Decorating for the Holidays

Finding the Unexpected

Photo of the Day
December 15, 2011

Here’s an example of a home with attractive holiday curb appeal. Lighted trees flank the front door, a lit wreath hangs on the chimney, and a lit shrub on the left side balances the trees by the door.

I came home and looked at the photo on my computer’s large screen. I noticed a surprise element in the photo. (Click on the photo to enlarge it.) Can you find it? Does it put a smile on your face?  Happy holidays!

~~~

.

Increasing Curb Appeal with Landscaping

Bringing Nature to Your Home Brings Beauty and Tranquility


Guest author: Neal Klabunde, owner of Gardening at the Crossroads

Folks selling their home have a lot on their mind. Prices, agents, open houses, etc. In the midst of all this, it’s easy to overlook some simple steps that can improve the curb appeal of your home. Some steps are pretty obvious such as painting or cleaning the exterior of the house, or replacing the front door.

The point of this article, however, is to focus on the landscape improvements that you can make. There are a lot of little things that when added together can give you a healthy return on your investment. The American Nursery and Landscape Association’s research has shown that landscape improvements can increase a home’s value by 7 to 15 percent and that a well-designed landscape can raise the selling price by almost 7 percent.

The best place to start is to look at your house as if you’re visiting it for the first time. Look for problems or issues and note what you saw and why it bothered you. We asked Lisa Ciofani Basham, a Certified Professional Home Stager in NE Ohio, if the impressions formed as a potential buyer walks to the front door for the first time are important. “Absolutely. The walk to the front door is where opinions are formed. Look at your home through the eyes of a buyer and take a critical look at your homes outside as you walk to the front door. It’s that first impression that is so important.”

Look at your lawn first. Is it tired looking and full of weeds? Renovating a lawn is one of the items that you can do and realize a good return on investment. Keep the lawn cut to the proper height for the season and make sure that the sidewalks and driveway are edged.

Look at the shrubs around the foundation. Are they neat and compact or overgrown? Trimming the shrubs and trees is an easy task.

Speaking of trees and shrubs, there is an old proverb that says-“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.” If selling your home is three or more years down the road, planting shrubs and perennials sooner rather than later will help them get settled in and blooming. Have any branches that overhang the roof trimmed back.

Make sure that the landscape beds are weed free and have fresh mulch on them. Fresh mulch will make the plants stand out.

Entryway with Planters and Seating

Containers such as urns, hanging baskets, and large pots can be a versatile way to add spots of color to your home. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Hanging baskets will do fine as a planter if you remove the hook. If necessary, place the basket inside another, more decorative, container. You don’t even need to get your hands dirty!

Seasonal annuals add an instant pop of color. Pansies in the spring, petunias and zinnias in the summer, or asters and mums in the fall give the house a lived in, cared for appearance. Add a wreath with seasonal flowers or colors to the front door for a special touch.

Adding landscape lights are another inexpensive way to spruce-up the exterior of the house. These are fairly inexpensive and easy for the home owner to install, especially if you get the solar variety.

Window boxes add views from both outside and inside.

Another landscaping design issue that is often overlooked is how the landscape vistas are framed in the major windows of the house. Home owners spend a lot of time looking at the outside from the inside. Think of your windows as a canvas and plant a lovely view.

All things considered, a well maintained landscape shows the potential buyer that the house is well cared for; more than an overgrown, unkempt one. You don’t want to overdo it, though. Stay main-stream in your landscape choices. While you may enjoy a large rose garden, a dozen or so roses or a water feature might scream “high maintenance” to a potential buyer.

~~~

Neal Klabunde and his wife Catherine live in North Eastern Ohio and are avid gardeners. They are the owners of Gardening at the Crossroads, a gardening website that covers all aspects of gardening and is geared towards gardeners of all skill levels.

~~~

All photos ©Kate Walsh/designhouse9.com

~~~

Sunnyside Gardens Offers Labor Day Savings

Free 6″ potted mum with the purchase of a 12″ potted patio mum.
Now through Labor Day.

Mum plants are available in a variety of colors, are easy to care for and survive cooler temps well. They’re perfect for increasing the curb appeal of your home at this time of year. Not selling? Enjoy their welcoming cheer at your front door as our days grow shorter.

Sunnyside Gardens
3723 West 44th St
Minneapolis MN 55410

Sunnyside Gardens Website

~~~

Star Quality Front Entry

Colors and Details That Work

The front of your home is known as “curb appeal” in real estate terms. Here’s how to make a positive first impression with your home. Paint the front door a color that is different from the wall and trim colors of  your home. Here we have a rich and not overly bright red door, mustard-gold walls and white trim. Add good door hardware if it’s not already there.  Hardware is used every day and is not a place to skimp. My interior designer advises buying the best hardware you can afford. (This applies to kitchen and bath fixtures as well as interior and exterior doors.)

A door embellishment like the star here provides a point of added interest. Note the thoughtful trim detail which suggests a higher level of quality. The two decorative urns with flowers and greens add yet another layer of both detail and color and enhance the overall appeal. Other items of note are the light fixture, the door design and the house numbers. All of this makes coming home a true pleasure.

~~~

Photo of the Day: Come On In

A Welcoming Front Entry

Creating curb appeal is easy when one has a green thumb (or hires one).  The variety of color, texture and size of plantings, along with the bright pots, provides interest, depth and appeal at this house in St. Louis Park. (Photo taken with my cell phone.)

~~~

Share

.

Tips for Curb Appeal

See great ideas for improving the curb appeal of your own home!

This Old House magazine offers up great home improvement advice. I love the Before and After photos shown and discussed in this article about curb appeal!

Secrets to Great Curb Appeal