9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Take your home's exterior from eyesore to eye-catching.

By Don Vandervort, Contributor |Sept. 23, 2016, at 12:46 p.m.

9 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

Slideshow

A little sprucing up never hurt anyone.

Idyllic Home With Covered Porch

(Getty Images)

You know curb appeal when you see it. A house with curb appeal looks loved and nurtured, designed with integrity and accented with creative details. It has healthy, beautiful landscaping, attention to color and a welcoming feel. Giving your home curb appeal means creating the characteristics that elicit strong emotional appeal for you, your family, neighbors and potential buyers when the time comes to sell. Whether you want to punch up your house for a quick sale or inspire family and neighborhood pride, here are nine ways to make your home’s exterior look great.

Lose the junk.

Lose the junk.

Pile of boxes junk inside a residential garage.

(Getty Images)

Get rid of anything that's an eyesore, including old vehicles, lawn furniture, swingsets, empty planters, unruly garden hoses, dead bushes – you get the idea. If it isn’t attractive or necessary, give it away, sell it, recycle it or toss it. While you’re at it, find an out-of-sight place to hide garbage and recycling bins when it's not pickup day. For larger trash items or collections of recyclables, a quick trip to the local dump or recycling drop-off location will keep your yard and driveway clear of excess trash. The idea here is to cut the clutter.

Mow and nurture the lawn.

Mow and nurture the lawn.

Using a broadcast spreader to fertilize a green lawn.

(iStockphoto)

Because lawns are usually a major part of the front yard, your lawn's condition can dramatically impact curb appeal. If your home has a lawn, you should mow, rake, edge and manicure it. Pull or kill the weeds. Then keep it watered and fertilized. If you live in a region where drought is common, consider drought-tolerant landscaping, with gravel and stone or even artificial grass, succulents and perennials, which won't require much watering. But be advised that it can take a long time and considerable expense to bring this type of landscaping to maturity.

Clear the way for visitors.

Clear the way for visitors.

(Getty Images)

First impressions set in as people approach your house. With this in mind, get the walkway, steps, porch and front door in top shape. Remove weeds from the walkway, and repair any cracks. Consider edging a plain concrete walkway with bricks or stones. Lighting is important, too. Outdoor lighting makes a house beautiful at night while adding safety and security. Think about installing low-voltage landscape lighting to accent trees, walkways and foliage.

Focus on the front door.

Focus on the front door.

A welcome mat at the entrance to a home.

(Getty Images)

Every visitor sees your front door, so make it shine. Wash or, if necessary, refinish or paint it. If that doesn’t do the trick, consider replacing it. The door’s hardware makes a difference, too. Remove tarnished hardware and polish it, but replace hardware that's in shoddy shape. A shiny new metal kick plate at the door’s base can add a touch of elegance and hide scuffs and animal scratches. And don’t forget to welcome guests with a friendly doormat.

Prune bushes and trees.

Prune bushes and trees.

Woman cutting buxus shrub with hand shears.

(Getty Images)

Trees and bushes can bring a sense of fullness, maturity and charm to a property. But they can also become overgrown, detracting from a property’s beauty, overshadowing gardens that need sun and blocking views you wish to accent. If your trees and bushes are out of control, prune them or have them professionally trimmed.

Plant flowers and shrubs.

Plant flowers and shrubs.

Manicured House and Garden displaying annual and perennial gardens in full bloom.

(Getty Images)

Plant shrubs for year-round garden greenery, and add seasonal flowers to infuse your yard with color. If your home’s foundation is visible, camouflage it with flowering hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, knockout roses or large flowering plants that have a generous, leafy spread. The best choices for this purpose grow 3 to 4 feet in height and offer a touch of color. Plant them at lease 2 feet from the house. If you don’t have room for gardens, consider filling pots and containers with colorful flowers. A container garden can add beauty to the entire front area of the house.

Add interesting details.

Add interesting details.

Close up view of green door with brass knocker.

(Getty Images)

Additional ornaments can boost the appearance of your front yard. Add a touch of elegance with shiny new house numbers, a stylish front porch light and a brilliant door knocker. In the garden, consider a water feature, birdbath or garden sculpture. If you have space on the porch or next to the garden, an attractive bench is functional and appealing to the eye.

Wash the house.

Wash the house.

Pressure washer being used on siding.

(Getty Images)

Sweep away dirt and cobwebs, working from the top down. Then use a garden hose or pressure washer to wash the home's exterior. If you don’t have a pressure washer, scrub dirty surfaces with a long-handled, soft-bristle brush and a soapy solution of nonphosphate detergent and water, and then rinse from the top down. A pressure washer makes washing dirty or mildewed siding easier, but be sure you know how to use it since the powerful spray can peel paint or erode siding. Don’t spray electrical wires, light fixtures, outlets or windows. If washing doesn’t freshen up the exterior, the house may need a new coat of paint.

Keep the garage door in mind.

Keep the garage door in mind.

Custom garage door on a residential home.

(Getty Images)

The garage door, usually one of the largest surfaces at the front of a house, can be a visual asset or liability depending on its condition. If it isn’t in good shape, refinish or paint the garage door or replace it, if necessary. A new garage door can add a sense of style to a home, and there are many attractive options, from modern translucent doors to traditional carriage-house beauties. If you decide to install a new garage door, opt for an automatic garage door operator to help ensure the door stays closed.

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Don Vandervort is the founder of HomeTips.com, a leading home improvement advice site. Don has authored many home improvement books, written extensively for MSN.com, and served as a segment host on HGTV.

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