Green Curb Appeal

Megan Gates is an active blogger who provides written work to the blogosphere pertaining to New York City Rentals. The Hamptons, home improvement and the latest architecture, design and fashion. Follow her on twitter.

Curb appeal is an elusive quality that can be hard to describe. However, most of us know it when we see it. Usually applied to homes that are beautiful and well maintained, curb appeal also implies a welcoming sense of invitation; a house that says “home.” If you’re willing to use a little ingenuity and elbow grease, your home can be just as easy on the eyes.

Take an Honest Look

As long as your siding or stucco is in good shape, chances are your home only needs a few cosmetic improvements to get it into tip-top form. A broken sprinkler head, a crumbled brick in the flowerbeds or peeling paint on the trim are all easily fixed. Spreading your projects out over time reduces the cost. Doing simple repairs by yourself or enlisting the help of friends or neighbors in exchange for a barbecue later are effortless ways to make big changes.

Keep it Clean and Green

Renting a power washing machine is an inexpensive, easy and even — on hot summer days — fun way to improve the overall look of your home. Wash down the walls, windowsills, siding and gutters to remove spider’s webs and a winter’s worth of accumulated grit and grime. Routine lawn maintenance is a must. Even if your lawn could use a good replanting, regular mowing, edging and watering will keep it looking green and inviting. Weed regularly or use an inexpensive ground cover cloth (readily available at home improvement stores) covered with bark mulch to inhibit weed growth. Remember to clean up after yourself. A rake leaning against the wall or a garbage can in the corner detracts from the overall visual impression of your home.

Plant Wisely and Well

When choosing plants for your garden, always consider your climate, temperance zone and average rainfall levels. Selecting plants that are unsuited for your environment can lead to unnecessary expense or downright disappointment. Some people enjoy replanting various annuals in their walkways or borders several times a year. Others prefer plants that are as low-maintenance and self-sufficient as possible. Fortunately, the variety of flora available is virtually endless. Take care requirements, sun levels and hardiness into account when choosing plants to place in your garden. If you truly dislike getting your hands dirty, you can always invest in a few hanging baskets or potted palms, or place potted plants in window boxes to add brightness and color.