6 Inexpensive Ways to Add Curb Appeal

Curb appeal: The attractiveness of a property and it’s surrounding landscape when viewed from the street.

Are you selling your home? Do you need curb appeal? Don’t stress if you forgot about the landscape while you were remolding the kitchen and investing in your home. Potential buyers will appreciate that kitchen and anticipate putting their mark on the lackluster landscape. But, there are a few things you can do outside before hitting the sell button. Focus on these six simple touches to add instant curb appeal. If you’re not selling your home, add these touches anyway. Why wait to sell it to give it curb appeal? Do it for you.

Add House Numbers

Take the guesswork out of finding your home. The mailbox is the most prominent spot for house numbers, but that’s for the postal carrier. Cars parked on narrow streets can hide those numbers. The best solution is both the mailbox and the house. House numbers should be on the side of the house facing the street, preferably on the door, doorpost, or above the door where a light shines on them. House numbers are helpful to visitors, potential buyers, and emergency services. If your Homeowners Association doesn’t allow numbers on the door but requires them discreetly by the side of the driveway, please keep the area mowed or pruned for easier spotting. If you share a driveway with your neighbor, mark the distinction, directing drivers to the right house. These simple steps remove stress and frustration for potential buyers trying to find your home and give an immediate impression of order. When giving directions to your home, note where the numbers are.

Help potential home buyers find your house. Don’t assume the mailbox numbers are sufficient.

Help potential home buyers find your house. Don’t assume the mailbox numbers are sufficient.

Add Simple Lighting

Outdoor lighting can get expensive quick. Driveway lighting, uplighting, path lighting-some of it for safety reasons, some purely aesthetic. If the budget doesn’t allow for fancy, expensive lighting, don’t worry. Keep it simple by adding a light beside the front door (and entrance door if they’re different) and over the garage. Is the sidewalk to your door long and poorly lit? Add solar lights that don’t require an electrician but provide a dim glow at night to help guests (or emergency services) find their way. Solar lights are safe for use around water, place them near hot tubs, pools, and water features as accent lighting. Use outdoor lighting to create a secure approach to your home at night or to highlight features in the landscape.

Lighting is a safety and aesthetic addition to your landscape.

Lighting is a safety and aesthetic addition to your landscape.

Add Window Boxes

Window boxes ooze charm, and they don’t even have to be in front of a window. Adding them to the front gate, the pet fence, or under the mailbox is an instant appeal. Nothing says welcome home like window boxes full of seasonal flowers and displays. Get creative with pumpkins and gourds and acorns in fall, and redtwig dogwood stems and pine cones in winter or plant them with pansies or petunias for a pop of spring or summer color. Do invest in self-watering boxes that help with hard to reach places. It isn’t always necessary to have an elaborate landscape when a window box can do the trick.

Don’t focus so much on the bigger items in a landscape—new home buyers prefer to put their own stamp on the landscape—but they love the small details like windown boxes..

Don’t focus so much on the bigger items in a landscape—new home buyers prefer to put their own stamp on the landscape—but they love the small details like windown boxes..

Place Matching Planters by the Door

Planters by the front door say welcome home. Have you noticed a trend? Adding curb appeal is a lot about highlighting the entrance to your home. So to that point, add a welcome mat! Only have room for one planter? Then add one. That makes for less watering, and it is still a happy sight. And, just FYI, those planters stay with the house, (as do the window boxes above) so buy ones you don’t mind leaving behind.

Matching planters (or single planters) are a welcome treat not only for potential home buyers for but you! Welcome yourself home each day with a splash of color.

Matching planters (or single planters) are a welcome treat not only for potential home buyers for but you! Welcome yourself home each day with a splash of color.

Do Prune the Plants In The Front Foundation

If the foundation shrubs are eating your house, get out the pruners. Keep front foundation plantings below windows and don’t allow plants to crowd one another. Determine if any of the foundation plantings need culling or a hard cut back (rejuvenation pruning). Be sure to weed and water well (so plants are upright and hydrated) and then add mulch. Sweep or blow the sidewalks, driveways, and porches and get the cobwebs off the shutters. Sparkly, clean windows are a nice touch, too.

If the foundation plantings are eating your home, blocking the view from windows, and crowding the door, get the pruners out. New homeowners would prefer you did the trimming.

If the foundation plantings are eating your home, blocking the view from windows, and crowding the door, get the pruners out. New homeowners would prefer you did the trimming.

Do Clean up the Yard

A brand new landscape isn’t necessary, but a tidy one is. Prune overgrown shrubs, get the grass out of the perennial beds, weed, and clean up the corner you’ve avoided for years. Seed bare spots in the lawn and rake leaves where necessary. Finish the beds with a fresh layer of mulch. Repair fences and walkways and hide the HVAC unit with a cover fence, since plants planted now don’t have time to grow and disguise it. Tidy is the keyword. Potential homebuyers won’t be disappointed by a lack of a beautiful landscape, but they will be put off by a messy one.

Be sure to clean up unsightly weeds, rake up and reseed grass where necessary, and prune trees and shrubs.

Be sure to clean up unsightly weeds, rake up and reseed grass where necessary, and prune trees and shrubs.

Written by Cinthia Milner, garden coach, and blog writer.

B.B.Barns Garden Center serves all of Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and Tennessee.