haz curb appeal?

March 31, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Posted in After, Before, During, Moving, Our Home, Projects | 9 Comments

We “spruced up” the yard a bit over the weekend as an attempt to give the house a little more curb appeal… as much as a yard can be “spruced up” in the frozen Minnesotan tundra this time of year.  Which, really, isn’t much, given that it can snow and freeze and be cold and nasty for another month or so here.  But we tried anyways.

Here’s what the house looked like shortly after we put an offer on it.  Try to ignore my pained expression, and focus instead on the concrete walkway to the right of the house.  This was a nasty, broken walkway, and it dumped water directly into our basement during the spring thaw of 2008.  Not awesome.

So Jason took a sledge hammer to it.  It was a long, painful process.  We both lost a few pounds and gained a few muscles.  Don’t worry – we’ve gained all that weight back by now.

My parents and brothers came to visit on a rainy weekend last May, and they not only helped us build a fence, but they finished digging out the area that was to be our new brick walkway and patio.

Later last May, we rented some tools, purchased 2.5 pallets full of brick, and went to work.  It was another long, painful weekend, but then, we had this:

Which was (and continues to be) awesome.  Not only for the awesome ability to sit and relax outdoors, but also because we’ve pretty much eliminated the water-into-the-basement problem.  Ignore the ugly garage in the background.  That is still a problem.

After all of this work, we managed to put in two planting beds (in front of the garage and next to the patio) and regrade the soil around the house before turning our attention to our impending fall nuptials.

Which brings us to the present.  Sunday, as we were comparing our house to the neighbor’s (you know, the ones with the gateway to hell through their oven and 2 offers on their home), we realized: we have little-to-no curb appeal.  We had a dead evergreen and mounds of dirt left from last year’s unfinished projects.

With the help of my cousin, Jennifer, we got rid of the dead evergreen and picked up some free mulch from a nearby park (the city leaves piles of cut up wood in parks for residents to use), and made our home a bit prettier.  I think.

Still not glamorous.  I would love to see a row of low bushes across the front of the house, and a window box full of flowers attached to the front, but this will have to do.  (Okay, and I’d put in a new door and paint the trim on the windows and paint the stairs, and add some planters to the stairs with pretty flowers in them.  If I was going to live here another 10 years, which I am not.  So it will have to be fine as it is.)



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  1. That’s totally not fair. You can actually see your yard! We just got 8″ of snow recently and are back into winter here.

    On a serious note, it is looking pretty good. Hopefully it won’t take too long to sell!

    • Just found out we could also be getting 6″ of snow this weekend, so don’t be too jealous – we might be covered again! 🙂

  2. Can you borrow two large clay pots and put lots of cut evergreens in them until spring (almost like an evergreen bush???? That would give you a little color up by the door.

    I think your house has great potential and if I were a buyer I would think….wow, great all the hard work is done and all I need to do is a little painting and planting. And of course the house is perfect for a window box. The house doesn’t scream that it needs a huge project.

    That sidewalk patio is to die for. Do you have a couple chairs and a little table to stage the patio?

    Maybe a brass door knocker and brass house numbers above the door? That would show off your brass mail slot.

    The house strikes me as very neat and to me neat means well maintained.

    Good luck.

    • Ohh… I do like the evergreens-in-a-pot idea… I’ll have to look into that more.

      Thanks for the nice words about the house! We’re hoping that all of the work that we’ve done does indeed project “this house is totally liveable and not a huge amount of work”. Of course, once buyers walk into our horrid kitchen, they will see that the house does indeed require a fair amount of work!

      We pulled out the outdoor furniture the other day, so it looks a bit more functional – thanks for the nice comment on that, too – it was a heck of a lot of work, but worth it in the end. Of course, it would be more worth it if we were staying… 🙂

      We’ve got some sticky gold house numbers on the screen door (I always blur them out in photos for privacy). But of course brass numbers would look much better. If we would have stayed, I would have put in a new porch door (painted either red or black, to match the color I would have painted the window trim – I had serious plans! Ha ha).

  3. All that work for someone else’s enjoyment! It really looks great.

  4. I think the tree/bush in a pot idea is the way to go and a few of the green bush dealys like we have in the pool court yard across the front (leave them in the buckets like the last guy did)

  5. […] brought our cost down to about $255), but it’s cheaper than installing a physical barrier (the DIY fence we built at our last house cost about $700 for about 25 ft of cedar fencing) and much easier than digging a hole for a wire around the house and under the […]

  6. […] blocks and it would undoubtedly take us longer than I’d like it to, and, frankly, after we built ourselves a brick paver patio in Minneapolis, I was hesitant to take on anything that would require leveling, compacting, and hauling buckets of […]

  7. […] by the light of the moon.  But, I think it was worth it — it looks great.  We tackled a brick paver walkway/patio at our Minneapolis house, and I’m psyched to report that this one is even better than that one – it’s […]

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