Put down that cup of tea, throw on a coat, and head outdoors to take a good look at your house from the street. In the weak light of November, do you see room for improvement? Here are 11 foolproof ways to add curb appeal and make your home look welcoming from now through winter:
Frame the Facade
Prune trees so their silhouettes frame the house instead of blocking it.
The best time to prune most trees is when they’re dormant; it’s easier to see the structure and shape of a tree when it doesn’t have leaves.
When pruning, remove diseased or damaged branches first. Then prune for shape: remove low-hanging branches that obstruct views or hang over walkways or block access to driveways. Thin the crown to allow light and air circulation. For tips, see DIY: Pruning Trees in Winter and Expert Advice from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Add Glamour to a Gate
Upgrade the latch on your gate. You know the one: it doesn’t catch properly (hasn’t for years, maybe) and it annoys you every time because the gate doesn’t close unless you fiddle with it. Now is the perfect time to take care of this problem because there’s not much else in the garden to distract you from the task.
Above: For our favorite gate latches, see 10 Easy Pieces: Gate Latches.
Make a Bird Feeder
See step-by-step instructions for this project at DIY: A Grapefruit Bird Feeder for Feathered Friends.
Buy a Bird Feeder
Add Handsome House Numbers
Replace house numbers. Is there an ugly font above your door? Chances are it’s more noticeable–and annoying–during winter months when you’re not distracted by other colors and textures in the garden. It’s an easy fix; for ideas, see our House Numbers archives for Modern House Numbers and Enamel House Numbers and Parisian Gilded House Numbers.
For more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Tile House Numbers.
Plant Snow Flowers
Plant snowdrops, hellebores, and early narcissi in the garden. Plant a few clumps at the edge of the path for winter color. For our favorite pink, white, purple, and black varieties of hellebores, see 5 Favorites: Hardworking Hellebores That Stand Up to Snow.
Stop Tracking Mud
Get a boot scraper. As Janet pointed out recently, “Sometimes doormats just aren’t enough to tackle the mud that garden boots love to collect.” See 5 Favorites: Iron Boot Scrapers.
Leaves the Lights On
Leave your holiday lights up until February. Twinkly white lights will welcome you home–an excellent consolation prize for a lack of daylight.
Wear Winter White
Add seasonal decor. Take advantage of winter weather: put ice lanterns on the front steps or flank the front door with potted pine evergreens. For ideas, see DIY: Winter Ice Lanterns.
Shine Bright Like a Diamond
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle.
Wash the windows. All that winter grit and grime is making it harder for weak sunlight to get indoors. For an all-natural window cleaner, see The Secret Ingredient for Streak-Free Windows.
For more winter design ideas, see: