What is a "Beautiful Exterior Design"? Tips from Case Studies


When building a new house, people tend to focus only on the exterior and interior design of the house, and tend to put the exterior design on the back burner. However, the exterior of a house is an important element that influences the atmosphere of the house. If you keep the points introduced in this article in mind, you can upgrade your entire house in style.

Let's start with the conclusion of this article.

  • Depending on the design of the exterior, the way it looks from the outside and inside can be changed dramatically. Creating a beautiful exterior will greatly change the level of satisfaction.
  • Providing a blindfold or privacy is a very important element in garden design.
  • In addition to design, practical aspects such as parking and maintenance need to be considered.
  • To create a beautiful house, it is important to design the entire building and exterior with a unified concept as a whole. We recommend that you choose a company that designs your house in total.

< Table of Contents >

  1. 1.Exterior elevates the prestige of the house.
  2. 2.Necessary items and points to be in mind for exterior
    1. 2-1.Whole garden
    2. 2-2.Gate
    3. 2-3.Fences and walls
    4. 2-4.Garage and Carport
    5. 2-5.Planting
  3. 3.Common failures
    1. 3-1.Parking space is difficult to use
    2. 3-2.No space for bicycles
    3. 3-3.No privacy
    4. 3-4.Troublesome maintenance
  4. 4.General procedure for exterior design
  5. 5.Advantages of hiring an architect
  6. 6.Examples of beautiful exterior
    1. 6-1.The Japanese style
    2. 6-2.Open Western-style garden
    3. 6-3.Closed Western-style garden
    4. 6-4.Modern and Beautiful
    5. 6-5.Simple
    6. 6-6.Exterior combined with parking lot and entrance approach
  7. 7.Summary

1. Exterior elevates the prestige of the house

The exterior of a house (including a garden and entrance) is important because it is the place people see first when coming home or welcoming guests.

The same new house will look completely different depending on the exterior is beautifully arranged or not. It is not necessary to blindly spend money on planting trees, etc.; it is important to match the exterior with the concept and design of the house.

In this article, we will focus on the key points, examples of beautiful exteriors, and unintentional failure cases, for those who want to make their exteriors "beautiful". Finally, we will also address concerns such as "Who should I hire?" and other concerns.

Let's look at them in turn.

2. Necessary items and points to be kept in mind for exterior construction

With items necessary for the exterior, we will introduce points to make it look beautiful and attractive by part, as well as case studies.

2-1. Whole garden

The key points for the garden as a whole are "simplicity when seen from a distance" and "connection with the interior space". When considering exterior, you may consider a garden and parking lot as single items, but the value of the exterior will be enhanced if the design is based on a three-dimensional view of "the impression from the outside (street)" and "the impression from the interior".

A façade is the overall appearance of the house and the exterior when viewed from a distance. Because it is the face of the entire house, it should be considered with the exterior of the house.

In addition to the size and direction of interior windows, the "sight reflected in the window," or the effective use of the land, is an important element in the design of interior windows, as it determines the value of the house.

Example: Connection between garden and interior space

This is an example of a house designed to look picturesque when you see the garden outside the window from inside the room. The large window and the frames designed as unobtrusive as possible, creating a "line of sight" utilizing the garden.

2-2. Gate

Other than the role of "entrance to the house", the gate gives the "first impression of the house, including the nameplate. Although few people design a gate with a large structure these days, it is a major element that influences the facade.

As an alternative to a gateway, an open gate (the type that is not closed by a gate) makes it easier to design an open entrance approach (a path from the gate to the entrance). On the other hand, a closed gate (the type that is closed by a gate and fence) is an effective alternative if you give priority to security.

Example: Curve gate

This is an example of an impressive curve gate. The sense of depth visible through the gate and the sense of balance of the arched gate make the best combination, making the gate smart and less oppressive.

2-3. Fences and walls

Fences are exterior items used in exteriors closed to some extent.

Nowadays, tall fences tend to be avoided for security reasons. The reason is that once a thief enters the property, the thief is hardly seen from the outside, and tall fence serves as a blindfold. For this reason, open design fences have been increasing.

On the other hand, designs that emphasize a sense of openness use large windows, causing the problem of privacy. It is advisable to make good use of a fence to block the view from the neighbor's house, but not to worry about the view from the outside without curtains.


This is an example of a distinctive roof shape that makes the entire building beautiful when you stand at the gate, with an entry that extends from the gate to the entrance approach.

2-4. Garage and Carport

The form of the garage deeply relates with the design of the house. The exterior of the house will change also depending on whether you want to park your car in a common parking space or in a parking space incorporated into the house as an inner garage or built-in garage.

If you are a car enthusiast, you may be longing for a house with an integrated garage where you can remodel your car or motorcycle regardless of the season or weather. The garage integrated with the house can generate a sense of unity, so there is a great advantage to designing a house without spoiling the exterior appearance of the house. The garage and the cars parked in it become one of the facades of the exterior and the house. If you have a luxury car, you can create a more attractive landscape.

On the other hand, if you give a priority to cost, a carport (a simple garage consisting only of a roof and posts) is a good option for an exterior menu. The garage integrated with the house tends to be expensive in total cost, so you need to consider a balance between unity and convenience. Recent carports have been designed in style, and there is a lineup of carports that look great for those who own multiple cars or motorcycles. Here, too, it is important not to think of the carport alone, but to consider the overall facade and decide on the color and appearance while checking perspective drawings and the like.

Example: Garage connected with wooden deck

This example features a garage and terrace connected to a wooden deck. The key point is that it is designed to match the simple exterior design.

2-5. Planting

Planting is an important and key item in exteriors.

Planting is typically used as "focal points" (points of focus). A focal point is a place where your eye is drawn to, or a point that is intentionally created to direct viewer's eye to a particular object.

In designing a garden, facade, and a garden that can be seen from the interior, a "symbol tree" is used enhance the appearance of the garden. A variety of species can be used as symbol trees. Evergreen trees create the impression of beautiful green all year round, while deciduous trees generate shade in the summer and allow sunlight to pass through in the winter. A technique of lighting up a symbol tree from below is popular to create a sense of luxury.

Example: Courtyard planting

In this example, the planting of trees enhance the view of the courtyard. The impressive example that the symbol tree matches the Japanese modern interior.

3. Common failures

Next, let's take a look at some examples of exteriors that we can learn from common failures. Let's look at points to keep in mind with important elements in designing exteriors to avoid the situation that the exterior is different from what you expect.

3-1. parking space is difficult to use

If you use your car every day for commuting or other purposes, problems such as difficulty in parking in a garage can cause stress every day. Therefore, the following points should be taken into consideration.

  • Is the road wide enough to turn around (i.e., back up your car)?
  • Does it have sufficient depth to park your car properly?
  • Can you park your car without worry? (e.g., positioned along an arterial road and obstructing traffic when parking)

If the parking space is not designed properly, some types of vehicles will not fit in the parking space! (height, width, depth). It is advisable to consider the maximum number of cars your family would need and design the parking space supporting even a larger car. It would be ideal to have a temporary parking space for unexpected visitors.

3-2. No space for bicycles

To find space for bicycles is surprisingly hard if you don't think about it. Bicycles can get damaged and become dusty when exposed to rain for long time, so you want to store them in a covered area. It would also be important to consider a bicycle space in the corner of the garage. A shed for bicycles will ruin the appearance of the house.

3-3. No privacy

This is an example of a failure that occurs when the exterior plan is made without considering the visibility from the close road (front road). A south-facing lot faces a road in front of the house. In the case of busy road, you need to devise a privacy plan for the exterior. Quite a few people have large windows for openness but they have to close the curtains all the time because of privacy.

Create a blindfold and check to see if the exterior fence blocks the view from the neighbor's house or the front street even when you open curtains. A too-high fence can be a major disadvantage in terms of security, so we recommend that you plan your exterior with a good combination of openness and line-of-sight blockage.

3-4. Troublesome maintenance

Maintenance is important to keep exteriors beautiful. Particularly in plantings, deciduous trees will fall in the fall, so you need to take care of fallen leaves. Also, if the wood deck is a natural wooded terrace, it will gradually become a hassle unless you can enjoy DIY activities to repaint it on a regular basis. The secret to keeping it beautiful easily is to choose easy-to-maintain plantings or artificial grass.

4. General procedure for exterior design

In many cases, although house makers save the budget for the exterior design, they use the remaining budget for the exterior design. The priority tends to be placed on the building itself and its equipment, but this may not be enough to satisfy the client's needs, including the exterior. There are many cases where the budget is running out at the end of the project without considering the overall balance, such that only the parking space is made in the end.

An exterior contractor, not a house maker who built the building itself, can handle the project. However, if you do not carefully consider the sense of unity with the building, you may lose the balance of the entire project. Therefore, it is recommended that you plan the exterior of the building while also balancing the budget before signing the contract.

The architect will plan the entire custom-built house, including the exterior design. For more details, please refer to the "Advantages of Hiring an architect".

5. Advantages of hiring an architect

The advantage of hiring an architect is that he/she knows "unity and balance with the entire house".

In designing a house, the architect considers the appearance of the building and also exterior and the view of the exterior and landscape from the inside, while also taking the total budget into consideration. Therefore, the greatest benefit is the unity created by thinking of the building and the exterior as a set, rather than thinking of the building first and then using the extra budget to design the exterior.

For architects, the exterior of a house is not just an optional extra, but a complete set with the house. Only an architect can propose a beautiful exterior that matches the concept of the house.

If you are interested in asking an architect to design your exterior, we invite you to take advantage of japanesse-architects.com's free consultation.

6. Examples of beautiful exteriors

Here are some examples of beautiful exteriors.

6-1. The Japanese style

I this example, the garden is not so large, but "wabi-sabi" of Japanese style is expressed with the exterior. The box garden, which can be seen from the living room, is designed to create a Japanese atmosphere on the premise that it is securely surrounded by a fence of a neighbor's house to ensure privacy. The traditional garden, which is not too assertive, is impressive and fits perfectly with the concept of an old private house to a Japanese modern house.

In this example, the courtyard is enhanced by the planting of trees to enhance the view of the courtyard.

Designed like a ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant), the exterior of the house brings out a sense of luxury even with its Japanese concept.

The design is unified with black as the base color. The design is traditional, but also takes into account the bright atmosphere with the lawn to prevent it from becoming too dark.

6-2. Open western-style garden

In this case, in addition to the angle of the house from the entrance approach, the lawn is the most important feature of the beautiful exterior that makes the house stand out. The lawn is beautifully cut all around, and plantings serve as a point on the entrance approach without being too conspicuous. This is an example of a Western-style exterior that is both beautiful and simple.

This is an example of designing a simple, private courtyard with a minimal amount of plantings.

HOUSE MI (建築家 : 伊原 孝則) の作品画像 HOUSE MI (建築家 : 伊原 孝則) の作品画像 HOUSE MI (建築家 : 伊原 孝則) の作品画像
HOUSE MI ( architect:Takanori Ihara )

The house is designed with glass walls and open to the exterior, creating an even more open feeling.

The lawn, which makes maximum use of the large area of yard, is a very impressive and beautiful exterior.

The design matches the overall concept of the house, with a timber-finished approach that matches the log house-like concept of the house.

6-3. Closed Western-style garden

The garden is lushly landscaped with many plantings, and the white wall ensures privacy as a private space.

To match the neighboring house, a wooden fence makes the Western-style exterior more beautiful.

The garden is designed in a western style to match the American style house. The fence and gate designed to match the white color of the house create the sense of unity.

6-4. Modern and beautiful

The interior plan is also open in design, but privacy is ensured at key points by concrete walls. The garden is designed to be still open with full of greenery. The abundance of various types of plantings in the garden will change its appearance depending on the season.

The approach and parking space are designed with tiles, creating a modern exterior that you won't get tired of.

Despite the minimal garden in an urban area, the beautiful design of the entrance approach greatly improves the appearance of the house.

6-5. Simple exterior

Plantings are placed in front of the entrance as a symbolic tree to avoid oversimplification.

塩谷町の家 (建築家 : 御手洗 龍) の作品画像 塩谷町の家 (建築家 : 御手洗 龍) の作品画像 塩谷町の家 (建築家 : 御手洗 龍) の作品画像
塩谷町の家 ( architect:Ryu Mitarai )

Because of the simplicity of the house design, more plantings are incorporated to create an exterior that is also interwoven with natural tastes.

The functional gateposts illuminated by indirect lighting give an impressive exterior design. This exterior structure combines functionality and design in a simple way.

6-6. Exterior combined with a parking lot and entrance approach

The parking lot serves as the entrance approach and is beautifully finished with hiding the entrance from the front.

This exterior plan makes good use of the difference in elevation of the land to design a parking lot and terrace.

Plantings on the corners of the two-way street enhance the exterior design of the house in a minimal area.

The pilot parking space is impressive. The gate was also chosen to match the monotone house.

[ YouTube Video ]
3 Beautiful Houses Designed by Architects (in Japanese)

Watch the video

7. Summary

What we have been seen so far;

  • The exterior of the house changes appearance of the house both from the outside and inside. Creating a beautiful exterior will greatly change the level of satisfaction.
  • Privacy is a very important factor in garden design.
  • In order to avoid an exterior that is hard to use, you need to consider the design as well as practical aspects such as car parking and maintenance cost.
  • Thinking the building and exterior separately will result in a loss of overall unity, so we recommend you choose a company that designs a facade and interior to the sight of the windows in total.

This is a summary of this article.

In order to create an exterior plan that you will not regret and to design a beautiful exterior, you should ask for an expert's opinion once to confirm the key points. Exterior design creates the big difference depending on an architect who proposes the project.

japanesse-architects.com introduces architects who can help you design a beautiful exterior. If you have any questions about building a house or would like an objective opinion, please use japanesse-architects.com's free consultation service.

- How to get started -

You're not sure how to get started with your house building? Contact us for free and start planning your ideal home.

We, japanese-architects.com, are a group of English-speaking professionals in Japan who can provide you complete support throughout the process.

japanese-architects.com offers you comprehensive service

It was extremely reassuring to have a group of professionals from all areas - architect, real estate, local builder and financing advisors - come together and form a strong team to work on our dream home. 

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

K. Y. | age: 30s

We will be your partner with the comprehensive support for everything you need to build a house in Japan. Get in touch with us for free and talk to a professional to get started.

No fee, no risk. Just your name and email.

- What We Offer -

A Japan-based platform of premier architects and local professionals for you

Network of Architects

Network of architects
japanese-architects.com offers a wide range of Japan-based architects with proven track record and designing skills.

English Professionals

English professionals
Thorough support in communication and project management by local professionals.

Full Support

Full support
Finding land, getting a mortgage, considering financial plans - everything you need in a building process.

Not a house? See for Business Clients for more building types.

  • Great experience - japanese-architects.com's professionals were very helpful, knowledgeable about the market and the communication was wonderful.

    The architects that were introduced were excellent - they had different styles which really helped us choose the ideal architect for us. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Brock Worbets / Noa Worbets | age: 40s

  • It’s been a nice experience since I knew japanese-architects.com. Professional advice and warm help on every part of work we had. Big thanks to Megumi-san.

    The communication and interpretation support was very helpful, especially for the people who cannnot speak fluent Japanese. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    David H. | age: 40s

  • Overall, I found the japanese-architects.com platform to be of high quality and japanese-architects.com staff to be polite, engaging and practical. japanese-architects.com has become an indispensable part of my house building process.

    Without their support, it would have been exceedingly difficult to find an architect and to manage the complex process of purchasing the land, designing a new home and managing the construction process. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    A. M. | age: 60s

  • japanese-architects.com advisors' communication overall was extremely thorough; responsive, clear points and informative details.

    The team has very rich and useful resources, including general process guides, examples of architectures and easy-to-understand explanations by the advisors. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Matt M. | age: 30s

  • Very satisfied with japanese-architects.com's architect recommendation and the architect was a good fit for us with regards to architectural style, personality and communication.

    We highly recommend japanese-architects.com's service. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    T. Van | age: 40s

  • We had an excellent experience with japanese-architects.com. The support we received was honest and personalized. We also greatly appreciated how quickly japanese-architects.com got back to us whenever we had a request or a question.  

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Matteo Gri | age: 30s

  • The japanese-architects.com website offers valuable information on the design styles of different architects and facilitates the overall selection process.

    The discussion with the japanese-architects.com staff was valuable in communicating my preferences, and japanese-architects.com's recommendation proved to be an excellent fit.
    I am extremely happy with the selected architect. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Akiko M. | from Canada

  • japanese-architects.com staff's support was very good overall. Very convenient service for foreigners like me. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Kevin Eeckman | age: 40s

  • japanese-architects.com's professionals offered polite and sincere support throughout the process. They were friendly, easy to talk to, and very pleasant.

    The staffs have a lot of knowledge and experience, and their English support was very helpful. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    N. V. | age: 40s

  • It was extremely reassuring to have a group of professionals from all areas - architect, real estate, local builder and financing advisors - come together and form a strong team to work on our dream home.

    japanese-architects.com staffs gave us objective opinions and feedbacks as our independent advisor which was very beneficial. 

    Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

    Kaori Y. | age: 30s

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Zero Star
4.88 - out of 5.00

- How We Can Help -

Do you want to build a house in Japan?
Do you want to build a house in Japan?
  • We will provide full local support in building your house in Japan
  • We can connect you with necessary professionals - architects, property agents, banks and more
  • Covering all areas in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Okinawa, Niseko and Hokkaido.
Do you want to meet a Japanese architect?
Do you want to meet a Japanese architect?
  • We will introduce you to skilled and experienced architects in Japan
  • We can make a tailored recommendation of architects based on your needs
  • Wide range of architect coverage - from local professionals to English-speaking architects

The discussion with the japanese-architects.com staff was valuable in communicating my preferences, and japanese-architects.com's recommendation proved to be an excellent fit.
I am extremely happy with the selected architect. 

Akiko M. | from Canada

Do you want to work with a Japanese architect in other countries?
Do you want to work with a Japanese architect in countries outside of Japan?
  • No problem. We can connect you with a Japanese architect who can take projects in foreign countries
  • Japanese modern architecture is popular around the world and we can help you be a part of the culture
Do you want to purchase a property?
Do you want to purchase a property?
  • We can also support you with your property purchase, including land or built homes.
  • For those people who are not familiar or comfortable with the purchase process and having communication with local stakeholders in Japanese, we will be the bridge between you and the counter party and support the project management.
  • If you require our support only in property purchases, without any house building, we may ask for a small fee. Contact us and ask for the details.
Do you just want to know how it works?
Do you just want to know how it works?
  • Of course. We can tell you an overview of the general process to build a house in Japan
  • We can also provide consultation on house cost simulation of your own case in building a house.
  • You can ask your questions over a video call or via email. Contact us for free
Do you have a preference of taste?
Do you have a preference of taste?
  • You will be able to see and enjoy the beautiful designs by finding your favourite architects or finding your favourite houses / architectures from our wide range of portfolios of Japanese architectures
  • If you like certain architects or works, we can either connect you with the person or recommend a related / similar architect
  • Get inspirations from the beautiful architectures designed by Japanese architects