21 Best Curb Appeal Ideas to Increase Your Home’s Value

Whether you have a spacious house in the suburbs, a small home in the city, or something in between, curb appeal is important.

The new emphasis on staying at home – and staying safe, healthy, and sane during the quarantine – has led many people to focus on how to transform the backyard into a mini oasis. However, the front of the home is usually the most visible area, so it’s important to also focus on making it as appealing as possible. And if you have a corner lot, at least three sides of your home are typically visible, so you’ll need to consider curb appeal from various angles.

These are some of the best curb appeal ideas, along with tips from several experts on how to achieve your objective.

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Practical steps to increase your curb appeal

Landscaping is incredibly important. According to a 2019 HomeLight survey, 94% of agents say buyers will pay more for a house if it has great curb appeal. “Never underestimate the power of a well-maintained front yard for curb appeal,” says Atlanta, GA-based Joe Raboine, director of residential hardscapes at Belgard. “A well-kept yard conveys that the homeowner has maintained the entire property, and can mean the difference between a sale or not.”

Lawn maintenance

According to Oren Farkash, owner and  CEO of South Land Remodeling in Los Angeles, CA, the key is to design the front yard’s landscape so that it complements – instead of competes – with your home. “Having a nice green lawn - without dead spots - and cutting back overgrown bushes, trees, and plants will make your home look manicured and well-cared-for,” Farkash says.  

Success in this area is also dependent on your mowing techniques. According to Brad Unruh, director of new product development at Hustler Turf, it’s best to cut your lawn when it is dry. “Wet grass will clump and stick to the bottom side of the deck, at which point it can build up and restrict airflow, leading to an uneven output of grass once it’s cut,” Unruh explains.

“Cutting the grass when it’s wet can also give you more to clean post-use, and using air would be the best way to remove it.” In fact, he says you can use an air compressor – or even a leaf blower. “If there’s still residue, use a putty knife to scrape off the grass,” Unruh says.

Flower power

Flowers are an inexpensive way to increase your curb appeal and can be used in a variety of ways. “You can use flowering annuals to instantly fill in bare spots in your landscaping with bright and vibrant colors," says Joyce Mast, Bloomscape's Plant Mom. “You can also create an explosion of color by grouping plants together in an area.”

When choosing the perfect color combination, she says it’s important to make sure the tones complement your home and outdoor areas. “Don’t be afraid to use both large flowering and small cluster plants, as well as mixing the shapes and textures of the plants themselves.” 

Before you start arranging flowering annuals, figure out which areas are in the sun or in the shade. “This will determine which plants you are able to plant in certain areas of your garden,” Mast explains. “For example, a petunia is able to thrive in the full sun, but an impatiens will need a shadier area - some plants will only thrive with a bit of morning sun then afternoon shade.”  

So, what's the difference between annuals and perennials?

"Annuals will flower and then die in one single season," explains Mike Fitzpatrick, vice president of U.S. Lawns. "These can be planted as late as midsummer because they can go in the ground at any time," he explains. "They typically flower all season long and have a tendency to be more vibrant than their counterpart, perennials."

On the other hand, Fitzpatrick says perennials can flower for several seasons. "It's best to plant perennials in the spring or fall; they typically flower for a shorter period of time, which is between two and six weeks," he says.

If you're new to the world of flowers and plants, Fitzpatrick recommends that you start planting in pots until you get the hang of where to place them. "This way, if a plant is getting too much sun or not enough, you’re able to quickly move it around until you find what works for your space," he explains.

And here's a neat tip: Fitzpatrick recommends snapping a photo of the plant's label. "This will tell you its scientific name as well as how much sun and water it requires - very important information."

He also recommends pruning: gently nipping off any of the blooms that have died. "This will allow more nutrients to flow to the blooms that are still full and alive, resulting in more consistent blooms all season long - which is especially important for annuals."

Planters

And don’t forget to incorporate planters to hold your flowering beauties. Marty Basher, designer and organization expert at Modular Closets, recommends buying big planters for the front of your home.  “Fill them with a large palm or other sturdy focal point and surround it with all of your favorite sun-loving flowers,” he says. “Wavy petunias, begonias, and geraniums make great choices.”

Regarding what type of planters to choose, it depends on your personal style. “If you are more traditional, stone has a nice presence,” says Christopher Grubb, an interior designer and founder of Beverly Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group. “But for the adventurous, glazed pots in rich colors or multi colors are a beautiful addition,” he says.

But planters aren’t the only way to bring flowers front and center. “If they work for your house, window boxes - and shutters - are always a pleasant visual when pulling up to a home as well,” Basher says.  

Hardscape

Hardscaping should also be considered when improving your curb appeal. “If your paths/walkways are not attractive, outdated, or in bad shape, we recommend replacing them or swapping them for stepping stones or pavers,” Farkash recommends. He says that square pavers are really popular right now.

Raboine agrees, and add, “Simple upgrades like adding a paver walkway, or landscape bed edgers/curbing can dramatically improve the appearance of your home.” And if you’re adding a new walkway, he offers this tip. ‘Try adding a slight curve to it, and bring it out from the home, so that as guests arrive they get a better view of the house.”

Porch furnishings

Furniture can also add to the overall curb appeal of your home. “If your space allows, add some colorful porch chairs and cushions to make it someplace people would want to stop by and visit,” Basher says.

His view is shared by Glenn Rush, visual design manager at Build.com. “The porch is the heart of the home, somewhere to greet guests and socialize on warm, summer evenings,” he says. “For a wide, wrap-around porch, look for comfortable outdoor-rated sofas and chairs, and for smaller porches, consider an outdoor bench.”

Even if you don’t plan on sitting outside, your choices can affect your home’s curb appeal. “A small bench or pair of chairs may get little use, but it instantly expresses how inviting your home is,” explains Grubb.

Doors, house numbers, etc.  

Of course, your doorway is an essential component, so you should certainly pay attention to it.

“Make sure your entry door is in good repair and scrape/paint any surfaces and trim that's peeling or faded,” advises David Charette, principal of Britto Charette in Miami, FL.

In fact, you should never underestimate the power of a beautiful front door. According to Grubb, painting the entire home is a huge undertaking, but a fresh color on the door can make a significant difference.  “Back or red for many homes are a go to – but consider expressing yourself with a navy, deep burgundy or a bold green,” he says. And Grubb has another idea for making a fresh statement with your door. “If you would rather have a wood door, there are many incredibly talented artists who can faux finish your door and seal it to protect against the elements.”

Rush also has a few ideas for upgrading your exterior door area. “Small DIY projects like adding a new keyless entry can enhance the security and appeal of the home,” he says. “Also consider adding mail slots and door viewers to add style and personality.” 

House numbers are functional, but they can also be attractive. “If you’re looking to refresh your home and add value, mix things up by replacing the old address marker numbers,” Rush recommends. “Whatever the design, the address numbers should be bold and obvious.” He says the numbers should always be easy for visitors, delivery personnel, and emergency services to find your home.

In addition, Basher suggests adding a fun doormat, and a door knocker. “These will do wonders for your exterior entry area,” he says.

Lighting

According to Raboine, outdoor lighting is one of the most overlooked features of a yard and outdoor living space. “Not only does outdoor lighting deter crime, it creates an undeniable ambiance in the yard,” he says. “Considering, that oftentimes people are using these spaces in the evening, it makes sense to also invest in a well-designed outdoor lighting system.” 

And that starts with your front porch. “It’s important to keep in mind that an entryway begins on the porch and opens into the foyer, so be sure they also match the design of your home,” Rush warns.

However, Grubb says not all of your exterior fixtures have to match. “I think the finishes should be close in color, but a different style is a nice way to add a piece of sculpture to your porch,” he says.

But don’t limit lighting to your porch. “Strategically placed landscape lighting — such as for walkways/stairs and to backlight plants/trees — helps make your curb appeal as striking at night as it is during the day,” says Farkash. 

Basher agrees that homeowners should branch out past the porch. “Adding garden lights is a great way to highlight your yard’s best features and make your yard look warm and beautiful,” he says.  

Cleaning

All of the updates in the world won’t help if you fail to take care of the basics. “Give your house a face lift with a power wash,” advises Basher. “From the siding to the pavement to your pathway, you may want to use a power wash to deep clean outdoor surfaces.” He says you’d be surprised how much dirt and grime can accumulate over the years – and how new your home can look after a good wash.

Keeping pests at bay

Critters can wreak havoc on your curb appeal improvements. According to Kari Warberg Block, pest prevention expert, and CEO/Founder of EarthKind, both the structure and design of your yard affects the types of pests and wildlife that visit – and also determine frequency.

“Larger trees will bring bigger birds and mammals, small plants and shrubs will give perfect shelter to insects, and plants like clovers and dandelions are the favorite food sources of bees and hoverflies,” she says. Block recommends that you plant bushes and shrubs at least a foot away from your house. “This will decrease the chances of any critters, especially spiders, coming indoors.”

Block also recommends keeping your outdoor spaces tidy to reduce your outdoor pest population.  “This means trimming overgrown trees, bushes, shrubs and grass, picking up piles of sticks, leaves, firewood, and debris, and weeding out overflowing vegetation,” she says.

“Use cedar mulch in your garden and plant herbs and flowers like mint, thyme, and marigolds to help naturally deter bugs like cockroaches, moths, beetles, ants and termites,” she says.  “For mosquitoes, we all know they don’t enjoy citronella, but other plants like rosemary, geranium, basil, lavender, peppermint, and garlic are also offensive to their sense of smell." 

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