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Give Your Home Some Curb Appeal

When I was young I was always told, “You only get one first impression, so you’d better make it a good one!” As an adult that holds especially true when it comes to selling your home. Whether you call it curb appeal, home staging or ‘the wow factor’, your main goal is to make the outside of your home appealing enough to have someone driving by slam on their brakes and either come in or take down the information.

But before you start making a mad dash to the paint store or garden centre, take note: curb appeal is no longer just about a fresh coat of paint or some pretty flowers. People can now tell the difference between just slapping a band aid on your home and things that increase the value of the home. Below are some ways to take your home from now to wow…


Gone are the days of those overgrown English-style gardens. Keep in mind that today’s buyers have little to no time to spend working in the outdoors. Get rid of those overgrown shrubs and plants and replace them with already mature plantings, and space them accordingly. Most of the gardens I design have a low-maintenance, minimalist approach, which creates a sense of beauty – without work. Adding some fresh mulch and pops of colour are also important. Remember: first impressions of your home may be negative if the gardens are unkempt.


Most viewings and drive-bys occur after dusk; therefore you need to show off your home and give it that welcoming feel; nothing does that better then proper outdoor lighting. A well-designed lighting plan will give your home that warm, inviting vibe as well as a sense of safety. Areas to focus on include pathways, porches/entrances, up-lighting of trees and other focal points. To do this efficiently, use LED lighting along with a timer and photocell to ensure the least amount of hydro is used.


The largest areas of your front yard are usually covered by lawn. A lawn that looks like scorched earth or a patchwork of dirt and lawn will not create a good first impression. Even though top dressing and seeding your lawn may be a cheap route (this will also take months to look lush), sod is the fastest method. In the end, sod will be the best return on your money because it will provide you with an instantly lush and mature-looking lawn.


Nothing says “Welcome” like a beautiful path leading right to your front door. If you have an existing pathway (whether interlock, concrete or stone), make sure it is in good repair. Most paths are straight; if you are able to, add interest and appeal by creating a curved or winding pathway. You can spruce up any walkway by adding natural stone ledge rock as a border/edge, path lighting and/or accent plants.


Even though you may love garden gnomes and piles of rocks from your summer vacations, the potential buyer may not. Always make the outside of your home appealing to as many people as possible. Clean up, trim up, hide those gnomes and make your yard look as maintenance-free as possible. Let the potential buyers envision what is possible versus what is already there.

Most of these suggestions can be tackled over a weekend or by hiring a landscaping professional. When it comes to curb appeal and selling your home quickly, do not give a potential buyer a reason to form a negative opinion before even entering your home. Instead, give them a reason to make an offer!

Scott Duff is the owner of the award-winning Aura Landscaping, based in Ontario, and is a Baeumler Approved Contractor and Professional Member of Landscape Ontario. For more information, visit auralandscaping.com.


  • 1.LED Outdoor Lighting: An energy-efficient way to provide safety and that “wow factor”
  • 2.Natural Stone: Timeless beauty for path edging and accent rocks
  • 3.Colour: Whether it is new mulch or plants, add some colour!
  • 4.Low Maintenance: Everything from minimalistic landscaping to irrigation systems will appeal to those without time or a green thumb.
  • 5.Universal Appeal: Let the potential buyer envision what is possible