Grand, sturdy and beautifully symmetrical, Georgian style homes with brick facades are a gracious reminder of the country's early decades. Whether your Georgian house is from the Colonial era or was built later when the architectural style became popular again, it's undoubtedly acquired an aura of history. As years pass, the structure and landscaping age. But with a few well-chosen updates you can restore its grandeur and revive its curb appeal.
Restore the View
Typically set back from the street on a large lot, or on a more expansive property, Georgian homes are often surrounded by mature trees and profuse shrubbery. Overgrown foliage and excess greenery can actually detract from the view of the home's clean, balanced lines.
Turn the focal point back to the house itself with selective thinning of the landscape's plant material.
- Prune the trees to eliminate low branches and restore them to a natural, more compact size. Some trees may need to be removed completely, especially if they are close enough to the house to rub against the roof or brick siding.
- Eliminate overgrown foundation plantings that hide the home's balanced proportions. Replace the plant material with evergreen shrubs, evenly spaced across the front of the house. The shrubs should be kept trimmed to a height no higher than the base of the windows.
- Remove overgrown and free-form flower beds. Return the landscape design to a more formal layout with neatly trimmed shrubbery, wide flagstone walkways and a well-manicured lawn.
Beautify the Brickwork
Turn to a professional mason or specialist in tuckpointing to revitalize home's brick facade. Also known as "repointing" in some parts of the country, the process will restore the mortar between the bricks so it is both better looking and more structurally stable.
TIP: Tuckpointing from a company like AAA-1 Masonry & Tuckpointing may take more time than you expect as it requires a great deal of craftsmanship. You may choose to have only the front facade completed to improve appearances. But you should also plan to have the rest of the exterior done soon if cracks or damaged areas exist.
Freshen the Trim
White is the classic color for the trim around the windows and doors of a Georgian home, as well as the area under the eaves and any other prominent woodwork such as dormers and front porch columns.
A fresh coat of paint will make these features glisten in attractive counterpoint to the red brick of the home's facade. You don't have to stick with pure white, though. Ivory, creamy white or a soft pearl-gray can give the house a unique touch of class.
TIP: In some versions of Georgian architecture, shutters accent the tall windows of one or both floors of the house. Although they are traditionally painted black, you can give the house a greater sense of depth and balance by painting them:
- deep forest green,
- dark navy blue,
- or a rich chocolate color.
Balance the Boundaries
Fences along the property's boundaries may be valuable for security purposes, but if they don't match the home's style there's an unpleasant interruption to the line of sight. Correct this visual distraction by one or more of these methods:
- Install an ornamental aluminum or iron fence across the front of the property. The spaces between the thin, vertical posts allows for a clear view of the house and complements the Georgian architecture.
- Plant a wide border of mixed shrubs along the property's side boundaries to provide a soft, symmetrical balance to the view.
- Surround the back yard, which isn't seen from the street, with standard wood panel fencing or even a chain link fence, if necessary, for privacy and security.
Ready for it's starring role in the community, the improvements to your Georgian house and landscaping will make it a welcome sight for passersby, neighbors and your own family.