How to Improve

Your Home’s Curb Appeal

 

First impressions matter. Attractive, well-kept landscapes and gardens boost a home’s appeal and value. Whether you’ve just moved into your home, want to freshen it up or are considering selling, a time and financial commitment to curb appeal yield strong returns.

 

Small budget improvements

You don’t need to spend a limb—or two—to make your home shine. Simple updates like a new coat of paint, updated house numbers or lighting fixtures, a new mailbox, or door wreath work wonders.

 

Other non-organic improvements might include upgrading the porch or stoop railings. Replace gutters and downspouts. Pressure wash siding, trim and windows. Tile the doorstep and porch, or give it a new coat of paint. Repair or stain the driveway, or widen it with stone, brick or pavers. Add landscape lighting.

 

If the garden and landscape need a little TLC, keep reading for ideas!

 

Getting to know your garden

Now that you know your home will benefit from irresistible curb appeal, if you’re still getting the lay of the land with your home’s lawn and garden, where do you start?

 

Do you want to begin with landscaping or gardening? Wait, you ask—aren’t they the same thing? Not quite. Landscaping involves the big picture of how you’d like your outdoor area to look. Landscaping includes everything—grass, plants, trees, flowers and hardscapes like stones, water, pots and fences—that builds that living picture.

 

Gardening, on the other hand, is similar to landscaping but narrower in focus—it’s all about maintaining and cultivating the plants and flowers within a given space. Gardening includes the planting, fertilizing, weeding, watering, deadheading and harvesting that’s done each season.

 

Landscaping & gardening DIY

If you’re starting from scratch, dream big, but if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, start smaller. Who doesn’t feel awed by those HGTV makeover shows? But teams of dozens and generous budgets accomplish quite a lot. If you’re new to this space, live with it for a while. Gradually develop a plan and then complete it piece by piece, so you can see how the spaces evolve.

 

Decide what you want. Do you need space for kids or pets to play? Do you want a vegetable garden? Flower garden? Both? Would you rather go low maintenance, experiment with xeriscaping (landscapes that are less water-dependent), or try something more elaborate?

 

Spend some time observing your outdoor spaces in all seasons and types of weather. You probably don’t want to add a patio in line with the sun’s blazing afternoon rays, unless you have a shade plan. A fire pit in the middle of the yard where the wind whips around won’t stay lit for long. Plan your garden’s areas to work with nature.

 

Work around a focal point. Does your yard have an amazing dogwood tree? A beautiful plant? A small pond? Good garden designs include one or more focal points to draw the eye through the landscape. If you don’t have one yet, add it to your design.

 

Most people like to have at least a small portion of soft lawn; if your grass has seen better days, consider a quicker option than seeding: sod. Laying sod isn’t too complicated and if it’s a smaller area, you can do it yourself.

 

Create flower beds and experiment with plants and flowering shrubs for pops of color. These 13 flowers are perfect for beginners. Add mulch for a finished look and plant protection.

 

 

Must-have equipment and tools

There are a few tools that every gardener should have in his or her shed. At bare minimum, you’ll want a good mower, edger, shears, spade, hoe, ground rake, trowel and weeder. If you’re planting new trees or have vegetation with thick stems, get a pruning saw. Clearing tools make quick work of pruning flower beds and cutting back dead limbs and growth. Finally, protect your hands from irritation, insect bites and scratches with gardening gloves.

 

A commitment to curb appeal

Whether you’re all-in for DIY landscaping and gardening or want to start slowly, updating your home’s curb appeal boosts its equity. Not only will your home reap the benefits of gardening, but you’ll feel happier, too, because gardening gets you moving, reduces stress and promotes well-being.

 

 

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