Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seven Easy Curb Appeal Projects

My document title Whether selling your home or just enjoying it all season long, curb appeal can really make a difference. First impressions are the longest lasting. Curb appeal doesn't have to be a war, just a few short projects can really up your value and presence.

1. Add Pizazz with Container Gardens

Why even worry about all that planting, digging, waiting, and hoping, just to make your plants grow? Container gardens are simple and cost effective ways to add plenty of pizazz to your boring or unappealing front steps. Typically, a staggered, asymmetric pattern is most appealing because a very organized, symmetrical systems of planters just doesn't look organic and natural. Stop by your local home improvement store and see what's available.
2. Install Outdoor Lighting
Beyond the aesthetic effects of gorgeous outdoor lighting, installing a set of low voltage lights can also enhance the safety and security of your property. No more tripping over those flagstone steps after you've had one to many adult beverages! Install the lights along a path, or up-light a tree or design feature that you want to show off all night long. Outdoor lighting provides a welcoming feel to your home. A dark and scary front lawn makes you seem like the mean, old person who doesn't give out candy on Halloween, all year long.
3. Repair, Replace or ReFinish Your Front Door

Nothing says neglect like an old beaten down door. It is the focal point of your home, anyone who ventures in, must pass it, so why forget about it? A fresh coat of paint goes a long way if your current paint is peeling, it can also change the entire feel with just a different color. For a more expensive but dramatic flare, consider buying a brand new door, either steel or custom wood. Nothing says "welcome" more than an appealing front door.***
***A door mat literally says "welcome" but lets just move on...
4. Replace Old Hardware

If your front door is in good condition but you've got some dated fixtures, take an afternoon to replace some of that hardware. Changing out hardware is a fairly inexpensive and elegant touch that has an instant impact. Don't stop at the door either, try changing out worn, cracked or faded house numbers too. If you've got dated or broken light fixtures, take care of everything at once to keep the update consistent and appealing to the most buyers.
5. Clean up Your Planter Beds

Planter beds can be both an asset or an extreme liability. If you're selling your home and your flowers and plants are just allowed to go crazy, the buyer is going to see those planters as a hassle, headache and possibly a deal breaker. Now, if you take just an afternoon to clean up those planters, pull the weeds, prune back some wild ones, and drop in some fresh mulch, your garden now becomes an asset. You don't have to have the biggest, best and most beautiful garden in all the land, just keep it tidy.
6. Make a Difference with Window Boxes

If you've got a small yard, or maybe some hefty pets that like to roll around in your garden, window boxes are for you. Not only do they add a little garden real estate, but they are also a very impressive touch when it comes to curb appeal. Window boxes are relatively inexpensive but be sure to buy or build one that fits your decor. Is your home more traditional or does it have a cottage feel?
7. Keep Your Lawn Looking Nice

I don't care if you've got the best looking front door, planter boxes -- the works; if you've got a dead, dying or poorly manicured lawn, you don't have a shot at having nice curb appeal. Most people think that keeping a nice lawn is a chore, but when you recognize how much value it can add to your home, you might think otherwise. To keep your lawn green and beautiful, water it (but don't over water) in early morning or the evening to prevent evaporation during the sunny hours. Fertilize in the fall just before your lawn goes dormant and once again in the springtime for best results. When mowing, change patterns and paths to avoid permanent and unattractive ruts in your lawn and don't leave it too short, or it'll get scorched by the summer sun.

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