Curb appeal isn't just for the spring and summer anymore. These winter-friendly ideas are sure to warm up your home's facade when temperatures plummet.
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Just because it's cold doesn't mean it's time to stop maintaining the front of your house. Winter curb appeal can take on its own delightful characteristics; you just need to know what you're doing and be deliberate about it.
Who better to guide us on landscape design and curb appeal then J. Mark White, Landscape Architect and President of DC-based Garden Wise, Inc
who recently appeared on HGTV's Curb Appeal
Jenn Foster from Jenn and Colin Real Estate
shares with us some of the ways that she advises clients keep their homes looking fresh and attractive through the winter months.
First thing's first: That pile of boots at your door and the snow-covered toys laying around the front yard need to go. Then rake up pine needles, branches and other debris. Clean up and cut back any dead flowers in the garden beds. Wash your front-facing windows and sweep the porch. This quick cleanup will immediately freshen up the look of your home and get you ready to take on some of the more fun winter facelift projects.
Paint your front door.
Photos: 60 in 3, Flickr; Getty Images
A fresh coat of paint in a color that contrasts well with the changing tones of each season will ensure your home's best lasting impression. Jenn recommends red, burgundy and plum hues. She suggests using color often to create interest, and stresses how important it is during these dark months when all gardens and greens have been cut back, covered or have lost their leaves.
Decorate and accessorize
. Hang a wreath or other decorative addition on your front door. A wreath is fitting decor any time of year, a long as you dress it up differently depending on the season. Jen suggests that you highlight it with warm rusts, golds, browns and greens. You can take a simple wreath, spray paint it metallic and add a brightly colored ribbon for a striking front door.
Paint your fence.
The fence should be the same color as your home's siding. This helps the fence blend in with the house's setting instead of stealing the focus.
Utilize outdoor lighting.
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Lighting is always important, but it is even more crucial on dark winter nights. Landscape lighting is practical, as it extends the use of your front yard into into the evening hours, and allows for safe passage for you and your guests. It is also a very purposeful design choice. J. Mark suggests that new LED lighting focused on some of your front garden accents can significantly change your home's evening appeal. The right lighting will make your house a warm gem that stands apart from the others on chilly winter evenings.
Use pots and planters.
Place pots and planters near the front door to create a welcoming entry.
J. Mark tells us, "Landscape designs are anchored by focal points." He says that an easy and fast way to add an element of focus to a front door is to frame it with symmetrically placed planters and deliberately chosen plants. J. Mark suggests a pair of cast stone or Italian Terra Cotta urns planted with an upright evergreen shrub. The Graham Blandy Boxwood
, and other year round covers
including variegated English and Glacier are all lovely choices. Colorful pots with winter blooms will also significantly change your curb appeal, adding a splash of color.
Jenn's creative alternatives add character. Baskets, galvanized buckets, and barrels all make interesting alternatives. She suggests adding willow branches, evergreen arrangements, branches with colorful leaves, and gourds creating your own arrangement.
Frame your garden.
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Use clean and attractive borders. According to J. Mark, "landscape borders play an important role in a home's curb appeal -- whether we're talking about the whole yard or just a planting bed; a defined area catches the eye more readily than one that is indistinguishable." Various curbing materials such as concrete, brick, stone and slate add definition to your garden area and help it look tidy even in the winter months.
J. Mark says, "walls and fences with a simple design and layout make an essential design statement as they frame your property." though he does mention that limiting the fencing or masonry improvements to key locations in your space will save time and money.
Sometimes a simple, well-placed pergola can create a welcoming path. Jenn urges clients to consider cultured stone as a less expensive option to natural stone and arrange them in a path leading to your front door. Remember, it's all about that focal point.
Mix up the hardware.
Giant transformations from minor hardware changes aren't just for kitchens and bathrooms, the front of your house can use a hardware makeover too. A rubbed bronze door knob, a glossy black mailbox, or decorative house numbers are quick ways to freshen up your look.
Keep your home's character intact.
Photo: Getty Images
Remember that interesting sculptures, benches, yard ornaments and other creative touches add personality and increase your curb appeal (providing that they are tastefully done).
Be a good neighbor
and shovel your walk. Even the most beautiful home will make a poor impression if it looks like you're careless about your neighbor's comfort and safety.
J. Mark says, "Repeated use of rock salt to melt ice will damage and kill plants, and ruin an important part of your curb appeal. Salt will also change soil structure. If you (or your city) uses a lot of salt, be sure to thoroughly water your lawn, front flower beds, and landscape in the very early spring." Click here for eco-friendly alternatives to rock salt
Check out this video for more on improving curb appeal!