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Curb appeal is number one for a home’s first impression

Carson Arthur –

As real estate agents continue to analyze the value of our homes, trying to squeeze every last dollar out of them, the front yard continues to be one area that should get a lot of attention when it comes time to sell.
Online and business experts place the value of the front yard somewhere between 5 and 8 per cent of you entire home’s worth. This is because curb appeal is the number one contributor to first impression value, which everyone agrees can either help or very much hurt your home’s chances of selling for top dollar.

I was asked to do a front yard makeover on my good friend Tracy Moore’s (host of Cityline) urban home. Her only requirements were that I make it more modern, expand the size of the porch and keep some flowerbeds and parking spot.


Tracy’s home before

Tracy’s house before

Here is what I did.

First thing was to widen the driveway and reduce the size of the plant beds. In an area that does get a lot of snow, having enough room between a retaining wall and the side of the car is crucial for shoveling an accessible walkway in the winter. Too often we think about how we will use a space in the nice weather and block out the bad stuff. I always include at least three extra feet of walkway beside the drive if a front yard has the room for it. I even prioritize this space over plant beds and lawn. The average driveway plus walkway should be a comfortable 12’ wide to allow lots of access around the car for any passengers or visitors to walk around it.

Because I wanted to widen the drive, I felt it was time to donate the old walling and driveway pavers and start fresh with new stone products. I always work with one stone supplier so that the wall, stair and driveway stones are all the same colour palette and so that they will all visibly age the same way. For Tracy, I went with black stones from For the wall, I chose the Solina wall because of the graphic horizontal lines, which I paired with the extremely large Proma XL driveway stones.

I widened the porch to take advantage of the unused stone slab to the right of the house. Having a large seating space at the front of a home is one of those things that just makes a buyer smile. Even though the roof line now covers the window, losing the bit of light in the living room is a small sacrifice for gaining a spot to have morning coffee and watch the world go by!

When it comes to a front yard renovation, I always tell homeowners to keep their budget under 5 per cent of the home’s value. In this case, the cost of Tracy’s renovation came in around $40K, well under the 5 per cent target. Take a look at the front of your home, does it make you excited and proud to say you live here? Maybe its time for a few strategic changes!

-Landscape designer Carson Arthur is host of HGTV’s new Home to Win show. He is also the outdoor expert with City TV’s Cityline and wrote the sell-out book Garden Designs for Outdoor Living in 2015. More at
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