Budget Friendly Upgrades for Your Home’s Exterior

While we might be able to travel throughout the province and to other places in Canada in the not-too-distant future, it looks like COVID-19 will keep us close to home for a little while longer. This is a great opportunity to prepare for spending spring and summer outdoors. If you would like to increase the enjoyment of your front yard, improve curb appeal, and boost the resale value of your home, here are some tips and suggestions for some budget-friendly upgrades for your home’s exterior.

Painting or Replacing the Front Door

The front door of your home is an invitation for visitors to enter your home. Make that first impression count by making the front door a focal point of your home’s exterior.

Paint the entry door if:

  • The door and frame are still in good shape
  • The lock meets current security standards or codes
  • It is a colour you don’t like any more
  • It is a colour that’s never really worked with the other exterior finishing elements

Unless you’re a master carpenter, door replacement is not an easy DIY project. It also depends on the type of door – the two main types are slab (just the door) and pre-hung (both door and frame). Replace the front door if:

  • It’s a hollow core door
  • You would like to increase the security of your home
  • It’s closed, but when the lights are off in the hallway, you see light or feel air come through gaps
  • You are continually weather-stripping or making extensive repairs

Upgrading the Garage Area

Improve the garage area by updating the garage door. The same criteria for deciding whether or not to paint or replace the front door are relevant when deciding what to do with an outdated or uncooperative garage door.

When upgrading the garage area, give the driveway some attention. Start with power washing. If it still appears worn and shabby after a good clean, inspect the surface for any repairs the driveway might need. Patch and reseal problem areas. Budget for having the driveway resealed every three to five years to prevent damage caused by cracks and oil stains.

Landscaping Touch-Ups

Landscaping adds the visual impact to your front yard that makes it more appealing and tweaking what’s already there further improves your curb appeal. Most of these landscaping touch-ups can be done on a budget. They include:

  • Planting a tree or trees in a specific area for a specific purpose – for example, to provide shade or as a windbreak
  • Planting a hedge on one side of the property to increase privacy
  • Using paver borders around flower beds to create a protective barrier from the lawn mower
  • Using paver borders to edge the driveway
  • Mulching flower beds to slow down weed growth
  • Planting container gardens – they can be used to add seasonal colour and can be easily moved around

Installing Home Exterior Decorative Accents

Decorative accents such as shutters and whimsical trim add elegant architectural detailing to a home exterior. In addition to being budget-friendly, decorative accents should also be easy to maintain, environmentally friendly, and colour-coordinated with other exterior finishing accents.

Shutters: One of the most aesthetically pleasing accents you can add to your home are louvered or raised panel shutters on either side of a window. Shutters can be fixed in place (decorative) or folding (functional). If carpentry is one of your skill sets, shutters make an ideal weekend DIY project.

Trim: To make the front of your home symmetrical or to add height to some of the exterior finishing elements of your home, replace the current trim around windows and doors or the garage door. Consider accentuating the roof and siding with gingerbread trim, decorative frieze boards, and braced arches.

Large numbers: A simple architectural element that has a big impact on your home exterior is house numbers. If they are small, worn-looking, or outdated, replace them with something bold and unique. Upgrading to large address numbers is one of those DIY projects that can be done on a weekend.

Mailbox: When the front door mailbox looks a little shabby it can make the rest of your home’s exterior seem uncared for. Another relatively simple DIY project is to purchase a distinctive wall mount mailbox from a hardware or big-box store and install it as per manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure siding will stay intact during the installation process.

Adding Outdoor Furniture

Adding outdoor furniture to your front yard is a very effective budget-friendly way to upgrade your home’s exterior, not to mention the curb appeal factor.

Mixed seating: If you have the room, place mixed seating on either side of the front door – for example, a bench on one side and a large wicker chair on the other.

Bistro set: Create a front yard living space by placing a bistro set on a grassy stretch of lawn. Having somewhere to sit and have a snack looks inviting with an air of holiday indulgence.

Carved wood bench: Put a carved wood bench to one side of a favourite flower bed or beneath a shade tree. The decorative detail of the bench will definitely add some charming curb appeal.