If you need to sell your current home in the Birmingham area, getting your house ready for the market requires work — cleaning, de-cluttering, repairs, and maybe some paint. The exterior of your home may need some attention as well. It is the first thing that potential home buyers will see when they look at your home. You have no doubt heard about curb appeal – you may even have some ideas on how you might go about adding some to your home to help it sell quicker and for top dollar. The problem is that when one is not just selling a home but also purchasing another, money can be tight. Here is a list of three low-cost tips that you can use to boost your home’s curb appeal.

1. Lighting

The Outdoor Lighting Birmingham blog that outdoor lighting gives a home more than curb appeal – it provides safety, ambiance, and a dramatic but warm welcome. There are many interesting ways to light your home and your outdoor living spaces using LED lights, silhouette lighting, accent lighting, and more. When deciding where to place lights, don’t neglect the most important areas. These include:

  • Walkways
  • Steps
  • Patio/Porch
  • Driveway
  • Water features

LED lighting creates bright lighting and according to The Outdoor Lighting Birmingham, but can greatly decrease your utility bills. This cost effective lighting can even be a selling point to home buyers. Whitmer’s describes three different types of lighting schemes that may help you create a lightscape for your yard to draw more interest and attention to the architectural or foliage design of your house.

  • Down-lighting – Giving the illusion of the moon shining on the landscape, this type of lighting is achieved by placing the lights overhead, such as in a tree, and facing downward.
  • Up-lighting – This style of lighting is more dramatic in that the lights are pointing directly at a feature in the landscape.
  • Cross-lighting — Whitmer’s claims this type of lighting is best for eliminating unwanted shadows. It involves placing lights both in front and in the back of the element you want to highlight.

Most homebuyers will view your home during daylight hours, so snap some photos of the home’s well-lit evening look and leave them out where potential buyers can see them.

2. Use container plants

Even if you can’t afford to purchase mature shrubs and trees for the front yard, you can still add plants. Container plants can add just the pop you need, especially if you choose ornamental pots and use them to hold plants with colorful flowers or interesting foliage. Consider creating a vignette on the front porch or back deck or line the walkway or driveway with the potted plants. To keep it interesting, vary the size and design of the pots as well as the design’s height. Use plant stands toward the back of the vignette to raise plants in shorter pots. Bethany A. O'Rear at AL.com suggest you use the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” concept of planting to create additional interest. This design technique calls for three different types of plants in one pot.

  • Thrillers are tall, striking plants, such as ornamental grasses or cannas. These are the stars of the container and are typically planted in the back or in the middle of it.
  • Fillers are the plants that you’ll stick around the thrillers. Rounded or mounded plants are ideal fillers. Consider petunias, coleus or dusty miller.
  • Spillers are the trailing plants you’ll want to put at the edges of the pot so that they can spill over the sides. Suitable spillers include bacopa and nasturtium.

It's also a great idea to find plants that are drought resistant, full sun, and resistant to high heats when trying to choose plants for the Birmingham area.

3. Green up the Lawn

In the Birmingham Metro area, we have soil with a lot of clay that compacts easily. This creates a barrier that stops air, water, and any nutrients to get to the roots of grass. Kate Agliata at My Green Birmingham suggest aerating your lawn. This should before spring is a way to improve the health of your lawn and make sure that the fertilizer and seeds you add have the best chance of improving your lawn. Crenshaw's Lawn & Shrub Carein Birmingham suggests that before adding any seed you should also rake the dead grass that is flattened to the dirt, called thatching. This layer prevents water from reaching the roots of your yard creating drought-like conditions at the roots, even when you are watering your grass regularly. This will give seeds and grass plugs a better chance of growing and improving the look and health of your lawn. If your lawn is in bad shape, consider installing sod before putting the house on the market. The average cost of sod installation, nationwide, is between $1,041 and $2,690, according to homeadvisor.com.

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