Spiff-up Your Home’s First Impression

06/20/2014 | Ken Lain, mountain gardener Landscaping, Tips

entry-door4The path to your front door should be inviting, but it quickly can become overgrown, dark, and tired-looking.  Here are 9 suggestions to freshen up the entrance to your humble abode; each is easy to execute, each under $100.  Put in just a couple of these weekend projects and your home will have that well-loved look.

Your home’s first impression is purely for your benefit.  Yes, friends, relatives, and the UPS guy are important, but your home should deliver a feeling of welcome every time you return to it.  Whether it’s a forest cabin, the mini ranch, or a downtown flat, the area leading to your home should be warm and inviting.  Dressing up a home from street side to door is an easy weekend project and it doesn’t have to cost much.

Make welcoming happen on the cheap with these easy weekend projects, each for under $100.

1. Clear Your way to Curb Appeal.  The approach to your front door should be light, bright, and well illuminated. Unkempt plants quickly can lower the “welcome” level.  The pathway should be at least 5 feet wide so people can walk shoulder-to-shoulder, without obstructed views. So get out those loppers and cut back all overhanging branches and encroaching shrubbery.

row houses2. Go Bright & High Gloss – Inspired by London’s quaint row houses, whose owners assert their individuality by painting their doors in high-gloss colors, think red-hot chili peppers as the starting point of color for your Southwestern door. Perhaps you’re drawn to a door painted in reflective sheens of a royal blue, crimson, deep green, or whatever vibrant color defines your personality. Not only will your spirits get a lift, but the pizza delivery guy definitely will have no trouble finding your front door!

3. Replace the Hardware – While the paintbrush is drying, go ahead and polish the door handle.  Or better yet, replace it with a shiny new brass lock set with a secure deadbolt. New battery operated punch pads are now available in deadbolt models, so Lisa and I just went keyless. Keyless locks are easy to install and to use. Keylessness is just the thing if you have teenagers coming and going from your home! Keyless Entry Locks

signature hdw4. Please Knock – Doorbells are the norm, but a hefty knocker is a classic that will never run out of battery life or style, and another opportunity to express yourself.  Whatever your image, style, or favorite animal, there’s a doorknocker to suit every expression.

5. Evergreens – With their year-round color,  evergreens, specifically boxwoods, are always tidy, the definition of easy to grow, and easy on the upkeep. A pair of boxwoods defining either side of winter-gem-boxwoodthe door is the traditional use, but a single container highlighting the entrance also is satisfying.  For those of you next to the forest with deer and javalina problems, boxwoods are the perfect solution.  Critters never touch these glossy evergreens! Watters has some good-sized boxwoods for under $40. Be sure that containers can handle mountain freeze and thaw cycles.  A good quality ceramic pot is well under $99, with plastic and wood available for half that price.

6. Numbers/Letters– House numbers should be clearly visible, fresh, and bold.  This is important if you want your guests to arrive on time, and your pizza to be hot. Vinyl numbers that simply stick on in a variety of fonts make it easy, starting for under $5 per number or letter.  The fancier the numbers, the easier they are to spot from the driveway.  Wayfair Numbering

lighting7. Light the Route – Landscape lighting makes it safer to get around at night.  Surprisingly affordable are many of the new solar lights.  They require no wiring, they simply stick into the ground, but MUST be positioned to catch the sun.

8. The Mailbox – From kitschy roadside novelties masquerading as dogs and fish, to sober black lock boxes mounted alongside the front door, mailboxes run the gamut of design possibilities.  Make sure yours is standing or hanging straight, with a secure closure, and no dings or dents. If it looks like someone took a baseball bat to your roadside box, it’s time to replace it with a new one.  Your neighbors will thank you and so will your mail carrier.

9. Foot Traffic – A hardworking mat for wiping dusty feet is a must. A thick coir mat can be had at the hardware store for less than $20, fancier varieties can be found well under $50.  Define your home’s personality right as you step across the threshold. Buy a pair and dress up the back door at the same time.

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Rose-of-Sharon---Blue-Bird[Plant of the Week is the Blue Bird Rose Of Sharon.  The only mountain-hardy hibiscus, this beautiful, large, flowering shrub makes an outstanding background for beds and mixed borders. It will spread out generously along fence lines, and effectively will fill in foundation planting along large barren walls. It is a natural for shrub borders and driveway island planting. This is a very deep-rooted shrub, so put it on the drip system, treat it like the rest of your trees and shrubs, and you’re guaranteed years of blooming enjoyment.

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Gardening Class – “Perennial Flowers: Blooms that Impress” will be presented free to gardening friends next Saturday, June 28th from 9:30 to 10:30 am here at Watters Garden Center. Students will learn how to design seasonally for a continual 4-season bloom.  June is the ideal month to plant perennials, and notable mention will be made of the native and heat loving flowers that bloom without any care at all.

July 5th Gardening Class will feature Sedona landscape designer Rich Olson as he teaches, “Landscape Designs that Thrill, Fill & Make you Money”  Same time, 9:30 to 10:30, same place, Watters Garden Center, same cost:  Free.

Until next week, I’ll see you in the garden center.

Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at www.wattersgardencenter.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/watters1815