The chilly, gray months of winter can be tough on homeowners. Pulling into the driveway after a long day at the office could cause one’s heart to sink. The sight of overgrown beds, dead annuals, leaves that need raking, – an, in many parts of the country, dirty clumps of snow and ice – is anything but uplifting! Although the spring is when we usually roll up our sleeves and spruce things up, it could actually be a year round activity.
The grass may be dormant, dead or brown, and nothing may be in bloom; however, there is so much you can do during the winter to boost your home’s curb appeal. When your home’s exterior areas look unkempt and run down, it is more than depressing to look at. It could be affecting your property value and your neighbor’s as well! Whether you are ever planning on selling or not, maintaining your home inside and out is just the right thing to do. Plus, when ongoing issues are addressed, there will be lots more time to enjoy all the great weather and fun that we look forward to during the spring and summer months. Here are a few suggestions for keeping up appearances:
Mailbox- As long as it’s not covered in snow or ice, make sure yours is as clean as possible. The mailbox area is often the first thing that catches someone’s eye when they approach a home. Could you improve the look of your letterbox with a little wintertime whimsy? How about a decorative flag or colorful pot of cold-tolerant evergreens such as rosemary?
Driveways and walkways- Let’s face it, clean, uncluttered driveways and walkways are much more inviting than those littered with debris, scattered toys, dead leaves or unshoveled snow. Make an effort to keep yours clear and clean, especially of snow and ice which can pose a hazard.
Natural areas and flower beds- The bleak months of winter can make things look gloomier than they really are. This is especially true of landscaped areas full of weeds, overgrown shrubs, dead annuals, and spent perennials. Enable your natural spaces and flowerbeds to shine even when nothing is really “growing” on by keeping them neat and clean. Spreading a little fresh mulch or straw on dormant beds will work wonders, even now! Investigate which native plants do well this time of year. Pansies, primroses, decorative cabbage and kale, plus several evergreens could warm things up, especially if planted in colorful containers.
Lawn- OK, perhaps you even hesitate to use that word this time of year, however, like the Terminator, hopefully come spring, it will “be back.” In addition to raking and clearing natural debris, keep your lawn in shape over the winter by fertilizing it and keeping down future weeds with an application of pre-emergent. If bare spots are an issue, consider sowing some seeds of rye grass.
Entrances- Nothing chases away winter’s chill like a pop or two of color. While it will not occur at present in the form of daisies or petunias – how about a new brightly painted front door, wreath, or colorful clay pot of evergreens? Clean any surfaces, glass, and light fixtures and consider a few seasonal decorations. How about an old sled or items that acknowledge the upcoming holidays of Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day? Even a few snowflake cutouts could perk things up…
Curb appeal is for the birds- Another way to add interest is by creating a cold weather bird sanctuary. Cluster several feeders together, add a suet cage, and maybe even a heated birdbath. Your feathered friends will love it and you will have an instant focal point! While you’re at it, those pesky squirrels might like a feeder of their own. Keep them away from the birdseed with squirrel-proof feeders and baffles. For those using shepherd’s hooks, stretching a Slinky up and down the length of the post will baffle them as well, and watching them trying to figure it out it can be quite entertaining!
Just think, by the time you complete a few of these projects, those first signs of spring will probably be here. Don’t forget to plant a few tulip, daffodil, or hyacinth bulbs!