That trite but true expression- “put your best foot forward” encapsulates the importance of curb appeal. Not only does your home’s exterior reflect upon its inhabitants but, given the dismal state of real estate values, it also can impact the value of your investment as well as that of your neighbors.
Take a walk around the block, arrive at your own address and then… stand back and take it all in just as a passerby or arriving visitor might do. You know of course, while waiting for you to answer the door, a visitor has nothing better to do than notice your front door, your entrance and your landscaping (including those weeds you keep ignoring)!
The curb appeal of any structure is a composite of details that are often overlooked. So let’s start at the curb. Is the grass not only healthy and mowed but also neatly edged. Is the landscaping scale appropriate to the scale of your home and does it frame rather than block the architecture? A ginormous magnolia or towering palm, while spectacular, can overwhelm a smaller structure. Are the types of plantings appropriate to the style of your home? An English garden’s charm is totally lost on a Mediterranean design.
Look at the home’s support structures. Are the AC units, pumps, filters and other mechanicals carefully hidden behind wall, fences or shrubbery- or are they standing out there like proverbial sore thumbs?
Is your driveway cracked or moldy? Are the eaves and roofing materials showing mildew or is the painted/stained finish on your home fading or peeling? Maybe it is time to call in the pros.
Does your home offer a walkway from the street to the front door…preferably one that curves softly through your landscape? Once your visitor arrives at that door, what is waiting there? If there are dead bugs, cobwebs, dust and fingerprints gracing your entrance….yuck! Is the front entry protected from weather by a porch or generous overhang? If not, an attractive awning would shade, protect and welcome your guests.
Door bells, address plates, outdoor lighting, and mailboxes are opportunities to express your personality but they should be cohesive with the design of your home.
If you have a fountain or water feature at your entrance, yea! But please, please, please- hide the pumps and electrical wiring involved in the magic!
If you can add a garden seat, porch swing, potted plants (but not the dead kind), birdbath, large landscape rocks, do it! These touches, when selected to match your décor, will only add to the welcoming charm of your home.
If your front door is rather standard, you might punch it up with a new paint color like wine red, forest green, blueberry or gloss black. Creating structural interest can be as simple as adding a header or cornice to the doorway or replacing plate glass with a stained glass creation.
An overlooked piece to the composite is the welcome mat. Again, it should reflect the scale and style of your home as well as being in good condition and clean, not a host for dead leaves and dirt.
Lastly, do you enjoy hanging a seasonal wreath on your entry door? Okay, great! But, as you embrace the colors of the season, don’t ignore the color scheme of your home. For autumn, a house painted in white with shades of burgundy will not be complemented by yellow and orange decorations. Instead, a wreath of burgundy with touches of orange, white and gold would be perfect! Conversely, a home painted in shades of gold should not be wearing purely pastel spring wreaths. However n arrangement of gold and ivory flowers with touches of pink, periwinkle blue or lavender would be beautiful.
So, bottom line, scrutinize your home’s exterior as you do yourself. You would probably not make a public appearance in torn, stained or unmatched attire, with uncombed hair, bad breath, underwear showing (ok, I guess that depends on your age and genre) or smelly armpits. Well guess what, your home is an extension of your public persona… which is why curb appeal matters!