Front Door Remodel: A Garden Entrance | Redo It Yourself Inspirations : Front Door Remodel: A Garden Entrance

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Front Door Remodel: A Garden Entrance

My first exterior "Fixer Upper"project was inevitable. The original entrance was rotted. The  fence, door casing and deck with railings were all beyond repair.  A rhododendron was planted too close to the house and the metal door was rusted and warped from moisture. The deck and the railings were built downward and towards the facing wall... 

you may have already guessed,  there was rotting walls too. The way that the deck was constructed, all of the caught rain and melting snow went towards the house. It wasn't pretty.

These are the only early before photos I have, the quality is terrible. 

Here is the original door. I painted it to live with it until we got the new one. 

Removing the deck first was easy enough. Then the project moved on to taking out the over grown plant... which wasn't so easy. Hubby had to use his truck to pull it out. It was old and the roots were quite deep. ( I salvaged it and it's doing very well where I replanted it.) 

After making room to work, the two walls were replaced, insulated and rewired to include an outdoor GFI outlet. Then my favorite part... the door!  It was a dark finish, almost a solid paint. I wanted the wood grain to show through, so I sanded it off on all of the high parts and stained it in golden oak. I left the dark finish in the routed areas for contrast to match the interior trim around the door. 

The glass... oh my! The intricate engraved look of scattered leaves is just stunning. I love it! 

I found it on Craigslist. A brand new, never installed before $1200 door and I practically stole it for $200 ... really... a solid hardwood door with the gorgeous window made the entrance all by itself. It was a minor investment when I bought the lock-set and doorknob for the same price as the door. Still a bargain door for $400!  My dad brought the hinges and he prepped and installed it into the new door frame that hubby set in. 

The next phase was to build a concrete patio with steps to the door. 

I reclaimed retaining wall blocks to form the first step of the concrete layer;  rounding off at the corner. I incorporated a small garden pond off to the side. Then, repeated the pattern for the second layered step to the door. Hubby helped me with the concrete for the first layer... it was a lot of mixing and bags of cement. The second layer was easy for me. 

After the concrete phase was done, I used some fabricated rocks and actual stones to side the wall. This was my first attempt building a stone wall and quickly learned it required a lot of patience.  It's not an easy project. After finishing the stones, I stained the pale yellow siding and painted over the blue trim with a cedar color.

The final and fun part was landscaping. 

I finally have the finished entrance I envisioned. I love timber and stone exteriors. Eventually, it will get finished all around the house. 

Each year I love to make the entrance really inviting by using different plants and garden accents. 

Last year I got this water fountain from a thrift shop and added it to the pond. 

The little pond has tenants... frogs and tadpoles throughout the summer. 

The landscaping part of the project took a few summers and a lot of determination to get it into a garden entrance. 

But it can continue to be flexible with decorating ideas. Right now it's ready for spring. 

Hope you enjoy my front entrance and come back to visit for more redo ideas! 


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  1. robin that door is to die for wow and the whole entry way is gorgeous good job woman you busted butt but it was worth it xx

  2. oh i forgot unless i was on pain meds ha ha and missed it before you new blog look is gorgeous too xx

  3. So lucky to get the door at such a bargain! This was a really tough job. My hands and back certainly got a workout, lol! I was hoping to have the adjoining wall stone sided by now, but that's going to be a job for this summer. The whole front is opened up now and we don't have moisture issues with the building. Thank you for liking it, Monkey! ox

  4. It needed some streamlining and so happy you noticed!!! Thank you!!! ox

  5. Marie@The Interior FrugalistaApril 6, 2015 at 12:20 PM

    First Robin, like the new look of your blog!
    Wow, that's a sweet "start the car...start the car" price for a solid wood door with etched glass! (I won't tell you how much we paid for a new door with etched glass sidelights last summer).
    Your garden entrance is fabulous - great job! I'm totally crushing over that mini pond - such a great idea incorporating it into your concrete patio.

  6. Everything is still a work in progress. The mini pond was actually here when we bought the place but in such an odd place next to the road. The blocks were thrown over the bank on the property. I just re-used them and it came together. Needless to say, it was a free gym workout!
    Thank you so much for your kind compliments!

  7. Hi Robin! Featuring on my FB page today and pinned. Great inspiration! :)

  8. Thank you for being such a dear!! I'll be right over! :)

  9. The front door makes an immediate first impression for anyone visiting, or anyone looking to buy your house should you decide to sell it. The fountain is also a fantastic little touch! Your front entrance looks incredible now, and it gives me a lot of different ideas for how I want to redo the entrance to my house.