Kelly writes in:
My boyfriend and I recently found our little dream cottage -- the only problem is the entry way. The landlord has built a huge fence separating our home from the front home so our front door & window look out onto a wall...
We can't remove the fence as the front home owner's have a large barking/jumping dog who needs her own private space. The entry way itself is covered in a blue outdoor carpet that we can't remove. We want the outside of our home to look as inviting and cozy as the inside but aside from potted plants we really have no idea what to do with the space. Any good suggestions? Thanks, Kelly
Kelly, if it makes you feel any better, we actually like the blue carpeting, mostly because it reminds us of the Standard Hotel on Sunset Blvd's outdoor blue astroturf deck. But what works for hotel is a lot more difficult to make work with a small porch.
One of the first things we imagine is using overhead outdoor lighting to bring more colour. We'd also consider adding a L-shaped bench that could fit under the far window and across the neighboring fence, providing you and guests with outdoor seating. Add a flower box alongside the facing porch railing with flowers that compliment the colours of your overhead lanterns and maybe a low-light and tall potted plant to hide the protruding AC/utility elements from the house wall, and you've got a very inviting entryway. Or how about vertical flower boxes along the fence?
One last project could be converting a large, sealed planter into a fountain, similar to the one shown here to bring a soothing water element to your outdoor area. And also be sure to check out Maria's Bungalow House Tour for outdoor setting inspiration...it is a glowing example of bringing colour outdoors to dazzling effect.