Posts Tagged ‘curb appeal’

Curb Appeal Always Includes Flowers

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

We met with the realtor yesterday and he did a walk through of the house to let us know what else needs to be done before we list.  He sympathized with our renovation fatigue and said this:  The bottom line is curb appeal, curb appeal, curb appeal, NO CLUTTER, and cleanliness. 

One of the best ways to amp up your curb appeal?  Flowers!

Adding flowers to your landscape seemed like a no brainer.  Here’s a lesson learned – save it for the end.  Don’t add your flowers until you are ready to sell.  Otherwise, you will have to devote too much time and effort into maintaining them and keeping them alive before you sell.  Case in point, we bought a ton of flowers at the end of May thinking that we wanted them to become well established before we listed.  I had visions of huge blooming mounds of marigolds and geraniums dancing in my head.  Two months later? Over half of those flowers are deader than a door nail.  With regular temps in the 100s, little to no rain, a crazy busy remodeling schedule, and two kids to raise the poor plants went the way of the dodo.

Our second attempt is looking good.  Lowes has hanging planters of flowers for $5 each.  The planters are stuffed with many plants and they are blooming like crazy.  I plan on planting an entire pot at a time in the ground.  For the yellow ones, the flowers are so dense I will subdivide each pot into two separate “plants”.  In the end, I actually saved more money by purchasing the hanging baskets than if I bought individual flower plants.

OMG, I have hostas in the front yard!  With all the junk we had piled on our driveway and the weeds a mile high, I was never able to tend to my front of house.

I gave all the shrubberies up front a buzz cut, pulled out the rotted fencing, weeded and mulched the flowerbed and dropped my pots in the ground.  It’s not a bad start.  I have one more layer of plants that I will add in between the bushes and flowers, but that step isn’t critical right now. 

As for my own advice about waiting to plant until the end?  You heard it here… We are 2 weeks away from listing – at least, that is what we are pushing for.  The realtor will be back next Tuesday to check on progress and the following week to hopefully post the house.  Fingers crossed!

Landscaping Side Yard

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

On the kid’s side of the house, there was a huge, unruly, thorny, and ugly holly bush that had grown out of control.  When Oliver scratched his face on the thorny leaves while running past it, the hubby took a pickaxe to the roots and buh-bye holly.  Getting rid of the holly left a big crater in the ground and the house seemed a little bit naked.

We bought an azalea to replace the holly bush, but it looked so lonely all by itself.  We hatched a plan to landscape around the bush over the weekend.  The hubby turned over all the dirt and sunk black plastic landscape edging.

Oliver loved this part!  He got to dig in the dirt with daddy and actually turned dirt over all by himself.

I went around the yard to scavenge for plants to move.  Two years ago, we saw an ad on Craigslist for free liriope.  The lady had it growing out of control in her yard and she said we could have all that we could dig out and carry.  Well, we hauled quite a bit away from her yard and used it here and there at our house.  At the time, I had split each liriope plant into 2-4 clumps and planted them with hopes of transplanting them later. 

Well, now is later.  Those little clumps have grown into large healthy plants and were ready for us to dig up, divide, and replant.  I also dug up some hostas from a planter box and had a few new flowers to add to the mix.

Water break!  The temps were in the 90s, but Oliver played and played like it was nothing.

I used pine bark mulch to tie everything together and voila, project complete.  We are doing something similar on the opposite side of the house where the chimney is at.  This will match the work we’ve done on the front of the house.  

Project costs:  $55
Azalea bush – $8
2 Geraniums – $10
13 Impatiens – $10
4 bags Pine Bark Nuggets – $12
20+feet edging – $15
2 Hostas – free
6 Liriope – free

Renew House Numbers and Doorbell with Paint

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

One way to kick up your curb appeal is to trade out your worn out house numbers and doorbell for something new.  The 2Pennies way is to give them a fresh look with spray paint.

My old house numbers were a dingy, tarnished, and faded heavy metal (maybe brass?). The doorbell was also grimy and worn from years of dirty finger use.  The first thing to do is to remove them from your house and give them a good scrubbing with soap and water.  Be careful not to soak the doorbell in water.  Next, LIGHTLY rub them with some fine grit sandpaper – 220 or higher.  The point is to take away the sheen or shine.  This helps the spray paint to adhere.

Layer your workspace with newspaper and work in a well ventilated area.  Spray paint has serious fumes.  I elevated my items on some crushed balls of aluminum foil.  This method ensures the paper doesn’t stick to the pieces as they dry and you can spray the sides along with the tops. 

Shake your spray paint the recommended time that is posted on the can and do a few test sprays to make sure the nozzle is clear.  Start the spray away from the object being painted, sweep the can over the object, and end the spray away from the object.  You never want to aim the can directly at the piece and push the nozzle.  The paint will immediately pool and run. 

Make several passes and let the pieces dry.  Spray a second or third time if it needs it.  If the edges of the pieces are not fully covered, don’t despair, we will fix that later on.

For the door bell, use masking tape to tape off the button and/or the ring around the button.  Press it on firmly and use a sharp knife to cut away the excess.

It will take at least 24 hours for the pieces to fully dry and cure with low humidity.  When they are ready, you can now touch up the edges. 

Spray some paint into a little aluminum foil bowl and break the end of a toothpick off to use as a brush. 

Dip the toothpick in the paint and then touch it to the edge of your item.  The paint almost wicks itself off the brush and onto the metal!  Keep dipping and dabbing until all your edges are set.  Be sure to make some new foil balls to set your pieces on to dry.

After a few hours, everything is ready to go!  If you want to further weather proof your stuff , buy some semi-gloss or gloss polyurethane spray and spray on several coats.  My spray paint was already exterior semi-gloss so I did not take this extra step.

We tacked up the new numbers on the front porch post where they would be more visible.  Not to shabby!

The doorbell turned out decent as well.

A new doorbell would have cost $14 and comparable new numbers were $4 bucks each.  Buying new would have cost $30.  Instead, I used a can of spray paint that I already had to pull of this redo for free.  Even if I had to buy a quality can of Rustoleum Interior/Exterior High Gloss Black Spray Paint, it would have only cost me $3.98.

I’m going to break out my trusty toothpick again and touch up the old screwheads with black paint to finish it off.  Not to shabby!

Replacing Mailbox and Post

Monday, May 30th, 2011

I’m not sure where my friend read it, but she said that it helps to give your mailbox a facelift when you sell your house.  I guess it’s all a part of that nebulous concept called “curb appeal”. 

Our mailbox was in sad shape.  The first day we moved into the house, the hubby ran over the mailbox with the moving truck.  He then splinted the broken post between two pieces of wood and the poor thing had been tilting forward ever sine.  The ugly green mailbox itself was rusted and dented from some hooligan’s cherry bomb.  No facelift could rejuvenate this baby.  Time for a new setup.

I had been priming our new fence post over the past few days.  We decided to install it today as the mailman is off for the holiday.  The old mailbox post is underneath the new one.  See the sad little splint at the bottom?  You can also see the new post is much shorter than the old one.

The original post was just stuck in the ground.  We borrowed a post hole digger from a neighbor and made the hole a bit bigger so we could cement the post in place.  We backfilled the hole and tamped the dirt down so our little shorty post would be the proper height.

Now that the hole was bigger, the post wouldn’t stay upright for us to dump in cement.  The hubby improvised with 2 sawhorses, 2 pieces of wood, and 4 bar clamps.  He clamped one piece of wood to both sawhorses and then clamped another piece of wood behind the post to the first piece of wood.  He used a level to position the post.

We were so glad that we bought a half dozen bar clamps from Harbor Freight.  Every now and then, we get Harbor Freight’s circular and see them on sale for $1.99 each.  Normally, there is a limit that you can buy.  These little guys are well worth it.

To cement the post in place, he poured 1/2 to 3/4 of a bag of dry Quickcrete mix into the hole.  He then added water from a hose (following the directions on the box) and mixed it up with a broom handle.  Two hours later the concrete had set and it was rock hard!

He then cut a piece of wood that would go underneath the mailbox and attach to the mailbox post.  We had bought a precut mailbox plank from Lowes, but found that it was too wide for the mailbox that we bought.  The first time he attached the mailbox, we had it flush against the back of the post.  While pretty, the door wouldn’t open all the way because it was getting jammed on the wood underneath the mailbox.  We pulled the box forward an inch and voila – we now have the best mailbox on the block!

I have to go back and put a topcoat of paint over the primer and plant some flowers around the base still.  I’ll tackle that tomorrow!  Right now, it’s back to packing up our bedroom while the hubby is tamping rocks in the dark for our brick walkway.  We have realtors coming tomorrow and our target date to list the house is 6/19.  The clock is ticking!

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