You know curb appeal when you see it. A house with curb appeal looks loved and nurtured, designed with integrity and accented with creative details. It has healthy, beautiful landscaping, attention to colour and a welcoming approach. When people see a house with curb appeal, they often think, “Wow, I could live there."
At its best, giving your home curb appeal means creating the characteristics that elicit strong emotional appeal for you, your family, neighbours—and potential buyers when the time come to sell.
1: Lose the junk
Get rid of anything that is an eyesore, including old vehicles, lawn furniture, swing sets, empty planters, unruly garden hoses, dead bushes…you get the idea. If it isn’t attractive or necessary to your lifestyle, give it away, sell it, recycle it or toss it. While you’re at it, find an out-of-sight place to hide garbage and recycling bins. The idea here is to cut loose the clutter.
2: Mow and nurture the lawn
Because lawns are usually a major part of the front yard, the condition of your lawn can dramatically impact curb appeal. If your home has a lawn, mow, rake, edge and manicure it. Pull or kill the weeds. Then keep it well watered and fertilized. If you live in a region where drought is an issue, consider drought-tolerant landscaping, but be advised that it can take a long time and considerable expense to bring this type of landscaping to maturity.
3: Spruce-up the approach
First impressions happen as people approach your house. With this in mind, get the walkway, steps, porch and front door in top shape. Pull weeds from the walkway and repair any cracks. Consider edging a plain concrete walkway with bricks or stones. Lighting is important, too. Outdoor lighting makes a house beautiful at night and adds safety and security. Think about installing low-voltage landscape lighting to accent trees, walkways and landscaping.
4: Focus on the front door
Because every visitor sees your front door, make sure it looks great. Wash or, if necessary, refinish or paint it. If that doesn’t do the trick, consider replacing it with a new one. The door’s hardware makes a difference, too. Remove tarnished hardware and polish it with metal polish. If it’s in shoddy shape, replace it entirely. A shiny new metal kick plate at the door’s base can add a touch of elegance and hide scuffs and animal scratches. While you’re dealing with the front door, don’t forget to welcome guests with a friendly doormat.
5: Prune bushes and trees
Trees and bushes can bring a sense of fullness, maturity and majesty to a property. But these wonderful additions to a landscape can become rangy and overgrown, detracting from a property’s beauty. They can overshadow gardens that need sun and block views that you want to accent. If your trees and bushes are out of control, prune them or have them professionally trimmed.
6: Plant flowers and shrubs
Plant shrubs for year-round garden greenery, and add seasonal flowers for accent colour. A house’s foundation is one of its least attractive elements. If your home’s foundation is visible, camouflage it with flowering hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, knockout roses or large-leafed, flowering plants that have a generous, leafy spread. The best choices for this purpose grow 3 to 4 feet in height and offer a touch of colour. Plant them at lease 2 feet from the house. Ask your nursery person for recommendations that will thrive in your region. If you don’t have room for gardens, consider filling pots and containers with colourful flowers. A container garden can add beauty to the entire front area of the house.
7: Add interesting details
You can add a touch of elegance with shiny new house numbers, a stylish front porch light and a brilliant door-knocker. In the garden, consider a water feature, birdbath or garden sculpture.
8: Wash the house
Sweep away dirt and cobwebs, working from the top down. Then use a garden hose or pressure washer to wash the walls. If you don’t have a pressure washer, scrub dirty walls with a long-handled soft-bristle brush and a soapy solution of non-phosphate detergent and water, and then rinse from the top down. If washing doesn’t do the job, the house may need a new paint job.
9: Don’t forget the garage door
The garage door, usually one of the largest surfaces at the front of a house, can be a visual asset or liability, depending upon its condition. If it isn’t in good shape, refinish or paint the garage door or—if necessary—replace it. A new garage door can really add a sense of style to a home, and there are many handsome new options, from modern translucent doors to traditional carriage-house beauties. If you decide to install a new garage door, opt for an automatic door operator—this will help ensure that the door stays closed.