal point by the front door, such as a colourful planter or topiary, will look smart all-year round. In a sunny aspect, a fragrant lavender will do well, while evergreen shrubs, including camellias or skimmia japonica, are good for shadier spots.’
7 do your homework
For extensions, porches or garden rooms, research is imperative. ‘Find out whether your project has any requirements for planning, if there are any listed elements, or if your home is in a conservation area,’ advises James Upton of Westbury Garden Rooms.
Find inspiration for the garden and outdoor space.