What First Impression is your Home Creating?

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Some Simple Ideas for Kicking Up the Curb Appeal

Your hair is shiny and blown dry to perfection; makeup applied to bring out your best features. The summery cotton dress you slip into hugs you in all the right places. You slide on your strappy sandals, stand in front of the mirror and scream! You haven't shaved your legs in a week. Ugh! Within seconds, your self-esteem plummets.

Just as with your appearance, it's all about grooming but in this case, the objective is grooming the front of your home. Yes, it's great to paint, upgrade, and renovate the interior of your house but the exterior can be just as important if you want to create a true haven. It's the way your home "greets" the world and when you neglect it, it's like a bad blind date, "My house has inner beauty but the outside has? a great 'personality'."

The front of your house should also be a venue for expressing your creativity. The decorative bridge between your front yard to your front door can easily be tackled without taking weeks and weeks of backbreaking labor. A little imagination, research and little bit of time can give your place a serious kick of curb appeal.

A Few Simple Ideas

Container Gardening: Containers of beautiful blooms on both sides of your front steps is a way of giving guests a bouquet of flowers as they approach the front door. With container gardening, you get the double-your-pleasure benefit of flowers planted in richly colored ceramic, wooden, or terra cotta pots. Some are made of lightweight plastics that mimic marble and can easily be moved to wherever you need a pop of color

Window Boxes: How cool is it to be able to pluck fresh herbs from your own window box or to surround your house with the fresh smell of lavender? Or, filled with flowers, your house can have a storybook appearance and offer color inside and outside at the same time. Window boxes are also a great way to experiment with different plants like succulents and cactus. For instructions on installing window boxes, check out our how-to article.

Deck the Walls: Carve out an element of surprise in your front yard with a path that leads to a garden ornament or small fountain. There are plenty of easy to assemble kits; many can be mounted on a stand or a nearby wall. Add a few chairs or a bench and you can transform an unused area of your front yard into an oasis of trickling water that guests and passers-by will enjoy.

Front Door Decor: Have some fun. Paint the front door a bold color - here's your chance to get that craving for Chinese red out of your system. Also, check out the wild and crazy knockers and knobs that range from modern to antique replicas.

Mat-ter of Fact: More than dirt-catchers, welcome mats are a great way to greet people as they ring your bell. Personalize yours by stenciling your initials or you can purchase one of the more ornate filigree aluminum styles.

Remember, you'll only get one chance to make that first impression. And a simple upgrade doesn't have to take much time or money-it just takes the gumption to get up and do it. Here's to taking that first step!

More Ideas & related links:

How To Project: Install pathway lights

More ideas for improving your home's exterior

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