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Popular in Home Improvement

Make a Better First Impression

A home's exterior is the first feature guests see. Make your exterior memorable and inviting with these creative, curb appeal-boosting ideas.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Don't Create Clutter

      Clear clutter off the lawn and around your home's exterior, including hoses and hose reels, mismatched lawn ornaments, and kids' toys. Also, refrain from using the front porch as catchall for sporting equipment and gardening tools. Move these items into the garage, shed, or side porch when not in use.

    • Supply Structure

      Create a sense of enclosure near the front entry by incorporating an arbor, trellis, or pergola. Just one of these structures can define the main entrance of your home while supplying structure and beauty.

    • Add Lighting

      Outdoor lighting helps your house look welcoming at night. If you have a roofed entryway outside your front door, add an outdoor ceiling fixture or a pair of lanterns. Even a partially enclosed area will make the most of low-wattage outdoor lighting and help deter intruders. Or light up and give prominence to features you're proud of including beautiful trees and architectural details.

    • Create an Outdoor Room

      A cozy sitting area invites conversation and relaxation with neighbors at the end of the day, and it will give your home's facade a friendlier look and feel. Make room for a bench or a table with chairs -- if space will allow -- near the front entrance of your home. Cover the furniture with colorful, weather-resistant cushions and pillows.

    • Clean Up

      Fix flaws, such as peeling paint, sagging gutters, cracked windows, missing roof shingles, and damaged siding that detract from your home's beauty. Rent a power washer -- from a local home improvement store -- to make windows and siding look like new again. Just be sure the surface you plan to wash can withstand it. Renew paved surfaces with a blast of water from a power washer as well.

    • Enhance the Entry

      Make your home's front entrance an inviting focal point: Add a landscaping or a few nicely arranged container plants on either side of the front door or near the entry. Vary the plant and container sizes and arrange containers on multiple levels.

    • How-To: Design a Container Garden

      Container gardens are the perfect way to add a splash of color to your front entry, deck or patio or even fill in some blank spaces in your beds and borders.

    • Replace Exterior Hardware

      Add sparkle to the front entry with stylish -- and consistent -- exterior hardware. House numbers, mailboxes, porch lights, and more are easy upgrades to make. Also, the door handle is the first thing many guests will touch, so invest in a high-quality lockset that will give a subtle-but-solid first impression to guests when you invite them to come inside.

    • Liven Up the Landscape

      Sometimes all your exterior needs to look its very best is a lift in landscaping. Aside from making sure bushes and shrubs are pruned and the lawn is mowed regularly, look for ways to spruce up your yard with decorative plantings and flowerbeds.

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      Dress Up the Driveway

      The driveway is often overlooked when fixing up a home's facade yet it's on display for all to see. Patch and seal your driveway, filling holes and cracks with asphalt patch. Apply fresh sealer to make a tired driveway look new again. Add interest by installing brick edging along the driveway or soften the look with flowerbeds or plantings.

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      Install Shutters

      Create a friendlier facade by installing shutters. Aside from being a decorative element, functional shutters can add protection from bad weather and a layer of insulation from harsh temperatures when closed. If you're looking to add a pop of color to your exterior, paint the shutters an accent color.

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      Incorporate Stone

      Add color, texture, and timeless appeal to your front lawn in the form of a friendly stone or brick walkway or a low wall. These are doable weekend projects for any do-it-yourselfer.

      Expert Advice: Whenever possible, lay bricks or pavers in patterns that minimize cuts. To make a small number of cuts by hand, use a saw with a dry-cut diamond blade. For larger projects, rent a saw from a hardware store; you'll minimize wear and tear on your power tools.

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      Garage Makeover

      Garage doors are often an eyesore on home exteriors. If a new door isn't in your budget, spruce up what you have with a fresh coat of paint and an arbor that frames the door. Blooming vines gracing the top and sides of the garage create a charming focal point.

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      Patch Up the Yard

      Healthy green grass makes a strong first impression. Repair worn spots in the lawn with a roll of sod purchased at a garden center (choose the same type as your existing turf). Water regularly until the new turf takes root. Apply a weed-and-feed treatment to ensure the grass has the soil nutrients it needs and doesn't have to compete with weeds.

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      Conceal the Air-Conditioner

      You can't get rid of bulky and unsightly air conditioning units and utility meters, but you can hide them. Keep these out of view with short sections of fencing or evergreen shrubs.

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      Windows that Wow

      Turn your windows into something worth looking at with exterior decorative molding. Wood trim is a good option because you can paint it an accent color. For low maintenance, choose a polyurethane millwork.

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      Your Best Exterior Ever

      If these simple and subtle changes aren't providing enough curb appeal, it may be time for some minor structural changes. Consider a new front door, roof, or siding. Or add columns and a portico. If you're contemplating a major facelift, call in professionals to help you envision and build your ideal exterior.

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      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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