The Great Outdoors – Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

0Your home exterior is the first thing people notice, their first impression of your home.  It doesn’t matter how much time and effort you’re put into your interior, people do judge a book by its cover.  If it’s a property you are looking to sell now or in the future, it can have a massive effect on the eventual sale price of your home. Even if you don’t plan on selling, why not spend a little time improving those first impressions and make something you enjoy coming home to?  It doesn’t need to cost a fortune, there are many small things you can do that will make a big difference. From a complete overhaul to a new coat of paint, here are a few ideas to consider before you embark on your project.

Why do you want to change the exterior?

There are a number of reasons you might want to work on your exterior.  The existing one could be a bit tired and need a new lease of life with a quick lick of paint.  Maybe you’re having an extension built and want to bring the rest of the facade in line with the new addition.  Improving the outside of your home can increase its sale value by up to 12% so it’s really worth doing.  

Before you get started

Consider the style of your neighborhood.  You want to show your individuality but may also want to be in keeping with the surrounding neighborhood. If your area has a homeowner’s association, first check if there are any rules which may limit what you can do with the outside of your property.  There are often rules around fences, trees, and hedges. It’s better to find this out before you begin rather than later and have to spend even more money to change it again.  

Create a budget.  Knowing how much you can afford to spend will help you be realistic when you start planning your project.  It’s much easier to work to an existing budget than trying to cut costs later and compromise on a design you had your heart set on. Once you have a plan, check to see if you need to get any permits or permissions are and fill out the required paperwork.  Local authority offices are usually overwhelmed and understaffed and can take a long time to issue the necessary permits. Don’t let your project be delayed by red tape. 

Find contractors you trust.  If you need to work with architects, designers or other professionals, don’t just head for the first company to pop up on Google.  Get a referral from a friend or neighbor if you can, and check out their reviews on social media or online.

Exterior walls

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

 

Depending on the style of house you own and when it was built you may want to cover up some of the uglier styles that were popular when building mass-produced houses in the 60s and 70s. If you are trying to give your home a bit more character, don’t go for something that’s too incongruous.  Trying to turn the front of a 1960s property into a colonial-style mansion isn’t going to look right and will more than likely pull the value of your house down too and new buyers will want to change it. 

If you live in an older, period style property, you’ll want to use materials and finishes that are sympathetic to the original design while still bringing it up to date.  Often it will be a case of repairing materials that are already there without it being too obvious. Finishes you might want to consider for your home include: 

  • Masonry paint – for a refresh or add a new color
  • Render – to cover-up existing brick or concrete with a smooth finish
  • Cladding (wood, tile, stone or PVC) – to give a completely different look to your property without a rebuild

Windows

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

The style of window you choose can make or break a renovation project.  They are the eyes of your house and a reflection of its personality. Replacing windows needs the expertise of a specialist window company like Renewal by Andersen Windows or ask your architect to recommend a local company who can work with you on the project.  

Replacing windows will likely take up a large chunk of your budget so you want to make sure you get it right.  There is a host of frames styles and materials to chose from so you will almost certainly find something to match the style you want.  A well-fitted window will also reduce energy bills as it will stop warm air escaping through gaps and frames.  

The Roof

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

As a general rule, you should really only change the roof of your house if you need to because it’s damaged or leaking (or if money is no object).  It is a very costly project and unless you’re changing the entire shape of the house, it won’t really make that much of a difference. You may want to change your roof in order to add insulation for energy efficiency or bring it in line with a new roof on an extension. When choosing materials for your new roof for sustainable, long-lasting materials that improve the energy efficiency of your home. 

Doors

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside
Replacing or repainting your front door is one of the easiest ways to brighten up the exterior of your home.  A repaint and a new door handle can make a huge difference. If you’re looking for a door for an older property, try searching local salvage yards or try sites like eBay or Etsy for some vintage treasures. Or you may want to change the style of door entirely to something more modern. Always keep security in mind though, you want a solid door that you can fit strong locks in.  Most home insurance policies won’t pay if you don’t have a sufficiently strong lock on your door. 

Garden

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

So, you’ve made the effort to improve the outside of your home.  What about the garden? If you’re lucky enough to have some outside space, make the most of it. Start off by deciding what you want the outside space to be used for.  Do you have kids and need a family-friendly space they can play in, or do you want somewhere you can entertain people, have barbeques or a hot tub?  

Designing a garden is an art form in itself.  If you have a large space and feel a little out of your depth, consider hiring a garden designer.  Much like an interior designer, they will be able to work with you to find out what you need and create a plan to turn that dream into reality. They know which plants will work to complement your style and level of gardening ability too. Depending on the complexity of the plan, you can hire a landscape gardener to complete the work or do it yourself.  

Once you’re created your ideal garden, you need to maintain it.  An overgrown lawn or unruly hedges will undo all of your good work. Include, plants, trees, and shrubs to add some interest to your garden.  By choosing plants that flower at different times of the year, there will always be something to beautiful to look at. Even if you don’t have any outside space, you can still get creative by hanging some window boxes or hanging baskets by your door to make that space more inviting. 

Driveway 

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

A driveway doesn’t have to be just a functional, uninspired strip on concrete to park your car on.  There are a number of different materials and styles you can use to compliment your garden and home exteriors such as: 

  • Concrete
  • Gravel
  • Asphalt
  • Paving
  • Brick

Gravel is often the most popular choice as it comes in a range of colors, is cheap and you can do it yourself with little experience or equipment. 0Concrete driveways are also experiencing a bit of a moment too.  Instead of the usual boring grey color, you can it in a range of colors and have a pattern on the surface, making it look like a paved or brick drive but much easier to maintain as you won’t have to keep removing moss and weeds from between the bricks. 

Outside lighting

The Great Outdoors - Making Your Home Beautiful On The Outside

Let people see all of your hard work by installing exterior and garden lighting.  Not only will it highlight all of the best features, but is good from a security standpoint too. Run lights around all of your pathways and doors to reduce the risk of accidents as you are trying to find your way around in the dark. There is a huge choice of solar and electric lights to choose from. Just make sure you get them professionally installed to make sure that they’re safe.

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