Ideas To Improve Your Small Front Yard

There are many ways to improve your small front yard without uprooting your driveway or dialing back your front porch. In fact, with the right touches, small front yards can be just as appealing as large ones. Here are some ideas to make your small yard appealing year round:

#1 Take a symmetrical approach.

One way to make your small front yard more appealing is to use symmetry. Balancing the elements of your yard on either side of your sidewalk — grass, fencing, flowers, shrubs — will make it look grand and inviting; it will also cost less than it would in a larger yard, because you have less acreage to cover. You can also find a local landscaperto map out and implement a symmetrical yard plan for you.

#2 Make a seamless transition from yard to house.

Use materials like box planters, stone steps or retaining walls to blend your home and yard together. Potted plants on your front porch or patio will also extend the yard without cluttering it. Make sure you choose plants that complement one another, so you don’t have a lot of overgrowth.

#3 Use a hint of color.

If you want to wow people in your small front yard, pick a brightly colored flower, shrub or tree that stands out either on the porch or in the yard itself. Then use neutral colors around to make it stand out. This will be the eye-catching piece in your small yard that people will never miss.

#4 Hang basket flowers.

Hang flower baskets around your front porch or patio. They add fresh color and a natural element to your home without cluttering the porch area itself. You can change them every season or every year, depending on the flowers or shrubs you choose.

#5 Light it up.

Your front yard might be less appealing if people see it at night. That’s why you should add plenty of lighting. One option is to install standing, solar-powered lamps along the walkway; another is to hang lamps on your front porch to illuminate the plants there. It just depends on how much moneyand time you want to invest.

#6 Refresh your front door.

While not a traditional part of the “yard”, your front porch is still important to the beauty of the area as a whole. This means your front door needs to be appealing as well. Fix any cracks, scratches or other damage to the door. Also, think about revitalizing it with a new coat of paint. Choose a color that complements the exterior landscape.

Conclusion

These are only a few tips to help you improve your small front yard. You want to make it seem bigger, if not at least more comfortable. Adding a fence might be another option to consider, though you’ll want to lean towards an open design pattern like picket or chain link. Just keep your budget in mind and try not to clutter your yard while trying to redesign it. For more tips on making the most of a patio in a small yard, check out this post from HuffPost Homes.

WRITTEN BY ANDREA DAVIS

THE $140,000 MISTAKE YOU’RE MAKING WITH YOUR HOME

If you’re not tending to your front yard, your perennials aren’t the only thing you stand to lose. We’ve all heard of the importance of curb appeal, but do you know what that means for actual dollar value? “Good landscaping can add up to 28% to overall home value,” said landscape economist John Harris on Houselogic. “Even taking your landscaping from ‘good’ to ‘excellent,’ in terms of design, condition, and placement, can add 6% to 7% to a home’s value, according to a Clemson University study of homes in Greenville, S.C.” On a $500,000 house, you’re talking about an extra $140,000 at 28 percent!

John Gidding, host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” and Logo TV’s “Secret Guide to Fabulous” told the Washington Post that he had “always heard the number 150 percent” in regards to the return on investment of landscaping. “But to me that is conservative,” he said. “On a ‘Curb Appeal’ project, I put in $20,000 and the sellers got $200,000 more than they had paid for the house just a year prior. The return was astonishing.”

While a “1,000 percent return on investment in landscaping” is certainly no guarantee for the average person and individual ROI is based on numerous factors, Gidding advises that the “best strategy is to research the architectural style of your home and create a landscaping plan that matches.”

Additional tips can help your landscaping shine without a whopper of an investment, and many of the projects can be done on your own.

Clean it up

An unkempt yard isn’t going to entice buyers, especially if it’s cold outside and nice and toasty in the car. Give people a reason to approach by cleaning and tidying up the yard. Raking leaves, removing any clutter that’s gathered on walkways and porches, and washing windows will cost you nothing but a little bit of elbow grease.

Wash it

The windows probably aren’t the only thing that needs washing on the exterior of your house. “Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house,” said Houselogic. “REALTORS®say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses.”

The first step: Grab a bucket of soapy water and a “long-handled, soft-bristled brush” to remove any noticeable dust and dirt. For homes that need more attention, a power washer that can be rented for about $75 a day can do the trick.

Fix up

Have some deferred maintenance on your home? If you’re looking to sell, that maintenance is deferred no more. Remember that potential buyers are looking for anything that questions the quality of the home or its upkeep so they can move on to the next home or chip away at your sales price. “Nothing looks worse from the curb – and sets off subconscious alarms – like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint,” said Houselogic. “Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by 10%.”

Address the lawn

“In its study of the worth of outdoor remodeling projects, the National Association of Realtors put standard lawn care at the top of their list of projects that most appeal to buyers, with 14% of the agents claiming that it recently helped them make a sale,” said Investors. “And with a price tag of only about $330, according to National Association of Landscape Professionals, home sellers can expect to triple their investment with a return of about $1,000 added to the sale price.

A new coat of mulch can give the home a fresh look, has a minimal cost, and offers additional benefits. “It protects land from soil erosion and reduces compaction from heavy rains. It also will help reduce your water bill by eliminating the need to frequently water, and provides an even soil temperature to protect your plants,” said US News.

Go low-maintenance

If adding new landscaping, consider how much maintenance is involved. If you’re planning to live in the home for a while, you’ll appreciate not having to spend a lot of time and energy taking care of your yard. “Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet,” said HGTV. If you’re getting ready to sell, potential buyers will take note of native and/or drought-tolerant plants that add curb appeal but allow them to “think green.”

Upgrade your entry points

Take a good look at your front door and garage. Have they seen better days? Replacing them with fresh, new versions will give your home a noticeable lift, with a strong return on investment. The ROI on a $2,000 steel entry door replacement is 75 percent, while a “garage door replacement returns about 87% of its $2,300 project cost,” said Houselogic.

A fresh coat of paint can also do wonders if you’re looking to spend less. “If you only have a few hundred dollars, paint the front door and get new house numbers.  Improve whatever the eye will see from the street,” Gidding said.

Think trees

If you’re doing some quick fixes to get your home sold, planting trees may not be on your radar. But if you’ve just moved in or are redoing your yard and are looking for smart landscaping ideas, the long-term value of trees on your property may have you researching different species.

“If you aren’t planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time,” said HGTV. “Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.”

There’s even a site you can visit to calculate how a tree species in a particular ZIP code affects your property value as well as potential energy savings.

Light it up

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) list of most-wanted home features for buyers of all ages, 90 percent want exterior lighting. If yours is dated or insufficient, a minimal investment of a couple hundred dollars could pay off big time.