I’m no expert, but curb appeal can say so much about your home. Even if you can’t put a lot of money into your outdoor spaces, there are a few things you can do, for cheap or free, that will make a big difference. And as always, a little elbow grease goes a long way.
1. A Little Paint Never Hurt Anyone.
Dig in your stash (if you have one) and find something to paint! Even if it’s not your desired color at the moment, a nice, fresh coat of paint can really make things sparkle. Obviously not literally sparkle, my husband would have none of that. If you don’t have much to pick from for paint and are looking to update smaller outdoor projects like your front door, hit up Lowes and pick up a small sample paint in the color you want. It’ll run you $2.50, and will get you a good solid coat on any regular sized door, or a couple of coats on smaller projects. Paint a doormat at your front door, paint your steps, paint your window boxes, mail box, window trim, outdoor furniture, the possibilities are endless. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, because you can always just paint over it!
2. Add Some Potted Plants.
This is a very cheap way of adding life to your outdoor space. If you don’t have any flower pots, for under $5 you can buy a simple clay pot, and a cheap annual flower. Paint your flower pot for a pop of color with some paint you have at home, or craft paint for .69 cents each at Michaels. Succulents are also very cheap($2-3) and super easy to care for. You only need to water when the soil is dry. Or you can plant from seed. The wildflower seeds we planted came free through the mail. The dollar store would be a good place to look for clay pots for very cheap.
3. Think Lighting.
On top of the outdoor lighting you may already have, garden solar lights, and lanterns are a cheap way to add charming ambiance to your exterior at night. Our DIY lanterns were so simple. We bought light fixture covers for $2 each at Lowes, and $3 tiki oil lights. Wrapped craft wire around them, and hung them up! You can do this with mason jars as well. There are also very cheap moroccan lanterns for under $10 on Amazon, which we bought for the back patio for a different feel. If you’re looking for solar garden lights, a lot of grocery stores carry $2-3 ones, which is usually cheaper than buying a box of 8. Shopping in the Target clearance can yield great finds like these $2 candle holders. You can get a similar look by punching holes in a regular tin can. Blue Diamond almond cans would be perfect for this as they are not variegated on the outside and would give you a clean look. Plus you can paint them any color you want!
4. Wash Windows & Power-Wash The Exterior.
There’s nothing worse than the continuous battle of the never ending dirt that accumulates on your windows, and exterior of your house. But, the battle must be fought. Or should be. I’m no queen of clean when it comes to the outdoors, but when your windows get so dirty the sun no longer shines through, you know it’s time to clean them. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… And assuming the dirt doesn’t just gather on your windows, you can be sure the rest of your house is covered. *sigh* A little power wash once or twice a year will help your house look it’s best, and extend the life of your siding. Windows should be washed more often. Whether or not that happens, is another thing. I wont judge you if you don’t judge me.
5. Trim The Hedges & Mow Your Lawn!
And don’t forget to pull those stubborn weeds. It’s the worst job in the world, but it’s the most rewarding. While you might not actually be adding anything, taking away things can really add a lot to your curb appeal.
You can have cute potted plants, outdoor decor and such, but if your landscaping is out of control, it makes everything else look like a mess. Even if your landscaping isn’t how you want it to look.. if you have weeds, or an annoying ivy plant that multiplies by the minute, or even straight up trash that blows in, cleaning that up will make a huge difference.
And speaking of taking things away…
6. Clean Unwanted Debris Out Of The Yard.
Nothing makes a yard look subpar like dead trees, plants or shrubs. Even if you don’t have anything to put in it’s place, it’s a step in the right direction, and cleans up that clutter.
This spot in our yard has never been able to keep any tree of ours alive. We’ve lost 3 trees to this hole. It is the black hole of the botanical world. So we haven’t replaced it yet, and are considering other options. No shrub is better than a dead shrub. If you’re looking to replace right away, Craigslist is a awesome place to look. A lot of times you can make a deal.. if you do the work of digging up the tree or shrub, you get it for free. There’s that elbow grease I warned you about.
7. Create A Border With Things You Find In Nature
When we first moved in, we talked to our new neighbors who had also just moved in, and they told us of some large limestone rocks that were dug up in the new part of the subdivision. They had gotten us permission from the construction manager to take some, so that’s what we did! It’s subtle, but nice.
To keep the weeds and grass from growing through the cracks, we just spray with Roundup. You can create a border around other things besides a front flower bed. You could border your driveway, or trees as well. Any way you do it, free is your friend. And as long as you aren’t stealing or trespassing, nature is full of free things.
8. Go Green. Install A Rain Barrel.
See how we did it with our tutorial for a DIY rain barrel here. While this wont directly improve to your curb appeal, indirectly it will help improve your curb appeal by supplying great rain water to all your greenery and keep them flourishing throughout the summertime. A rain barrel will save you a lot of money in the long run, but requires an upfront cost. Your cost will be dependent on how you go about acquiring your barrel. Maybe you have a 55 gallon barrel lying around that you can use, maybe you don’t. We didn’t have a barrel, so we checked out Craigslist and found someone who makes and sells rain barrels for $40. That’s very reasonable considering what you will be saving. For us, it was necessary to beat our summertime water restrictions here in Texas. We can keep our grass and plants from dying without making our water bill sky-rocket on the days we can water, and still complying with the restrictions. We can water everyday if needed. Replacing your landscaping can be an expensive undertaking, so this is a very good long term savings plan, and also environmentally responsible!
These are just some things I’ve been successful with in making my curb appeal just a little better. Even if you don’t have a lot to work with, you can have decent looking curb appeal that wont break the bank by simply polishing up what you already have, and adding some cheap accessories. You just have to know where to look, how to prioritize what you need, and do the work yourself. Hey, we all could use a little calorie burning activity once in a while. Plus, you will be that much more proud. Now, get out there, stop thinking about what you’d like to do, and just do it!
Not brought to you by Nike.