Curb Appeal on a Budget

by | DIY, Home

I’m excited to share with you one of the top requested DIY projects from our exterior…which happens to be my very favorite one too!  To fully appreciate why this is my favorite, let’s take a quick walk down memory lane to 2017…

The first thing that might make you cringe could be that bright color, right?  No offense to those who love bright colors…I actually love them in small doses…but not all over my house!  You can see why we were ready to dump white allllllllll over the exterior of our home!

We also knew we really wanted to add an extension to the front porch.  For the size of our home, it’s a rather small concrete pad that acts as a porch.  Especially coming from our former home that had a wrap-around porch, I was desperate to make this not only look inviting, but to be a space we could truly enjoy.

We had to wait a year and a half to let the dust settle on the extensive, whole-house renovation on the interior, but as soon as we were able to consider options for the front porch and landscape, I literally couldn’t wait!

Living in South Florida, we deal with very strict building codes and permits.  After some investigation, adding more concrete and building out the front porch was going to require extensive permits that would put us way over our budget.

With the help of a fresh eye from a local friend, we put together this design and got to work.

 


I think it’s important to insert here that in the home décor/DIY world, we can get caught up in thinking we have to do everything ourselves.  Let this be your gentle reminder that it is perfectly fine to hire someone to do the jobs that you either don’t have time to do or don’t know how to do!  In our case, my husband and I both work full-time.  It was more cost effective for us to do our jobs and pay someone to do part of this!


 

Onto the job…we paid a local builder to build and install the pergola areas.  Because they are free-standing, we could avoid a lot of headache with building codes.  The columns are deeply buried in concrete and have already withstood a small hurricane and multiple tropical storms!  We used cedar wood for the pergola so it will last us for many, many years to come, even with our extremely hot and humid climate.

On either side of the cement front porch, I really wanted spaces that felt like an extension of the interior and gave some extra curb appeal.  Our home has a little bit of the southern vibe in the way it is built, especially with the extra tall windows, and with a little creativity, we were able to add a ton of charm here.

Here is how we added the pavers and turf to extend our porch area:

 

Paver and Turf DIY

 

We enlisted the help of a college guy to help with some of the grunt work and make this project move along a little faster!  The most difficult part of the project was clearing the space and making it perfectly level.

Once that was done, it was sprayed well with weed killer and the paver part was begun.  We chose to lay them on a diagonal to give a little more interest to the space.  Living close to Jupiter Island, I was inspired by this kind of design that can be found in those southern-style mansions!  (Not that we live in a mansion, but any stretch of the imagination, but curb appeal can add so much impact to even a tiny home!)

Once the space was cleared, we spread a layer of fill material over the existing dirt and sand.   A short black plastic border helped keeps things in order.

We then rented a small compactor to form the loose gravel & soils into a firm bed.  One note here:  A hand tool will do the trick, but will cost you in time (and blisters!).  If you can make it work, rent the mechanical compactor!  This is for sure the most time consuming step–but the most important!

 

 

We choose to use artificial turf  between the pavers so that no matter the season, this space would always look fresh and manicured.  This turf grass was reasonably priced and has held up incredibly well for almost 3 years now.  It hasn’t faded or become worn, even though this pergola area gets all the weather elements.

We chose to space the pavers 4 inches apart and cut the turf strips to exactly 4 inches.  Using stakes, we secured the turf every 12-18 inches, being certain to give it extra security around the border.

 

We finished out this porch and pergola space with a pair of vintage swings that we picked up at a flea market for $30.  Yes, thirty dollars for the PAIR!  Talk about budget friendly!  We will eventually need to replace these, but they have served us well so far.  Our kids like to go outside and read and I love to see them using this space!

This paver and turf idea would work great for any outdoor space where you want a hard, concrete space with a softer look.  It would be great under a gazebo, beside a pool, surrounding a garden shed, or use it as a base to create an outdoor living area!

We had the outdoor coffee table custom built with the same wood as the pergola.  I love how it ties it all together and is the perfect spot to rest your feet, a drink, a book, or all of the above!  Since this space gets all the weather elements, it was important to have a table built with wood that will stand the test of time (and weather).  There are lots of cute outdoor coffee tables available, especially in the spring, but a custom option worked great for us. 

I invested in high-quality outdoor pillows for this space as well.  I knew regular outdoor pillows would fade and fall apart within a year or two. These pillows are easy to clean up and look as good as new in no time!  Even in three years, they haven’t faded, which says a lot in the Florida sun!  I love the look of the black and white stripe and how versatile they are for every season.  It’s easy to add some punches of different seasonal colors and décor to this space, or leave it simple and clean with just the black and white!

White rocking chairs, some outdoor planter baskets from Walmart, and new wreaths from Target spruced up this space and when I pull in the driveway, it feels like a good place to come home to.

Remember, curb appeal isn’t as much about what the neighbors think of your home as it is about how you feel when you arrive home!

Blessings,

Robyn

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