6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing


Whether you're selling your home, or simply looking to spruce it up, improving your curb appeal is a great way to increase value. But it can be really expensive if you head off to your local home improvement warehouse and buy items at full retail. That said, with a little bit of planning and forethought, improving your curb appeal can be done for next to nothing. Here are six ways to make it happen.

1. Score Free Mulch

Having a fresh layer of mulch or bark in your flower and planting beds is a fantastic way to improve your curb appeal. But buying individual bags can be darn expensive, especially if you're doing a large area. So instead, try calling a local tree trimming service and ask if they have any free mulch available. After all, many such businesses have excess woods chips available and are happy to find ways to get rid of it. Often they'll even deliver a truck load to your home if they happen to be doing a job in your general vicinity.

Worst case scenario, you might have to swing by their work yard and shovel up a truck load. But you can't beat the free price tag, and your plants and flowers will thrive with the new mulch. Plus, it will help keep down weeds and give your yard a fresh new look.

2. Find Great Deals on Paint

Another cheap way to effectively spruce up the front of your home is with a fresh coat of paint on your front door, shutters, or moldings. While the job itself can be fairly inexpensive if you can tackle it yourself, a great way to save even more is to look for "whoops" paint at Home Depot, Lowe's, or even from your local paint store. These are the paints that were either incorrectly tinted or were rejected by the customer and are being sold at a big discount.

Simply ask an employee where their "whoops" shelf is located and check out the colors they currently have available. You can typically get paint for 50%–75% off the original price. Surprisingly, many of the colors you'll find are quite neutral in color and would look beautiful on your home as either a main or accent color.

3. Hide Garbage Cans and A/C Unit

If you have garbage cans or an A/C unit that can be seen from your front yard, consider building an inexpensive lattice screen to hide them. In a few short hours, you can hide these big eye sores. Lattice screens can be made of either wood or vinyl. The vinyl option will cost more upfront but will require less maintenance in the long-run.

4. Big Discounts on Plants

Surprisingly, one of the single best ways to score deals on plants, shrubs, and flowers to beautify your front yard is at your local nursery — but only on specific days. Almost every nursery across the country has two big sales per year. One is in the fall when they clear out a large chunk of their inventory before winter, and the other is in early spring when they offer discounts to entice shoppers to start planting for the warmer months. These two sales often see discounts in the 50% off range making them no-brainers for those looking to improve their home's curb appeal.

Be on the lookout for sales flyers from local nurseries and score savings that will typically beat the big-box stores, plus the quality of the plants and trees is typically much higher.

5. Add Garage Door Hardware for Updated Look

A really cheap way to spruce up an otherwise ordinary garage door is to add new hardware to give it a terrific new look. For less than $35, and 30 minutes of your time, you can upgrade your door with inexpensive hardware. The new hardware will really make your garage door a focal point rather than an eyesore.

6. Find Deals on Exterior Lighting

New exterior lights can really improve the look of your home, but if you've ever priced them, you know they can be expensive. But having worked at The Home Depot, I have a tip that can save you a lot of money — they almost always have floor model light fixtures for sale at a steep discount.

Due to a large and ever-changing inventory, they're constantly updating their stock with new lighting fixtures, which gives you ample opportunity to save on floor models. Simply ask an employee what floor models they are trying to get rid of and they'll point you to the best deals — deals that can light up the front of your home, and beautify it in the process, at 50% to 75% off the original price.

How do you improve your home's curb appeal without breaking the bank?

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Guest's picture

Nice idea to use wood chips BUT they should'nt really be used around a house's foundation as they deplete ground phosphorous and attract TERMITES. Use "leaf mold" from chopped, raked leaves (which you can often find for free from a town's recycling). This will enhance the soil and not attract pests.

Kyle James's picture

Thanks for the comment, great info. I've been using free mulch for years without any problems but you make some great points.

Guest's picture
Landscape Goddess

Bad advice about free mulch. You have no idea where these wood chips came from. Possibly from diseased trees and shrubs. Also, raw wood chips use nitrogen to break down and they take it from your garden soil. Best to pay for decomposed mulch that has been sterilized and balanced with clean fertilizer so you are not importing someone else's problems and your garden will be the clean place that you want to enjoy.