Maximizing your home's curb appeal can renew its appearance while raising its market value. Many improvements cost little money, but can have a huge impact. A little effort goes a long way to make your home look loved and well-tended. Here are some ideas to get you thinking.
Patrol regularly and pick up newspapers and trash that has blown into your yard. Sweep the sidewalk every so often and hose down or rake your walkways to remove leaves and dirt. Every year or so, hose down or power wash your house. Use the method recommended for your house's exterior. Wash your exterior windows and doors regularly to keep them gleaming.
Brighten the Exterior
If you can afford to repaint your house, give it a fresh new coat. Find a color that will make it stand out in your neighborhood. For period flair, research the colors that were commonly used when your house was new. If you can't afford to do the whole house, do the exterior woodwork. Try a bold accent color instead of the standard white to make the windows pop.
Maintain the Landscape
Take care of your yard and your house's exterior regularly. Try to repair broken steps, cracked walkways and chipped paint before they become severe. Polish your door handles. Mow your lawn regularly and be sure to use the edger. Inspect your garden for dead plants and weeds.
Water your plants lawn during dry spells. Be aware of municipal ordinances governing when and how to water. Check for damaged siding, gutters, and shingles. Every so often, go across the street and look at your house from a distance. See if anything strikes you as needing attention, and assess whether your house is giving the first impression you want.
Invest in the Hardscape
Add a retaining wall, a patio, a pathway, or brick garden borders. Consider an arbor, a pergola, raised flower beds, container gardens, a bench, lawn furniture, or solar path lights. Consider adding some garden art, trellises, banners, hanging planters, and decorative fencing. Purchase some new house numbers that are visible from the street. Make sure your mailbox is in good repair.
Stay Focused on the Softscape
Add flower beds, shrubs, trees, ground cover, landscaping, fresh mulch or landscape stone, or a water feature. Be sure to switch out flowers and plants if they happen to die or don't survive the season.
Keep in mind that any improvements you make to the facade of your house should be in line with the architecture. For instance, if you have a mission-style house, you may want yard accessories with simple lines. If you have a '60s ranch, you might want shaped shrubbery for a cool retro vibe. Just don't be too literal with your interpretation, or else you could attract the wrong type of attention.
Combining several kinds of enhancements in your yard can create a new look, but remember that part of the art of maximizing curb appeal is knowing when to stop! Simplicity and cleanliness appeal to most people, whether you're trying to sell or just keep your home in good repair.