What makes one house a head turner and another just ok? Curb Appeal. If your home’s curb appeal makes a great first impression, everyone, which might include perspective home buyers, will want to see what’s inside. Curb appeal gives visitors the first impression of your home and if done correctly should welcome them in. It starts with the colour of the front door and moves to the walkway, the lawn, and the plants used in the landscape. Beyond colour it is the overall appearance of the yard, and how well it is maintained. A home with good curb appeal is not only beautiful, but it also has a higher real estate value making it an attractive investment.
As you drive through neighbourhoods some yards and landscapes stand out above others. Very often the first homes that catch your eye will be the yards that have well maintained, weed-free, healthy looking lawns that are regularly mown. The first step in creating curb appeal is to ensure your lawn is healthy and happy. Any bald spots in the lawn should be filled in by top dressing and sown with grass seed to match the existing lawn. Fertilize your grass regularly with a good quality lawn fertilizer to help it keep its colour and healthy appearance and mow regularly. A good tip for mowing is to ensure your lawnmower blades are always sharp as this will make a nicer cut: dull blades will give a ragged look to the grass.
Next it is important to have a combination of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. A good guideline is to have approximately half deciduous and half evergreen to ensure your yard has winter interest as well. A tall deciduous tree can be surrounded by smaller sized evergreens, or a large spruce can have smaller sized flowering shrubs in the area. Cedars are often used on the outside corner edges of the house, as a landscaped area along the outside edges of your home can give the illusion of a larger home. Try to create a symmetrical look as this is pleasing to the eye. Choose trees and shrubs carefully – think about the mature size of the tree before you plant, and the bloom time of flowering shrubs. If you are planting near the driveway, think about winter snow removal so that trees and shrubs are not in the way. Trees and shrubs that are evenly shaped, trimmed and pruned continue your yard’s tidy appearance. Be sure to remove any dead, damaged or diseased branches as soon as possible. It is also important to ensure you are pruning at the correct time. Deciduous trees and shrubs are pruned in the spring before they break into leaf with the exception of early blooming flowering shrubs (such as lilacs) which are pruned after they bloom. Birch and Maple trees should be pruned in mid-summer when the sap has stopped running.
Flowerbeds can help add overall appeal to your home, both by their placement and the colour they bring to the yard. Beds should have clean cut edges, and be weed free. Be sure to dead head annuals and perennials as this not only helps the garden’s appearance but encourages more blooms to come. Add summer long colour to the beds by mixing in annuals which will bloom throughout the summer. Mulch can be added to give flower beds a clean, fresh look as well as helping to deter weed growth and retain moisture.
Outdoor lighting (either solar or electric) can help increase your home’s curb appeal. It adds both night time ambience as well as security. Carefully placed lighting can spotlight your yard’s great features as well as continue to create a welcoming feeling into the night time hours. Another way to add a layer of interest to your yard is to add lawn ornaments such as bird baths, fountains, or statuary. Water features such as fountains can also add sound to the landscape which brings other elements to the yard as well as creating a calming effect.
For quick bursts of colour, add hanging baskets or urns. These items are great for filling empty spots, or areas where plants have difficulty thriving. There are many beautiful and interesting containers available and the choice of colours, sizes and styles is always changing giving your yard a refreshed look.
Let your yard be the envy of the neighbourhood this year by creating good curb appeal!