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Home & Garden

7 Ways to Create Curb Appeal

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I will never forget my very first landscape project in college. I had to design, draw and present my assignment to a panel, they would then decide if they would ‘buy' my project based on curb appeal of my design. It was one of those projects I took for granted and chose to attend the local pub for $2 drafts instead of preparing. I was three days out from my presentation and after witnessing my classmates present, panic set in.  When my professor handed me my grade (75%) he said, "I bet you won't forget this assignment. I expect better on the next one."

Curb appeal is the visual attractiveness that makes your house stand out from anyone who walks or drives by, sells homes faster, and makes your neighbors jealous. These seven simple concepts can help you achieve great curb appeal.

1. The front door. It is your home's ambassador, and is ultimately about moving to the front door in a pleasing way.  Moving from the street to the doorway is an experience of passage and often forgotten about. Think about what kinds of transitions are available and whether there is a way to break up the trip without destroying the necessity of people seeing very clearly where to go. The area immediately surrounding the door needs to be free and clear of debris and clutter. Two simple and bold planters standing tall at the entry way often become the focal point.

2. Shapes & mass plantings create impact and harmony by using repetition of a few plant varieties only. The goal is to see broad sweeps rather than insignificant patches of colour and texture. Taller plants alongside groups of shorter perennials create a sense of balance and reflect the shapes and lines of the house and walkways.

3. Colour doesn't always have to be about plants. Paint and pots both offer splashes of color. It is often difficult to create a finished-looking garden while waiting for plants to mature. Massing annuals around slower-growing plants and placing ground-hugging annuals around newly planted perennials helps fill in the gaps. Perennial gardens often lose their luster in the final days of summer; planting annuals can be a perfect way to perk up beds. Experimenting with annuals can be fun because the presentation can always be changed next year. When choosing colours, careful not to forget to consider the colour of your house. Blue feels calm and collected, accent with collections of purple, yellow, pink and white.  If you have red trim add sparks by accenting with orange, bright yellow and red.

4. Hardscapes are often assumed to be expensive and large. On the contrary, a simple arbour above a garage door, a bench, a deep sidewalk, lighting or a dry river can be inexpensive and effective methods to bring definition and depth. Large shapes and masses that are attractive from a distance should be a part of a landscape with curb appeal. That doesn't mean blocking windows or doors or the facade of the house with plants that will get too large.

5. Seasons, there are four that should be utilized in a garden.  A landscape that goes dormant in the winter will look dull and uninviting. A landscape with curb appeal includes structural elements such as trees and shrubs, as well as materials that look good in spring, summer, autumn, and winter. 

6. Low maintenance is a necessity whether your intention is to sell your home or not. Buyers will often see a lush and lavish garden as too much work and a daunting task and could affect the sale of your home. Curb appeal offers people the ability to envision themselves in that location without having to do all the work.

7. Ask for help. Gardening on any scale is fun but can be a frightening task without any kind of knowledge or experience. Join a social media gardening page, ask a professional or an avid gardener for help. Don't let the craziness of technicalities and fancy gardening magazines make you question the excitement and adventure of gardening. 

Crystal is a certified horticulturist with over 15 years experience in retail garden centres, perennial production, and landscaping. She graduated from Niagara College with her Horticultural Technician Diploma and Sustainable Urban Horticulture from the University of Guelph. Crystal is currently working on her Landscape Managers and Master Gardener certifications.


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