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The Main Attraction...Curb Appeal

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  by Leslie Patterson

Adding curb appeal to your home is easy and you can begin with a simple exercise.

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While driving down a street on a beautiful sunny afternoon your thoughts are halted as you glance at the house on the corner. You can’t help slowing down, briefly stopping, giving it a second look. You drive away wondering why the attraction. Why did it turn your head? Two words…CURB APPEAL!

Adding curb appeal to your home is easy and you can begin with a simple exercise. Take a good look at your home and answer these three questions: 1. What is your first impression of the house and yard area? 2. What are the best exterior features of your home and yard? 3. What are the worst exterior features of your home and yard?

The first impression you have of your house and yard may be the fact that it needs a good, old-fashion cleaning up. This is the best project to begin with when adding curb appeal to your home. Is your yard cluttered with junk? While most find it necessary to add to improve curb appeal, there are times when removing is more effective. Remove all extras, like garden tools, toys, trash, or anything that gives your home a cluttered appearance. Once you have the extra debris removed, mow the lawn and get rid of weeds. Rake and dispose of leaves. Trim shrubs and trees that are overgrown and blocking the view of your home. Does your house seem dirty or dingy? Give it a scrub down. You can pressure wash your home’s exterior eliminating dirt, mold, and mildew. Give the driveway, patio, porch, and deck a good cleaning with the power sprayer. Grab a ladder and clean those windows and gutters. By completing these simple tasks, your home will sparkle and shine.

Now that you have cleaned up, what else can you do to add curb appeal to your home? Your next projects will depend on how you answered the above questions. However, here are a few things to consider.

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Welcoming guests into your home begins at the entry. Start by freshening up your front door with a coat of paint or stain. Depending on the condition of the existing door, paint may not be the answer. If so consider installing a new door perhaps with a glass insert or symmetrical sidelights. Polish the existing door knob and lock set or remove the old and update with new hardware. Create warmth and eye pleasing symmetry by adding light fixtures to each side of your entry. Compliment your lighting with matching front-door accents such as flower urns. With more time and a larger budget, you can create a grand entry by adding molding around your door. In addition, you may add a permanent welcome mat to your entry by tiling your front step or porch area. House numbers and a wall mounted mailbox also add flair to your home’s exterior. Be sure the exterior features coordinate in style and color.

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Another major feature of your home's exterior is the landscaping. Once you have completed the simple task of cleaning the yard and trimming shrubs, step back and take in what you have to work with. Revisit your answers to the three questions above. Small projects can be completed easily and in a little amount of time. Container gardens of various sizes strategically placed in your current landscaping add color and welcome others to take note of your home. Garden beds can be weeded and pruned to welcome new growth. If your garden beds are bare, plant flowers in varieties of annuals and perennials. Add new mulch to restore color. Replace old, worn out edging and consider a new look with stone.

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If your landscaping is in need of more TLC than these small projects offer, set your sites on a larger project for the season. These types of projects may require more investment, but will pay great dividends in the future. Frame your home by creating new planting beds along the front and on the corners of your house. Enhance walkways and driveways with colorful plants or rock. Include a nice variety of plants with a mix of color, size, and texture but remember that plants do grow and many will require maintenance. Outdoor lighting along walkways or in plant beds will add warmth to your landscaping and security to your home. Personalize with outdoor art, such as water fountains or sculptures. Be sure to complement your home’s natural exterior and charm. Additional larger projects may include adding arbors or fence panels with garden gates. Whatever additions or changes you make, keep in mind that you want to enhance the best features of your home.

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Most of these curb appeal projects may be planned in phases and easily completed in a day or a weekend. With each project, or phase, step back and reevaluate the first impression of your home. Has that impression changed? Hopefully, yes. And in the future, the person driving down the street on a beautiful sunny afternoon, slowing down and briefly stopping to give that home a second look will not be you. You will be the person waving to them from your front yard knowing the attraction…CURB APPEAL!

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