How To Increase Curb Appeal On A Shoestring Budget

We purchased our home just about 4 years ago.  We were not really “looking” for a home, but our cute little cottage was less than 1000 square feet and with two little boys and a dog we were feeling cramped.  We were dreaming about a little land, not to far town…we were dreaming for a quiet street, and a place where our boys could run.  The problem with this dream is that everyone seems to have the same dream, and homes that we had looked at in our price range were either too small, had major issues (foundation falling in), or the “updates” that they had done were not our style.  That all changed when we our current home, and it was still out of our price range.  But it was the first place that we looked at that we felt had potential.  It was ugly.  It was a wallpaper museum.  But it had ample space, on a quiet street, a nice plot of land, in the area of town we wanted, and was about 10 minutes from Nathan’s job.  After much negotiating, we were able to move from our tiny bungalow in the heart of the city to our quiet country abode.  Get ready, these photos are gonna knock your socks off (JOKING).

Our Home Then

It wasn’t looking really great by the time we got our hands on it.  The previous owner had moved out a year prior, so it had been sitting empty and lonely, with overgrown bushes and weeds growing up in-between all of the landscaping.  The home felt like it had a sad face and needed a family to fill it up again and breath life back into it’s lonely walls.  But even in it’s sorry, lonely state, we could see potential.


We’ve worked a lot on the exterior in the past 4 years.  It’s not as a dramatic of a change as some of the interior (which I will show you another day), but there has been improvement, nonetheless, and we have not invested a lot of money on the exterior.

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Bushes are trimmed.  The flower beds lost all of their weeds and were re-mulched.  Shutters are no longer a rusty red, but a soothing gray (that was the most tedious painting job of my life!).  We added a natural rock edging along all of the landscaping.

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There are still major changes to come for this exterior, but every time we drive home it feels a little more like “home”.

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Is there anything better than a photobombing toddler?

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The yard is deep and the backyard is even deeper.

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What We’ve Done:

  • Gave it a good wash (expense: cost of water)
  • Trimmed Bushes (expense: electric hedge clipper, about $100, and lots of time)
  • Mulched Beds (bought a TON of it on an end-of-the season clearance, $75???)
  • Pulled Weeds (hard work)
  • Added rock border around front and side of home (free, we loaded up rocks from the side of the road after a road project)
  • Painted shutters & front door ($75 and a lot of tedious work)
  • Added a few trees (free, library Arbor day giveaway)
  • Added landscaping (end of season clearance, at most we have spent $50-$100)
  • Hanging baskets and a few plants for planters (annual expense, about $50)
  • Replaced front porch light (clearance, about $25)
  • Front porch furniture (can’t really see in these photos, but it’s all been trash finds or hand-me-downs, so free)

What We Still Need To Do (large ticket items):

  • Re-Roof Home (goodbye rust-colored roof and $10,000)
  • Replace front door with something that has a window and more character ($1,000-2,000?).
  • Re-do front walkway leading to the front porch (dubbed “the secret passageway” by the boys)
  • Add larger columns and railing to front porch (will cost paint & materials only, Nathan can do the work).

Some of the more major projects have been in a holding pattern as we’ve worked to update the interior.  But for less than $500 over the last four years, we’ve been able to make our home look more happy.

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The majority of our exterior improvements have been accomplished with a lot of hard, hard work. Instead of spending our days off watching TV and sleeping in, we’ve trimmed bushes, mowed lawns, and pulled weeds.  And for us, it’s worth it.  It may not increase the value of our home on paper, but it feels more like home to our family.

2 thoughts on “How To Increase Curb Appeal On A Shoestring Budget

  1. Pingback: Ch Ch Change…… | Sarah And The Boys

  2. Pingback: Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy Birthday, Happy Father’s day, Happy Mother’s day, Merry Christmas. A new door! | Sarah And The Boys

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