How to enhance your home's curb appeal

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

Regardless of whether or not you're planning on selling, curb appeal can do a lot for your home.

Think about it: which homes are your eyes drawn to when you drive around your neighbourhood? It's generally those with the impressive frontage which attract the most attention.

This aspect of the home becomes even more important when it comes time to sell. When a prospective buyer arrives to view a property they start forming an opinion from the moment they get out of the car. We all know that it's not fair to judge a book by its cover but that is unfortunately how it works. You can have the most beautiful property in the suburb, but if a buyer doesn't like what he initially sees he could well decide not to bother viewing the property at all.

Fortunately, creating the right appeal is a fairly easy exercise.

When people arrive to view your home they generally observe two things: the house itself, and the landscaping in front of the property. Unfortunately, if your curb is a mess the home will appear to be less attractive. Making your curb look good doesn't necessarily have to cost a lot of money, it's simply a case of making sure the landscaping is neat, with trimmed edges, and pleasing to the eye.

One tip that will make yours stand out from the pack is to raise the flower beds with topsoil. The good news is that plants tend to thrive in raised beds and anything growing in these beds will really be highlighted.

It's not necessary to build expensive retaining walls. It really is as easy as making an outline of your beds, cutting an edge into the soil and topping up the beds with about 25 cm of rich topsoil. It's surprising how much you can raise a bed without any form of retention.

Other expensive items that you won't need..

Plastic edging for the beds. It will set you back a pretty penny, take a lot of work to install, and it seldom remains in place. Simply using a spade to cut around the edge of your beds actually results in a better appearance. This will also allow you to change the size of the beds as you deem necessary.

Another expensive item that has come in for a lot of criticism is weed-control fabric. Most people find it largely ineffective. The weeds seem to take root on top of the fabric, eventually making it even more difficult to keep them out of your beds.There are numerous ways to control weeds and a quick Internet search will point you in the right direction.

Plant placement for curb appeal is vital. An attractive feature of corner beds is a centrepiece. Usually, this is a large shrub or tree – indigenous would be nice – that provides a suitable background for more colourful plants. Brightly coloured, evergreen plants can be used in front of the centrepiece and you won't require too many of them to make a good show. You don't want to crowd the bed, so keep things simple. At the back of the same bed you can use darker shrubbery that is easy to trim and keep in shape. Your local nursery is a great source of information. Depending on the nature of your property, you can spice things up with lots of colours, but be careful not to go overboard. Remember, the golden rule is that less is more when it comes to colour, otherwise plants lose their effectiveness.

You should be trying to create contrast with colour and when this is used sparingly, beds tend to look better and make more of a statement. Again, there are landscaping examples in abundance on the web and you're bound to find something suitable there.

With a little money, some hard work and a bit of creativity, you'll find that you can really enhance the value of your home by creating the right impression from the get-go.

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