There are several ways to increase your home’s value. You can make popular full-room remodels, such as adding a master bath or modernizing your kitchen. Or you can make an addition, extending living space or increasing the number of bedrooms in your home. While these suggestions are likely to pay you back at the time of sale, the expenses of the work might not be worth the investment. Rather than dump a lot of cash into your home, consider adding some curb appeal. Many curb appeal projects are some of the least expensive and most DIY-friendly of all home renovations.

What is curb appeal?

Curb appeal is the visual state of your home that influences its desirability. When you drive down a neighborhood street, certain homes stand out because of a well-kept lawn, spotless siding, or a quaint front porch, for example. The exterior of these homes is often seen as a reflection of what is going on inside. People comment, “What a lovely home!” before ever walking through its interior. This is curb appeal. It not only puts an immediate positive spin on your home, it also drives interest in viewing and attending an open house when a home is for sale. Best of all, striking up curb appeal is easy.

Clean, simple landscaping tips to make your home shine

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to maintain curb appeal is through landscaping. Potential home buyers are attracted to homes with nice flower beds, shrubs, trees and lawns. Most, however, are not interested in taking on a massive project, so the goal should be to find a clean and clutter-free landscaping plan that is relatively easy to maintain. When you are handling your gardening and landscaping, be sure to use the right equipment and tools. Invest in a good pair of gardening gloves, which will make any outdoor job easier. Also consider investing in an edging shovel, landscaping rake and hedge trimmer.

If you haven’t done so yet this season, start with a good fall cleanup of your flower beds and mulch areas. Remove leaves, twigs and debris. Trim bushes and plants away from the house, leaving about a one-and-a-half-foot space. Cut back any dead branches or old growth. Remove any dead bushes or weak-looking plantings. If your flower beds have gotten a bit out of control, thin out some of the plantings to achieve a simple, clean look.

Next, make a small investment in dark mulch. Mulching is the cheapest and most effective DIY home job you can do to gain curb appeal. You can have mulch delivered by the cubic yard or purchase bags at a local home store. Calculate your needs by using a two-inch depth, and multiply by the rough square inches of flower bed. Convert the resulting figure into cubic yards, and tell your home or garden supplier how much area you want to cover.

Beyond flower beds, you can simply add some curb appeal by edging your lawns (and flower beds) and keeping your lawn mowed. Frequent mowing is important to maintain strong grass growth and to reduce thatch, which is the buildup of dry grass that accumulates at the base of  new grass. Make sure to weed and feed your lawn according to the recommended schedule for your area, and if there are any bare spots, lay some fresh sod so your whole yard is lush and green.

You home can exude appeal with some simple attention to the front yard. Make a plan to clean up your existing plantings with an aim to simplify and beautify your flower beds and lawn, and your home will turn the heads of potential home buyers.

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