Updating ranch house exteriors

Cedar columns flanking the entrance add an additional decorative element.

And then, a little bit of landscaping goes a long way.

These exterior renovations show you don't have to compromise your style, and that there are so many ways to customize and modernize an 'outdated' home's appearance.

When architect Eric Olsen updated his California ranch home, he used rustic materials to add warmth and interest.

Fortunately, visual interest is just a series of DIY improvements away.

Here are five ways to improve the ranch style’s exterior, transforming it from blah to beautiful.

It's proof that you often don't need to do much to make a vintage ranch look amazing.

Okay, so this landscaped ranch by Allen Construction is definitely 'more' than the others, but we had to feature it as proof that this style can be luxurious without turning into a mansion.

Think small: Strategically select shorter shrubs, such as boxwoods, that won’t cover the low windows.Admittedly, the feature that’s most appealing on the inside — the sprawling, single-story design with its open floor plan — is, externally, uninteresting at best.A few easy landscaping improvements, however, can relieve the monotony and provide a visual counterpoint to that long, low roofline.Above, from Sunset Magazine, you can see the sliding shutter and fence are both clean and modern, but use reclaimed wood, which wears nicely and is low maintenance.He also added a number of French doors, which connect the home's inside with the outdoors.

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