You may have learned not to judge a book by its cover. Making an assumption about the inside of a home based on how it looks from outside — that's another story.
Your home's exterior — from the fence around your property to the gnome on the front stoop — makes a lasting impression long before anyone walks through your front door. If your great outdoors isn't living up to its name, here are some simple steps you can take to boost its curb appeal.
1. Pick a Quick Fix
Have a minute or two? Tackle a task from our list of 10 quick landscape fixes. You'll be amazed to see the difference you can make by adding custom-made stepping stones, planting a few flowers and fluffing up the mulch in your planting beds.
Or there are several creative projects that can be done in less than a day that will completely change the look of your home, such as laying a stone walkway, hanging simple board and batten shutters and adding a colorful planting bed.
2. Spruce Up Your Lawn
A well-kept lawn sets a polished tone for your entire property. If your lot looks more like a dirt road than a lush meadow, it could use basic lawn care. Since a healthy lawn starts with healthy soil, use a simple testing kit to assess your soil's pH level, and see if any adjustments are needed.
Next, arm yourself with knowledge by identifying your grass type. Once you've determined whether you have creeping or bunch grass, you can move on to controlling weeds and crabgrass, repairing bare spots and identifying lawn diseases that may be infringing on your turf.
Finally, treat your grass to a little lawn therapy by seeding, fertilizing or aerating your grass, depending on its problems and the time of year.
3. Highlight Your Assets
Decorative outdoor lighting has come a long way. With so many innovative and low-maintenance options, it's easy to find a lighting option to suit your needs. Today's choices are simple to install, and some need no wiring or electricity.
Solar lighting, for example, is economical and versatile and requires no installation. In addition to making your home more secure, solar lighting can transform the look of your home by showcasing its most attractive features.
4. Upgrade Your Entry
Your front entryway is a major focal point of your home. If it's less than spectacular, consider making a few upgrades. Installing a new exterior door is a fairly simple project, but you may want to line up a helping hand since exterior doors can be heavy and unwieldy. Accessorize your front entrance by moving houseplants outdoors for the summer. Your plants will thank you for the sunshine and fresh air.
Finally, consider growing a climbing plant on a trellis or arbor. A vining plant can embellish the front or side of your house, or you can grow one along some fencing as an attractive privacy screen. Vertical plantings can also spruce up your home by hiding less attractive portions of your landscape.
5. Tidy Things Up
Once you've completed any projects or quick fixes, take a broom and sweep the debris from your front stoop and walkways leading up to your home. Flip your broom upside down and wipe cobwebs from gutters and overhangs. Sweep any mulch or pine straw back into its intended area, picking out leaves and other foreign objects.
Every day or two, employ wise watering techniques to keep your plants hydrated. Thirsty plants can appear straggly and messy, detracting from the look of your home rather than improving it.
Look around your flower beds for any faded blooms in need of deadheading — this will improve your garden's appearance and keep your plants healthier. Finally, walk to the curb and view your property with a fresh eye to spot anything you may have overlooked.