An expert’s guide to optimising your home’s driveway and exterior
They say don’t judge a book by its cover but unfortunately the same cannot be said for homes and properties.
Whether you’re welcoming viewings of a home that you’re selling, or just having friends and family round, the judging is done in the first few minutes. So, a carefully constructed exterior appearance is vital, before those impressions and ideas are formulated.
What immediately meets the eye speaks volumes of the owner’s character but also of what atmosphere people can expect to find inside. Is the exterior well-maintained and welcoming or is it scruffy and uninviting?
Keeping on top of your home’s kerb appeal is of maximum importance whether it’s for the influence it has on you and those entering and exiting your home, or whether its looking to win over potential buyers. The driveway, front door and exterior in general have an enormous role in dictating a property’s value. Somebody interested in moving into a new home will often know in the initial moments whether a property is for them or not.
Creating the optimum driveway and home exterior, however, is neither a tiresome nor particularly expensive task. Often a few tweaks here and there, with the odd cost-efficient investment, can transform a home’s frontage from simple and uninspiring into a wonderfully picturesque abode that you and others enter with pride.
Harmonising driveways, paths and greenery
One of the things that makes the biggest statement is the journey to your front door and the aesthetics that surround it.
Though the popularity of front gardens is in decline as people favour driveways and parking spaces, a bit of greenery is still essential. Nobody likes to approach a concrete block with no character – though at the same time, a home overgrown with plants and nature is not practical or presentable either.
It is therefore important to find a balance between the two. A high-quality residential driveway has an indisputable positive impact on property value and facilitates access. Ensure you have the right colour and texture tarmacadam or resin-bound driveway that matches with your home and then begin to accessorise around it. The article “How to Choose The Right Driveway for Your Property” can further assist with this element of home improvement.
A clear driveway is the first step to building an inviting home. Be sure to make the journey to the front door easy and pleasant with a clean walkway that is clear and without obstacles – an overgrown exterior can be a big turn off. If you already have a driveway and path that you are happy with, cut back on out-of-hand plants or any other obstacles, check for cracks, and think about giving all the surfaces outside your home a good clean with a jet wash.
If your driveway or path really has run its course, invest in some new paving stones that will stand the test of time and you that you won’t have to worry about again.
The next step is to start thinking about complementary but low-maintenance greenery. Garden planters are a great way of injecting softness and colour into a home, which, provided they are well kept, make a home look spritely and inviting.
Keep your greenery maintained in garden planters or by using garden walling. Garden walls in stone or brick, for example, might seem like a pricier investment than a wooden fence, but they weather beautifully with time, and last generations.
The front door focal point
The front door is the heart of a home’s exterior and its importance cannot be overemphasised. Everything revolves around this, and getting the colour and presentation right is essential. Upgrading a front door is by no means a laborious task and can breathe new life into your home. Paint it a colour that is bold and strong but not too bright or too dark. A bright, overbearing colour can be difficult on the eyes whilst a dark door can often create a bleak, unwelcoming atmosphere. Blues, reds and greens in understated dark or pastel shades are safe bets that add the right amount of colour and spirit.
It’s then time to focus on your door’s characteristics. Door handles and knockers that are old and rusty can be easily restored to their former glory. A clean and a polish go a long way, but if what you currently have is generally uninspiring, door furniture can be bought from a local hardware store in no time at all. New shiny door furniture can create a great first impression, giving your home a new identity at a very low cost.
Depending on how busy your entrance is, you can now accessorise around your new door. Things like a quality doormat, subtle wreath or modest ornament can add finishing touches to a simple entryway. Remember that less is more, so do add some personal touches for character but avoid overcrowding the space with too much clutter.
Put your home in the spotlight
The final thing to consider is the lighting of your driveway and home exterior. After all the optimising and perfecting, light it up and show it off with pride! A property’s kerb appeal doesn’t count for much if it isn’t looking picturesque and homely at all times of the day.
Effective outdoor lighting is a must. Think about lights that lead people to and from the doorway whilst emphasising prominent features of your home’s exterior. Lights along the driveway and door lighting fixtures make people entering and exiting your home feel safe. Solar lights are incredibly easy to install and can be bought for next to nothing in today’s market. They don’t require any cables from inside the home and can be very easily inserted into a front garden.
Lights make everything more convenient, so be sure to also think about which parts of your home’s exterior need to be navigable in the dark. Things like putting out the rubbish or finding the front door keyhole can become impossible tasks when the exterior lighting is not adequate!