Creating Curb Appeal: Easy, Moderate and More Difficult Projects

Sure, it’s nice to flip through the pages of Southern Living or troll Houzz to longingly gaze upon houses with sweeping verandahs, wrap-around porches, or terraced front yards lush with mature shrubs and blooming flowers.  However, the more realistic view of our home’s curb appeal likely consists of a small patch of lawn that may be more weeds than grass, a miniscule porch or portico, and an ugly cement walkway.  If you have a smaller home and a smaller front yard, how do you get that elusive “curb appeal”?  The simple answer is to distract the eye with appealing things to look at, which is, truthfully, easier said than done.  Here are a few tips to up your small home curb appeal from the simple to moderate to the more difficult.


Add 2 planters that match on either side of your door or walkway.  Go for a tall planter with a simple boxwood or evergreen for a classic look. This simple front door from Cococozy  looks loads more put together with the boxwoods flanking the black front door.













The biggest mistake people make with large pots and tall planters? Well you spent probably over a hundred bucks for large planters and then you figured that you’d want to show off some colorful flowers in them…. only the flowers are usually miniscule compared to the scale of the pot.  So, if you’re using a large pot or tall planter, go with a large plant that matches the scale of the planter.


Change up your house numbers.  Most of us probably have numbers that look similar.  Why? Because whomever built the house put the cheapest numbers possible on.  They probably look something like this, right?







A new font can make a big difference.  There are a ton of options out there, modern, art deco, a variety of metals or tile.  Such a simple switch, for just a few dollars and a screwdriver…








Brighten up the front door with some paint.  Sure, it may be a bit of a hassle, especially if you have to go through the process of getting approval from a homeowner’s association, but a new coat of paint on the front door especially in a bright or unexpected hue can make a world of difference.  Be sure though to limit the colors on the front of your house to no more than three or it can go awry quickly.  So, if you have red brick (a neutral, doesn’t count as a color), white trim, black shutters, you can introduce a new color on the front door.  But if you have a blue house, white trim, cedar accents, adding another bold color might be a bit too much.  These doors here are so bright and inviting!










Add new porch lighting.  Typical homes probably have front porch lights that look like this.  The ones that builders put on community homes are almost always too small (and usually lacking style).









Instead, opt for a light or a pair of lights with a bit more visual impact, in either size, finish or both.  These are all better scaled and have much better visual impact.










Swap out that boring cement walkway for pavers.  For most, unless you are an uber-DIYer, this will require you to hire someone, especially to remove the old cement walkway and to haul it away because your garbage man won’t appreciate gigantic chunks of concrete in your trashcan.  However, the impact will be amazing and immediate.

This is not appealing, I would not want this walkway to welcome me home every day:











However, these walkways would be downright enjoyable to stroll along:



If the front of your house is naked and adding a complete porch is out of the question, consider adding a small pergola.  Sure, you’ll still need to probably consult a professional to do it but it’s not nearly as much of an investment as a porch but will provide instant curb appeal and visual impact.









Gorgeous Garage Door Design

Most people probably don’t give garage doors a second thought or really have an opinion about them, so long as they open and close when we hit the button.  I am not one of those people.  In fact, I have some pretty strong opinions about garage doors.    First, I love a two-car garage, a three-car, even better.  But in a two-car garage I much prefer if it has 2 separate doors, not one large door.  Certainly, the large two-car door has advantages… if you want to park something wide, angle park or push in a boat that wouldn’t fit any way but diagonally.  But aesthetically, I think two separate doors looks better.  I also much prefer when a garage is a side-load, in other words, when you can’t see it from the front of the house.  If it has to be a front facing garage, doors that are attractive and beautiful are of course ideal if your community association allows it.  It’s one of the things I wish I could change about my house, I’d love to have something more appealing than my standard 16 panel contractor grade door to welcome me every day.

There are a million options out there in garage doors these days for every style house in a number of materials.  Doors now come in vinyl, wood, steel, fiberglass, composite and glass-paneled in roll up, swing up, swing out and other various options.  I’ve assembled a collection of great looking garage doors in both single and two-door varieties check back next week when I’ll show a few ways to transform a builder grade door just by adding some strategically-placed hardware.

Garage Door Design


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Knock Knock Knockin’ on My Front Door

A home’s entryway can make or break its curb appeal.  I was in a home recently that had such unique hardware that it made the whole house very likeable… a fox doorknocker, lions head knobs and other little touches made it totally charming.  Seeing this unique hardware got me intrigued about what was available out there – turns out, you can get just about anything as a doorknocker.  I think that whale tail will be finding its way to my beach home in the Outer Banks and maybe the koi will take up residence here in Virginia.  Here’s some great ones I found:



Michael Healy MH1101 Bumblebee Door Knocker, Brass $125

Twisted Ring Iron Door Knocker – Rust  $34

Mayer Mill Brass NCBK-C New Crab Door Knocker, Chrome $93

Signature Hardware Squirrel Door Knocker $60

Foo Dog Door Knocker  $38

Sly Fox Knocker $24

Michael Healy MH105 Whale Tail Door Knocker $115

Gary Kerby Indian Chief Door Knocker  $350

Koi Fish Doorknocker  $22

Claddagh Brass Door Knocker  $33

And an idea for styling a perfectly inviting front porch:


















Koi Fish Doorknocker  $22

Dunn-Edwards Evershield Citron DE5473

Jeld Wen Craftsman 6-Lite Primed Steel Prehung Front Door with Brickmould  $237

2.5 Qt Japanese Boxwood (will take some work to shape it) $19

Hampton Bay 180-Degree Oil-Rubbed Bronze Motion-Sensing Outdoor Wall Lantern  $50

Home Decorators Collection  Ella 11 in. Square Black Resin Planter  $59

Monogrammed Coco Border Door Mat  $29 -$129