Refresh its exterior elements and your house can really stand out from its neighbours.
Have you heard? The word on the street is that kerbside appeal matters. Luckily, with just a few small changes, you can completely revamp your homes exterior elements. While we prefer not to judge a house by its cover, it is true that first impressions can set the tone of someone’s perspective of your home.
A house’s street appeal depends on a variety of factors but, put simply, it’s how attractive your home appears when looked at from the street by those walking or driving by. Messy lawns, weathered and flaking paint or a poor entrance design can all affect first impressions. Try and appraise your residence with fresh eyes so you see where change needs to happen.
Exterior elements can make or break your facade. From roofing and cladding through to windows and doors, there are plenty of possibilities for rejuvenation. Whether you’re simply ready for a change, hoping to raise the value of your home, or just feel the need to give your house a facelift, there are plenty of ways to boost your home’s kerb charisma.
Easy being green
You can’t go far wrong with a good front lawn. You can either talk to an expert about landscaping or break out that hidden green thumb yourself — just take a long look at the garden and dream big about what you can do with this space. If your garden is already pretty ship-shape or you have a smaller budget, merely investing in some fresh plants or planter boxes can be an easy way to refresh the garden. If, however, it’s time for a complete overhaul, chatting to the pros could turn things around and add value to your house.
Plant from big to small, starting with trees, then shrubs, flowering plants and finally ground cover. This will help give you an idea of the structure of the garden and reduce the risk of smaller plant damage from larger additions.
Smooth the way
The pathway to your door is the first experience a visitor has of your property. Having a clear and accessible path allows a guest to enjoy the walk (even if it’s short) and admire the front of your home. Replace any broken pavers and clear any low-hanging branches or plants impeding the journey for a comfortable guest experience. Choosing medium- to large-sized pavers that aren’t too slippery is helpful for guests, particularly if they’re older, to feel safe when visiting.
A fresh coat
How are the exterior walls looking? Perhaps the colour was popular 20 years ago. If the paint job’s looking a bit tired, a lick of paint will do wonders. Many top renovators are also putting rendering high on their list of the best ways to add value to a brick home. While rendering can be very expensive, those in the know agree that the benefit outweighs the cost, with rendered brick adding up to 10 times the cost of this process to the sale value of the home. Obverse to the modern rendered brick style, dark natural stone can create that sophisticated mansion appearance. If you’re a fan of the rustic look, timber weatherboards can add earthy charm. Select from the array of styles and materials to best represent your style.
Raise the roof
Another one of the exterior elements often overlooked (pardon the pun!), the roof is the crowning glory of a house and can be a feature all on its own. Modern styles we love are curved, flat and skillion roofs. Flat roofs particularly have grown in popularity, with homeowners extending living spaces to that area. A rooftop garden and a beer can then be enjoyed while watching the sun go down.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with a good view, why not maximise it? Of course, the classic gable roof is another strong contender in the popularity stakes, with its affordability and versatility making it a design suitable for many homes. Check for broken tiles or gutters full of leaves when evaluating your home’s street appeal. Not only can this leave a negative impression, it’s also a potential fire hazard.
Drawing the line
Fences are useful for keeping the kids away from the road as well as security and as a useful soundblocker. Of course, fencing isn’t just for practical purposes. It can be a key decorative feature and, with the right gate, can also add character to a property. Whether you’re situated on a main road or in a quiet area, make sure to select a fence that meets the needs of your location and lifestyle as well as the aesthetic.
Leave the light on
There’s something uninviting about arriving at a friend’s house for dinner and all the lights are off. Is anyone home? Consider this when planning the exterior elements. Choose lights with sensors so no one has to walk to your front door in darkness, and you’ll be lighting up your street appeal at the same time. There’s a huge choice of lights available, from bollards, uplights and spike lights to strip lights, in-ground lights, and wall and pendant lights.
Accent lighting can also highlight architectural elements or outdoor focal points. For extra style, string fairy lights between trees and place lamps around the area. If you have a beautiful space, lights will maximise your yard so it can be enjoyed day and night.
All hands on deck
A welcoming space for a visitor, a verandah can create a beautiful entryway to your home and provide the perfect place for entertaining (as well as a dry spot while you search for your door key in the rain!). Matching your porch to the rest of your home’s style, whether that’s colonial, contemporary or Hamptons, can also lift your home’s street appeal. The verandah is almost a room on its own where you’ll be able to sit back and relax, watching the world go by. Outfit a porch with balustrades along the stairs and edge for safety and style. Balustrades come in a variety of materials to suit and can also be easily rejuvenated with a quick touch-up of paint.
Take it outside
Make a statement with an arbour or pergola. Adding an element of sophistication to your front yard, these typically timber structures can blend into a backdrop of greenery that creeps over the timber for a cosy seating area you won’t want to leave. Add a few outdoor cushions and voila — the perfect reading nook
Have a seat
The front yard isn’t just an area to be admired — there’s no reason it can’t also be a place for living. Incorporating a bench into a quiet corner, an outdoor sofa on the porch and bird baths among the plants creates a lived-in feel, transforming a house into a home.
Outdoor furniture can be the best way to showcase your unique style and add personality to your front yard. Stumbling across an antique wrought-iron bench at a curve in the path or admiring some colourful pots lined up on the porch are little surprises that can delight guests on their way to the front door.
Elbow grease goes a long way
This might seem a bit obvious, but it can easily be overlooked. A simple way for your home — and particularly your garden — to look great from the outside is for it be clean on the outside.
Get out the lawnmower, edge around pavers, rake up fallen leaves and remove any weeds. Maintenance of the garden is almost as important as the initial design, and upkeep is what keeps a space looking shiny and new. Consider your lifestyle and capacity for maintaining a garden. If you’re time-poor and considering a fresh look for your garden, maybe don’t go for the horse-shaped topiary.
Whatever the season
Features such as awnings or window coverings will help protect your visitors from the elements. High-tech options such as retractable awning covers mean you can make the most of your yard whatever the weather.
At the end of the day, you want a front yard that’s functional and beautiful, well suited to your lifestyle as well as your personal style, while also looking exceptional from the street. It’s really quite easy to create a front yard that exudes comfort and a welcoming ambience.
Doors have undergone an evolution and we’re seeing a rise in the popularity of taller, wider, more welcoming or more dramatic options. New shades have come into play, too, with brighter entranceways adding a burst of colour as well as softer, more subdued tones. Freshening up your door with a lick of paint will create a brighter space, but mixing up the hardware that decorates the door will help your entrance feel really shiny and new.
A final touch? Add symmetry to the exterior elements of your home with wall lamps on each side of the door and a similar layout for a consistent space. And don’t underestimate the power of the humble front door; it might surprise you.
Want to learn more about revamping your home? Check out our renovations archive.