Ways to Rev Up Curb Appeal


Homeowners often assume they will have to spend thousands of dollars to improve their home’s curb appeal.  Certainly, there are some homes that would require substantial external renovation and professional landscaping to optimize selling potential, but if you are a homeowner who is invested in properly maintaining and upkeeping your property, there are many ongoing projects that will help you to preserve and even improve your home’s curb appeal, regardless of whether you have immediate plans to sell.  House Method states there are 50+ tasks you can do this weekend to immediately upgrade curb appeal.  I will discuss some of the more popular projects to help you get started.

  1. Front Yard Maintenance

It is sometimes astonishing to me that a simple task such as front yard maintenance is often not handled by a homeowner.  Trimming bushes and tree branches, mowing and watering the grass, removing weeds, spreading mulch, and maintaining flower beds often do not have to cost the homeowner thousands of dollars or enormous amounts of time and labor.  

Affordable shrubbery that requires minimal maintenance such as boxwood and shade perennials like hasta can be easily planted and maintained with minimal cost and supervision.  Front yard beds need not be large and dramatic to be perfectly acceptable to neighbors and visitors, particularly in a home with a short front yard.  

And if the front yard is not the biggest portion of grass on the property, mowing it usually only takes a few minutes.  While this is not the case for all homes, many homes today have a shorter, smaller front yard that can be minimally maintained with a level of financial and time investment that is reasonable.  

If lawn maintenance and gardening is not your favorite pastime, you may want to consider owning a home on a smaller lot or zero-scaping out the grass so that lawn maintenance is not required (although trimming, weeding and watering may still be).  Either way, you will want to assess the basic maintenance needs of your front yard so as to understand what will be required to maintain its upkeep at a minimal level for the time you will be living there.

  1. Inexpensive Home Improvements

While replacing siding and brick or repainting the exterior are often preferred curb appeal projects when getting a home ready to sell, there are many smaller, less obvious repairs and replacements that can actually make a big difference.  

One improvement is to swap out house numbers.  This tiny change is recommended by several home improvement experts, particularly because of its return on investment.  It is a low cost, low time commitment home improvement project that will be immediately noticeable.

Additionally, adding, replacing and/or repainting window shutters can also improve the home’s exterior appeal immediately if a full siding replacement is not yet in the budget, as can cleaning windows and repainting window trim, the front door and door trim and pressure washing the house.  Don’t be afraid to add color contrast to doors, shutters, and trim.  

Other items that can be replaced inexpensively and easily include mailboxes, the front door lock and handle, and exterior light fixtures.  

Front steps and the front walkways and driveway can all be pressure washed and weeded easily as well.  Gutters should be cleaned and branches and debris removed from the roof.

  1. Unique Details

Unique details can enhance a house’s character and originality and reveal the commitment of the homeowner. Here’s a list of charming features to try at home:

  • Adding porch furniture, installing a porch swing, and incorporating topiaries and large planters will bring your terrace to life.
  • Edging the driveway with pavers or bricks can enhance the look of simple blacktop.
  • Find a vintage door knocker at a consignment or antique store is a worthwhile treasure.
  • Saving interesting shutters at a salvage yard can provide original features to your exterior.
  • A well-placed window box is a lovely way to add a pop of color in the spring and summer.
  • A door wreath can be changed out seasonally and add an appropriate tone or mood to your home depending on the time of year.  

Additionally, exterior lighting is easier and less expensive than ever. Solar lighting is an inexpensive DIY that can be installed without having to worry about utilizing electricity or having ground lighting professional installed and can add a lovely night feature to the house.  

One detail you probably haven’t thought of is your car in the driveway.  Haven’t replaced those hubcaps you lost when you hit a pothole last week, or that cracked windshield, or that dented bumper from that fender bender?  Consider using your car warranty to make those repairs so that you can make sure your car in the driveway is as attractive as the rest of your home.

Conclusion: Think Like a Buyer

Curb appeal is an ongoing project for any homeowner and should be considered a part of the homeowner’s regular maintenance routine.  Homeowners should always act like a potential buyer when looking to improve your home, especially if you plan on selling your home in the near future.

To start, stand across the street and look at your house critically from a buyer’s perspective.  Examine the roof, driveway, garage, front door, gutters, front windows, front yard and any other immediately visible elements.  What can be immediately improved without having to spend any money? What needs a greater investment? How does your house’s appearance visually compare with the rest of the houses on the block? Does it stand out?  If so, does it stand out positively or negatively? Use the answers to these questions to decide where to start in revving up curb appeal.

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