You wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you probably would judge a house by its exterior.
If you want your home to make a strong first impression, it’s all about kerb appeal.
‘Kerb appeal’ is, in a nutshell, how attractive your home looks from the street. You might think this isn’t a big deal — it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right? — but the numbers beg to differ.
A survey conducted by comparison website finder.com.au found that nine out of 10 Australians would make an offer below a property’s asking price if the exterior was not appealing — 13 per cent below the asking price, on average.
Queensland residents, in particular, were found to make the lowest offers if they’re put off by unsightly property exteriors — 15 per cent below the asking price.
With Brisbane’s median house price hitting a new high of $655,000, according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, that means a lack of kerb appeal could cost you a whopping $98,250.
That’s right — kerb sells.
Of course, money isn’t the only reason to boost your home’s kerb appeal. Even if you’ve got no plans to sell, don’t you want to come to a vibrant and inviting home every day?
Here are six simple DIY projects you can do to improve your home’s kerb appeal!
Pave your pathway
Think of the path through your front yard as a journey, and your home as the destination. And you know what they say – it’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey.
Your best bet is to use pavers, rather than laying down a concrete slab — especially in Brisbane, where you’ll be hard pressed to find a crack-free piece of concrete. Much of the city is built on reactive clay soils, which means ground movement, which means cracks will appear in concrete slabs in no time. Pavers, on the other hand, are much more forgiving with ground movement, and are much easier to repair or replace if problems do arise.
Luckily, paving a pathway is a job you can easily tackle yourself with the right tools and know-how. The hardest part of the job might just be choosing your pavers, with literally hundreds of patterns, colours, finishes and styles available, in both small and large sizes.
For more info on choosing and laying your pavers, check out Centenary Landscaping’s straightforward DIY guide.
Lay down stepping stones
Nothing looks worse than a patch of worn grass or a bare garden bed, so why not spruce up your garden with stepping stones?
Formalised pathways throughout your garden create a sense of overall considered design, and prevent unnecessary wear and tear showing through. Stepping stones are a great, low-maintenance way to create these formalised pathways without breaking the bank.
A short path to the wheelie bins, or a cut-through from the garage, provide perfect opportunities to utilise stepping stones, which are straightforward and extremely fast to install.
For a professional result, it’s best to lay your steps onto a wet bed of mortar or cement. All you’ll need is a string line, a spirit level, a wheelbarrow for mixing the mortar, and a shovel. Check out the DIY guides and videos here for more info.
Put up a picket fence
A fence can make or break your home’s appearance from the kerb and set the tone for your property. A tall, solid block wall creates a fortress-like effect, whereas no fence at all can leave you looking exposed.
There’s nothing quite like a classic picket fence, particularly when it’s bordering one of the older weatherboard homes dotted around Brisbane. They make an attractive addition to any garden design, they’re low, they help define the space, and they add a level of security, all without obstructing the view.
Always remember to consider the overall design of your property before choosing a type of fence. Modern homes in new subdivisions will be better suited to rendered walls with timber inserts, and living on a main road may call for more security than a paling fence can offer.
For more info about choosing and erecting your fence, check out the DIY guide here!
Plant out the gardens and a hedge
The best way to enliven any garden design is to use plants. They’re the icing on the cake, adding vibrancy to any space. For instant impact, choose more advanced specimens and feature trees to create the impression of a more established garden.
Mass planting of classic plant species like gardenias, camellias, magnolias and star jasmine will instantly create a formal garden feel. Highlight the formal shape of your garden by planting long rows of smartly trimmed trees, shrubs and hedges, and by lining a path or driveway with upright feature trees like Chinese junipers or Ornamental pears. For more info on creating a formal garden, click here!
You might want to give yourself some privacy by planting a hedge or screening plant. Orange Jessamine, better known as Mock Orange, is often seen on Brisbane’s picket fences, and will provide you with a wall of green dense screening. Sky Pencil Holly is a popular screening option for small courtyards and narrow garden beds, while native plants like Lillypillies also make fantastic screening plants. For more info on screening plants, click here!
The importance of quality garden soil can’t be overstated here — it’s one of the most overlooked elements of a thriving garden. If you’re spending good money planting out your garden, choosing an inferior soil could end in heartache. For help with finding quality soil, click here!
Use pots to create a focal point
Creating a focal point is a great way to add intrigue to an otherwise unremarkable home. Topiary plants in bright colours, and unique or ‘statement’ pots are a perfect way to frame your front door and make for a livelier entrance.
Use them in pairs for an even bolder statement, and remember — your pot or planter choice can be an expression of your personality, so choose something that really reflects your style!
Revamp the lawn
There’s nothing more unappealing than a barren front lawn. Provided your lawn isn’t overrun by tumbleweeds, it can be quickly brought up to spec with some careful renovations.
There are five key elements to a great lawn — water, regular mowing, weed control, pest control and fertiliser.
Most lawns lack the first two elements, so the best approach is to start at the top. Just by introducing a watering schedule and staying on top of the mowing every week, you’ll notice your lawn start to improve in no time.
Article originally published at bmag.com.au and reproduced here with permission.