A Walker’s Guide to Better Curb Appeal

Here are 6 steps to making the grass greener on your side of the fence.

Hibernation is over! Not only have the trees and flowers started to bloom, but all of a sudden neighborhoods are alive with the sounds of playing kids, joggers and bicyclists. And the walkers are out in full force! Yup it’s spring!

And because so many of us have tracking devices that are helping get us more active, our walks appear to be longer as we meander all around our communities. And think about all of those dogs that are joining us as they too get in the best shape of their lives!

I recently began taking greater advantage of these walks to truly discover what makes where we live so special. Along with noticing the shapes and colors of homes – I wish we had more dormers – and wondering when and who planted the trees on our “tree-lined” streets, I’ve come to realize outings can be much more than exercise routines; they can actually play a role in helping us enjoy our homes even more. The idea is simple. Pay attention and get great ideas.

Here are a few examples of what to take note of on your next walk through the neighborhood:

1) Landscaping. I have landscape envy but don’t have a landscaper. Instead I have started to look to see which plants I like and take a quick picture, how far apart the “good houses” have their plants spaced and which colors of mulch look best. By having that one picture, I was able to have a great conversation with the certified growers at Home Depot and learned about boxwoods, azaleas and other plants and where each plant will thrive.

2) Lawns. Our lawns all appear the same – or do they? I’ve noticed that no matter how professionally done a lawn is, in our neighborhood there is never just one type of grass. Thick, thin and different shades of green are on every lawn. So that wasn’t the differentiator. But I did notice the ones I thought looked the best were edged really nicely with great lines along the curb, driveways and plant beds. I’m now and edging freak!

3) Front steps. Front porch steps also make a big difference. Since we have wood ones, I pay attention to how others keep their porches inviting. I’ve learned that while I hate, hate, hate staining and touching up the white trim, fresh coats will make a HUGE difference.

4) Front windows. It seems that in these days of “open floor plans,” we want to extend that openness all the way to the curb. While obviously blinds, shades and curtains are open during the day, it doesn’t appear that many are using thick or ornate ones anymore. Let the light in.

5) Driveways. Ours is thin (one car) with no Belgian block. Note to self. Save up, expand driveway add Belgian block and splurge on in-ground basketball hoop.

6) Lighting. And if you walk at dusk or at night (make sure to wear bright clothes because drivers REALLY can’t see you), I’ve been looking at lighting on the front porch. I never knew how many shapes, sizes, designs and colors these entryway lights can be. But I definitely know ours is way too bright!

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with Adopt-a-Pet.com that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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