If you’ve been thinking about improving your curb appeal, there is really no good reason to hesitate.  Show your home some love and reap the rewards.  Taking the time to spruce up the homestead has a double payoff:

First: every time you pull in the driveway you will be filled with an amazing sense of satisfaction and pride in ownership.

Second: the value of your property will increase.

Research on Curb Appeal

There is research to back-up how landscape improvements and maintenance will add value to your home.  A report by the National Association of Realtors in conjunction with the National Association of Landscape Professionals indicates that landscaping is the number one project that appeals to buyers.

The report further specifies that a basic lawn care program will recover over 300% of your investment while softscape improvements like a new patio or deck will return 100% of your investment.  It’s common thought in the world of real estate that homes with good curb appeal bring higher prices and spend less time on the market.

Sprucing up your curb appeal doesn’t have to be a hard hit to your bank account.  Most projects just require a little time and a little effort.

Consider These Curb Appeal Projects:

Think Green

The green you need to be thinking about is the lawn and not money.  A lush green lawn is the foundation of  beautiful landscaping and terrific curb appeal.  Mostly this project just requires on-going maintenance.  The grass should be left fairly long when mowed.  Cutting it too short will encourage weeds and put stress on roots.  A lawn needs about 1” of water per week.  This means a thorough watering that completely saturates the ground, not a quick sprinkle.  If you can’t push a 6” screw driver into the ground your lawn isn’t getting enough water.  For bare spots it the grass, plan on over seeding in spring or fall.

Mulch is Your Friend

Nothing screams unfinished like a flower bed without mulch.  If you have invested in shrubs and flowers, don’t stop short of finishing the project.  Not only does mulch make the beds look better, it will slow down weed growth and hold in moisture.  For a more polished look, order mulch by the truck load in a double ground or triple ground format.  Those bags of chunky mulch sold at big box stores will not add much charm to your efforts.

Keep at It

You can’t plant beautiful flowers and shrubs and then neglect them.  They are going to need on-going attention.  Don’t groan.  Doing a little bit of work on a regular basis takes much less effort than cleaning up unkempt landscaping.  Once a week you should deadhead flowers, pull out weeds, prune shrubs as needed and give them an appropriate feeding to ensure a long-lasting season.

Call in the Pros

If your landscape is lacking a finished look with curved beds, vibrant plants and striking trees, you can either research the project to do it yourself or you can call in a landscape professional.  The library will have a wealth of books to guide you through plant choices and basic techniques or a local community college will offer horticulture classes.  But if determining what will work best and digging in dirt isn’t your thing, there will be a professional nearby who would love to do the work for you.

Landscaping is only one piece of curb appeal.  Many other elements go into the mix and they all come together to result in neighborhood envy.  Consider these as part of your curb appeal improvement plan.

Helpful Checklist to Improve Curb Appeal

  • Power wash the house: You can rent the equipment or hire someone to do it for you but the grungy siding has to be cleaned up.
  • Freshen painted surfaces: Shutters, window trim, door frames, garage doors all need to have a bright, fresh appearance.
  • Clean the gutters: Trees debris and leaf gunk hanging out of gutters is a big distraction to all that painting you just did.
  • Spruce up the mail box: Has your mail box seen better days?  It’s a small thing but it can quickly become an eye sore.  Repair or replace as needed.  And a few flowers around the base would be extra nice.
  • Maintain the roof: A sad, neglected roof will make your home look especially shabby.
  • Repair the driveway: If an asphalt driveway is wearing down or if concrete is cracked, fix it now before it gets worse.
  • Add some charm: A rocking chair on the porch, window boxes brimming with flowers, a wreath on the door – simple things that say “Welcome” and reflect pride of ownership.

Seldom does an investment pay off as richly as does improving curb appeal.  Be smart, be diligent and be the envy of the neighborhood.