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the block 2021 mitch and mark front yard with white picket fence

The Block 2021 Front Yard Reveals: Cue the Sad Music, It’s Chris’ Last Critique!

Crack out the Kleenex and cue the Adele; The Block 2021 front yard reveals marks the last of my judging this season. Next week I’ll be doing a ‘best and worst moments’ from this year’s room designs, but after that it’s adios for another year of critiques.

Seeing the show’s front yards each year is actually quite the eye opener. It’s not until you see the first impression of the homes that things either make sense, or they solidify some of the WTF moments you questioned inside the properties. There was a little from both categories this week. 

I have to say, the team I expected would blow me away did the complete opposite, so at least as we reach the home stretch there are still surprises to be had. That said, at least none of the front yards were as bad a last year’s effort from Jimmy and Tam. That zone will continue to give me night terrors.

the block 2021 mitch and mark front yard with red brick path

Mitch and Mark Came First

I have to admit, I feel a similar level of enthusiasm as Shaynna about this charming front yard from Mitch and Mark. I don’t have kids, so I’d be chasing the Uber Eats driver around the tree (“gimme my pizza, b*tch”), but it is very worthy of the praise the judges awarded them.

The zoning is quite lovely here, and you want that in a yard of this size. You have a pocket for sitting, a pocket for play, enough grass to roll around on, and a path that takes you on a journey toward the front door. Mitch and Mark have made a few blunders this season, but this yard isn’t one of them.

The tree is a genius move and does ground the scene. I also love the idea of a place for kids to play, but to be fair that trampoline is way too close to the faux rock seat. You’d need to have a first aid kit stored behind it at all times, ready to deal with impending concussions. 

the block 2021 mitch and mark front yard with fake grass

It Isn’t All Good Though

While there is a tonne to gasp over in this yard, the artificial grass is a killer. You know I love me some fake plants, but there’s a cheapness to this variety of greenery. It’s too bright. In a yard that feels like it’s been there for years, the grass stands out.

And if it’s not fake (I don’t have all the details), I’d say it’s the wrong variety. The entire exterior of this property is so soothing and charming and nostalgic. Neale is right about the heritage feel. But then you have this bright green hit you, and it’s cheapening the entire vibe for me. 

I also have to disagree with Shaynna re the front door placement. Seeing the yard only makes me even more convinced the front door should have been closer to the garage door (near the internal staircase, behind the kitchen).

All in all though, a well-deserved win and definitely the best facade of the five.

the block 2021 kirsty and jesse front yard driveway double garage

the block 2021 kirsty and jesse front yard pergola

Kirsty and Jesse Came Second

Kirsty and Jesse had a mammoth front yard to work with, so they did well to create pockets using paths, arbours and greenery. It certainly has a charm to it, don’t get me wrong. And like with Mitch and Mark’s, I love that it feels like it’s been there for years.

You know there’s a but coming though. And it’s a big butt. A Kardashian variety, if you will. I sadly must admit that I don’t fee like the exterior matches the interior, and that’s a problem.

These two came into the competition with a Hamptons intention for the home, and I have loved seeing that play out in the kitchen, the bathrooms, even the bedrooms and living zones. There are subtle nods to it, there are obvious nods to it, and it’s all come together quite beautifully.

In this yard though, I get none of that. Apart from the roller door, this facade has no distinct style, and that’s disappointing for me. Some soft greys and some moody blues would have been amazing on the facade of this home to have it read as more Hamptons.

the block 2021 kirsty and jesse front yard side foot path

It Also Feels Quite Hard and Dry

The other issue I have with this yard is that I get no softness or comfort from it. There’s so much space to work with, that it seems almost criminal not to have some soft seating, some layers, a level of comfort that you could curl up and relax in. 

As it stands you have a rock path leading you to a metal bench. I’m almost 40 and I already want a cushion to sit on and some back support. There’s nowhere for adults to comfortably sit. It’s such a contrast to Mitch and Mark’s, where you have multiple spots to unwind in.

Sorry, but to call this the greatest house ever on The Block is a stretch for me. A yoga size stretch. A downward dog of a stretch. The yard has gravel and grey pavers as one of its main features. I’m dry and dehydrated just looking at those paths.

Sorry guys: love the internal of this home like I love cheese and wine, but the facade is not giving me chills and thrills.

the block 2021 ronnie and georgia front yard white and black modern home facade

Ronnie and Georgia Came Third

My internal dialogue is whispering, soften your feedback, don’t go in hard here, don’t make major declarations that might offend. But I can’t find any other way to say how unappealing this front yard is. I’m truly, truly shocked Ronnie and Georgia delivered it.

There’s a lot to unpack here.

Firstly, the connection between indoor and out is non-existent. There’s nothing in this front yard that gives you a hint of what’s to come when you walk in the front door. The beauty of Ronnie and Georgia’s bathroom, living and dining, or even kitchen, is not reflected anywhere in this zone.

It’s more brutal that Gordon Ramsay, let’s go there. The Colorbond cladding around the entire facade; imagine the glare that would come off of it on a sunny day. You’d need SPF 50+ just to walk near it. Not to mention how hard it makes the home appear.

the block 2021 ronnie and georgia front yard colorbond roof with velux skylights

A Lack of Material Mix is the Issue

A successful facade needs a mix of materials, and this has one. The garage door could have been a moment to mix up the material, or at the very least the colours. Stark black and white here is just too much.

The brickwork around the front gate is thankfully giving your eye one safe place to rest, but it’s not enough. In fact, because it’s not reflected anywhere closer to the front foor, it doesn’t look at ease with the Colorbond at all.

It’s like a shiny and new thing sat beside an old weathered one. This zone is the Leila George and Sean Penn of the street. And it pains me more than impending bee stings to say it because the inside is so good.

Can I also point out what putting 465 skylights in your ceiling does to the exterior of your home? Take a look at the image above. The skylights viewed from the outside only make the property even more brutal. And the entire front door made of transparent glass? I can’t. 

the block 2021 josh and luke front yard grey and white modern home facade

Josh and Luke Came Fourth

Josh and Luke did a really solid job here. I think they should have scored more than Ronnie and Georgia, that’s for sure. In fact, I see both home facades as having a similar vibe, with strong angles, monochromatic palettes and some harshness. But Josh and Luke did it better.

There’s a softness and contrast here that I like. It feels quite moody but lush. The steps going up to the front door make an impressive statement, and I love that they look like they’re floating. However, when you get to the door itself, like with R&G, there’s no coverage overhead.

There’s an issue for me around the front door and window that needs resolving. It feels too bare and unfinished. Perhaps a flat line of horizontal roofing over that section is the answer. 

the block 2021 josh and luke front yard grey home facade with pitched roof

the block 2021 josh and luke front yard play area

Let’s Talk Bricks and the Side Section

The white bricks are an issue, I have to agree with the judges there. I just want them to be grey, a few shades lighter than the home is painted. Then it would be a nice colour story of black, charcoal and light grey with green softening it. 

The outside of this home does connect to the inside. It’s something that two other teams failed to create, so I have to give them props there. Colours, materials and vibe in this yard all tell me what I’m going to get when I walk inside. So that’s a win.

There is something off about the side part of the yard, there’s no denying it. But all it’s crying out for is a fire pit and some built-in seating around it. They had a fire pit in the backyard, but I see this green patch in the front yard where you go for an intimate gathering.

Let the backyard be pool zone and fun summer vibes, and make the side part of the front yard the intimate escape where you sit around the fire and have some wine.

the block 2021 tanya and vito front yard mid century facade with yellow front door

Tanya and Vito Came Last

OK, so let’s ease into this one. I’m going to start with some positives. And that, without a doubt, is that you know what you’re getting when you walk in the front door of this home. It screams at you from four streets away that it’s unapologetically mid-Century.

And that’s a good thing. If you happen to love this vibe, at least you get consistency and cohesion. It’s not like Ronnie and Georgia’s where you think you’re entering a tin shed and actually walk into a soft indulgent design dream. So for that, I say, good on you T&V.

Now, real talk. To play opposites with Neale, ‘over the top kitsch’ is indeed how I would describe this facade. It reads like a TV set. There’s a faux feel about it, a lack of authenticity. Is it giving me The Brady Bunch set? It’s something like that anyway. 

It doesn’t feel at all at home in a suburb like Hampton. In fact, your neighbours, who I imagine are Prue and Trude from Kath & Kim, would be petitioning to the local council to have you paint the doors of this property. And paint would indeed help the situation.

the block 2021 tanya and vito front yard mid century home facade with sloping roof

the block 2021 tanya and vito front yard teal garage door with round windows

Some Tweaks Would Help It

If you painted the front door and the garage door in more neutral tones, it would be a huge help in having this home feel more like a nod to a style as opposed to an over the top reference. It’s how I feel about a lot of the design choices in this home, actually. Less would be so much more.

The shapes and angles are nice here. The brickwork is nice too. There are some good features to admire, but you don’t get a chance to take them in because of the colour choices. The cracked paths, and the fact that the front path has a break in it is also odd.

The amount of glass around the front of the home doesn’t feel resolved to me, and I have to agree with the judges around the lack of seating and comfort. But all is not lost. They just need to tone it down a bit.

What did you make of The Block 2021 front yard reveals? It’s your second last chance to tell me what you thought this season. Drop me a comment below and share your thoughts and feelings.

See more goodness from The Block via The Block Shop and nine now.

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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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Comments

27 Responses

  1. Hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Block this year. I feel that Mitch and Mark deserved the win for front yard week. It is such a welcoming, family friendly space. I would have placed Josh and Luke second with their exterior spaces, Kirsty and Jessie third, Tanya and Vito fourth, and Ronnie and Georgia last. I found the exterior of R&G’s house to be extremely unwelcoming, and completely out-of-step with the beautiful interior of the home. This really surprised me considering R&G were not strapped for cash. Looking forward to watching the auctions on Sunday 7/11/21.

  2. None of the homes had a security door at the front. Perhaps they thought it would spoil the overall look. They are practical and on a hot evening you would get the sea breezes. There are some plain elegant ones on the market without all the decoration. Just saying.

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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