Curb Appeal–Improve Yours With 3 Simple Tricks

Retz 1


It’s high summer here in Portland, Oregon, and this is NOT a gardening column.  I wanted to open with these beautiful shots the charming front garden of my dear friend, Margaret Retz, because it is the ultimate in curb appeal.

Retz 3

Even if you are not a gardener, there are three simple things you can do to improve the curb appeal of your home.

1.  INSPECT YOUR FRONT ENTRY.  So many people enter their homes through their garage that they rarely, if ever, use the front entrance.  You probably have no idea that your porch may look like Halloween when it’s only August!  Go out through your front door, walk down to the sidewalk or street, then come back UP your front walk, and take a very good look at your porch and door.  You will probably need to get a duster on a pole to get rid of all the cobwebs and spiders that are dangling around your porch lights and front door surround, and some cleaner to get all the dust off your front door and threshold.  If you have a side door that faces the street, do the same there.

Curb Appeal Door Mat

2.  REPLACE YOUR DOOR MAT YEARLY.  I have a favorite site where I buy a front door mat that suits my style (traditional, Harlequin checks in black/sand).  It looks fabulous for about 6 months, and then slowly degrades over the rainy winter months.  I flip it around, so it gets even wear, but after a year, it needs to be replaced.  Whatever your style, check online and at local retailers for a new door mat that reflects your taste, and pop it onto your porch.  Instant space lift!  If you have a side porch that faces the street, like I do, the same rules apply, and bonus points if you have room for a bench (mine, below, is enclosed by a security gate, and the fabrics are indoor/outdoor).

Side Porch door mat

3.  ADD A POT WITH BEAUTIFUL PLANTS.    If you are not particularly good at selecting plants, you can find many pre-planted pots at garden stores.  This one came from my local Dennis 7 Dees’ Nursery on Powell, and I took it out of its plastic container and re-potted it into a terra cotta pot I already owned.  Some talented garden designer picked the plants–how easy is that?  This pot is on my side entry, so I only needed one.  For your front porch, you most likely will need a pair of containers with a tall plant in the center, surrounded by seasonal annuals–the “thriller/filler/spiller” model.  Even if you don’t have a green thumb, two pots is not much to manage.  Of course, you need to water them frequently if they are under a porch overhang.

Plants in Pot

Try these three simple tricks, and your entry will become much more inviting.  And who knows?  You may want to start working on the INTERIOR next!  Give Emery & Associates a call if we can be of help.


There are 13 Comments to "Curb Appeal–Improve Yours With 3 Simple Tricks"

  • Jim says:

    All good ideas. My contribution is to show the (Reed College) flag on football Saturdays and other occasions to contrast with the Duck and Beaver flags that abound in our neighborhood. I prefer Richmond red/white to green/yellow or orange/black for our home.

  • Kathia Emery says:

    Ah, yes. I forgot about the seasonal football flags. And then there is seasonal outdoor decorating, but that is a whole other blog post!

  • Donna Pizzi says:

    How timely! We definitely need to replace our doormats, which have actually ripped in part, leaving an unsightly hole! Also, this interminable hot weather has played havoc on my primroses and I must replant! Love your Harlequin doormat, and the cozy (& gorgeous colored) bench… You have such style! Hope once your readers see this they will be flooding you with calls for their interiors next!

  • Thanks Kathia! I’m buying a new front door mat tomorrow! Great ideas, as always!

  • Marsha Buono says:

    Great tips to freshen our look for those Dogs Days of August! Thanks, Kathia

  • Mary Bailey says:

    I agree that it is time for a new door mat. I have a few cobwebs to clear off too. Thanks for the inspiration as always. Miss seeing you friend.

  • Mary Marglin says:

    Kathia, Living on the high plains with summer hail storms and periodic heavy winds, caused me to give up maintaining all my flower pots. However, your suggestion of two nice pots flanking each side of the front door/steps is a doable one. I am convinced that a great door mat would be a huge improvement as well. Never thought that it should be changed each year. Thanks.

    • Kathia Emery says:

      Mary, regional differences are huge! Also, folks living in apartments and condos would have a completely different take on this, as there is no “curb” to appeal. If you look at the Frontgate Catalog on line, you will see a lot of ideas for faux topiaries and other such things. I have a couple on my lower deck that look like boxwood, but don’t need watering.

  • Judi says:

    These are great ideas, Kathia. I will also look for ways to spruce up the front porch entrance. It’s interesting how we can have blind spots in our environment. Can’t wait to look for replacements!
    Hugs, Judi

  • Thanks for the reminder. Seems like the webby stuff gets worse as summer progresses. These are good pointers for our place. We have two entries, fairly close, and I am always wanting to define the front door to avoid mix-ups!

  • Dinah adkins says:

    I am particularly in need of help and hope to work more on my entrance next year!! I need design help!

  • Holly Chamberlain says:

    Your potted coleus made me look anew at one I bought this year. It is quite variegated, like the one you show, and I have now decided to do a garden border with them next year. My thumb is not very green but they are easy to grow. Though I haven’t sprung for a new doormat (current one actually fine), cobwebs are gone at the doors! Of course, that made me notice how many I have on the inside….

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