Curb appeal gives your home its exterior character. It serves to charm potential buyers or to give you that ‘ahhh’ feeling when you pull into your driveway. And while keeping up your homes exterior does take some work, it can be done in several budget friendly ways. Check out these seven easy ways to spruce up your home’s curb appeal.

Feed Your Lawn

Let’s start with the obvious – your grass. Grass is easy to keep up with if you just stay on top of your maintenance. Keeping that even, weed free look is an easy, year-round process. Put your weed spray efforts on your calendar and it won’t slip your mind when warm weather rolls around. Pre-emerge in the spring to avoid new weed off-shoots, and spray a second round when summer hits. This will keep weeds from attacking your grass and help maintain a smooth, green lawn. There are even weed sprays that can be used during fall or winter to ensure your lawns health. Also, don’t forget about fertilizing once it begins to green up. This keeps it healthy as well as building a rich, green look for your lawn.

Add Color to Your Flowerbed

You don’t have to have a green thumb to grow a full bloom of colorful flowers. Many flowers are seasonal (such as perinnials) and will emerge once the cold weather dissipates. Keep a few of these types of flowers in your bed and most of your work will already be done for you. Add some colorful pansies as well, and your flowerbed will bloom in full color. And remember, spring and fall are good times to throw in a couple of young bushes as well. Greenery helps give your flowerbed a fuller appearance, and provides some shade for your flowers. Bushes also help stabilize the soil, and when packed full of fresh mulch can be a great backdrop for your flowers.

Add Shutters

An updated, and charming fix is to frame your front windows with shutters. Shutters can be purchased (pre-made) or if you are a DIY person, can be easily made. You can even add smaller shutters to attic or second floor windows to really make them pop. To learn how to make your own exterior shutters, check out this great tutorial by Rachel Pereria of Shades of Blue Interiors: http://blog.homedepot.com/diy-craftsman-exterior-shutters/. Splash a pretty paint color on your new shutters and you’ve just added a bit of charm to your home’s character.

Update Your Front Door

Freshening up your front door is a super easy fix. Once again, paint is your best friend and can liven up a drab front door. Match the color to your shutters and you’ve instantly brightened up the face of your home. If your front door is beginning to show its age, it may be time to replace it with a more energy efficient version. If light is peeking through the sides of your door frame, or you’ve noticed a draft around the edges, that could mean that your door no longer fits within the frame. Weather, age and settling can all be factors that contribute to this condition. Also, if there is bowing, warping, or rotting on your door, then it is time to replace it. There are several exterior door options such as solid wood, steel or composite. Just make sure to choose one that is energy efficient as well as durable. Front doors take a lot of abuse and it should be able to withstand weather, time and people!

Expand Your Porch

Many homeowners love spending time on their front porch. It is a chance to visit with neighbors, watch their children ride their bikes, or just relax and enjoy the shade. However, many homes have smaller porch slabs that don’t allow for outdoor furniture. Thankfully, there is an easy, and relatively inexpensive solution – increase the size of your front porch. Adding to your concrete porch slab can be done by a professional or a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. In fact, this is the perfect time to increase the aesthetics of your exterior. Porches don’t have to be square or rectangle, there are many beautiful shapes that will not only complement your flower bed, but your home itself. Adding a slight curve, or rounding out a rectangle slab makes for a beautiful visual as well as adding needed space. And while you are at it, you can replace old porch posts with inexpensive rustic ones for added character.

Line Your Flower Bed

There are so many gorgeous ways to line your flower beds, that your imagination can run wild! River rocks, brick, stone, paves, timbers, the list is endless. If your flowerbed has no rim, then you know that mulch and leaves can run from your flowerbed causing a bit of a mess in your yard. Also, having no rim to contain your mulch keeps your bed from having definition and ‘wow’. Fortunately, this addition to your curb appeal, doesn’t have to break your budget, and mainly includes a day of sweat labor on your part. An economical suggestion is to check on Craigslist for homeowners who have extra rock, etc. to get rid of. You can use their extras to line your flowerbeds and make your home really stand out.

Update Your Lights

Popping on some new exterior lights can really brighten up your home in more ways than one. Switch out your old lights with newer lights such as lanterns, or LED and you will be surprised how much of a difference that makes. Porch and garage lights are often overlooked as just a necessity, but they are actually, a bit of cool jewelry for your homes exterior. This is where your personality as a homeowner can make an appearance. There are hundreds if not thousands of lighting options for your homes exterior and this is where the fun begins. Don’t forget about adding ambience lighting, as well! Solar lights for your flower bed, and even uplighting or downlighting around your windows can really set your home apart.

Whether you are selling your home, or staying put, increasing your home’s curb appeal is extremely important. The investment and time you put into your home’s exterior appearance, now, will certainly pay off in future dividends. And there is no putting a price on the enjoyment that you get from your home. Your home is your castle, and your castle should look great from the moment you pull into that driveway!

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