Whether you’re making a few quick upgrades to boost your home’s saleability or looking to undertake a larger project that will add long-term value, enhancing your dwelling’s kerb appeal tends to be time and money well spent.
What’s more, under permitted development (PD) rights there’s plenty you can do to makeover your property without having to apply for planning permission, although schemes that radically alter the house’s exterior will still require the local authority’s consent to go ahead.
The jobs you decide to tackle will largely come down to your own needs and priorities, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the right improvements are likely to be reflected in the overall value of your home. Read on and discover a collection of ideas to spark inspiration for your project.
1. Refurbish your driveway
As well as providing a visually-pleasing frontage to your property, off-street parking can be a valuable amenity – particularly in urban locations where space is limited. If you’re re-laying your driveway, block paving provides an opportunity to make a design statement, as it can be laid in an array of patterns.
Stone-effect concrete is at the lower end of the price scale, but expect to pay more for real stone products or examples that feature more complex embellishments. Alternatively, a plain tarmac finish could provide a much-needed quick fix.
2. Add a porch
Not only does this kind of structure provide welcome shelter from the elements – which will come in particularly handy when you’re rummaging in your bag for keys – but
it could create an opportunity for an eye-catching design feature. If you’re updating an existing house, a porch measuring up to 3m in height and 3m2 in floor area can usually be added via permitted development rights.
3. Update your front door
As well as being secure and thermally-efficient, a front door should suit the style of your home and create a welcoming feel. A simple paint job may be enough to create the right first impression – but it could make sense to invest in a replacement. Many people specify bespoke designs that truly cater to their tastes. The current trend is for oversized front doors fitted next to attractive glazed panels.
Wider entranceways – especially those with flush thresholds – provide easier access for those with mobility issues and could be something to consider if you’re trying to future-proof your property. Bear in mind this kind of project may require additional work to support the wider opening.
Contemporary timber front door from Urban Front
4. Replace garage doors
Updating an old garage door so it matches the fenestration of the main building can have a dramatic effect on your property’s overall kerb appeal by creating a unified look. In terms of materials, timber, stainless steel and glass reinforced plastic (GRP) are the main options. It pays to select something that works well with your home’s original features. For instance, if you’re replacing the garage door of an older dwelling, a modern design could look incongruous.
5. Get lighting right
A well-executed exterior illumination scheme will ensure your property looks as alluring in the evening as it does during the day, especially if fittings are used to highlight unique architectural focal points. Drive-over lights can be integrated into the paving and bollard lamps can also be used to help guide your car into its parking space. The sense of security that results from good front-of-house lighting is an additional boon.
6. Choosing brick finishes
Selecting materials is all-important when it comes to creating a unique look for an extension or matching existing claddings. “Bricks are one of the first things people notice, so choose a blend that adds aesthetic value to your project,” says Mike Faloona from Northcot Brick. “Blends come in a variety of tones, textures and shapes to help give character to your home.”
It’s also worth checking your house’s current brickwork to ensure it’s not cracked or damaged. The mortar that beds each unit is one of a home’s main defences against the elements. So re-pointing it – if necessary – will protect the fabric of the building from damp as well as adding attractive texture to the masonry’s surface.
This Georgian-style home is built in Northcot Brick’s Lyneham Red handmade range. The units are laid in a Flemish bond with a lower string course and corbelling at the corner
7. Restore paintwork
Cracked render or peeling paint is never a good look – but a fresh coat can give an instant lift. If the facade of your home is rendered, check that this is sound and doesn’t need repairing (major cracks or hollow noises when the surface is tapped could indicate an issue).
If you’re going for a new look altogether, render comes in array of finishes from smooth, crisp white to textured and pebbledash looks. Masonry paint is another option and is available in plenty of textures and hues. However, it’s worth giving some serious thought to this upgrade, as there’s no turning back once the paint has been applied to the brickwork.
8. Clad the walls
A stylish covering will instantly update the facade of your house or new extension, whether you opt for timber, metal or even brick slips. “Cladding can be used to blend in with the surrounding buildings or landscape, or create an eye-catching feature in the overall design,” says Adrian Pye from Kebony.
As well as freshening up the look of your home, some products will help protect it from the elements and could provide an extra insulating layer. Hardwearing softwoods like Western Red cedar and larch have long been popular, while chemically-modified goods such as Kebony and Accoya offer a durable, fit-and-forget option.
For an affordable alternative, consider good-quality PVCu (foiled finishes and UV protection could improve performance).
9. Check your roof tiles
The roof is a substantial feature of any home − it’s one of the first things you will notice as you approach. To minimise the chances of leaking or damp, cracked or missing tiles should be replaced. If you’re totally re-roofing the house, it’s worth investing in the highest quality materials that your budget will allow.
“Be sure to specify products that will have a significant effect on your home’s value for years to come,” says Dana Patrick-Smith from Dreadnought Tiles. “Select materials that look better the older they get and visit sites where the products you’re considering have been used.”
Slate UK’s Vermont structural unfading mottled slate roof tiles feature an attractive purple and green hue, which imbues this property with real character
10. Maintain the windows
Whether you’re doing a major renovation or simply freshening up your home’s exterior, consider whether damaged fenestration can be repaired or if it needs to be replaced altogether. Timber window frames, as well as other joinery items, should be checked for old or flaky paintwork – they can be sanded and re-coated to provide an extra layer of protection from the elements. Regular maintenance will keep them looking their best as well as extending their service life.
If it’s not cost-effective to repair old units, it could be worth consulting with a specialist window maker to find the design that’ll be most suited to your dwelling. “Windows provide the fine detail for your scheme, so think carefully about what works in terms of style and colour,” says Matt Chambers from Dale Windows. Substituting old windows with like-for-like units usually falls under permitted development rights, although it’s always worth checking with your local authority.
11. Check the guttering
As well as being one of your home’s first lines of defence against the elements, rainwater goods can play a vital role in creating your dwelling’s aesthetic character. It’s important to clear any blockages and remove debris on a regular basis to minimise the risk of water ingress, but you should also check your guttering for any cracks or damage that need to be repaired.
If you’re carrying out a larger project, replacing the rainwater goods is a subtle but effective way to update the look of your property. While PVCu setups are the cheapest and most straightforward to install, materials such as zinc, aluminium and steel can offer a striking look. Cast iron and copper are popular choices for heritage-style properties.
This house’s striking rainwater system, supplied by Lindab, is made from galvanised steel and features a copper-coloured powder coating to blend with the dwelling
12. Specify wow-factor glazing
If you’re taking on an extension or conversion scheme and are keen to create a chic, contemporary vibe, bespoke glass elements can be used to great effect. Large picture windows, curtain walling and glazed gables can help to create a modern look and will often establish a more seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces.
Advances in structural glazing mean that glass can now be specified in vast, near frameless expanses. However for more ambitious projects, careful planning and design work will be required to achieve the minimal, slim-framed aesthetic that’s so popular.
13. Create an alluring garden
Updating your home’s landscaping scheme is a simple way to boost its kerb appeal. A front garden sets the tone for the entire house and should naturally direct visitors towards the entrance. Shrubs and flower beds can be used to create a visual break between the parking area, path and the rest of the space.
In the back garden, pleasant vistas can be framed through clever placement of greenery, trees and outdoor structures. If the site is on a slope, building up planting boxes or creating raised terraced areas can help accentuate the changes of level. Colourful window boxes and large potted shrubs are ideal if you’re looking for a quick solution.
Measures as simple as removing weeds and pressure washing block paving will instantly freshen up the space. You can also breathe new life into the design by breaking up any vast swathes of hard surfacing, and introducing colourful flowerbeds with curved edges will soften the threshold of paved areas. Add extra interest by dotting evergreen shrubs around the perimeter of the space for a low-maintenance solution.
14. Update pathways
Adding a fresh layer of gravel to tired-looking paths will give the garden an instant lift, and can be achieved quickly and for a relatively modest sum. If you’re working with a bigger budget, pathways can be lined with attractive edging stones or bricks to keep things tidy.
For people tackling a complete landscaping overhaul, new block paving can be laid in an array of patterns to add extra design detail to your garden – or consider flagstones for a classic finish.
15. Investing in outdoor features
As well as highlighting prized vistas, well-placed fencing, trees and outbuildings can block unwanted views and protect your home’s privacy from onlookers. Decorative pergolas can be included without the need for planning consent, so long as they don’t exceed 4m in height.
A well-designed structure can provide an interesting architectural feature, and add to your home’s floor space – and value. To be allowed under permitted development, the structure should be single-storey and the ridge shouldn’t exceed 4m in height (or 3m if single-pitched). Other restrictions apply – check the details on the Planning Portal website.
Image (top): Martin Gardner - glazed extension by OB Architecture
First published: December 2016