Spring is a time of renewal. As you step outside, the air is crisp and filled with birds chirping, early tulips are peeking out of the ground, and the sky is clear – full of new beginnings and possibilities! If you look around in more detail, you can also see the damage this past winter has caused. The mailbox may be leaning over. The wood of your front deck looks dry and worn. Even your driveway has a few issues such as cracks or missing bricks. All of the once vibrant flower beds and grass are dead…
Let’s take a look at your curbside appeal. “Curb appeal refers to the level of attractiveness one may feel for a property when viewing it from the street. In its simplest form, however, curb appeal is a subjective appreciation for a physical asset. Homes with great curb appeal, for example, are attractive to those viewing them from the street. The house presents itself well and all of the typical components are in place: the yard is well-kept, the paint is vibrant, the siding looks good, the roof is intact, and things are in order.”
You may be realizing that your home’s curbside appeal has dropped exponentially since last year. What will the neighborhood think if your home is standing out like an eye sore? Are you ready to sell your beautiful home, but the exterior doesn’t quite match the exquisite interior? Are you excited for out of town friends and family to visit and want the outside of your home to be as welcoming as possible? Are you in the midst of a remodel and want to increase property value as much as possible? No worries, Tom Len has over 20 years of luxury home design experience to redesign the outside of your home to match the beauty of the inside! Here is a helpful guide to start thinking about refreshing your curbside appeal…
Updating your curbside appeal may feel overwhelming. Where do I start? What’s my vision? We’re here to guide you, think of this as a fun opportunity to express your creativity and personal style! Start by taking a stroll around your property and neighborhood. While walking around the perimeter of your home, take note of the things that need repairs and possible eyesores.
- Clutter such as children’s bikes, multiple cars in the driveway
- Dull front door or entrance way
- Peeling paint or damaged roofing
- Unkept lawn or unsightly landscape
- Outdated, broken mailbox
- Inadequate outdoor lighting
- Address numbers not being visible or fading in color
- House is covered in dirt or grime from weather damage
Then take a walk around the neighborhood to get local inspiration from your neighbors. Observe your neighbor’s yard: do they have an abundance of floral or shrubbery accents? What is the common theme for the driveways or mailboxes? Are they using specific accent colors for outdoor lanterns, window treatments, or address numbers? You can get an idea of how you want to complement your neighborhood aesthetic, all while concentrating ways to make your home stand out from the crowd! View beautiful examples from our Pinterest Exterior Home Designs Board.
Power Wash Time!
Take a garden hose or hire a power washer to clean the exterior of your home. This is a great way to remove accumulated dirt, grime, and moss. Pay extra attention to the windows to make sure they’re crystal clear and sparkling. If you can’t reach everywhere, consider hiring a professional to help. Get into the gutters and the roofline to remove all dirt, leaves and stray branches that are sticking out.
“Consider buying or renting a power washer to clean paved surfaces. With very little time or effort, you can make grungy, grimy surfaces look brand-spanking new. Power washers also do a great job of cleaning fences, as well as brick and vinyl siding.” – HGTV
Aim for Winning “Yard of the Year”
Create a great impression on the neighborhood and visitors. “If you’re wanting to win yard of the year, you’re in good company. The worth of well-maintained yards and gardens is measured both in quality of life and home resale value. In other words, greener grass pays in more ways than one. It’s not just the lawn that needs maintaining, though; there are shrubs, trees, sprinklers and more that require proper upkeep, too.” – The Patch
If you already have a well maintained landscape yet desire reaching a new level of green thumb fabulousness, win this year’s “yard of the year” status with a couple of helpful tips. Below are some ideas you can implement to make your landscape a top contender in 2020!
“Getting your home’s curb appeal in shape can feel much easier when started in spring. Plantings will flourish, trimmed landscaping will bounce back luxuriantly and the sunlight will bathe your home in a very flattering ambiance.” – Mainline home center
Explore the kinds of plants available in your region: Do you know which types of plants flourish during Chicago’s cold winter and fall seasons? These plants come in all shapes, colors, and sizes! By planting theses on your property, you’ll have a wide range of color year round. This will give your home a luxurious amount of uniqueness. Find more inspiration from our Landscape Board on Pinterest.
Create a theme! The front of your home can tell a beautiful story of your interests and passions. Design your landscape with gardening themes in mind. The themes of your front yard can even match your indoor aesthetics…
- Asian garden: The Asian landscape is known for a meditative feeling of serenity. Stone and natural elements invite contemplation, while carefully-shaped plantings show our human interaction with the land.
- Cottage garden: The cottage garden is a distinct style that uses informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants.
- English controlled garden: These gardens are all about order: tightly pruned hedges, defined beds. The design relies heavily upon geometry. Viewed from above, walkways are centered, and circles and rectangular shapes combine to give the landscape a sense of order. Each garden area showcases beautifully maintained gardens or natural-looking landscapes.
- Minimalist garden: Minimalist garden design is not a specific style of gardening, but rather an aesthetic principle based upon the perspective that less is more. In these gardens, plants are carefully selected, and unusual materials are integrated into the vegetation. Hardscapes are used to define geometric shapes and linear movements that correspond to the architecture of the house and to other structures on the landscape.
Once you are committed to a theme for your front yard, it’s time to map out a clear design. Get your gloves on and let’s get digging! Tom Len is ready to make your landscape fantasies a reality!
Hire our expert landscaping team to start creating elements that enhance the look of your exterior. We’ll help breakdown the bulk of your projects by working on your yard in sections. Defined by clean lines and an overall uncluttered aesthetic, modern landscaping is the organic embodiment of “less is more.” We love this advice from HGTV:
- Spruce up outdoor containers: Container plants, especially large tropicals, add considerable interest to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house. Such displays also demonstrate the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.
- Touch up the mulch: Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The color enhances the contrast of the surrounding plants and makes everything pop. What’s more, mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.
- Plant some instant color: Seasonal color makes the landscape pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.
- Shape unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs: Regardless of the season, it’s a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches. The idea is to show how well not only your house but your garden has been maintained. It’s okay to prune deciduous trees and shrubs any time of the year.
- Clean up water features: Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is crystal clear. After all, a water feature that doesn’t look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.
- Consider side views or your backyard as part of curb appeal if your driveway or a side street reveals them during a buyer’s approach.
It’s All About the Details…
“A fresh exterior is one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to boost your home’s curb appeal. Although some of us like our home to be noticed, it’s important that the color and appearance blends in with neighborhood. I’m going to share with you what experts rank as the top four home exterior color schemes that will help you sell your house and boost your curb appeal.” Improvenet.com
Specific colors and materials are just as important as the foliage. Could your front door use a splash of orange? It’s an unexpected spot to find a bold color and can freshen up the look of your entire house. People want to be drawn to your home. The best way to be noticed is with complimentary accents from colors to metallics. Metallics like copper, gold, and silver add a touch of luxury to any home. Having a copper frame on your home gives it a trendy vibe. Metallics can be used on your address numbers and mailboxes. They will sparkle in the sunlight and be easy to see at night when car lights beam on them . Visit Houzz to see how Tom Len uses Copper and other metallics.
Adding vibrant colors can make your home stand out from a far! Trending colors such as blues, browns, neutral hues, shades of green, and white black combos will instantly give your exterior a face lift that everyone will notice. These great accent colors will make windows and doors pop in contrast to your main home colors. “Peeling paint is one of those details you might not notice as much but people looking at your house for the first time will probably spot — and it will definitely color their opinion about your house. Check painted siding especially carefully; look not just for possible paint problems, but also issues like rotting or warped boards that may need to be replaced.” View some of Tom Len’s designs!
Come on In!
Front doors, driveways, walkways, and garages are all important touch points for visitors. Is the paint chipped? Wood rotted? Does the doorbell still work? Is anything cracked or create potential for accidents?
Front Doors: You can drastically improve you front door drastically by simply re-painting it, adding a stenciled pattern, or implementing brighter colors onto it. Placing seasonal wreaths and decorations on your front door can also give your home a friendly atmosphere. Check out our Holiday Decor Board on Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate your front door for every holiday! “Since the hardware is the focal point of most doors, cheap hardware will make even the nicest door look cheap. That means paying attention to the knocker, handles, peephole, or other door hardware can help spruce up the door and improve your clients’ first impressions. If you or your contractor have a bit of DIY knowledge, you may even be able to go with vintage hardware to complement an historic home.” – The Close
Garages: The garage, like the rest of the exterior should be clean, functional and free of peeling paint. If your garage door is broken or falling off the hinges, you need to get it repaired. Regarding more information on garages, check out our previous blog section about garage remodeling! Garage doors are making a statement through design and bolder, darker colors. Homeowners understand that the garage door takes a up a large portion of the front of your home, right now the trend is to stop hiding the garage door or blending it in. Both modern and traditional styles sport eye-catching patterns, styles and hardware. Doors are also being painted with bolder colors such as dark brown or black in order to create a dramatic effect.
Driveways: A well-maintained driveway can create an inviting and appealing first impression. Cracks, weeds and other damage can significantly diminish its appeal, a damaged driveway can be hazardous to you and others, and even harmful to your cars tires. Replacing or repairing your driveway can make a major difference in your home’s curb appeal. “Because it’s purely functional, many people overlook just how much front yard space a driveway actually takes up. If it’s in poor condition, that certainly doesn’t bode well for the rest of the house. A quick reseal or gravel delivery can reassure passersby that your listing is well maintained and read to move into! “Driveways and walkways are what will lead a potential buyer to your home, so keep them in good shape. Weeds and cracks in walkways and driveways should be dealt with as soon as possible to prevent more serious problems. Cracks in cement walkways and driveways can be filled with cement and cement caulk as needed.”
Walkways: Do you have a clear, paved path for entrance into your home? Are the bricks uneven or cementing cracked? According to The Spruce, “Pathways and walkways create an extension of the home by making unusable places usable. While providing practical living value, these features can also increase real estate value. If done correctly, a quality pathway or walkway project made with good materials is a good investment. A poorly planned or executed walkway, on the other hand, could reduce the value of your home. A landscape designer can tell you whether the project is worth the potential cost.”
Preparing to Sell Your Home?
Are you putting your home on the market this year? Homebuyers typically choose their home based on their first impression of a property before they even step inside! The aesthetic of your home’s exterior can be VERY telling of what someone can expect to find on the other side of the front door. Sometimes the exterior can even determine whether or not buyers even want to take a look inside. If you want to increase your property’s value and chances of selling, it’s vital to improve the curb appeal.
“Proper curb appeal is more than what homes simply look like; it is an ingenious marketing tool. What is curb appeal, if not for another form of marketing designed to sell the property from the outside in? Curb appeal sets expectations. Prospective buyers are more inclined to look inside if they like what they see on the outside. First impressions make a difference when it comes to selling a home. Improving the exterior of a property may not be as exciting as trying to figure out what to do with the kitchen, but in many ways, is more important. At first glance, you want your property to have a “wow” factor. At a minimum, it shouldn’t turn off a large majority of buyers. Conversely, the home’s curb appeal should entice buyers to inquire further.” FortuneBuilders.com
A few bonus tips:
- Mold & Mildew: Be sure to address any signs of mold or mildew, as these are sure to turn off potential buyers. Better yet, do your best to eliminate any sources of moisture that may be the cause of the problem.
- Windows & Gutters: Whether they need to be replaced, cleaned or added, windows and gutters play an important role in curb appeal.
- Equipment: Nobody wants to see the equipment you use to maintain your property. Therefore, be sure to store everything in their proper locations. Everything from trash cans to hoses to lawn mowers should be hidden appropriately.
- Lighting: Curb appeal isn’t relegated to daytime hours. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to make sure the home is just as attractive at night as it is during the day. String low-voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks and near important landscaping elements. Feel free to add a decorative lamp to your front porch. Simply light up your home at night with attractive lighting and your efforts will be rewarded.
You don’t have take it all on at once, that’s what Tom Len Custom Homes is here for! Let’s work together to come up with a realistic game plan to boost your curbside appeal with the appropriate renovations and landscaping expertise. We will assess your home’s current exterior to determine the pain points and what can be improved. After discussing your personal style and vision, our team will give your home the makeover it deserves!
Chicago’s prestigious North Shore aligns itself with the luxurious custom homes designed and built by Tom Len. For over 20 years, Tom has built a solid reputation for excellence in the custom home building business. His name and character are endorsed by so many growing families. Partnering with Tom Len Custom Homes, you are investing in personal involvement, an eye for the exquisite whether it is on the exterior or interior, and quality beyond compare.
Tom Len Custom Homes proudly serves the following areas in Chicago’s North Shore: Northfield, Glenview, Glencoe, Deerfield, Wilmette, Winnetka, Highland Park, and Riverwoods.