Curb Appeal Ideas

Curb Appeal Ideas - A Checklist for Creating Curb Appeal

by Brandon Cornett, editor of the Home Buying Institute

Introduction: If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, you need to start working on your curb appeal to make a good first impression on potential buyers. This article offers a variety of landscaping tips to help you succeed.

Curb appeal alone cannot sell your house. But it certainly goes a long way toward creating a good first impression. It also helps bring people inside the home, which is the first step to selling it. So it's definitely worth your time and energy to create curb appeal before you list your home for sale.

In this article, I've listed all of the curb appeal tips and ideas I've picked up over the years. More specifically, I'd like to share with you a strategy that I refer to as remove, improve and colorize. You will learn what to remove from your yard, how to improve the things you keep, and how to colorize your yard for maximum curb appeal. When combined, these things will create a good first impression among potential buyers, which is the whole point of creating curb appeal in the first place.

What is Curb Appeal Anyway?

We touched on the definition of curb appeal in the previous paragraph, but I like to formalize it for you right here and now. Curb appeal is a favorable first impression people get when they pull up in front of your house. It is a key component of selling a house, and it should be one of the first things you start doing to prepare your home for the market. Creating curb appeal is a combination of techniques, which include landscaping, lawn care, painting, cleaning and a few other things we will talk about in this article.

So let's jump right in. Here are some curb appeal ideas and strategies broken up by key areas of your property.

Improving Your Lawn

If you don't have a lawn, you can obviously skip over this section. If you do have one, you need to realize that it makes a big first impression. It's also the "canvas" or background for your entire curb appeal strategy. So use the tips and ideas below to make your lawn look its best.

Summary of tips for this section:

I'm starting with the lawn in this list of curb appeal tips and ideas, because you should do the same when you begin your actual work. Why? Because grass takes the longest to improve. If you have an unhealthy and unattractive lawn, it's going to take some time and effort to turn it around for the better. When you compare this with other aspects of curb appeal enhancement, you can see why it needs to be started first. You can paint shutters and a couple of hours. You can add mulch to plan dead in a few minutes. But of all the curb appeal projects we will discuss, lawn care takes the longest.

Of course if you don't have a lawn, you can skip this entire section. Or if you're the resident green from within your neighborhood, and you have a healthy and attractive on already, you can probably skip this section as well. But for everyone else -- i.e., those of you with an unattractive one -- this is your starting point.

Depending on where you live, and the type of climate you're in, you may need to start watering your lawn on a regular basis. Normally I would recommend water conservation, but right now our goal is to sell the house. And if you live in arid and dry climate, this might mean watering the lawn every four days or so. This is especially true if your lawn has a lot of brown areas due to drought or a general lack of watering. So your first step in this phase of curb appeal is to begin a watering schedule. This will improve a wide variety of long problems -- such as brown spots, thatch buildup, the and the propagation.

When the lawn is too dry, they can become overrun with weeds. In addition, the grass will begin to turn brown and die in some areas (and eventually everywhere throughout the lawn). When this happens, insects and disease will move into the lawn with amazing speed. That is why I say start with lawn in general, and to begin a watering schedule in particular.

If your lawn is in very bad shape, which is often a case during droughts, you may need to hire professional help. If you hire a local landscaping service, tell them what you're trying to do. Tell them you need to get your lawn as healthy and attractive as possible, and in the shortest time possible. Tell them you want it to impress potential buyers when they pull up to the home, and that you don't have a lot of time to reach that point. Based on this information, the landscaping company can decide what plan of action to take. In some cases, this might mean Terri not the dead grass and starting fresh with new sod. This might seem like a drastic measure, but when you think about the time frame involved it only makes sense.

A law and that's in very bad shape can take more than one season to correct. This might not be an option if you have to sell your house quickly. On the contrary, a landscaping company can remove the dead grass and plant new sod in a day or two. You'll have to water the new side on a daily basis to ensure it grows in properly, but you already have a dramatic improvement in your overall curb appeal.

If you already have a healthy lawn, you are ahead of the game. In such cases, all you really have to do is keep it well trimmed, well watered, and free of weeds and other debris.

Now you can see why I have put this part of curb appeal at the very beginning. The pending on the condition of your lawn, it will take more time and effort to just about anything else on this curb appeal checklist.

Bushes and Hedges

If you think of the lawn as the canvas for your "yard art," you can think of the bushes and hedges as the accents. In this section, you'll learn some quick and easy tips for making your bushes look their best.

Summary of tips for this section:

If you remember at the beginning of this curb appeal lesson, I said we were going to focus on three concepts -- remove, improve, and accentuate. When it comes to bushes and hedges, you may be doing one of the first two things. You might have to remove bushes from certain areas in your yard, or you may have to improve them through trimming and shaping. It here are some key curb appeal to see you can apply to the bushes currently in your yard.

Make sure all the bushes are neatly trimmed and isolated from one another. In other words, you generally don't want different bushes to merge into one big mass -- unless they are part of a hedgerow.

If one of your bushes is an amorphous blob, you can give it shape by using an electric hedge trimmer. If you don't have one of these tools, ask your neighbors or buy one from the local hardware store. They are fairly cheap.

Trim bushes into basic shapes such as squares and ovals. This will improve your curb appeal in general and your yardscape in particular.

When you're done trimming bushes and or hedges, be sure to rake up all of the clippings that have fallen onto the grass or beds beneath.

Here's a landscapers tip to make this process easier. You can place an old sheet on the ground around the base of the Bush win could mean it. The clippings will fall into the sheet, and that she can be bundled up and either thrown away or shaken into a trashcan. This is much easier than breaking up all of the fallen clippings.

Removing the bushes or hedges -- or trim them appropriately -- that may be blocking doors or windows. You never want doors and windows hidden behind landscaping features, because it makes the house seem closed in, smaller, and less attractive.

If you have bushes that are simply too far gone, and cannot be improved in time for the open house, you may need to remove them entirely. Anything that is dead or nearly dead should be removed and disposed of.

Flower and Plant Beds

Adding flowers to your yard is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to improve the overall appearance. This curb appeal idea should be part of any home-selling strategy.

Summary of tips for this section:

If you have existing plant beds in your yard, make sure they are neat and tidy. They should be free of weeds, fallen leaves, and other debris.

It's also a good idea to add some fresh mulch to all of your existing beds. This is one of the cheapest and easiest things you can do to improve your current appeal for potential buyers. Fresh mulch goes a long way to make your lawn look well-maintained and attractive.

If you have light-colored plants and flowers, you may want to use a dark colored mulch. The resulting contrast will make the plants "pop" when viewed from the street. You can do traverse if you have dark colored plants, by choosing a lighter colored mulch.

If you want to add some life and beauty to your flower and plant beds, and some brightly colored flowers. Choose a flower or plant it does well in your climate, and water it accordingly to make sure it stays healthy and attractive.

When choosing flowers to accentuate your plant beds, aim for something in the yellow color range. Yellow is always a good choice when creating curb appeal, because it draws the eye. It is also a soothing color.

Taking Care of Your Trees

There's not much you can do with trees during your curb appeal campaign. They cannot be moved or easily replaced. But there are some things you can do to make them look their best when buyers come to visit.

If you live in a temperate climate, and you are selling your home during the fall or winter, your trees probably won't have any leaves on them -- unless, of course, you have evergreen trees. At such times of year, there's not very much to do in the tree department.

If your trees are in full leaf when you sell your home, you can make them look their best by watering them. Watering the tree is different from watering grass plants. You need to give them a long slow drink. There are special attachments you can buy for the end of your hose that will allow you to water your tree slowly and steadily. Or you can simply put those on low and set it under the drip line of the tree. It's amazing how trees can perk up within a few hours of getting a long drink, so water than once a week while your houses on the market. This will ensure they look their best when buyers come to visit.

The rule we discussed earlier for doors and windows also applies to trees. If you have trees that are growing over the roof, or securing doors and windows, they may need to be trimmed. If you don't know how to trim a tree, you might want to call a local tree service to help you.

More Tips on Curb Appeal Landscaping

If you would like some additional ideas and guidance, I recommend the web pages listed below:


About the Author
Brandon Cornett is the creator of the Home Buying Institute, and also a self-proclaimed landscaping geek. He has been putting his hands in the dirt for more than a decade.

© 2009, Cornett Communications. All rights reserved.