This is the time of year when homeowners usually want to change or update the curb appeal of their home. Here are some ways to save money while you update the outdoor appearance of your home by putting your dollars to work on high-impact projects:
Illuminate Pathways: your home’s curb appeal doesn’t end when the sun sets. Highlight pathways and trees with landscaping lighting. It improves safety and can yield dramatic effects for your home’s nighttime appeal.
Landscape for Curb Appeal: smooth the transition between the street and your front steps by landscaping for curb appeal. A clear, curved path will move visitors to the home’s entry and is pleasing to the eye. Surround a walkway with midsize shrubs and flowers; passers-by will notice plant and groupings more than individual flowers, making greater street side impact.
Add Container Plants: turn your home’s entry into a inviting focal point by adding a few well-chosen and nicely arranged plants on the front porch. Vary them by plant and container size, and arrange them on multiple levels.
Replace Old Walkways: if a concrete walkway is in bad shape or is just dull, replace it with a fresh path made entirely of stone or brick.
Hang a Wreath: whether placed on your front door or beside it, a wreath is a simple way to personalize your entry.
Get a Healthy Lawn: one of the least expensive improvements you can make to improve curb appeal requires two simple steps: First, apply a weed-and-feed treatment to your lawn to ensure the grass has the soil nutrients it needs and doesn’t have to compete with weeds. Second, sharpen your lawn mower blade regularly and cut the grass at or near the mower’s tallest setting. Tip: If your lawn is too unhealthy or choked with weeds, consider installing new sod. Remove the old lawn, lay new sod, and keep it well watered for a few weeks.
Make the Porch Inviting: if you’re lucky enough to have a home with a sizeable front porch, use it to create a simple but inviting outdoor room. Add a comfortable bench or chairs to create a conversation area. Keep the porch clutter free and open for gatherings.
Accent with Colour: when repainting, take the opportunity to choose fresh colours or add an accent colour to your exterior colour scheme; some colours look great on a sample card but are too intense for a house.
Restore an Asphalt Driveway: patch and seal the surface of your driveway, filling holes and cracks with asphalt patch. Apply fresh sealer to make a worn asphalt driveway look new again.
Upgrade the Garage Doors: sectional doors can feature windows in an upper panel, and some higher-end versions can mimic the look of traditional carriage-house doors. If new garage door are out of the question, add character with a pergola, new lighting, or by painting it to coordinate with your exterior colour scheme.
Install a Prefab Trellis: use an arbour or trellis to give form to your yard and complement your plantings.
Power Wash Exterior Surfaces: take a weekend to freshen up your home’s exterior. Aluminum, wood, and vinyl siding are safe surfaces to power wash, as are wood decks and concrete sidewalks. If you don’t own a power washer, you can rent one from your local home improvement center.
Coordinate Hardware: address numbers, mailboxes, locksets, and porch lights are perfect upgrades. These elements are small but add a lot of finesse to your look. Keep the finishes consistent so the pieces look like an ensemble of accessories, not a batch of mismatched hardware.
Plant Trees: put in small ornamental trees if you’re preparing the house for sale soon. If you’re staying put, try oaks, maples, honey locust, or other large and strong species suitable for your region. Consider fast-growing species or small ornamental trees, such as pagoda dogwood, redbub, flowering pear, river birch, or Japanese maple; these can add dramatic interest without requiring years to get established.
Beautify the Driveway: the colours and textures of plants soften a driveway’s expanse and make it look less utilitarian. Groundcovers and low-growing plants are best in beds along one or both sides of the driveway.
Bring Style to a Slope: cheap-looking materials detract from a yard’s appearance. For sloped areas that still need terracing, use cut stone or precast decorative wall blocks for a high-end look.
Install a New Storm Door: many homes are fitted with inexpensive aluminum screen doors that hide an attractive entry door. Newer storm door designs offer large glass panels, sturdier frames, and more colour choices. If you don’t have a storm door, paint the entryway with an accent paint colour or clear varnish on wood. Tip: choose a full-view storm door design to allow the front door colour to shine.
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