Four Steps to More Curb Appeal
Columnist Kathy McCleary talks to design experts to find out how to makeover her home exterior and landscaping without spending a bundle.
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Come up with a concept
The first thing you should do is "walk as far away from your house as you can so that you can still see the whole front of the house," says exterior designer Berstler. "Now take a really good look at it." Notice what draws your eye right away. In most cases, the front door should be the main focal point; that's how visitors enter your home. If it's not, it's a good starting point for improvements.
Many landscape designers will come to your home for a consultation and draw up a plan for your front yard that could include paths, patios and driveway treatments as well as planting schemes, says Ann Nickerson, a landscape designer based in Hillsboro, Ore. The cost for such a consultation is usually $200 to $400 (and that fee is often credited to your account if you go ahead with landscaping installation through your designer). Other designers will include consultations on paint colors and even remodeling tips for the entryway.
You can find landscape designers through referrals from friends, and through groups such as the Association for Professional Landscape Designers. Landscape contractors, the guys who actually do the installation, are also a good place to turn for recommendations for designers. I hired a landscape designer I found in the phone book to draw up a plan for us after we ripped out the old hedges and trees and extra driveway. It cost $300.
Having a plan is important, says effects designer Jim Riley, because it means there will be consistency to the work you do, even if you end up doing it in phases. "Not that everything has to match," says Riley, co-founder of Effects in San Francisco, "but there should be a reason why something is done."
Next: Focus on the front door
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