"Curb appeal" is a generic real estate term used to describe the attractiveness of a home as seen from the street. Various studies show that professional landscaping can increase the value of your home by up to 15%. Having a well designed and landscaped front yard, that accents your home, is a desirable virtue for everyone.
Unlike backyard landscaping, with the front yard you have to consider home access, parking, safety and invitation. Accenting walkways and driveways with flower beds and borders will, in most cases, instantly create an impressive and inviting appeal for potential buyers.
Creating a welcoming landscape doesn't have to be a difficult or expensive endeavour. If you are starting from scratch, it can take quite a bit of time to get the desired effect, however, the process can be shortened by laying starter sod and using flowers that have already started blooming.
The following steps will help to quickly create curb appeal for your home.
- Tidy up. Make sure you don't have old rusty junk lying around the yard, unless it is being used stylistically in a garden.
- Trim up. Cut the grass and edge the borders with a weed trimmer. Take care to get rid of all weeds, including ones by the walls and around the mailbox post.
- Build a healthy and green lawn. Adding some starter sod can make a big difference very quickly. Sod can be bought at lawn and garden stores and comes in rolls or squares. After you lay it across your yard, water it well and you'll immediately have a lawn, with roots taking hold within two weeks.
- Add some colour to your yard. Planting flowers will enhance the curb appeal of your home. Buying colourful plants that have already started blooming will immediately make a difference. They can either be planted in pots or in the ground. Use your imagination and choose flowers that bloom in colours that look good with your home.
- Paint. Giving your home (trim and shutters too) a new coat of paint easily breathes new life into its appearance. However, make sure you select a colour palette that matches the architectural style of your home. For example, if you live in a historic home, you'll want to stick to an authentic palette.
- Update your front door. Greet guests in style with an eye-catching front door that makes a statement. You can find exterior doors in a variety of materials from traditional wood to sturdy steel. The key is to select a door that suits your home's architectural style. If your current door is in good condition, you can make it stand out by painting it a bold colour or adding windows, sidelights, mouldings and more.
- Illuminate paths and walkways with outdoor lighting. Install lighting fixtures that will complement the style of your home as well as help to create dramatic effects. Use fixtures with built-in motion detectors to enhance safety.
- Add decorative accents. Top your exterior off with finishing flourishes such as trendy new house numbers that are clearly visible from the street. And while you're at it, why not add a new mailbox? Or frame windows with new shutters?
- Dress-up your front porch or entry. Make sure you have an inviting place for potential buyers to sit and admire the landscaping. Even a small space has room for a chair or bench and a round table, or a stool to place a drink on. An outdoor accessory or two is fine, but keep it simple and uncluttered.
Keep in mind that simplicity is the key to creating curb appeal. A few flower beds that border and define walkways, curbs and lawn areas, and a few flower pots next to the home is often enough.
Remember: Breaking projects up into small, manageable chunks-as your time and budget allow-is the best way to go, because even just a few design tweaks can make a big impact to your home's curb appeal.