Trend Report: Curb Appeal
This story is found in the Summer 2019 edition of Park City Home.
Putting a house on the market means buckling down and sprucing up. But increasing your home’s curb appeal isn’t the exclusive domain of sellers. As Rachel Stults, deputy editor of realtor.com, says, “Although curb appeal is arguably the most significant thing to focus on when selling, a first impression is important to everyone. Every proud homeowner wants their place to look good. Nobody wants the worst yard on the block.” We spoke with her about the big trends in giving your home a literal facelift.
No question about it, “A bold front door is the biggest thing.” The most ambitious move is to replace your front door entirely, particularly with something fresh and modern such as steel. But if that’s an expense you’d rather avoid, painting is the easiest way to go bold. Stults says she’s seeing lots of “aqua, yellow, and coral — Pantone’s color of the year.”
Updated front entry sconces are another top improvement that Stults says, “will always be a safe investment.” The other major door craze is — like it or not — a wreath. “They were a top Pinterest trend in 2018,” says Stults. Too grandma for your taste? Think about a wreath made of metal rings, faux lambs ear, even dried beans.
Walkways loosen up
Your front pathway is another high impact item that’s shifting with the times. That perfectly laid red-brick walkway is evolving into a more natural-looking entry. Among the possibilities: uneven stepping stones, natural stone pavers, and concrete paths that are stained, dyed, and stamped with stencils that create texture. The goal, says Stults, is to make you feel like you’re more “in nature.”
“It’s similar to what designers are doing inside the home, blurring the environment between indoors and out.” Completing the picture: LED path lights, which Stults says are an easy upgrade with a guaranteed return.
In areas of the country where water is at a premium, replacing lush green lawns with drought-tolerant plants and landscaping is a major trend. And Stults says it’s catching on in other places as well. “No matter where you live, we’re increasingly focused on low-maintenance options. It’s not just being eco-conscious — homeowners don’t want a whole lot of yardwork.” She continues, “I don’t think that nice lawns are going away anytime soon, but more of the country is seeing what can be done with rocks and plants. Succulents, cactus, container gardens — you can grow them anywhere and it’s beautiful.” And for those with limited outdoor space, she says vertical gardens are the next big thing. “People are looking up and growing flowers, herbs, pretty much anything.”
Garages and shutters
If your garage faces the street, eliminating dings and scrapes on its door is a facelift fundamental, whether or not you’re putting your home on the market. Beyond that, Stults says that if you have the means, installing a steel garage door, or one with translucent glass panels, can make a profound difference in your home’s curb appeal.
What doesn’t always pay off: installing rustic, farmhouse-style shutters, without regard for the overall style of your home. As charming as it looks in the hands of “Fixer-Upper” icon Joanna Gaines, Stults has seen it employed with questionable results on everything from elegant colonial townhouses to modern ranches. Word to the wise: Respect your home’s overall character.
Front porch living
Until recently, an entryway with a couple of Adirondack chairs and a planter was the ultimate in front porch design. Not anymore. Nowadays, says Stults, outdoor décor is becoming increasingly elaborate. “It goes back to the idea of creating an indoor-outdoor flow. People want the inside of their houses to feel like the outdoors, and vice versa.” To satisfy that urge, there’s a growing supply of weatherproof fabrics and furnishings, including rugs, chairs, pillows, even artwork. Stults explains, “The front porch is becoming an extra living space. People are putting in benches, hanging swings, even installing fireplaces.” So you can keep an eye on the neighborhood over your morning coffee in comfort and style.
Ask Park City landscaper Shane Wilde what’s trending on local lawns, and he cuts to the chase: low-maintenance and low-water yards. The proprietor of Wilde Fire Landscaping & Construction says the shift is due to a combination of environmental responsibility as well as cost. “There’s more awareness of water issues, but water has also gotten outrageously expensive in Park City.” As a result, his team is incorporating rocks and wood mulch in xeriscaped yards, along with plenty of perennials such as day lilies, black-eyed Susans, and brilliant purple salvia. “They come back looking better every year.”
Wilde says that many of his customers prioritize eliminating grassy areas that require a lot of water, and replacing them with patios and pathways made of flagstone and precast pavers. And even on his biggest jobs, native plantings are becoming the go-to choice, along with sprinkler systems installed both as fire protection and to keep things growing. “The goal is to be able to turn your sprinklers off much of the time, but still keep things a little green.”
As much as water is at a premium in Park City, one thing Wilde has been installing more of is fountains, particularly bubbling rock water features. “They don’t use a whole lot of water, maybe 15 gallons a day. People like the sound of them when they’re relaxing on their patios, where they spend a lot of their time.” Relaxation meets responsibility in the perfect yard.
For more stories from this edition, visit the Park City Home special section.
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