the importance of…..CURB APPEAL by Paul Schlachter

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Curb Appeal

Have you ever wondered what makes a house more welcoming and therefore more valuable than houses of a similar size and specifications? Understanding the emotional components that create ‘curb appeal’ will help you create a compelling entrance to your home and dramatically increase its value. Here are the four critical components to curb appeal:

COVER. One of the most important components affecting curb appeal is providing cover for the front door. Not only does a roof or porch provide protection from the elements it also frames the entry and gives direction to the visitor. The covered space around the front door is traditionally the zone for hellos and goodbyes; beginnings and endings…so careful consideration should be paid to making the transition graceful and not abrupt. With sufficient cover the front porch becomes a viewing and social platform for the neighborhood.

LANDSCAPE. Landscaping can be broken down into two distinct categories…hardscaping (walls, fences, gates, etc.) and softscaping (trees, flowers, turf, etc.). A mature tree can have an appraised value of between $1000 and $10,000 not to mention the value it adds in character to your home. Landscaping softens a home’s’ appearance and helps the transition from the horizontal ground to the vertical walls of the house. From a curb appeal standpoint there are three layers of landscaping to address; foreground, middleground and background. Typically the foreground is what happens near the street. This should be shorter plantings like grass or flowers in the parkway area. The middle ground is typically the lawn area where trees have the most impact. The background is the planting zone around the base of the house where bushes or taller flowering plants serve the best purpose. With three layers of landscaping the house is accented with color and texture but not hidden in greenery.

ACCENTS. Accents such as water features, pots, mailboxes and bold colors are often the most memorable elements of a home’s curb appeal. Accents introduce personality and character of the tenants and often serve as wayfinding devices for visitors…’The house with the red door.’ or ‘The one with the fountain by the walkway.’ A distinctively colored front door is a classic trick for creating a bold target for the visitor. The Chinese philosophical system of harmony called Feng shui discusses many potential accents that can collect good energy and repel bad energy. The accent component of curb appeal has the most potential for improving or detracting from the value of your home.

PATHWAY. Pathways take on many forms and textures. Traditionally pathways are a straight line from the sidewalk to the front door but more intriguing pathways should be considered. Navigation to the front door should be obvious and easily traversable with careful consideration given to steps or ramps. Pathways can be paved with a variety of materials from low to high maintenance with the understanding that some of the pathway materials may be transferred into the house on the underside of shoes. Spaced pavers affect the speed visitors can move along a pathway due to the concentration required for stepping…this may not affect curb appeal but impacts the visitor experience.

Every home has the opportunity to ‘show off’. When Cover, Landscape, Accents and Pathways are carefully designed the curb appeal is unmistakably valuable to the homeowner, visitor and potential buyer.