How to update curb appeal?

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My husband and I are updating my childhood home, built in 1970 and in need of several updates. What type of landscape should I go with in zone 7? The major eyesore is under and between the windows, which is the first piece we are taking on out front. I don't want to remove the ramp bc we are getting older, and the plan is to build a small deck over concrete and brick front porch. The boxwoods are huge in some places and I hate to lose them but not sure if we can get them out without too much damage, and even though we have plenty of spaces they would be perfect, realistically how hard is it to move them? Hubby says no way...what do you all think?


What types of bushes (or small tree that's roots won't damage foundation) and landscaping should I plant that will be easy to care for and add some color? Also, what is a cheap way to build up the bed and define it?

q how to update curb appeal
  8 answers
  • Em Em on Sep 12, 2018

    I would just add a small perennial garden out front. Use natural rock or some pavers and make an outline. Turn over the soil and add fabric landscaping cloth. Add some perennials, like iris or lilies and hosta that take little maintenance. Top with fresh soil. Sit back and enjoy as the flowers spread.

    • Dorothy Sittler Dorothy Sittler on Sep 13, 2018

      I was thinking perennial too. It depends on weather condition year round as to what foliage to use. Here in Windsor everything grows. We have a green and white leaf that is mowed down once or twice a year and comes up more beautiful. It also makes it simpler to weed.

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Sep 12, 2018

    Hi Jenny! What a lovely older home! I think I would start by updating the cream paint with a white. Renting a power washer and hitting the wood ramp and rails would brighten that up right away. You could then put a good outdoor sealant on the wood to keep it a lighter color for longer. I think I would also consider painting the shutters a brighter color. You could go with a blue or even a red and that would really pop and modernize the look.

    Putting new perennial bushes in the flower beds might be nice, you could consider hydrangeas and other bushes that come back and flower year after year.

    A really big job you could also consider is white washing the brick.

    Good luck!

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Sep 12, 2018

    Your house is lovely, but you need to make it POP....this is easy when you add contrast and color! Since the brick front is a dark neutral color, I would paint the shutters a lighter and brighter color like burnt orange or silver. I would plant shrubs between the windows that soften the hard lines of the brick and grow randomly and without structure, like roses. I would also plant low growing, similarly random growing plants in front of the ramp to make it blend in with the rest of the house. I WOULDN'T paint the ramp so it blends in, not highlighting the structure, but I WOULD power wash it so it looks new and fresh. Finally, I would plant lots and lots of annual flowers in bright colors that work with the new shutter colors.

  • DMD DMD on Sep 13, 2018

    small Japanese maples that grow slowly, have beautiful wine colored feathery leaves would add color and soften the look with little maintenance. Don’t plant too close to the house.

    if you decide to power wash the ramp, you could use an outdoor stain on it which would make it much easier than paint to keep up later. It comes in lots of colors. I’d keep it close to the brick color.

  • Karen Brunck Karen Brunck on Sep 13, 2018

    Hi Jenny. I'm going to have to agree with hubby on the removal of the larger shrubs. They have a very dense root system, and they appear to be very happy right there. The easiest way to remove them would be to dig around the perimeter of each shrub, then attach a tow chain around the base, the other end to a truck, and pull them out. You can try to save them for transplant by putting them into their new chosen spot and a large amount of water and a small amount of fertilizer daily, for 2 weeks. They will be in shock and look horrible for a few weeks, but if they choose to survive, will bounce back slowly. Make sure any new shrubs are placed at least 2 ft. out from the foundation to avoid any damage. Azaleas and hydrangeas are a couple of low maintenance shrubs that add color. Look to your local nursery for inspiration. My choice would be to add a couple of window boxes full of flowers/plants under each window, then centered between the windows, about 15 feet from the house, a flowering weeping cherry tree in a circular bed.😊

  • Maureen McAteer Vasily Maureen McAteer Vasily on Sep 13, 2018

    First, I would create a planting area under those two windows. I would dig up soil w/ fresh soil; then, plant the flowers you like; then mulch (I like black mulch)... How about cutting back those lovely shrubs? That would make a big difference.

  • Bonnie Woolever Bonnie Woolever on Sep 26, 2018

    The front door definitely needs a coat of lighter, brighter paint. Possibly the same color as the siding?

  • Bonnie Woolever Bonnie Woolever on Sep 26, 2018

    To easily move the shrubs:


    Use a reciprocating saw with a pruning blade on it.


    Stick the blade into the dirt about 1' out from the base of the shrub. In a circle, go the whole way around the shrub, cutting all of the roots. Once you have completed the circle around the shrub, grab a digging bar or a shovel and go around the shrub again, in the cut area that you made using the saw, and give the shrub a little pry and tilt it up out of the ground as much as you can. Once you have it out of the ground a bit, put your reciprocating saw in the area under the shrub and cut any remaining roots that go straight down into the ground.


    This is a much easier way to remove (and move) shrubs than you may be used to! No chains and big trucks! Haha! I have used this method before and can attest to the fact that it is much less work than pulling them out of the ground.


    Best of luck! The house is adorable and will look great with a little tweaking.

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