adding curb appeal thumb

As one of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas bloggers I get the opportunity every month to receive a gift card to do home projects.  Each month we are challenged with a specific area of our home.  This month’s challenge is adding curb appeal.  I was so grateful for this challenge because I have lived in this house for 4 years and we have not done a single thing to the outside of our house.  All of the time, energy, effort and money went into the inside.  It is time to match the exterior of my home to the beauty of the interior.

The Plan:

1. Upgrade light fixtures

2. Repaint shutters

3. Add some flower pots

4.  Trim back shrubs


The exterior light fixtures on our house were the builder basic brass lights.  Over the years the sun has burned them and the wind had loosened them, not to mention, we were too lazy to replace the bulbs so they weren’t working.outdoor_black_lights

With my gift card I purchased 4 new black lantern type lights (Brand: Portfolio $29 each) and changed out the old brass light fixtures.  That made a huge difference.

Up next was repainting my shutters.  After a terrible Indiana hailstorm our roof needed to replaced.  So last year while I was getting a new roof I had them take down the shutters for me to paint.  Umm….yah…that was last June.  Yikes!  So our house sat naked without shutters for almost a year.  I finally got around to painting (tutorial soon!) the faded purple vinyl shutters to black.


I purchased a barrel planter, potting soil and some flowers to add some color to the front.


Then we trimmed up the shrubs in the front.


I want to rip out these three large shrubs and add some prettier landscaping.  But, to be honest, I know nothing about landscaping and plants so I might have to get some help on this one.

But I think the few changes I made really ramped up our curb appeal.  What do you think?


Just like the interior of my house the projects are never done.  I would like to repaint the front door, add a tree ring around the little tree with some flowers inside of that.  I would also love to rip out the shrubs and add some more color there with some flowers and maybe some hostas.

Do you have any advice for that front bed?  I would love to learn from those who are more knowledgeable about landscaping.



Disclaimer: I received a Lowes gift card to do these projects.

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  1. I took out our front bushes and replaced the entire area with a rock garden filled with plants that survive the hot south sun with minimal maintenance. I really like it!

  2. Don’t rip out the shrubs unless you truly hate them. If you tried to buy shrubs that big, you’d pay a pretty penny!

    If I were in your shoes, I’d extend the planting bed forward and plant flowers and hostas in front of and around the existing shrubs. Think of the bushes more as filler…or a backdrop for more exciting plants.

  3. well i would take out the middle bush and put a crepe myrtle in the center that blooms. then I would create more of a rounded bed, with some smaller seasonal flowers. with hostas. and I would also increase the number size on your house. Where the pot of flowers is by the garage I would also plant a smaller tree like a crepe myrtle. and one to the left. I have over an acre of manicured bushes and lawn. quite possible that you should also put out two adirondack chairs in the front painting them a fun color, to add some color to the front. 🙂 cheers!

  4. Ornmental grasses in several different styles and shades of green, day lillies, creeping phlox, and dianthus are all several no maintenance perrenials that will come back every year and survive the harshest of conditions. Although Hostas look amazing, they cannot tolerate full sun. If you go to a nursery and take a photo of your area, they will usually line out an entire plan for you. Good luck!

  5. The house looks great! The black really stands out against the stark white brick; nice contrast! Really looking forward to the shutter painting tutorial. I’ve got some super faded shutters that need a a lot of TLC. I always get nervous going down the spray paint aisle– too many brands and types out there. Perhaps that could be a future post– The basics of different kinds of spray paint? Thanks!

  6. I like the improvements you’ve made, I especially love the new light fixtures. I think you should take out the center bush and plant an upright evergreen that won’t over grow and cover your windows. (Think of Christmas lights possibilities) A crepe myrtle would also do nicely, but until it gets some height it will cover the windows. The Natchez variety (white blooms) with its cinnamon color bark would look very pretty against your light brick in the winter. Hostas though lovely, hate sun and are deer fodder, so take that into consideration when planting. You could plant another slim tall evergreen in your barrel, and still have the pretty flowers to fill in below.

    Make a large wooden plaque as a base for large black house numbers and center it above your garage door. If you feel really inspired, hayrack window boxes would look awesome for the windows above the garage door. If you remove the bushes, the window boxes would also look great on the ground floor windows.

  7. I would leave the shrubs too, they are something to be there all winter when everything else is dead and gone. I would extend the bed out too, in a curvy shape and plant some perennials in front of it. Maybe day lilies if you get a ton of sun and some daisy or black eyed susans. I have those shrubs and also some spirea, bugleweed, dead nettle ground cover and one black eyed susan I took from out old house and I plant impatiens all along the edge in summer.

  8. I think the changes made a huge difference already! I agree with pp about leaving the bushes. Instead, I would remove the wood things in the ground holding the mulch back. Then, carve out a meandering curve from the sidewalk to the side of the house. Even carve out a peninsula on the corner for a flowering tree or such to add height on that side. This curve would help soften the boxy look of the house. Maybe consider adding some window boxes to the windows above the garage. You could plant very small boxwoods that would stay green all year long, adding annuals during the spring and summer for pops of color. Don’t worry, the boxwoods wouldn’t need watering all year long. Just some thoughts:)

  9. Beckie,

    Others have mentioned the Hosta issue with sun, so I’ll share a few things I like to plant in full sun that is drought tolerant (I’m in Texas). For a different color of foliage, I like the dusty miller. There is a lovely variety of day lily that is low and prolific. Mealy blue sage (salvia) and red sage do very well. Lastly, I love dianthus. They come in a variety of pinks and white and variegated. In our zone (7/8), these plants come back each year.

    For your planter, use the “thriller, filler, and spiller” philosophy. A great spiller is sweet potato vine (this is also great for flower beds). I also use verbena and million bells for spillers. Looks like you’ve got the fillers pretty well and I can’t tell but it looks like something is taller than the rest which may work for your “thriller”.


  10. I agree with keep the shrubs If you want something between the windows you could check out some type of wrought iron piece or something. I think you should add some height and shape to the right corner of the house. Crepe myrtle would be good for this. This looks like a full sun area so hostas will not work. Definitely pull the bed out significantly and add curves. A butterfly bush would be great for the front left after you pull the bed out – I think they are heat and drought tolerant. Try a matching planter for the other side of the double garage. You could put a taller evergreen in this and have the added interest year round.
    The shutters look nice.

  11. Have you thought about updating your garage doors? They make magnetic “carriage bolts” and other details to give basic doors character and they look really cool.

    Maybe even just a paint job to give them a little more life and style?

    All of the updates so far look fantastic!

  12. What a beautiful job you’ve done on those shutters!! I really think everything thing looks very nice. Megan

  13. I think it would awesome if you painted your garage door! It would be a great contrast. I agree that you shouldn’t remove the shrubs, but maybe just put some flowers in front of them. It looks great so far!

  14. I agree with the above commenters that you should consider leaving the bushes and extending the bed. You will probably want some sort of evergreen bushes there – though there are other varieties, azaleas, camellias, other hedge bushes. But whatever you do, figure out how much sun that area gets and buy the right kinds of plants. If it’s not a shady area you won’t want hostas – they love shade. I shop at Lowe’s and all the plant tags tell you exactly how much sun they want and how much water. Also, Lowe’s carries the right plants for your area.

  15. It looks so nice, I am in the beginning stages of a full exterior update project paint, shutters, lighting the whole nine yards I just looked at those light fixtures last night at Lowe’s and so happy to see what they look like on the house..I will be purchasing those now! I’m with the above poster about leaving the shrubs and bumping out the bed to add flowers.

  16. I think it would be nice to bring a brighter color to the front door. It should be the most eye-catching part of the house. Then, I would put the most colorful plantings close to the door. Also, I would paint the garage doors a color close to the color of the brick so that they fade away. Right now, they say “look at us”.

  17. Don’t take out the bushes!! It is hard to get an evergreen that big and even harder to wrestle them out of the ground. Def. don’t take the center one out for a taller plant — combined with the tree in frnot, the center will be weight heavy visually. Instead, choose a small tree/large shrub to brace the corner on the right and balance the existing tree. Rose of Sharon, Crepe Myrtle, Japanese maple will all work and are easy to grow!

    The shutters make a big difference and the lights make a HUGE difference! I’m always amazed at the change a little light fixture makes for the entire room 😉

  18. The lighting swap out makes such a big difference! I have similar light fixtures as your new ones, but they have seen better days. I need to spraypaint them, I guess and get them looking snazy again.

  19. Love the shutters! I’d paint the garage doors the same color as the shutters-dramatic but would really highlight that soft/pale brick.

    Leave the shrubs as a backdrop. Extend the planting bed with a gentle curve and get rid of some of the lawn-a huge upkeep/water hog. Go with a rock garden look if you like that look and add perennials that are made for your area.

    Lowes/HDepot carries the Creative series books that are specific to your area. They have plans, plant lists, and will give you great ideas for both shady and sunny spots. If you do some research up front you will save yourself LOTS of time and effort later on.

    Here’s what we did in our yard:

  20. I love the ornamental grasses that I have. That is where I would start then add low maintenance perennials that come back year after year with lots of color. There are so many beautiful flowers to choose from.

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