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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Curb Appeal on a Dime

Whether you are putting your house on the market, just want a change, just bought a house or feel like your current house needs an update, you don't have to spend a fortune adding curb appeal. Save money while you update your home's outdoor appearance by putting your dollars to work on high-impact projects listed below.


Add Container Plants
Turn your home's entry into an inviting focal point by adding few well-chosen and nicely arranged plants on the front porch will create an welcoming effect. Vary the plant and container sizes and arrange them on multiple levels.















Spruce Up the Paint
This might mean simply touching up trouble spots or prepping and repainting the entire house. When repainting, take the opportunity to choose fresh colors and add an accent color to the paint scheme. Paint test patches before committing to a color scheme; some colors look great on a sample card but are too intense on a house.














Get a Healthy Lawn
One of the least-expensive improvements you can make to improve curb appeal requires two simple steps: First, apply a weed-and-feed treatment to ensure the grass has the soil nutrients it needs and doesn't have to compete with weeds. Second, sharpen your lawn mower blade regularly and cut the grass at or near the mower's tallest setting; cutting it too stresses grass.










Prep the Porch
If you're lucky enough to have a sizable front porch, use it to create a simple but inviting outdoor room. Group a comfortable bench and chairs to create a conversation nook. Keep the porch clutter free and open to cozy gatherings.














Renew Existing Planter Beds
Add or replace perennials and sprinkle in flowering annuals to bring a mix of color, texture, form, and scale. Allow adequate space to accommodate the plants as they grow. Add new mulch often to keep the look fresh.
















Revive a Lawn with New Sod
If your lawn is too unhealthy or choked with weeds, consider installing new sod. Remove the old lawn, lay new sod, and keep it well-watered for a few weeks.
















Update Materials
Cheap-looking materials detract from a yard's appearance. For sloped areas that still need terracing, use cut stone or precast decorative wall blocks for an high-end look.













Plant Trees
Put in small ornamental trees if you're preparing the house for sale soon. If you're staying put, think long-term and try oaks, maples, honey locust, or other large and strong species suitable for your region. Consider fast-growing species or small ornamental trees, such as pagoda dogwood, redbud, flowering pear, river birch, or Japanese maple; these can add dramatic interest without requiring years to get established.












Replace Exterior Hardware
Address numbers, mailboxes, locksets, and porch lights are perfect for upgrades. These elements are small but add a lot of finesse to your look. Keep the finishes consistent so the pieces look like an ensemble of accessories, not a batch of mismatched hardware.














Install a New Storm Door
A lot of homes are fitted with inexpensive aluminum screen doors that hide an attractive entry door. Newer storm-door designs offer larger glass panels, sturdier frames, and more color choices. If you don't have a storm door, paint the entry door with an accent paint color or clear varnish on wood.

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