Kerb Appeal: 15 Clever Ways to Elevate Your Home’s Exterior

Looking to enhance your home’s kerb appeal? Browse these top 15 tips and tricks to help your property make an impressive impact on the street scene
Articles by Build It magazine
by Build It
25th June 2024

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 15 ideas to spark inspiration for your project.

1. Boost Kerb Appeal by Turning Your Front Entrance into a Focal Point

Your home’s front door is a stand-out feature, and arguably the most important when it comes to making a great first impression. Not only is it a key consideration when ensuring airtightness, energy efficiency and security, but it also forms the centrepiece of your home’s front facade. Whether you choose a traditional or contemporary design, there’s a range of materials, finishes and sizes to choose from when specifying your front door that can make a wow-factor feature.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

The porch and traditional sage green front door from Thames Valley Windows complement the style of this quaint country cottage

Don’t forget about door furniture, such as the house name/number, letterbox and handle. These features don’t always have to be on your door, either – you can place them next to the entrance or even on the boundary fence/wall. To further enhance the design, consider building a porch (see further down). The structure can add drama, and it’s a convenient place to provide additional storage.

2. Use Local Materials in Your Design

Kerb appeal is not only about designing an attractive house from the outside, but one that complements the local architecture and sits harmoniously within its wider context. Historically, different regions in the UK each have their own distinct materials with which houses were built, due to resource availability nearby and the building types required in the area.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

Oliver Leech Architects used stone from a local quarry for this replacement dwelling in the Cotswolds

Making a reference to the regional vernacular can give your house character, but this doesn’t mean you’re restricted to a traditional design. Modern schemes with nods to the local style work particularly well to create a unique yet well placed design. This could be in the form of the cladding or roof tiling/material.

3. Landscaping & Fencing will Enhance Your Home’s Kerb Appeal

Investing in the front garden is a great way to elevate a home’s kerb appeal. Shrubs, flowerbeds, climbing and potted plants can all breathe life into your property and add texture. This can help to break the mass of the front elevation, while delineating the driveway, garden and any remaining spaces. Hedges, walls and fences not only define the boundary of your property, but can form an inviting feature that ties together your landscaping and the house itself.

Perhaps more important than investing in new features is maintenance. Keep on top of trimming foliage to ensure it doesn’t grow out and overshadow the plot, and clean and repair fences or boundary walls as needed. Staining and resealing will help weatherproof and extend the life of timber boundaries, for instance.

4. Get Creative with Path & Driveway Designs

Large swathes of one type of paving appear industrial and lack character, so it’s best to avoid this where you can. Using flags and slabs to create patterns will add flair to your drive or garden pathway. The type of product you choose to use will depend on your budget and the overall design of your home.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

The Chatham brick tiles from Walls and Floors are suitable for outdoor use. Here, ivory, green and grey shades have been combined for a feature garden path design that ties in with the front door

You can opt for concrete flags each of the same size and shape for a simple, uniform design, or choose stones such as slate for a textured, characterful pathway. Keeping your garden path and/or driveway neat by removing weeds (if appropriate) and pressure washing any dirt build up is key to maintaining its condition and ensuring long-lasting kerb appeal as a result.

5. Upgrade Your Garage Door for Optimal Kerb Appeal

Choosing a garage door that works with your home’s windows and doors will enhance the overall aesthetic and boost your property’s kerb appeal – particularly if it’s an attached garage. Timber garage doors can add warmth and charm to complement or contrast a vast array of fenestration colours and designs.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

Here, Urban Front has supplied a matching front door and up-and-over automated garage door in their Rondo design in Iroko wood

Meanwhile, other materials such as aluminium and steel are great for achieving a modern finish. Companies that supply both front doors and garage doors, such as Urban Front and Hormann, make it easy to source matching designs for your entrances.

6. Keep Bins & Bikes Out of Sight

Clutter outside the front of your house can easily detract from even the most appealing design. Having a dedicated storage space for unsightly bins can make them discreet while keeping them placed at the front of your property,  so you can easily put them out on collection day.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

This timber wheelie bin store from Forest, gives easy access in a neat package

Often designed for a specific purpose, such as locking away bikes, hiding dustbins and storing garden equipment, these structures come in a range of materials to suit your style and budget, and can be a cost-effective route to a tidy outdoor space. Some councils require items such as bike storage to be included in planning applications.

7. Maintain Roof Tiles for an Attractive Exterior

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 roof covering materials 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.”

8. Check Your Rainwater Goods

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 renovation 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.

9. Repair & Replace Windows to Ensure Maximised Kerb Appeal

If your property has decent quality timber windows, DIY repair and repainting may be all that’s needed to bring them back to good condition. Even units with severe-looking damage can be restored to their former glory, and simultaneously upgraded for energy performance, by specialist carpenters. However, it may turn out to be more cost-effective to install new windows instead of repairing them.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

As part of their listed home renovation, Mark Camillin and Liam Denny replaced the original home’s single-glazed windows with conservation double-glazed hardwood models, alongside installing heritage-style aluminium bifolds and French doors. Photo: Richard Downer

Old, faded PVCu windows may a need little more than a wipe over with a gentle soapy solution, but if this doesn’t yield results or you want to change up the colour, spray painting is a popular hack that can give them a bit of life. Replacing windows like for like usually falls under permitted development (PD), but it’s always worth checking.

10. The Right Exterior Render or Cladding will Boost Kerb Appeal

Cladding can transform the outward appearance of your property. From timber cladding to render, you can opt for a material that seamlessly ties in with the original house and its surroundings, or something contrasting to create a striking feature. It can even help protect the exterior from the elements and some systems provide an extra insulating layer to improve your property’s efficiency.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

Ash and Nancy Rogers transformed their 1970s brick home by installing cedar cladding from Norclad on the top storey

Consider using new claddings to add texture and highlight architectural features, such as the upper storey or a gable end section. Repairing and repainting is also an affordable way to freshen up existing finishes, just check out the material’s condition before proceeding.

11. Upgrade the Home’s Brickwork

Selecting high-quality 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 repointing the brickwork it – if necessary – will protect the fabric of the building from damp as well as adding attractive texture to the masonry’s surface.

12. Lighting is More Important than You Think

Just as lighting is a key interior design feature, outdoor illumination helps create kerb appeal at night. Wall lights can be placed to zone in on certain stand-out architectural features on the exterior of your home.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

The warm outdoor lighting on the facade of this home renovation and extension by Brosh Architects gives it kerb appeal, even at night

On a practical level, fixtures such as spotlights and column lights can be integrated along the driveway and garden path to help you see where you’re going, contributing to a safer and more secure approach to your home.

13. Specify Wow-Factor Glazing to Make a Statement

If you’re taking on an extension or conversion scheme and are keen to create a chic, contemporary vibe, feature glazing and wow-factor windows 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.

Kerb Appeal: 15 Ways to Boost Your Home's Exterior Appeal

Set in Frith Wood Conservation Area in Hertfordshire, this Arts & Crafts-style new build home, designed by Levitate Architects, features large swathes of striking glazing throughout to maximise daylight and views out to the surrounding countryside. Photo: David Butler

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.

14. Add a Porch to the Front of Your Home

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, meaning you won’t require formal planning permission.

15. Invest 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.

Content by Georgina Crothers & Rebecca Foster.

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