From S. Kim on September 2nd, 2009 in Landscaping
First impressions are sometimes the only impression. Your indoors can be as cozy as an old quilt, but still the house will scream, “There’s something not right here!” if the exterior doesn’t reflect the same warmth. Here’s a simple checklist to ensure that your house’s charm won’t be overlooked.
- Upkeep matters: So, keep up your lawn. Mow the grass, edge the sidewalks and flower beds, and prune and renew plants. Spreading new mulch or pine straw freshens up the landscape. Replacing broken bricks and other rundown plant borders make the grounds look neater.
- Take matters into your own yellow rubber gloves: Put a sparkle on the windows, power wash siding, fencing and sidewalks, clean out gutters, and blow off leaves and debris from the roof. Clean stains from driveways and pull weeds growing through cracks. Repair, if possible.
- Highlight the highlights: Your front door is most often the focal point. Choosing an eye-catching color for the entryway, installing a natural wood door, or upgrading one with ornamental stain glass can make all the difference. Replace old house numbers, door handles, wall-mounted mailboxes and lighting so that the door is enhanced. Paint the trim and shutters in colors complementary to that of the door.
- Restore & remodel: Keep the longstanding trees – most homebuyers love old trees with character. Give them a trim and put on a spotlight. But be careful! If you don’t have much experience landscaping, it’s best to hire an arborist or contractor in your area. Paint the board-and-batten instead of covering it, and redo original railings and adornments that flatter the home’s age. Older, well-renovated houses are bringing in top dollar in historic neighborhoods across the country.
- In keeping with the neighborhood: Stay in sync with where you are. House colors and styles are only appealing if they don’t clash and fight to fit in with what’s next door. Adding a wrap-around-porch with a metal roof, as popular as they both are, may look out of place on a block of ranch-style homes.
- Yin and yang of the yard: Step back and look at the overall image. If your head tilts and you say, “Huh?”, then balance what you see. All sides of the house and yard are not created equal, although a sense of proportion is necessary. Yes, a large planter full of greenery on one side of the front door will probably look best with something similar on the other side. But in the yard, large bushes may be more attractive with small shrubs, and lofty trees may need surrounding groundcover (like ivy entwined around a live oak). And remember the rule of three: plants look best in odd numbers.
- The “extras” that don’t cost much extra: Front porch furniture with comfortable cushions, inviting curves (instead of straight lines) in walkways and around sitting areas, the smell of honeysuckle growing on an arbor, a spruced up mailbox, the sound of running water from a fountain, flagstone laid along the drive, artwork and a birdbath in the garden… not necessary but oh, so nice!
Flagstone along driveway