Curb appeal refers to the overall attractiveness of a home’s exterior. By this measure, curb appeal is not just well-kept landscaping or an inviting front entrance; it is the pleasing effect achieved by making different elements of the structure and streetside surroundings work together.

Curb appeal can be enhanced without necessarily spending a lot of money or completing gardening and structural changes in a short period. In fact, when it comes to this home improvement project, it is best to schedule the work over time so that plans can be adjusted as needed.

1. Bag it and trash it.

Eliminate the clutter in the front yard and around the home. Playground equipment that is in disrepair, broken landscape features, dead vegetation and obsolete tools are among the items that often clutter up a home’s exterior. Resolve to eliminate these items by donating anything usable and trashing the rest.

2. Repair and replace weather-warped features of the home.

Cracked and broken windows need to be replaced not only for curb appeal purposes but also to ensure home security and efficient energy usage. Shutters, molding or any gingerbread details that are not in tiptop shape must be fixed or removed if repairs are not feasible.

3. Power wash and paint the exterior.

A fresh coat of paint is a quick and easy way to change the look of home. Choose the paint colors sensibly, making sure that the color palette is compatible with the neighborhood and the style of the home. A purple exterior will stand out in a residential block where all the homes are in tropical pastel colors. Use the bolder colors for the front door and on the home’s interesting details such as exterior molding or window trim.

4. Dress up the entryway.

Use flagstones or pavers to create a curvy path from the sidewalk to the front door. Choose a bright and inviting color for the front door. Provide a basic seating area near the front door if space allows. A porch swing or a bistro set by the front entrance is an open invitation to linger. It is also a good spot to watch the world go by.

5. Use colorful plants to add interest to the landscape.

Choose low maintenance native plants suited to the local climate to reduce the need for watering. There are many flowering plants to choose from regardless of the planting zone. Potted plants arranged strategically are better options for those who are unable to maintain flowerbeds and planters. In-season plants can be purchased in pots and clustered in the right spots to achieve a lush garden effect.

6. Mow, mulch and prune.

A well-kept front yard must be mowed regularly. Use colorful mulch or decorative rocks around landscape features. Keep trees and bushes in line with consistent pruning.

7. Light it up.

Today’s garden lights are solar-powered, eliminating the need for wiring and professional installation. Solar lights come in a variety of sizes and shapes to complement any garden theme. Provide adequate lighting for the front entrance, too.

8. Add accent spots.

A well-placed arbor, garden gate, trellis or decorative fence panel never fails to add charm to the home’s exterior. These features represent pride of ownership and a sense of belonging. They can also be used to hide unattractive features like air conditioning units or water pumps. They can enhance privacy and create private spots where none exist.

9. Revive the driveway.

A worn down driveway can be expensive to repair or replace but it will certainly be worth the effort in terms of enhancing curb appeal and the home’s value. Patching and repainting are also good options to improve a cracked or potholed pavement.

10. Upgrade the mailbox and faded house numbers.

Paint or replace the mailbox. A new mailbox makes the home look newer. Ensure that the mailbox conforms to local regulations.

Assess the results of these efforts by standing across the street and viewing the progress of these curb appeal-enhancing projects. With some hard work and a lot of creativity, the home’s exterior becomes more inviting, hinting at the welcome that lies within.