It doesn’t matter if you’re staying put or selling, anytime’s a good time to become the envy of the block!
Your style of home, combined with the design you’ve created on the inside, should blend easily with your outdoor space. Not only does it make it easier to style, it is far more visually appealing, enticing people to admire everything from the lighting to the landscaping.
If you’re wondering whether or not your home grabs attention, pretend you’re the home buyer - of your house. Because what you see on the outside will make a first and often lasting impression, decide if you like the vibe you’re getting when you give your home a critical eye from the front, both sides and halfway down the block.
Now take that info (the good, the bad and the indifferent) and check out these seven ideas to give your outdoor space a little boost or a whole new look!
1) Start with a good pressure wash - it can do wonders!
Over time, siding, bricks, walkways, decks and driveways can look dingy and worn. Often all it takes is a good pressure wash to rid those surfaces of dirt and grime from being outside in the elements day after day. While you can find people to do it for you, you can also rent one as a budget-friendly option to add new life into your outdoor space.
2) Make sure the yard and garden are maintained.
There’s no bigger eyesore to the neighborhood than a poorly maintained yard and garden. It doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few simple things you can do to keep this space looking good year after year.
- Add new mulch. Provides color contrast, prevents weed spreading and keeps the soil moist. During the course of the year it will break down adding fertilizer to your plants. Therefore, layer about 2 inches of fresh mulch each spring to revitalize the garden.
- Give your shrubs a trim. If you see more branches than greenery, they’re likely due for a cut. Not all shrubs respond well to trimming - such as junipers and spruces - so be sure to do your research before pruning.
- Balance the garden. Add layers with the tallest in back and lowest in front. Adding different textures is also more appealing.
- Planters can do wonders. They can add a nice pop of color without much effort. Get some bigger ones and put evergreen bushes inside like boxwoods, junipers or Hicks Yew.
A wildflower garden can also be lots of fun while adding a colorful pop to the front yard. Keep in mind that these gardens will need full sun to be successful. And with any type of garden, stick to seeds and plants that are native to the area in which you live. Check out the USDA plant hardiness zone map or talk with a nursery for ideas.
3) Say yes to patio furniture on the porch
The front porch is your home’s public face - the more inviting it appears from the curb, the greater appeal it will have. Rocking chairs or a glider are always good ideas. And if you’ve got a small porch, a simple little table and just one chair (if there’s room) are enough to create a welcome respite between the outdoors and the indoors.
Porch seating is engaging and activates the neighborhood. If you’ve got comfy, welcoming seating in view of other houses on the block, it might be enough to influence your neighbors to do the same. Creating that envy-inducing front porch will provide some serious curb appeal!
4) Add outdoor lighting (or update what you’ve already got)
It checks all the boxes - safety, security and curb appeal. It’s worth investing in high quality exterior lighting given how much of a beating it can take with the constant exposure to outdoor elements. Be sure the outdoor lights you choose fit with the collective style of your home. You may love that mid-century-style light, but putting it on a Craftsman home doesn’t really work.
If you’re looking to light the path to your home, be a little more discrete by tucking low-voltage lights into garden beds or near shrubs. It will illuminate the walkway without looking like you’ve just installed a landing strip. You can also use accent lighting to light trees or parts of the house.
5) Be sure your outdoor hardware functions collectively and looks good
What we mean is that mix and match pieces, or those that are old and dingy, don’t really work. Everything from the address numbers to the mailbox, the door handle to doorbells will add style and interest, but only if they look pleasing aesthetically to you and anyone who happens to be passing by! Similar to lighting, install hardware that matches the style of your home.
6) Use symmetry to guide the eye
It’s not only pleasing to the eye, it’s easy to do. This can be done by simply flanking the front door with two light fixtures or accents like potted flowers and plants or even statues. This creates a welcoming entryway as it guides people to the home.
Try grouping together varying heights of annuals or perennials on both sides of the walkway or in large pots near the front door. And because you’re showcasing your front door, make sure it’s something you want to look at. If not, maybe it’s time for a good cleaning or even a new color!
7) Use perfectly placed outdoor art
A new doormat, a seasonal wreath, a copper birdbath, a stylish door knocker. Outdoor art can add that last little touch that’s unique to you and the home’s style but doesn’t go over the top. Think tasteful but not tacky. If you can’t stand to hear the wind chime blowing in the breeze, your neighbors probably can’t either!
What to avoid
- Don’t create an upkeep nightmare. If gardening isn’t something you think you can keep up with year after year, keep things low maintenance rather than a lawn filled with ornamentals, annuals and perennials.
- Don’t try to be unique. Your landscaping should be cohesive with the neighborhood, your house style and geographical area.
- Don’t clutter your outdoor space with lawn ornaments and toys. One gnome might work. Seven do not. And when the kids are done playing, have a designated spot to store their stuff.
- Don’t leave dead leaves and plants unattended. Pull them out or clean them up!