Make Those First Impressions Count

7th June 2019

Much is made about kerb appeal when you’re selling your home – but why wait? Keeping your home’s exterior exemplary, and your garden glorious, improves the attractiveness of your property and brings a smile to your face when you return home every day…

Invest in a fresh front door:

Your front door makes a big statement about your home, and sets the tone of the entire house’s aesthetic, whether that’s modern or traditional; smart or dishevelled.

Most of us keep the same door that’s there when we move in, and never give the entrance to our homes another thought as we rush through it every day, key in hand – but it’s central to first impressions. As President of the Royal Institute of British Architects Jane Duncan says, “you will be amazed by the impact and subtlety that can be procured through the right choice of door… the choice of design, material, colour and ironmongery can all affect the end result”. A brand new door is an expensive investment, but can have stunning results; alternatively, you can simply give your current one a revamp with a fresh coat of paint and with new or freshly-polished metalwork.

Wave goodbye to dirty windows:

If your front door is your focal point, your windows are the eyes of the home. They allow you to see out, and give passers-by a glimpse inside. Sparkling, clean windows make a home look loved, as do immaculate frames. Windows with uPVC frames are virtually-maintenance-free, and just need a quick wash over now and then, but are not necessarily suited to all kinds of home, especially character properties. If you have a home with timber windows, do check the woodwork regularly for any signs of wear and tear, or it can quickly become rotten: specialist paint can provide greater protection.

One way to transform your home is by changing the size of your windows. ‘Going large’ can make your inside space much lighter and brighter, and the outside of your house much more impactful; in most cases it can be done under ‘permitted planning’ (i.e. without the need for formal permission), but do check with your local authority.

Banish boring brickwork:

What about the condition of the rest of the exterior? Brickwork can get grubby, and should be hosed down every now and then to clean it (although do avoid using a pressure washer as this can potentially cause damage). Apart from that, it needs little maintenance and this, along with its timeless appeal, is one of the reasons that it’s still the most popular way to finish a home.

Rendering, the application of a coat of cement to a brick wall, is also popular, although keeping it spotless means re-painting it at least every ten years or so, making it a more expensive investment. However, it does work wonders to ‘prettify’ a less-than-inspiring house, or to bring uniformity to a property that’s a mishmash of varied exterior styles as a result of being extended at different times across the years.

Other options for transforming your property include timber cladding, which is increasingly popular for its aesthetics, durability, insulation properties and environmental friendliness.

Say no to gunked-up gutters:

‘I love cleaning out the gutters’, said no-one ever. Nonetheless, a gutter clogged with leaves and other debris can cause extensive water damage, and make a nice homes for pests, such as wasps or rodents. These water collection channels are essentially designed as your home’s weather protection and water-proofing system, and so free flow is vital. Although it’s a straightforward job to clear them out (simply use your hands encased in a sturdy pair of gloves), be aware that RoSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) estimates that 35,000 accidents happen every year from people falling off ladders at home; if you feel less than safe climbing up to reach them, clearing out the gutters may be a job best left to the experts.

Pick out perfect pots:

Once you’ve managed the maintenance of your property, it’s down to the aesthetic touches. A well-kept front garden can complement your home beautifully; but year-round attention to a permanent green space isn’t for everyone, and some prefer the convenience and practicality of paving. If this is the case, easy-to-tend pots are your best friend. Choose containers that suit the style of your garden and which are large enough to house the rootball of your tree and allow for growth. Japanese maples, and topiaries such as yew, bay, privet or holly arranged symmetrically either side of the door look great, if you like a contemporary touch; less formal arrangements will give a more relaxed ‘country cottage’ feel.

If the romance and whimsy of climbing plants appeal to you, they can be easily trained to grow around the door; they’ll just need some kind of support, like a wooden trellis, painted to match your home and screwed into the walls, or more simply, a metal obelisk pushed into the ground if you have a border there. Consider planting more than one climber, so that they’ll come into their own at different times: try combining a pretty spring-flowering clematis, with a Virginia creeper that will turn into a striking crimson-red come Autumn.

Light the way:

Clever lighting will enhance security and add the finishing aesthetic touches. Choose attractive wall-mounted lamps for outside the front door, and soft uplighters to accentuate garden features and to light pathways. Movement-activated lighting can act as a good burglar-deterrent. Experiment with the huge range of inexpensive solar lights, from lamps to string-lights, to add interest and a summery festive touch to your front garden.

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