Exterior, Home Improvement

Ramping Up for Curb Appeal Projects

Circular Driveway Design by Paul Marcial LandscapesConsidering a curb-appeal improvement project, but not sure where to start? The exterior of a home and its landscaping are the first things people notice when passing or pulling up to a home and can help sway potential buyers’ snap judgments positively or negatively. If you’re looking to help clients boost their home’s selling price or are a homeowner considering the same, here are some tips to ramp up a home’s curb appeal.

Aesthetic changes that create quick-fixes include replacing front doors and garage doors with modern updates. New light fixtures and shutters also can help curb appeal, as can cleanings of the porch, sidewalk, and windows. If you’re willing to invest a little sweat equity, then tackling the front lawn can transform a first impression of a home.

Pampering a lawn properly starts with an investment in a few good tools. While different hardiness zones may merit specific types of equipment, there are a few standards to fall back on when stocking a front yard arsenal:

  • Start with a lawn mower. A riding mower is probably unnecessary if the property is smaller than a quarter acre, and a gas-powered or electric push mower should suffice for standard suburban lots.
  • An edger and/or weed eater looks like a metal detector and eliminates weeds and straggly grass along borders and perimeters.
  • For planting and/or removing weeds, a round point shovel and a hand trowel will do the trick for big or small jobs.
  • A rake can serve for more purposes than merely gathering up leaves: it can spread mulch, help lift grass clippings, sift dirt, and pull rocks from soil, so a sturdy one is a good buy.
  • If you plan to install a garden bed, then a hoe is necessary to break up soil and sod.
  • A strong pair of garden shears can trim away excessive growth on bushes or trees, and a wheelbarrow can help move soil, mulch, compost, or large plants easily around the yard.

Once well equipped with tools, a yard may need a spruce-up to get grass and soil in good shape. Eliminate weeds in the yard by hand pulling or spraying shoots with an herbicide that won’t harm grass, and fill in any gaps in the yard with sod or seed. If a shady section won’t grow grass, section it off for a shade garden or lay down stones for a clean look.

In a planned flower garden, ensure weeds won’t invade by either smothering weed seeds with organic mulches (a product that can biodegrade, like straw or hardwood) or lay new topsoil so you don’t disrupt weed seeds that may be dormant in the yard. Plant flowers and ornamental plants close together to choke out weeds that attempt to compete for space. A garden nursery staff member can recommend plants suited for your hardiness zone and provide information on the amount of watering and care needed to help the plants thrive. Low maintenance plants, like those in xeriscaping, can create quality curb appeal with minimal effort, increasing both the compliments of passersby, and, potentially, the number of offers received on a house put to market.

About the Author

Brian Talley is an Austin REALTOR® and the CEO of Regent Property Group, a boutique real-estate brokerage specializing in Lake Austin waterfront homes and luxury homes.