10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal in a Weekend | home gardening

10 Ways to Add Curb Appeal in a Weekend

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Overview

People form their first opinions before they step inside a home. Forty-nine percent of buying decisions are made from the street, according to the National Association of Realtors®. But curb appeal matters whether or not your house is for sale. An attractive, well-maintained house and yard welcome friends and family and give you a little lift every time you come home.

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Tackle Maintenance Details

Mow the lawn, trim the borders, and edge the driveway and walks. Every line should be straight and every edge crisp. Refresh the mulch. Power wash the siding, and scrub the soffits and eaves. Wash the windows, and polish every reflective surface until it gleams.

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Clean the Walks and Driveway

Clean and patch the sidewalks, steps and driveway. Clean each surface, then patch small holes and fill any cracks. If you're feeling creative, define the edges of a sidewalk or driveway with brick.

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Arrange a Container Garden

Combine a variety of sizes, heights, shapes and textures, and add pops of color with blooming plants. Or, stick to muted, neutral tones to produce a serene arrangement. Coordinate the containers with one another and the house's exterior.

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Install Window Boxes

Choose window boxes the same size as the window or 6 to 12 inches wider, in a color that matches or complements the house's siding and trim. Place the boxes directly below double-hung or sliding windows or 6 to 8 inches below casement windows, which need room to swing out without damaging the plants.

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Add Trees or Planting Beds

Mature trees in a well-landscaped yard add significant value to a home, but there may be an even better reason to dig this project. Shading a home's windows and walls can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, according to the American Public Power Association. Even small trees provide a little shade, and there's no time like the present to get them growing.

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Paint or Replace the Front Door

If the front door is in good shape, remove the hardware, sand it thoroughly, and apply two coats of exterior enamel in a color that contrasts with or complements the siding. Or, replace the whole thing. In "Remodeling" magazine's "2010-11 Cost vs. Value" report, replacing a steel entry door recouped more money upon resale than any other project – 102.1 percent of the cost.

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Hang Shutters

Few weekend projects change a house faster than adding shutters. Well-placed shutters define windows and add dimension and color. When hanging wood shutters, use shims to create at least a 3/8 inch gap between the shutter and the siding. Without this air space, moisture trapped behind the shutter may damage the wood.

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Upgrade Exterior Lighting

Good lighting warms the night and makes your home sparkle. Try lining a walkway with solar landscape lights, uplighting a tree or spotlighting an architectural feature. Or, swap out a recessed spot or small pendant with an impressive chandelier. Any of these projects can be accomplished safely as long as you turn off the power and test to confirm the power is off before handling circuit wires.

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Renew Home Hardware

Beauty lies in the details, especially when it comes to your home's hardware. Take a weekend to update items like the front door knocker, knob and address numbers. Try finding hardware that complements your home's architecture and colors. Choose timeless items that will maintain their patina, or at least weather in an elegant way that you like.

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Makeover Your Mailbox

Make your mailbox beautiful and move beyond its utility status with a makeover. A fresh coat of paint, new flag and fresh set of numbers to provide a much needed update to an often ignored aspect of your home's curb appeal. Plant flowers at the base of the mailbox stand to provide a bloom of color that will make your home even more inviting to visit.

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