Quick & Easy Exterior Fixes

Gutter Care
This weekend, take time to boost your home's curb appeal with these easy exterior projects.

Delineate with Stone

A low stone wall can help define areas in your yard. With care, you won't even need mortar. Or try using flagstone, which is generally flat and more conducive to stacking. Keep the walls low, solid.

Make Your Porch Pretty

Give your front porch a personality. Consider architecturally appropriate brackets, spandrels, and corbels, too. And don't forget to check out your porch ceiling; perhaps new beaded board is in order. Add a ceiling fan for an extra measure of timeless ambiance.

Entrance with Presence

Make a statement with oversize items for your home's front entry. The supersize numbers and large light fixture here add presence to the front door and are eye-catching, even from as far away as the street.

Boost your home's curb appeal by upgrading your front door and the space around it.

Dress Up the Front Door

Add character to your home's entrance with a beautiful front door. Replace a tired front door with a new, energy-efficient model. Apply a bold coat of paint for personality, and install light fixtures and address numbers to complement your home exterior.

Accent with Color

Paint your trim or shutters. The paint adds a layer of protection from the weather while giving your home pizzazz.

Add a Window Box

Homes boasting traditional architectural styles look great with window boxes. Choose premade boxes or build your own; keep them the width of the windows. You can bolt the boxes directly through the siding and into the wall studs, or bolt supporting brackets to the studs and fasten the boxes to the brackets. If you choose to bolt directly through the siding, run a bead of caulk along the top and side edges of the box where it meets the siding so rainwater can't seep behind the box. Leave the bottom edge of the box uncaulked for drainage.

Boosting curb appeal is easy with the help of colorful plants and functional furniture. We show you curb appeal landscaping and hardscaping ideas, along with great curb appeal tips to help give you the best-looking house on the block.

Easy Ways to Boost Curb Appeal

Watch and learn easy, effective ways to boost your curb appeal!

Chart a New Path

It's easy to create a walkway from your driveway or sidewalk to your front door. Use a garden hose as a guide for placement. Here, the curved path adds visual interest. Set brick or rocks alongside the hose. Use a yardstick to place the rocks for the other side of the path exactly 3 feet away, then fill the path with gravel or wood chips

Trim Your Entry

Research your home's architecture and consider adding appropriate trim around your entry door. For example, Georgian-style homes are typically framed with a decorative crown supported by ornamental pilasters.

Set the Mood

Water features, such as fountains and bubblers, look beautiful and mask street sounds so you can enjoy the great outdoors in peace. Outdoor sound systems are also great for camouflaging unwanted noise. No matter where you live, dress up your deck with a water feature or use one as a focal point in the garden.

Say No to Moss

Tuck a strip of zinc beneath the ridge shingles at the top of every roofline on your house. You'll need to sneak in a nail every couple of feet; make sure shingles cover the nails. A zinc strip is a long-term solution for controlling moss, algae, and fungus growth. Every time it rains, the metal strip leaches away small amounts of fungistats, which kill the fungus and keep the shingles looking their best.

Note: If moss, algae, or fungus is already growing on your roof, kill it and remove any residual debris before placing the zinc strip.

Revitalize Vinyl Siding

A simple, twice-a-year rinse with a garden hose should keep vinyl siding looking spiffy. If the siding has been neglected for years, rub it down with a mixture of three parts water to one part bleach (cover your plants before you apply it). Don't use a power sprayer; the force of the water can bend the pliable material just enough to let water behind it.

Install an Arbor

A decorative arbor above a door de-emphasizes it and provides a place to grow climbing plants. Holly Jordan, a partner with Auer-Jordan in Healdsburg, California, recommends using arbors above windows, doorways, and garages to add picturesque architectural elements.

Go Bold

Add color to your backyard with a brightly hued patio door. A fun shade such as this purple ensures your yard will have color all year round.

Light the Way

Warm and welcoming front-entry lighting provides security for your family and safety for guests. Choose compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy.

Add a Patio

Assuming your materials are delivered on a Friday and the scale of your project isn't too massive, you should be able to wrap up this project in a weekend. You'll need a 4- to 6-inch layer of compressed base material (such as class 5 gravel), then a 2-inch layer of sand. Place pavers or flagstones on top of that, then fill in the gaps with more sand or gravel.

Let There Be Fire

Create a cozy ambiance in your yard with a fire pit. A portable unit like this one is a budget-smart way to add in the feature. Or, if you're looking to invest a little more money, consider a built-in fire pit that is sunk into the ground.

Add an Awning

Protect family and guests with a retractable awning over your patio or deck. Choose an awning that mounts directly to your house to create a covered, open-air space that allows you to enjoy the outdoor room even on rainy or hot days.

Make Over Your Deck

Adding practical, usable elements, such as railings and benches, to your deck will give it added function. These features can be bolted onto the supporting beams along the deck's perimeter.

Dress Up Your Driveway

First, fix cracks in your driveway. A canister of patching compound or a tube of latex sealant with silicone is all you need. Wait for a warm day, shake the compound well, and apply. Further instructions are on the label. Next, add a fresh coat of paint or sealant. Choose masonry paint for best results; a nonslip type will give your car a better grip during winter. A sealant will blacken and protect gray asphalt.

Install Solar Lighting

Instead of installing a low-voltage lighting system, take advantage of the sun with solar-powered lights. Solar-powered path lights are a cinch to install. Choose an area that receives at least eight hours of full sun per day, and either hang the lights or mount them on ground stakes.

Paint Your Garage Door

No matter how many garage doors you have, painting them the same color as your home's exterior cladding will help to lessen their visual impact from the street. Choose a high-quality latex paint; you can brush or spray it on.

Open Door Automatically

Garage door openers are a worthwhile luxury, especially when it's raining. Installing one is a two-person job; you'll be glad to have an extra set of hands to hold one end of the chain track while you mount it. And remember: Most states require the opener to be plugged into a separate outlet on its own circuit.

Check Your Roof

Inspect the metal flashing around your chimney and vents for rust, which causes leaks. Replace the flashing as necessary. Also, check your shingles for moss and mildew growth and treat it.

Manage Rainwater Runoff

Bent or disconnected gutters and downspouts look terrible and allow water to drain where it shouldn't. Seal gutters that leak at the seams with a smear of silicone caulk. Consider, too, a gutter-cover system to prevent debris from getting in and clogging your downspouts. Before you place any gutters, inspect the fascia boards beneath them; they might need to be replaced.

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