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How do I add curb appeal?

When talking property, you often come across 'curb appeal', but what exactly does this mean? My personal understanding is that curb appeal is the presentation of your home from the street and how the front of you home looks or appeals to someone passing by, or visitors coming to visit.

 

We all want a home that is welcoming and attractive to look at. So how would you go about adding curb appeal?

First and foremost, curb appeal is about adding personal touches to your front garden or entrance, and it makes no difference whether you have a little 'postage stamp' garden, beautiful lawns - it's what you do with what's available.

A well landscaped front garden enhances the appearance of your home. It’s also a reflection of your personality and style.

Overall presentation

Before we look at various elements that can be added to increase your home's curb appeal, take a look at the house itself. Does it need a coat of paint, are the gutters sagging, do rooftiles need replacing. What about window and door frames - are they in need of some TLC? These are the first items to consider when looking to boost your curb appeal. After all, it doesn't help to add a beautiful arrangement of potted plants when the paint is peeling off the walls - and that applies to perimeter walls as well!

Paths and Walkways

While a lush, green pavement is lovely to look at, it comes at a cost in terms of natural resources (water), money and time spent on fertilizers and pest control. Many homeowners are looking for ways to make their gardens more environmentally friendly and are replacing or shrinking their lawns by using native plants and groundcovers that require less maintenance: something to think about when taking on a new project.

The next thing to look at is driveways, paths and walkways. If these are in need of repair, or are overgrown with weeds, then that will be the next project. You don't necessarily need to rip these up and replace, simply give them such much needed attention so that they look presentable.

If your hardscaping is way past a bit of attention, then look at affordable options to replace them.

Over and above any sensor or security lights, lighting is important for paths and walkways, and the easiest way to add lighting elements is with solar lights. These come in varied shapes and styles for any garden design.

Make sure that you place these in a sunny spot so that they can charge sufficiently during the daytime to provide a well-lit path in the evening.

Stepping stones, pebbles and gravel are a low-maintenance and affordable option for a front garden, as is laying a sand-based brick pathway.

You can easily make plain or decorative stepping stones for a garden using sharp sand and cement - both available at your local Builders Warehouse.

To decorate use large leaves from the garden, mosaic, shells, pebbles or use your imagination to create unique stepping stones.

Stepping stones with children's hands or foot prints is a nice way of allowing your kids to feel involved and leave their own mark on your garden as well as providing a small snapshot in time for you to remember and enjoy.

Make your own stepping stones
  1. Cut around the top off a old 25 litre bucket or paint container - just below the handle - to create a form.

  2. Set the form on a sheet of plywood.

  3. Fill form with concrete and use a trowel to smooth out the form.

  4. Use the handle end of the trowel to tap the side of the bucket to get rid of any air bubbles that may have formed in the concrete, then use the trowel to smooth out the cement one more time.

  5. When the concrete is set, remove form and you have a great stepping stone.

Design

Once you’ve established pathways, it’s time to plant. The strip where the house meets the ground is often referred to as foundation planting.  Make this area exciting. Instead of the typical evergreen plantings, go for variety.

If your home lacks any architectural detail, there are times when adding elements to your home can improve curb appeal. Having said that, there are also times when removing something is even more effective.

I love a lush, tropical garden setting, but even I know that this has to be kept in trim so that it does not completely take over.

- Keep hedges and shrubs trimmed and maintain borders and beds.

- For added interest and impact, select plants and shrubs with interesting leaf shapes, colour or foliage.

- Keep high-maintenance plants for the main garden and opt for low-maintenance or indigenous plants for the front garden to ensure that it always looks in tip-top shape with little work.

The entrance to your home should be the focal point, with the paths and walkways leading to it taking on an important supporting role. Most front garden paths are straight, because they are easiest to build and are the fastest route to the entrance, but a curved path is more interesting,especially when it winds through a garden with something to see along the way.

There's something grandiose about large potted topiaries. When place to flank an entrance of doorway, topiary does add a sophisticated element.

By using dark green wooden planter boxes with topiary standards, these planters help to balance this front door area by complimenting the colours of the house and the paving. Without these planters, the area would look very plain and dull. T

Topiary can also be used to create an interesting structural feature. When grouped together these potted toparies create an interesting, low maintenance highlight.

Another benefit of using topiary in this way, is that it creates year round interest.

Here are some basic pointers for maintaining a good looking topiary as well as any other container plants you might have:

  • Make sure you keep your topiary well watered but be careful not to over water. A good guide for working out how moist  your soil mix is to dig down a couple of centimetres below the top of the soil to check how dry - or moist - it is.
  • At the beginning of spring an application of fertilizer does wonders for your topiary. Before applying fertilizer make sure the fertilizer you use is matched to the plant. Your local garden centre should be able to help you with this.
  • Regular trimming is important if you want to keep your topiaries in shape. You can trim any excess long growth with garden shears.

As the area of your home that is always on display you want is to look good, but do carefully consider just how much time and labour you are prepared to put in to keep it looking that way. Be realistic. What can you manage in time and money for maintenance? 

Add interest with statues and wall art

Structures should complement, not compete with the architecture of your house.

One way of adding interest to a garden is by hiding sculpture within foliage and beds, so that it catches the eye, creating curiosity and drawing you further into the garden.

Good places to achieve this effect are just around corners or spaces that are only seen from certain angles.

An affordable and effective way to add interest is by hanging wall art.

Try not to think of pieces of garden decor on their own but try to tie the style of you garden accents in with what is existing.

If you have a wall covered in climbing or creeping plants, you can add interest by adding statuary or a few garden wall plaques. This helps give a bit of structure to the wall instead of being just a mass of leaves.

Privacy

One of the popular uses of trellis today is to use trellis panels as screening to provide privacy.

If you brainstorm, you'll find that there's a solution to most problems - one that lets you stay within your budget. The trick is to find the areas where improvements are needed, then work on them as best you can.