Simple Ways to Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal

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As your hand pushes the shifter into park, your eyes absentmindedly wander through the side window, then linger on the lush landscaping that frames the structure your friend calls home. You turn the key and pull it out of the ignition, grab your purse, and open the car door. Before both feet even hit the ground, your eyes dart toward the house once again. Something about it keeps pulling you in. You can’t quite verbalize the reason. It’s appealing. It’s probably one of the most attractive homes you’ve seen outside of the pages of a magazine. You pause long enough to burn the details into your brain. A fresh driveway, sharp lighting and a manicured lawn seem to be the superstars here, creating a trifecta of perfection you immediately vow to replicate.

Whether you are welcoming guests, creating a cozy lair for your family, or inviting potential buyers, increasing your home’s curb appeal is key, and it may not be as difficult or costly as you might think.

One of the most important and most obvious features highlighting a home is the landscaping. Before you even hit a garden nursery, yank out all dead and dying shrubs and plants. No matter how pristine the rest of your yard and gardens look, that one dying brown bush will attract the most attention.

Plant new grass in any thin or dying patches, then fertilize. Lush, dark green grass is far more attractive than straggly, faded crab grass. Weed your flower beds and prune trees, shrubs and plants. Unruly, overcrowded beds are unsightly.

Shovel on fresh new mulch to restore color taken away by sunlight and harsh weather.

Next, add in bits of lively color. Annuals are an inexpensive, easy option. Container gardens are quite popular and add an eclectic, welcoming feel. A staggered, asymmetrical arrangement is suggested to create a dynamic setting. Window boxes with an interesting mix of annuals or perennials will draw the eye to the front entryway and create welcome.

Consider installing stones or pavers along the edges of your beds. These will neaten the appearance and create increased visual interest. Accessorize your yard by investing in outdoor art, which will add flair and spunk to your home. Use natural materials to enhance exterior elements. Birdbaths, metal cutouts, sculptures, wind chimes, a classic teak or stone bench and fountains are all great choices.

Before you stick a lamp post into a front flower bed and call it lit, consider a variety of lighting options. The right lighting will add to a home’s value, highlight landscaping and architectural details, and provide safety, both from falls and intruders. One popular technique of lighting specialists is to mimic moonlight. This natural effect offers an illumination no brighter than the intensity of a full moon, yet is bright enough to create beautiful shadows and highlights.

Other popular tips include lighting trees and plantings using uplighting, which is more unexpected than the typical overhead lights, and adding a variety of fixtures, such as area lights, step lights, post lights and bollards. The type of light bulb is important, too. A soft, warm light is always best. Though they’re more expensive, consider LEDs, which will last longer and typically come with a lengthy warranty.

For safety and security, add motion lights near the garage and walkway. Additionally, that moonlight effect we’ve already discussed will provide soft, overall landscape lighting and eliminate dark areas that might hide an intruder. And you might want to install a timer, so you aren’t running inside to flip a switch when you need a light. Current trends include solar lighting, which have made drastic improvements in quality, though still pale in comparison to hard-wired systems.
When searching for elements to add to your curb appeal, don’t neglect your driveway, especially if it is cracking, chipped, stained with paint or oil, or too small to fit more than one car. If you can’t afford to redo the entire thing, patch the cracks and then think about staining or seal coating it to give it a fresh finish. Also consider adding flagstones to the perimeter to make it more visually pleasing and offer more room. Finally, get rid of any unsightly weeds invading the edges.

If you are in the market for a total driveway redo, consider steering away from asphalt or plain gray concrete. New trends include stamped concrete, colored or stained concrete and brick pavers. You might add an interesting pattern as well. At the very least, power wash or hose down your existing driveway to neaten its appearance.

By paying attention to simple details such as landscaping, lighting and the driveway, you truly are dressing your home for success. HLM

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