Three Quick Ways To Increase Curb Appeal For Under $1,000

Homeowners often spend hundreds of hours - not to mention thousands of dollars - transforming the interiors of their homes. However, they often neglect the view from the street. Good curb appeal can raise property values, increase your chances of selling your home, and create a pleasant atmosphere outside, whether you want to sit on your porch with a good book or work in the garden you've created. But how do you enhance your home's current curb appeal? It's a multi-step process, but any homeowner can do it if they know when to seek help from the professionals and if they don't mind putting a little sweat equity into their homes.

increase curb appeal of a home for under $1000 infographic

Finding The Right Mix Of Greenery In Your Yard

Plants and trees can make or break your attempt at increasing your home's curb appeal. When possible, select native plants. They grow faster in your specific environment and turn out healthier. However, it's not all about putting new plants in the ground. You might have to remove some of the greenery that causes more irritation than beauty.

A diseased tree, for instance, constitutes an eyesore. Missing limbs and leaves, peeling bark, and cracked branches take away from your home's appeal. Additionally, diseased trees can prove dangerous and expensive. If one falls on a person or on your home, you'll wish you had removed it.

Taking down a diseased tree yourself isn't the best idea. You might hurt yourself in the process. The professionals that work for tree removal services know how to take down trees safely and quickly. If you need to remove a tree from your yard to improve safety and increase curb appeal, the details will depend on your circumstances:

  • Tree and stump removal costs between $175 and $725 depending on its height and any complicating factors.
  • The job takes an average of 4 hours, but your mileage will vary depending on where the tree sits and other issues.
  • You might incur more costs if the tree sits too close to your house or near other dangerous objects, such as power lines.

Once you've removed a diseased or unwanted tree, you can put something else in its place. You could create an English-style garden, which might prove perfect for hours of private reflection, meditation, and admiration. Alternatively, consider planting a new tree that's native to your community and serves your aesthetic preferences.

Of course, the greenery doesn't have to stop there. Plant flowers along the walkway that leads to your front door, or line your driveway with ground-covering plants that add visual interest. Incorporate inorganic elements, as well:

  • Yard art
  • Rocks
  • Benches
  • Lighting
  • Fountains

Get Your Lawn in Shape

If your lawn gets infested with weeds, grows knee-high because you forgot to mow, or turns yellow due to a fungus issue, your house will lose instant curb-appeal points. A well-tended lawn serves as the cornerstone for excellent landscaping design.

An effective lawn care service can reduce your weekend chores and help you keep your lawn healthy and vibrant. These services perform multiple tasks:

  • Seeding or re-seeding lawns with bare patches
  • Mowing and edging the yard
  • Spreading fertilizer in spring and fall
  • Trimming shrubs and other plants

Expect to pay between $40 and $575 per visit for professional lawn care. At the higher end of the spectrum, the service will include more work, such as tree trimming or completely seeding a barren yard. Additionally, you might pay more for the first visit so the pros can get your yard in tip-top shape. Subsequent visits won't require as much work because your service has laid the groundwork for a stunning lawn.

Remove the Grime

Homes get dirty outside just as they do inside. While you probably turn to your vacuum, broom, and mop for your interior rooms, the exterior needs a little more power. Pressure washing your house is an effective way to remove stains from your home's facade as well as your driveway, walkway, porch, or patio.

Working with a pressure washer can prove dangerous if you don't know how to wield one. They're also pricey, so if you only plan to use it once every few years, you're better off hiring a professional. The experts know whether to use hot or cold water - it depends on the surface type - and can complete the job faster.

The time a pressure washing company will need to meet your needs depends on your home's size and the square footage you want washed. However, it's typically a day-long job.

Paint and Stain

You'd be surprised what a fresh coat of paint will do for your home's clapboard facade or porch railings. Alternatively, you can use wood stain to achieve a brand-new finish. Over time, the elements can cause paint and stain to crack, peel, blister, and fade, so updating those features every few years will increase your home's curb appeal.

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, think carefully about the colors you want to use and your application method. Paint sprayers can make the job go much faster, but you'll need to practice before you get the hang of it. Brushes and rollers take longer, but they're more precise.

Additionally, find out if your homeowner's association has any rules about painting or staining homes in your neighborhood. You might have to get advance permission or stick to a limited range of colors. Consider using colors that don't look the same as those your neighbors have used so your home stands out a little.

If you like contrast, consider using two paint colors: one for the main elements and one for the trim. It'll give your home instant pizzazz and leave your neighbors jealous.

Line Your Beds

If you have beds of flowers and other plants, consider lining them with rocks, bricks, concrete blocks, or other ornamental materials to give them some definition. River rocks, for instance, make excellent bed liners because they're varied in shape, size, and color.

You can also install a plastic or mesh bed liner to stop weeds from growing in your beds and to help them hold their shape. Rocks and other materials will hide the liner's edge, which further enhances curb appeal. Short fences, such as those made out of bamboo, can also work for this purpose. Add a Dose of Personality

You've probably furnished and decorated your living room to suit your personality, so why should your yard be any different? For instance, if you love lots of color, consider planting flowers of all different colors to create a rainbow in your garden. Alternatively, if you love to collect small animal figurines, find larger garden statues to celebrate that affection in your yard.

Maybe you love the look of 50s-style suburban neighborhoods. Consider surrounding your yard with a low, white picket fence to lend it some charm. Rock walls offer an opportunity to show off your love of rustic design, while concrete fences give your curb appeal a modern flair.

Create Dimension

A yard filled with plants that are all the same height can take your curb appeal down a notch or two. Dimension will make your yard and home look more vibrant. For instance, you might plant short trees in your flower bed, then plant shorter shrubs in front of them, and finish off the look with flowers or ground cover. Alternatively, if your yard slopes down toward the street, create layered flower beds with wood or stone.

You can also create dimension in your yard by varying the heights of plants and flowers in a more organic way. Instead of lining them up, scatter them randomly. People who favor English gardens are often drawn to this strategy because they want their yards to look asymmetrical and slightly overgrown.

Add the Finishing Touches

Now that you've got the basics of increasing curb appeal down, it's time to bring home the project with little details that pack a big punch:

  1. Affix metal or wooden house numbers to the front of your house so people can find you easily.
  2. Paint the trim around your front door or paint the door itself a bright, unexpected color (or do both).
  3. Pot a few plants and scatter them among the ones that you've rooted in the ground.
  4. Trim shrubs that block your home's windows so you have a clear line of sight.
  5. Add flower boxes to your windows for instant color and style.
  6. Buy a colorful or interesting welcome mat for your front door. It's stylish and it stops you from tracking in dirt and mud.
  7. Install outdoor sconces on either side of your front door for safety and beauty.
  8. Dress up your mailbox with a flower bed surround.
  9. Attach shutters to your windows that complement your home's color scheme.
  10. Clean up the clutter. Toys, tools, and other detritus will reduce your curb appeal, so put them away after using them.

As you can see, boosting your home's curb appeal doesn't take a degree in botany or landscape design. With a little help from the pros, you can turn your yard into a beauty worthy of "Architectural Digest."