It may be hard to believe with the recent flurry of snowfall on the Treasure Valley, but yes, spring and summer do exist. And though we are not done with winter, it's never too early to begin prepping for upcoming months. Yes, curb appeal is probably the furthest topic from your mind. But first impressions matter, and if you're looking to enhance the value of your home, increase the chance of it being sold, or even just make your neighbors jealous, wouldn't you rather plan for it now? And despite what you may be lead to believe, improvements like these don't have to break your bank. Here are some quick, easy, and inexpensive ways to improve your house's curb appeal so it shines throughout the year.
The biggest and simplest way to keep your curb appeal high is to keep your yard clean and orderly. Landscaping can be expensive depending on the nature of the work that needs to be done, but general maintenance and care are essential no matter the yard and a great deal cheaper. Nobody likes living next to a home with tangled weeds and overgrown shrubs, as it not only looks unsightly but is detrimental to neighboring homes. Unkempt lawns can lower surrounding houses values by 5 to 10%, which is quite a lot for a problem that can be so easily solved. This spring make sure to put an effort into prepping your front yard with the fertilizer, soil, and watering systems it will need to remain healthy in the coming year. And if you are looking to landscape your home, a choice which could add nearly 30% to the value of your home, make sure you find a landscaper you can trust.
Though a fresh coat of paint is hardly innovative in the realm of home improvements, it is worth noting that new paint not only creates a good impression, it also doubles as a method to protect wood and other sensitive materials from outdoor hazards. Though, you don't need to paint your entire home in order to effectively improve your curb appeal. Small touches here and there can do wonders for the ambiance of your front yard. Painting your mailbox, especially a wall-mounted mailbox that would otherwise fade into the background, can breathe life into a fixture of your home and make it look like new. A vibrantly painted mailbox can be absolutely charming, as can a front door, trimming, or shutters. Make you sure to prep any surface you intend to paint so as to keep the efforts of your work as colorful as possible for as long as possible.
At the end of the day, curb appeal is meant to invite the eye - and the rest of the body - into your home by making it appear welcoming and comfortable. Front yard outdoor living spaces are an incredibly effective way of achieving this end, but not everyone has the space for a porch swing, couches, and kitschy knickknacks. Thankfully, you don't need a lot to bring your living space outdoors. A simple bench with waterproof pillows on your porch can be incredibly inviting to visitors, and a small side table or garden stool nearby can make a great place to rest a cup of tea. For those of us without a porch, however, they are still opportunities available! Consider hammocks, benches, and other simple and outdoor-friendly seating carefully placed near landscaping to create a picture of luxury in your front yard.
If you plan on making your home shine in your neighborhood, you're going to have to provide it with the proper lighting. Outdoor lighting can make good curb appeal into great curb appeal, as it expands the living potential of your yard to hours after the sun goes down. Consider replacing worn-out light fixtures, and adding new ones to your home. Bistro, fairy, and other varieties of string lights can provide quaint ambiance to your outdoor living spaces, and are relatively simple to install. You should also look into getting path lights along your front walkway and driveway. Not only do they keep you and visitors to your house safe during times of low visibility, but they can also draw attention to the landscaping and make front gardens look even more impressive. When shopping for lighting choices, LEDs are ideal because of their long life and durability in the outdoors, but if wired lighting is out of the question, solar fixtures are your best bet.
Not all of your front yard has to be planted on the ground. Potted plants can be both functional and decorative, the latter in both their foliage and blooms as well as the pots themselves. Use potted plants to break up the otherwise straight lines the front of a house will naturally display, and pair them with outdoor furniture to make the space seem even more inviting. Planter boxes alongside windows have been fixated in the American consciousness as appealing, and a great place to grow flowers or herbs. If you have a smaller space to work with, vertical gardens are both incredibly economical as well as an eye-catching display. Larger front yards may benefit from raised planter beds, such as around large trees. Make sure, however, that if you have potted plants in your front yard, that they are as properly cared for as your lawn and landscaping is. Unless they are positioned directly in the path of a sprinkler, they will rely on your ability to water them when needed, and shriveled potted plants can be as deadly to your curb appeal as an unkempt yard.
When updating your home to maximize your curb appeal, keep in mind the potential for conversation pieces that will make people slow down as they pass your home. Outdoor art can show off your own personality as well as accentuate the impression you want your home to project. Water features, such as fountains and birdbaths, are excellent examples of this and double as a way to cool the general area during warmer weather. But if water features don't appeal to you for any reason, metalwork like statues, cutouts, lattices, and trellises may be for you. The latter two are especially practical as they can allow vine plants the chance to grow on them and embellish the metal. If you're looking for a more hands-on approach to making your front yard pop, however, there are hundreds of DIY guides online to help you create stunning pieces of artwork.
Curb appeal, at its core, is about impressing the quality of your home to the outside world and is an essential tool to keeping the value of your house high and chances of selling high. Before making any adjustments to your front yard, make sure to properly research and plan ahead. A lack of foresight can be incredibly damaging to the final result, and waste both your time and money. So take advantage of the lull in landscaping that the winter months provide and make an action plan to make your house the best on the block.