Curb Appeal on a Dime

Save money while you update your home's outdoor appearance by putting your dollars to work on high-impact projects. Our top ideas for curb appeal on a budget, including curb appeal landscaping and cheap front door ideas, will add interest to your home's exterior without the high price tag.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Illuminate Pathways

    Curb appeal doesn't end when the sun goes down. Highlight pathways and trees with landscape lighting. It improves safety and can yield dramatic effects for your home's nighttime appeal.

  • Landscape for Curb Appeal

    Smooth the transition between the street and your front steps with our inexpensive landscaping ideas. A clear, curved path will move visitors to the home's entry and is pleasing to the eye. Surround a walkway with midsize shrubs and flowers; passers-by will notice plant groupings more than individual flowers, making greater streetside impact.

  • Add Container Plants

    Create front yard appeal by turning your home's entry into an inviting focal point and adding a few well-chosen and nicely arranged plants on the front porch. Vary the plant and container sizes, and arrange them on multiple levels.

  • How to Choose a Container

    Learn how to pick the best pot for your container garden using these helpful tips.

  • Replace Old Walkways

    If a concrete walkway is in bad shape or is just dull as dirt, replace it with a fresh path made entirely of stone or brick. Visitors access this front door via square pads of bluestone trimmed with brick. Narrow strips of turfgrass separate the squares, which step up slightly with the change in grade from the street to the house.

  • Hang a Wreath

    Whether placed on your front door or beside it, a wreath is a simple way to personalize your entry. This living monogram wreath was created using spray-painted cedar boards and chicken wire and was filled with peat moss and succulents.

  • Get a Healthy Lawn

    One of the least-expensive improvements you can make to improve curb appeal requires two simple steps: First, apply a weed-and-feed treatment to your lawn to ensure the grass has the soil nutrients it needs and doesn't have to compete with weeds. Second, sharpen your lawn mower blade regularly and cut the grass at or near the mower's tallest setting.

     

    Tip: If your lawn is too unhealthy or choked with weeds, consider installing new sod. Remove the old lawn, lay new sod, and keep it well-watered for a few weeks.

  • Create Porch Appeal

    If you're lucky enough to have a sizable front porch, use it to create a simple but inviting outdoor room. Add a comfortable bench or chairs to create a conversation nook. Keep the porch clutter free and open for cozy gatherings.

  • Fast Porch Perk-Ups

    Give your front porch fresh appeal with these clever, can-do ideas.

     

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    Accent with Color

    When repainting, take the opportunity to choose fresh colors or add an accent color to your exterior color scheme. Paint test patches before committing to a color scheme; some colors look great on a sample card but are too intense on a house.

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    Give Planters an Edge

    Keep your lawn from invading your flowerbeds with stylish edging. Concrete planters are a quick and easy curb appeal idea that customize your landscape at an affordable price.

    Tip: Add perennials and sprinkle in flowering annuals to bring a mix of color, texture, form, and scale. Allow adequate space to accommodate the plants as they grow.

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    Restore an Asphalt Driveway

    Patch and seal the surface of your driveway, filling holes and cracks with asphalt patch. Apply fresh sealer to make a worn asphalt driveway look new again.

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    Upgrade the Garage Door

    Sectional doors can feature windows in an upper panel, and some higher-end versions can mimic the look of traditional carriage-house doors. If a new garage door is out of the question, add character with a pergola, new lighting, or by painting it to coordinate with your exterior color scheme.

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    Install a Prefab Trellis

    For exterior design on a dime, use an arbor or trellis to give form to your yard and complement your plantings. 

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    Boost Basic Concrete

    Install brick edging or apply a colorful concrete stain to the surface to add character to a plain concrete walkway. This cheap curb appeal idea is a quick way to transform your front entry, driveway, or garden path.

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    Power Wash Exterior Surfaces

    Take a weekend to freshen up your home's exterior. Aluminum, wood, and vinyl siding are safe surfaces to power wash, as are wood decks and concrete sidewalks. If you don't own a power washer, you can rent one from your local home improvement center.

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    No-Fail Curb Appeal on a Budget

    Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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    Coordinate Hardware

    Address numbers, mailboxes, locksets, and porch lights are perfect upgrades. These elements are small but add a lot of finesse to your look. Keep the finishes consistent so the pieces look like an ensemble of accessories, not a batch of mismatched hardware.

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    Plant Trees

    Put in small ornamental trees if you're preparing the house for sale soon. If you're staying put, think long-term and try oaks, maples, honey locust, or other large and strong species suitable for your region. Consider fast-growing species or small ornamental trees, such as pagoda dogwood, redbud, flowering pear, river birch, or Japanese maple; these can add dramatic interest without requiring years to get established.

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    Beautify the Driveway

    The colors and textures of plants soften a driveway's expanse and make it look less utilitarian. Groundcovers and low-growing plants are best in beds along one or both sides of the driveway.

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    Bring Style to a Slope

    Cheap-looking materials detract from a yard's appearance. For sloped areas that still need terracing, use cut stone or precast decorative wall blocks for a high-end look.

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    Install a New Storm Door

    Many homes are fitted with inexpensive aluminum screen doors that hide an attractive entry door. Newer storm-door designs offer larger glass panels, sturdier frames, and more color choices. If you don't have a storm door, paint the entry door with an accent paint color or clear varnish on wood.

     

    Tip: Choose a full-view storm door design to allow the front door color to shine through.

     

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    Exterior Door Trim Ideas

    Create a statement with your front door by adding trim. Bright white trim accentuates bold front door colors, like this robin's egg blue. Or consider an exterior door trim in a shape that suits your home's style; trim with molding and decorative accents suits a traditional home, while trim without any curves creates a contemporary look.

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    Cheap Front Door Ideas

    Outfit your entry for $25 or less with these picture-perfect door ideas that add front yard appeal.

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    Makeover Your Mailbox

    Add curb appeal to your mailbox with a splash of colorful paint. To keep with postal regulations, makeover the inside of your mailbox only. After painting the lid a bold color, stencil on a favorite phrase to brighten your day as you send and receive letters.

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    Window Curb Appeal Tips

    There are many ideas for increasing the curb appeal of your windows. House shutters add style to characterless windows, while painted trim in a modern color creates playful contrast. Window boxes filled with lush foliage bring life to your home's exterior.

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    Driveway Ideas on a Budget

    For an affordable driveway facelilft, line the pavement with plant containers that can be easily updated with the season. Solar-powered lanterns provide flexible lighting. 

  • Next Slideshow Before and After: Home Exteriors

    Before and After: Home Exteriors

    Maximize curb appeal with an exterior makeover. See how these 24 facades went from ordinary to unforgettable.
    Begin Slideshow »
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