This Smithcliffs, Laguna Beach House is what I would call a stunner. In a community where homes sell for thirty million dollars this homeowner chose a Cape Cod / California style and every aspect of the home - the landscaping, hard scaping, gates, windows, doors and colors all demonstrate elegance.
Second angle of same home I just have to show you how they used understated colors in harmony with the home. The predominant color in the yard is green. The Smithcliffs tract was originally built with mature pine trees. The owners are restricted from trimming the stately pine trees. Brinderson the developer in 1992 -dug out and boxed the pine trees that had been on the cliffs for decades. The pines (Torrey, Ponderosa, Lodgepole. etc. ) were carefully replanted in new locations within the development. It was a daring idea to use a pair of 250-ton cranes to move trees in a time when developers didn't provide landscaping.
Because the trees create canopies over, around and near the homes there is much shade, but owners aren't allowed to sprinkler or drip irrigate around the trees. This homeowner created a stone pathway, a picket fence and the most amazing dutch door entryway. Notice the balance in the windows. This is an A+++ for curbside appeal.
Another Laguna Beach home with a gate entry. This home is also on the ocean side where homes are crowded. It has a Hansel and Gretel feeling in the architecture. I don't care for the pointed gate top, it feel threatening. The owner chose to echo the gabled pointy roof lines but this is not a welcoming entrance. It could be transformed with a few simple methods: paint color, vines, flowers. The dark chocolate paint just doesn't work in a flat finish. This could be transformed in a Farrow and Ball paint glossy finish with Lancaster Yellow or Arsenic Green or Pitch Blue. Then add a matching ceramic pot color.
Southwestern Style house with Curbside Appeal that I also give an A+. This home is in Newport Beach near my office. The cactus and succulent plantings soften the plaster and add counter punch to the rounded corners of the house. A couple splashes of red bougainvillea and red flowering pots near the front door lead you right inside.
Smithcliffs home with an archway entry. The driveway is softened by a runner strip of grass. Boston ivy covers most of the plaster and stone. Maintaining that ivy is no easy task. It would need trimming weekly to keep this shape and not make the house look like Grey Gardens. Also A+
Simple North Laguna Beach house. The awnings and American flag make this one pretty.
This front yard is an amazing garden. This Laguna Beach homeowner takes pride in planting a large variety of perennials, annuals and bulbs. The tree in the front could easily become a ball blocking the view but it is artfully trimmed to allow light and air to enter the space. I love that little French café chair in the middle of the yard, it seems to smile at the house. This style might be busy for some home buyers. Little would they know that the roses, lilacs and herbs require care.
Smithcliffs house that is just too cold of an entry. The giant door and stone stairway feels like a court house to me. The trellis over the top helps but isn't neat on the top as the boxy angles of the building. A bolder vine like coral bells passion vine would make this sing, and bring some monarch butterflies to make dance.
In Orange County California there is a great variety of architecture and landscaping for front entryways. Making your home beautiful and ready to sell is an art. Sometimes all it takes is to simplify as when we live somewhere after a while we don't start up new projects or see things as others might. Curbside appeal is very important to sell a home. Buyers might not get out of the car if it doesn't feel "just right."
This photograph is a little dark, but the ivy breaks up the plaster (yes it is plaster polished to look like concrete) exterior.