Curb Enthusiasm--Spring for It!

               Every street has one—the house you can’t resist glancing at as you drive by.  It draws your eye as you admire the well-groomed yard, cheerful plantings and attractive paint job.  In short, it’s got major curb appeal.  If you find yourself casting wistful glances at the most attractive home on your street, but sighing as you drive up to your own home, fear not.  Now is the perfect time to give your home a curb appeal update.

               I recommend that homeowners address their home’s curb appeal at least biannually, ideally in the spring and fall.  We live in a beautiful green city with lots of trees, which is why many of us are currently cleaning up limbs and debris following last week’s storm.  While tackling clean-up, you may have noticed the first buds from our early-blooming shrubs and trees such as azaleas and Japanese magnolias.  Anticipating an early spring, it’s not too soon for you to make a time investment in your home’s seasonal curb appeal.

               First, tackle lawn clean-up.  Just as a woman wouldn’t put fresh makeup on her dirty face, you don’t want to start your curb appeal updates without addressing basic lawn maintenance.  Pick up any limbs, pinecones or other debris.  Prune and shape trees and shrubs (but not ones that will be blooming this spring—wait until after bloom time!), pull weeds and volunteer saplings from your planting beds and remove dead or diseased plants from the yard.  Rake the grassy areas and mow the lawn if needed.  Finally, mulch your planting areas with fresh pine straw mulch to define these areas and discourage weed growth.

               Next, remove tired and out-of-season yard décor such as faded flags, chipped pots and rusty signs.  You want a clean slate as your jumping off point.

               Now that the yard is neat and tidy, turn your attention to your home’s exterior.  Are there minor repairs that need addressing such as screen rips or missing house numbers?  Does the exterior need a simple power wash to remove mildew and dirt?  How about your driveway and porches?  Is your paint in good shape?  Address these basic maintenance issues as needed.  When your home is clean and in good repair, consider simple and inexpensive curb appeal options such as refreshing your front door or shutter color to an on-trend shade that you love.  If paint scares you—like many people—then browse home décor magazines and design websites until you find a palette that feels right, and bring this with you to the paint store. 

               With lawn and home maintenance and updates completed, you’re ready for the fun part of any curb appeal makeover—the bells and whistles!  Even a minimum budget can accommodate a new welcome mat, simple pot of seasonal annuals to provide color, and a door wreath or fresh pillows for your outdoor seating.  If your budget is bigger, consider planting blooming annuals in your planting beds for major impact.

               All of the above curb appeal maintenance can be tackled with your own sweat equity, and will not only enhance your pride in your home, but also will increase the value of your home.  If you’re not a weekend warrior, don’t “sweat” it—just hire a curb appeal professional to tackle the work for you.