While our winters are known for being harsh, that doesn't mean your house has to look that way too. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can easily spruce up your home’s winter curb appeal to make it the envy of the entire neighborhood and increase its market value when you decide to sell.
By how much? According to Ontario expert landscaping designer Welwyn Wong, professional landscaping and improving your home’s curb appeal “can add between 15 and 25 percent to your home’s value and help you sell faster.” Keep reading for 14 tips on creating an eye-catching exterior before you put your house on sale—even when it’s buried in slush, sleet, and snow.
1. Clear Driveways, Walkways, Stairs, and Sidewalks
Keeping your sidewalks, walkways, stairs, and driveways clear of snow and ice gives your home a more well-maintained look. Not only is it safer for potential visitors, but it also helps potential buyers forget about all the snow removal they’ll have to do once they take over. Don’t forget to sprinkle salt and sand afterward to prevent anyone from slipping and falling on your property.
2. Keep Your Garage Neat
An organized garage not only looks more inviting but also gives off the impression of being a larger space than when it’s filled with clutter. Make sure your garage is clean and free of grease, paint stains, or litter, and pack up any tools or power equipment you’re not currently using. A few shelves, cabinets, or storage hooks can go a long way toward hiding anything unsightly.
3. Decorate or Paint Your Front Door
Make the front of your home stand out against a snowy backdrop by painting your door in a bright and cheery color. Your front entrance is often the first thing potential home buyers will see, so make it attractive and easy to spot by hanging up a pretty wintergreen wreath or festive garland.
4. Install a Bird Feeder
Create a home for blue jays, robins, cardinals, and other birds that tend to stick around in the winter months and can lend color and life to your yard when they come to visit. Setting up a bird feeder is an easy way to add a welcome touch of charm and serenity to your space.
5. Use Outdoor Lighting to Add Visibility and Warmth
As the days are short in the winter months, chances are high that potential home buyers may be touring your property when it’s no longer light outside. Think about the way your home looks in the dark and how you can strategically place outdoor lighting to make it more inviting.
Some options include hanging a stylish chandelier from a covered porch, stringing fairy lights along your deck, or adding motion sensor-activated lights to your driveway or walkway to your front door. Outdoor lanterns are another charming way to help enhance visibility while creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
6. Get a Retro Mailbox in a Bold Color
Sometimes old school is the best school. Even if you don’t get snail mail very often, an old-fashioned mailbox can serve as a charming accessory for your front yard while also adding an eye-catching graphic punch to the street. It also makes a great landmark for buyers trying to find your house.
7. Add Winter-resistant Furniture to Your PorchShowcase the year-round versatility of your front porch and give buyers a welcoming first impression by creating a cozy outdoor sitting area. You can use winter-resistant, durable outdoor furniture such as a bench or rocking chairs and add colorful, weatherproof rugs for interesting accents. Bring out a few blankets and lanterns to lend warmth and appeal even in cold winter months.
8. Keep Your Front Entrance Clean
Get a doormat with your favorite saucy or whimsical saying and keep it at your front entrance to ward off snow, salt, and dirt. Keep the winter elements where they belong safely outside and ensure your front entrance is free of clutter or stray winter clothing such as hats, mittens, or boots.
9. Keep Your Lawn Trimmed Year-Round
Even in the dead of winter, you should be maintaining your lawn. Keep it trimmed and free of stray leaves, dead twigs, and other debris. It not only gives off a better impression to potential buyers but also sets a solid foundation for spring growth when the snow melts.
10. Use Colorful Winter Plants and Evergreens
Along with evergreens, cold-weather plants such as witch hazel, pansies, and violas can brighten up your yard in the otherwise bleak winter months. Add a splash of greenery to the landscape by planting them in patio pots or around your home in mulch-filled flower beds to help protect them from the cold.
11. Prune Your Plants, Shrubs, and Trees
Stay ahead of potential ice and snowstorms by keeping your trees, plants, and shrubs well-pruned ahead of time. Rather than wait for your tree branches to snap under the weight of the ice and snow, trim them early for a tidier, more well-kept appearance around your home.
12. Install Window Box Planters
Even if landscaping is not an option, you can still add a lot of character and life to your home’s exterior by installing window box planters. Festive greenery with colorful accents such as red berries and pine cones lasts you a while offsetting the bleak grey of the winter months.
13. Add Sculptural ElementsA whimsical and weather-resistant statue or sculpture can accent your landscape year-round. You should first ensure that it is hardy enough to withstand cold weather and freezing temperatures and that it won’t blow over or break on an especially windy day.
14. Add a Fire Pit (Hot Chocolate Optional)
As perhaps the best way to extend the outdoor patio season, a fire pit serves as not just a practical source of heat but also a memorable way to gather people around in a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Add some comfortable seating, warm blankets, and a hot toddy or hot chocolate for your visitors, and your home’s curb appeal will shoot through the roof.