Well, summer is here and it's a great time to take stock of your home's curb appeal. By now your landscaping should be well out of the winter doldrums and producing its finest. Whether you are there for the long haul or thinking about selling, curb appeal is extremely important. People really do read a book by its cover and first impressions are hard to dispel.
What are the elements which create maximum curb appeal?
The home in this photo covers all of the bases.
Exterior siding or cladding.
Is it chipping, peeling or fading? If so, it's time for a paint job but this time of year you're going to find your painting contractors already booked through the end of summer, possibly even Fall. If you're unsure about color, find a color consultant
whose reviews show a person of skill and knowledge who knows how to listen to what you want and translate that into a color palette that works for you. Choose a color palette which enhances the beauty of your home, befits your style of architecture, melds with your neighborhood and is in line with any Home Owner Association rules. The color palette should be appropriate for your region of the country and whether you like neutrals, deep colors or classic white, the front door is a place to add an element of fun and whimsy, not the body of your house.
Hudson NY Photo: Amy Krane
Even if you've missed the boat to find a painter in the next month you can still improve the look of your home by cleaning the facade of dirt and mold. The power washer will be your best friend here.
Hardscaping and curb appeal.
Your hardscaping will contribute in a big way to your curb appeal. Do you have a path which clearly leads to your front door? Way finding is key and such a path is important and welcoming. Is it in good shape? Are there weeds between your bricks, pavers or stone? Moss or a low ground cover like creeping thyme adds old world charm to the look of a pathway and a plant which sends a waft of perfume towards you as you step on it is an added bonus.
Front porches add loads of curb appeal. They come in a host of different layouts from the wrap around you find on Victorians to a more simple front with a deck, balustrades and posts. Remember your porch and post style should match the architectural style of your house.
Landscaping and curb appeal.
Can't say enough about it. Plants add the final touch. Consider them the garnish to the dish. Different styles of landscape design work best with different styles of houses. Got a modern glass, concrete and/or steel home? Think monoculture - one type of shrub or perennial in a swath. Have a natural shingle cottage? Think English, cottage style plantings with more colorful mixed beds with a variety of heights, textures and blooming seasons. Have a formal Federal or Georgian style home? These houses call for either very minimal foundation plantings or the use of a more formal shrub like sculpted boxwood. Remember seasonality is important. It's a vote to have some evergreens which give you some green throughout the winter if you live in Northern climates. And don't forget about the flower pots. It's easy to go crazy with them but one or two interesting planters which contain either a mix of plants which complement your house color or a bunch of red geraniums adds cheer to any front door.
Lighting is often overlooked.
Exterior lights serve many functions. Most obviously they allow you to make it safely from your car to your front door. But lights are wonderful accessories which dress your home's facade and give it a finishing touch. They come in hundreds of styles and finishes from sleek and modern to old world, from oil rubbed bronze to brass.
The Address Font
Every detail pitches in to create curb appeal. Don't forget the font you choose for your address. The home below has craftsman architectural details so the homeowner, a designer, chose an appropriate font for her home address. Do you want a numeric address or to spell the number?
In the end you need to pay attention to all of the details as they each contribute to the overall look. Maximize each element for the best overall impression like the home for sale below.