5 ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal

A fresh pop of color at the front door can change the entire feel of your home. (Dreamstime)
A fresh pop of color at the front door can change the entire feel of your home. (Dreamstime)

Everyone wants the prettiest home on the block, which is why curb appeal never gets old. It’s that bump of pride you feel every time you pull into the driveway or stroll up the front walk. Curb appeal also adds value to your home, since it will bring in buyers when the time comes to sell. And a lot of projects are DIY-friendly, meaning homeowners with the right mix of time, tools and talent can make their homes more appealing at minimal cost.

Here are five projects to consider:

Paint the front door. A fresh pop of color at the front door can change the entire feel of your home. Take color cues from the natural surroundings. For example, hunter green plays well in mountain regions, while terra-cotta is appropriate to desert landscapes. Try testing various samples on the door and evaluating them under different light conditions.

If you’re comfortable wielding a paintbrush, the project might cost less than $50. Paying a pro will range from $100 to $300, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide.

Pressure-wash exterior surfaces. Most homes will benefit from a deep cleaning with a power washer, a heavy-duty machine that sprays water under very high pressure. It can blast away dirt and mildew from siding and decks, as well as motor oil stains from the driveway.

Pressure washers take up a lot of storage space, plus they can be dangerous, causing thousands of injuries every year. So, it’s best to hire a pro for this project. The average cost for professional power washing is $281, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. If you insist on doing the work yourself, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely. Besides causing physical harm, a pressure washer can pulverize siding and decking if not handled properly.

Trim trees and shrubs. Trimming trees and shrubs gives your entire property a more manicured look. It can also improve the health of plantings, so long as you work with a trained arborist who knows how to cut back dead portions to stop the spread of disease. Finally, the project will minimize the risk of falling branches, which can cause property damage or physical injury.

While experienced gardeners can prune foundation plantings, it’s best to leave taller trees and shrubs to the professionals. The average cost for the project is $745, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. That’s money well spent, since besides promoting curb appeal, healthy trees and shrubs provide shade, sound absorption, and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

Fix the front walkway. A crumbling front walk not only looks shabby, it's also a serious tripping hazard. HomeAdvisor's True Cost Guide puts the average cost of this maintenance project at $1,310, but it depends a lot on the condition and material of the walkway.

A capable DIYer can fill cracks and holes in a concrete walkway for little cost, or pay a professional around $300, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. Refurbishing a brick pathway, including putting in a new gravel base, might run as high as $1,200.

Upgrade the lighting. New exterior light fixtures deliver a decorative statement while also making your home safer and more welcoming. Look for a style that complements the architecture of the home and take advantage of existing wiring, so you don't have to pay an electrician to run new lines. That could make it possible have a pair of wall-mounted fixtures installed for as little as $100, according to HomeAdvisor's True Cost Guide.