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Hardscaping 101: Design Guide for a Facade Facelift


Hardscaping 101: Design Guide for a Facade Facelift

March 5, 2015

A facade facelift can be accomplished with a strategy as simple as new house numbers or as ambitious as a paint job. With spring on the horizon, here’s a design guide with our best advice about paint and color palettes (plus a few suggestions in case you’re considering shutters, gutters, a new stoop, a Dutch door, rain chains, or new house numbers). Read on:

Paints and Stains


Above: Photograph via Marston Langinger.

For facades and other outdoor surfaces, use an exterior paint instead of interior paint, because exterior paint is formulated to withstand rain, wind, hot sun, and mildew. In general, exterior paints have more pigment and resin (which hardens into a tougher surface). Different sheens of exterior paint are available, including flat (recommended for stucco), low gloss (for trim), and semi-gloss (for floors and other areas where an abrasion-resistant surface is preferable).

We are admirers of a specialized line of 84 exterior paint colors from London-based Marston-Langinger (makers of bespoke greenhouses and conservatories). For more, see Paints & Palettes: 84 Luxe Colors for Exteriors and Facades.

Favorite Exterior Stain Colors, Gardenista

Above: Photograph by Meredith Swinehart.

Wondering whether paint or stain is a better choice for your facade? It depends on the look you’re after: stain generally will be semi-transparent (allowing you to see a wood surface beneath the color) or opaque (allowing you to see the texture of the surface.

For more, see Meredith’s list of our 8 Favorite Exterior Stain Colors.


Above: Photograph courtesy of Mark Reilly.

When choosing a paint or stain color for a facade, consider the style of your house and the color of other existing hardscaping elements including pavers, the roof, and awnings. For tips on how to pull a look together on a budget, see 11 Ways to Add Curb Appeal for Under $100.


Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

Meredith asked architects for their go-to colors of exterior paint; they revealed their top paint picks for Gray, White, Black, Green, and Red.

Entryways and Doors


Above: See The Ins and Outs of Dutch Doors. Photograph by Eric Piasecki via OTTO.

House Numbers


Above: Updating your house numbers is a quick fix that adds instant curb appeal. For inspiration and guidelines, see our favorite Tile, Enamel, Metal, and Modern house numbers. Photograph via DWR.



Above: Does your house have a stoop (or need one)? For design guidelines, see Hardscaping 101: Front Stoops. Photograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson for Gardenista.



Above: Another design element to consider is exterior shutters. Are they right for your facade? Janet explains the pros and cons in Hardscaping 101: Exterior Wooden Shutters. Photograph by Matthew Cunningham.

Window Boxes


Above: Window boxes can curb appeal to your facade if you choose a style that complements your house. For everything you need to know about styles and installation, see Hardscaping 101: Window Boxes. Photograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson for Gardenista.


Above: With window boxes, there are many materials to choose among. If you’re considering wood, metal, terra cotta, or composite PVC, explore the pros and cons of each with Jeanne in Hardscaping 101: Window Box Materials. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

Gutters and Rain Chains

tortus-studio-copenhagen-brick-wall-gutters-french-doors-stoop-gardenistaAbove: Does your house need rain gutters? If so, how do you choose a material (wood, galvanized steel, galvalume aluminum, or vinyl)? Ellen explains the options and prices for different materials in Hardscaping 101: Rain Gutters. Photograph courtesy of Tortus Copenhagen.

“Downspouts are one of those items that homeowners like to ignore. And who can blame us? Downspouts are not very attractive,” writes Janet. “They can be loud when they are effective, and troublesome when they aren’t (think leaf clogs).”  As an alternative, Janet rounded up her Favorite Rain Chains.

For more ideas to increase curb appeal, see:

Finally, get more ideas on how to upgrade your home’s facade with our Hardscaping 101: Exteriors & Facades design guide.

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