My Slight Obsession for a Beautiful Front Porch


As an interior designer, I’ve always had a thing for pretty objects and spaces, but my slight obsession for a beautiful front porch has taken on a life of its own.  Does anyone else obsess over things like this?

If you’re in need of a little (or a lot) of outdoor living and garden inspiration, you’ve come to the right place! Today, I’m joining a few of my blogging friends for a Blog Hop of Remarkable Outdoor Summer Spaces, where you’ll see front porches, outdoor living spaces by the pool, DIY projects, and more. So grab your beverage of choice, sit back and relax, and be prepared to be inspired by some beautiful spaces.

Steeplechase Manor Blog - Remarkable-Outdoor-Summer-Spaces

 

My family and I have lived in our home for 10 years now, and sadly, we’ve never really taken full advantage of our large front porch. But I was bound and determined to change that this year! I desperately wanted to add some color and texture to the front porch and flower beds for the summertime, as well as a comfy place to sit and chat. So, in usual fashion, I came up with a design plan of sorts and set about implementing the plan. However, there were a few obstacles in my way.

The Homestead

Before I tell you about the obstacles, here’s a couple views of the front of our home. It’s a little difficult to get a great photo of the house because of all the trees (not that I’m complaining because we love them), so I thought I would show you two different angles to give you a better idea of what the elevation looks like. Also, I’m hoping that by showing you these that they’ll give you an idea of the size of the spaces I’m working with, as well as, to help bring some context to the obstacles. (Note: The front porch is approximately 33′ long x 8′ deep).

Steeplechase Manor - Front View of House - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Front View of House
Steeplechase Manor - Side View of House - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Side View of House

The Obstacles

The first and probably biggest obstacle in my way was me!  I had a very clear vision of how I wanted the space to look and feel, but was having a difficult time finding the “just right” items. I don’t know about you, but when I have a clear idea of how I want a space to look, it’s sometimes difficult for me to settle for anything less. Mr. M. tells me I’m hardheaded, but I like to think of it as being focused and unwilling to compromise. That’s a good trait sometimes…right?

The second obstacle was that I wanted to keep my costs under $1200. Since our front porch and flower beds are fairly large, I knew I would have to stretch my dollars as far as I could to get the impact I wanted to make. I also wanted to be sure to only purchase things that I truly loved because I knew that I would have these items for a while and didn’t want to waste any money.

The third obstacle is that our home faces west. And because we have a ton of trees in our front yard, the porch is in the shade until late in the afternoon to early evening. Now I know having a shady porch is a good thing, but it does make it difficult to grow pretty flowers. An additional challenge with this area is that there are spots near the very front of the porch and the front right flower bed that take the brunt of that sun, so I needed to make sure to select plants that would do well in sun and shade.

The fourth obstacle I faced was established tree and shrubbery roots in the flower beds. This made planting anything directly in the ground a major challenge, if not downright impossible. At least for me.

The Plan and Budget

The plan was to find high back outdoor wicker rockers, maybe a cute bench or two, colorful outdoor pillows that didn’t costs an arm & a leg, an outdoor rug, and some plants for the porch and flower beds. I wanted to try to get as much done as possible for $1200 or less. I’m happy to report that I squeaked in just under that amount.

And The Compromises…

The first compromise was caused by obstacle #4 (tree and shrubbery roots). I still wanted color in the flower beds, so I opted to add pottery to help get me there. I’m so glad I compromised on this because I love the look!

The second compromise I made was nixing the benches (for now). I never found any cute benches, which is a good thing because they would’ve blown my budget. All is good though because I have a clever idea up my sleeve for those. For now, I’m on the hunt for the right materials, and hope to have the benches made by next Spring.

And the last compromise I made was not being able to add any flowers to the left flower bed, other than the small hanging plant. You may have noticed in the photos above that there’s really hardly any places to put flowers, but I was going to try. Unfortunately, the shrubbery roots won out here! I do have a gorgeous red rose bush by the garage that really puts on a show in the Spring though, so I guess that’ll have to do.

A Little Before & After of Front Right Flower Bed and Front Porch

Here’s a little before and after of the front right flower bed and front porch. A little back story first…In the Winter of 2015, we had a pretty bad ice storm that damaged a few of our shrubbery, and they’ve slowly died over the last couple of years. Hence some of the bare spots and mangled bushes in the beds. We’re trying desperately to save the mangled ones, but I’m not so sure we’ll succeed. We’ll see.

Steeplechase Manor - Front Right Flower Bed & Front Porch (Before) - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Front Right Flower Bed & Front Porch (Before)
Steeplechase Manor - Front Right Flower Bed & Front Porch (After) - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Front Right Flower Bed & Front Porch (After)

Here’s My Inexpensive Tip & Trick to Get a Nice Full Wreath

While you’re getting a glimpse of the front door wreaths in the picture above, I thought I’d share my tips & tricks that helped me get the look I wanted at a fraction of the cost. Before I came up with this cost-effective idea, every wreath that I loved was around $150 each, which was a lot more than I wanted to spend. I have double front doors so that expense really adds up quickly.

I found Boxwood Wreaths for $20 each at Home Goods, and thought about adding a pretty bow and ribbon to them to give them a little color. But that just wasn’t doing the trick for me. I needed more oomph! A few days later I found the Floral Grapevine Wreaths for $10 each at At Home. My first thought was to use them by themselves, but they weren’t substantial enough either. So, what’s a girl to do? I decided to double them up by attaching the floral wreath to the boxwood wreath using floral wire in strategic places. That way, I’d be able to reuse either wreath separately if I ever wished to do so. At $30 each, I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out.

Steeplechase Manor - Front Porch Door wth Boxwood & Floral Grapevine Wreaths
Steeplechase Manor – Front Porch Door wth Boxwood & Floral Grapevine Wreaths

How about a close up of my beautiful front porch?

I’m loving how the front porch turned out! I have my comfy rockers and much needed color now, so I’m a happy girl!!!

I found the outdoor wicker rockers on overstock.com. They’re a little darker than I expected, but they’re very comfortable, so they’ll be staying. The cute embroidered pillows are from Home Goods. They’re indoor pillows, but I am planning on spraying a water repellant on them to make them suitable for outdoor. The plus side is that the price was right at $20 each!

The outdoor seat cushions and cute tassel rug are from Pier 1. I’m still trying to make up my mind about the rug though. I’m not sure if I’ll leave it here or move it inside. I do love how it brings in more texture, and plays up all the colors I have going on, and it’s also very soft, so Truman (our Great Dane) will have a soft place to lay. It’s technically not an outdoor rug, but since the porch barely gets wet when it rains, I’m not too worried about it. I would love to hear your thoughts. Should I keep it there?

Steeplechase Manor - Front Porch with Rug (After)- French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Front Porch with Rug (After)
Steeplechase Manor - Front Porch Plants - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Front Porch Plants

 

 

A Cute Bench, Some Red Glazed Clay Pots with Pretty Plants, and An Empty Space in a Flower Bed equals an Unexpected Look

I’ve had this super cute bench forever and it used to sit on my front porch. Somehow, (under mysterious circumstances), one of the legs got damaged, so no one ever sat on it. And to be completely honest, it’s not all that comfortable, but it’s so stinking cute. Don’t you agree? I decided to give it a new home and this area seemed like the perfect spot for it.

My original plan was to plant Caladiums in this spot, but tree and shrubbery roots had another plan for me. So, I changed course and came up with a new plan…decorative pots. The red glazed pots were a bit of a splurge (about 1/3 of my budget), but I love how they add color and dimension. Not to mention, they’re portable! I love how this little area came out. (Oops! That right shutter needs some attention!)

Steeplechase Manor - Bench Area (Before & After) - French Country Home - Summer Gardening
Steeplechase Manor – Bench Area (Before & After)
Steeplechase Manor - Bench Area (After) - French Country Home - Red Glazed Potter - Caladiums
Steeplechase Manor – Bench Area (After)

 

More Views of The Yard

We added this stone walkway a few years back, but it needs to be redone at some point because it’s a little bit of a tripping hazard now that it’s settled. We also added a couple of large flower beds on that side of the house and filled them with a shade loving ground cover.

A couple of years ago, we added three oversized flower beds in the front right side of the yard. The grass was so thin and pitiful looking there, and it was also a pain to mow around all those trees. Our plan is to add some visual interest there with plants that can do well in the sun and shade. I may even put a  surprise design element or two in there for extra interest. As you can see from the photo below, we have our work cut out for us. And we’re going to need a ton of plants.

Steeplechase Manor - Side Yard & Large Front Yard Flower Beds - French Country Home
Steeplechase Manor – Side Yard & Large Front Yard Flower Beds

I mentioned Truman earlier, so I thought you might like to meet him…

I’d love to introduce you to our 4-legged family member, Truman. He’s a 16-month old Great Dane puppy and a little lover boy…on most days. However, he is the reason why our backyard isn’t part of the tour today. This little toot tore up all of my outdoor cushions this past Spring with the exception of this chaise lounge cushion. Apparently, he thinks this one has his name written on it!

By the way, he’s an inside dog so he’s only periodically outdoors. Thankfully, Mr. M. works from home and keeps him company throughout the day, because lord only knows what my house would look like if he were at home by himself all day.

Do you allow your fur babies to sit on the furniture?

The only piece of furniture Truman is allowed to sit on inside is “his” red leather chair. He was still a little puppy when our kids came home from college in the Spring of 2016, and my daughter used to cuddle up with him and a blanket in that chair, so he thinks that it’s his. And much like Lionel from Charlie Brown, he still carries around his blanket. Silly dog! If you ever come to visit me, just be sure not to sit in his chair. That is, unless you want to cuddle with a 120-pound (and growing!) dog who loves to kiss you!

What would we do without our four-legged family members? With the kids away at college, he’s been our source of cheap daily entertainment. Love this little stinker!

Steeplechase Manor - Meet Truman Mastrandonas - Great Dane Extraordinaire
Steeplechase Manor – Meet Truman Mastrandonas

 

More Truman stories…just had to share so that you can get a true feeling of his personality.

Truman goes just about everywhere with Mr. M. – Lowe’s, PetSmart, Chipotle, you name it. And just about all of the employees at these stores know Truman by name and always shower him with attention. Even total strangers stop Mr. M to pet Truman. And Truman just eats it all up! He’s definitely a social butterfly!

Back in the Spring, they were out running errands and made a quick stop at Chipotle. As Mr. M was headed back to the truck, he sees about 15 college kids gathered around the truck petting Truman and taking selfies with him. A few days later my daughter (who’s away at college) receives a text from one her friends. The text was an Instagram photo of some girl and Truman with her caption that read “Check out this Badass Dog in this Badass Truck”. The part of the equation that I find so ironic (and humorous) is that Mr. M. is quite reserved, but his truck and Truman are always drawing people’s attention. Therefore, somewhat forcing him to be a little more outgoing.

 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please leave a comment and let me know how you enjoyed the tour.

Well, that’s the end of my Remarkable Outdoor Summer Spaces Home Tour today. I’m so happy you stopped by! I hope you enjoyed your stay and do hope that you’ll sign up to receive new posts delivered directly into your inbox. I would also love to hear your comments and/or questions, so please leave those in the comment section below. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Also, be sure to follow Steeplechase Manor on Facebook, because I’ll be sharing things there as well. And I would love it if you followed me on Pinterest and Instagram too! All of the links to my social media are in the sidebar area.

Oh, and one more thing…please feel free to share with family, friends, and neighbors, as well as, on your social media channels! All I ask is that you give proper credit to me and link back to the original post. You can find all of the social media share buttons at the bottom of this post. I greatly appreciate all of your support! Thanks a bunch!

 

DON’T GO ANYWHERE JUST YET…THERE’S MORE!!!

 

Are you ready for some more inspiration? Believe me, you’ll want to stick around for these additional outdoor spaces because they’re gorgeous!

Please check out these beautiful outdoor spaces by some of my blogging friends. All you need to do is click on the name of their blog and you’ll go directly to their blog post. Their link will open up in a separate tab, so you’ll easily be able to come back here for the other links. Enjoy!

 

Debbie @ Chatham Hill of The Lake 

Susanne @ Pearl Street Designs

Jordan @ Jordan’s Easy Entertaining

Toni @ Small Home Soul

Jeannee @ Shepherds & Chardonnay

Kellie @ Gratefully Vintage

Kim @ Exquisitely Unremarkable

Lisa @ The Purple Hydrangea

Nancy @ Cobani Bleu

Sam @ Raggedy Bits

Sherry @ Savvy Apron

Diane @ An Extraordinary Day

Patricia @ Old Things New

Suzanne @ Shop at Blu

Leanna @ Of Faeries and Fauna

Anika @ Anika’s DIY Life

Barb @ French Ethereal

 

A special thank you to Debbie at Chatham Hill on The Lake for putting this Remarkable Outdoor Summer Spaces Blog Hop together!

 

 

Until next time…Happy Decorating!

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29 Responses to My Slight Obsession for a Beautiful Front Porch

  1. You had better get used to Truman stealing the show! He is gorgeous! What a beautiful job you did in the pitch! So spacious! Love how you used to pots! And that bench! Well done!

    • Thanks for the compliments, Sue! I greatly appreciate it! My husband started taking him out in public as a young pup to socialized him, and he’s been stealing the show ever since!

    • Thank you so much for the compliments, Sam! We are enjoying sitting out there. I’m sure as the weather cools off, we’ll be out there more often.

  2. Your home and grounds and front porch are breathtaking!! But Truman steals the show 😉 That picture of him with the glasses on needs to be framed and hung on the wall…he is adorable!!!

    • Thank you so much, Susanne! Truman is a mess! Great minds think a like…that picture of him with the glasses is already framed!

  3. I love your rockers and the red cushions! It reminds me of my front porch in Corpus! It also was brown brick. The red goes so well with it! Well worth the wait! Your whole landscaping is beautiful! Love the carved bench!
    Jeannee

    • Thanks so much for your sweet compliments, Jeannee! We’re loving the rockers too! I have fond memories of Corpus Christi…fun place!

  4. Hi Kristy!

    Your front yard redo turned out great, and your front porch is beautiful!!! Our last house had a nice 15′ x 8′ front porch and I had a ton of potted plants out there with a small iron table, a chair and an iron/wooden slat bench underneath our front livingroom window. We had double front doors, too. Miss sitting out there! I hope your puppy is done chewing and teething ~ glad he enjoys his trips out with your hubby in the car. Great story about your daughter receiving a photo of him and your hubby’s truck!!! Pinned a ton. 🙂 It’s nice to be with you on the Summer Outdoor Living/Remarkable Outdoor Spaces blog hop tour! <3

    Have a great weekend!
    Barb 🙂

    • Thanks for your sweet compliments, Barbara! I can see why you miss sitting out on your porch, because it sounds like you had a little slice of heaven there! We hope Truman is over his teething stage too. Thankfully, he hasn’t chewed up anything indoors. So nice to be with you and the others on the ladies on the blog hop tour too!

  5. Your whole setting is stunning. Your gorgeous Great Dane looks very happy and content as he should with such beautiful surroundings.

    I dream of a yard with those big trees all around, beautiful.

    • Thanks so much, Leanna! We love it here! Truman is pretty spoiled, so I’m sure that has a lot to do with his happiness!

  6. Absolutely stunning, Kristy! You accomplished so much so beautifully! And your rockers look so inviting, I think I’d enjoy sitting there. Love Truman, too!!

  7. Your home is gorgeous and I love what you’ve done with the front porch. I imagine you’ll spend lots of time enjoying those rockers. Everything is wonderful and the pup is so adorable. I wouldn’t think of a Great Dane as being an indoor dog but I guess they are pretty mellow aren’t they.
    So happy to have you join us for the blog hop!
    Patti

    • Thanks so much for your sweet compliments, Patti! We love it here, and are enjoying the burst of newly added color. I’m sure we’ll be spending more time out there now, especially when the weather starts to cool down. Truman is a character! He’s our 2nd Great Dane, and a little more energetic than Ranger was, but thankfully, Truman is fairly mellow too. Great Danes are actually even great for apartment dwellers too because of their mellow nature.

  8. Kristy, so glad you were able to join the blog hop. Your home is lovely. I hope someday to have a front porch. I have mini ones now that really don’t have room for much. Your chair rockers are a definite invitation to sit and relax and take in the beauty of your land. I think the idea of the potted plants plays beautifully because they add shine and color beyond the flowers and with such massive lawn and trees and green, those really stand out as beauties. Your bench is definitely stinking cute. Who cares if it isn’t comfortable, I consider it an architectural piece in cases like that. I adore it. Your porch looks lovely and I am excited to see more!

    • You’re so sweet, Debbie! Thanks so much for your kind words! We’re really enjoying the addition of the rockers, and I’m sure they’ll get more use as the weather cools. I’m loving the addition of the pots in the flower beds too! They add much needed color, shine, and dimension. I’m already looking forward to adding some Fall color. Thanks again for putting this blog hop together. I really enjoyed participating and look forward to many more!

  9. Kristi, your porch and yard are gorgeous! Of course I love how you used pots in the landscape! That is one of my main landscaping tricks! And Truman is adorable! I can see how he garners lots of attention.

    • Thanks Nancy! This is my first time using pots in the front yard flower beds, and I love it! I’m not sure why it took me so long to try this, but there’s no turning back now!

  10. Hi Kristy,
    Really love what you had done in your Porch, and I can see you are really passionate about it.
    And I felt in love for your Great Danes. Fantastic blog post!

  11. I love those rockers. The cushions add just the right punch of color! Your yard is huge, nice way to add flowers and color with the clay pots.

    • Thanks, Elle! We love our little piece of heaven! And the rockers too! If you haven’t used decorative pots in your flower beds, I highly recommend trying it. I love how they add shine, color, and depth to the flower beds.

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