Fabulous Front-Yard Decks and Patios

Creating an inviting outdoor living space in the front yard is best way to meet neighbors. Designer John Gidding, host of Curb Appeal: The Block, has given the exteriors of these homes appealing makeovers.

Before: Well Maintained But Unattractive

Kit and Danny both work and spend all their remaining waking hours dedicating their time to local schools, their kids' PTA, social activities and volunteering in the community. Their house is the first thing you see when you enter the subdivision. They're aware they're bringing down the block and want desperately to do their part to make the entrance to the neighborhood beautiful.

After: Welcome to the Neighborhood

The tiny front porch and narrow, steep stairs are gone. Designer John Gidding designed and built an extended deck across the front of the house.

Before: Very Narrow Porch

This tiny sliver of porch is the only official outdoor living space at Kit and Danny's house.

After: Plenty of Outdoor Living

The new deck includes multiple "rooms" that allow for plenty of space for relaxing and entertaining. Kit and Danny say the new deck has enabled them to get to know their neighbors better.

After: Alternate Entrance

Stairs on the left side of the deck allow for easy traffic flow when Kit and Danny entertain.

Before: Eyesore of the Block

Mara and Todd's Spanish-style home has plenty of potential, but the couple is overwhelmed by thoughts of how to upgrade it. A neighbor kindly calls the house "tan and bland." And it's not a very inviting home: To get to the unappealing front porch, you have to walk up the driveway.

After: Hacienda Overhaul

The front porch has been extended across the front of the house. Designer John Gidding downsized the front columns, leaving just their bases, and erected a pergola that fits the style of the home.

Before: Walled Off

The front yard is enclosed in a fence with no gate, and visitors to Nick and Jennifer's house have to walk around it to get to the front door. It's a neighborhood that enjoys block parties, but how can one happen here?

After: Howdy, Neighbor

The fence is gone, and the grass is replaced by low-maintenance landscaping. And even better, there's a front deck to the left side of the door. Add to that, a spiffy color upgrade, and you have a welcoming front yard.

Before: Not Much to Look At

Hillary and Larry's house became the eyesore of the block when a car crashed in their yard. Because the below-grade driveway is a hazard, they'd like to fill in the space and thus double their outdoor space.

After: Sweet Spot

Besides the beautiful facelift the house and yard received, the homeowners get a pleasant sitting area for a quiet cup of coffee or visits with neighbors.

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