Easiest Ways to Add Curb Appeal on a Budget: Our Top 5 DIY Do’s and Don’ts for 2022

Whether you’re looking to add value or character to the exterior of your house, the internet will grant you a ton of unrealistic suggestions about what to do first. Hundreds of do-it-yourself landscape upgrades and repairs increase appeal. But the first impression really matters.

We’re giving you the Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts to get the most visual impact on a budget. If you’re selling this spring or adding finishing touches, raise your property’s curb appeal with these DIY suggestions.


DO CUT THE GRASS. The best investment anyone makes. In a 2018 study[1], REALTORS® reported that standard lawn maintenance was the #1 worthwhile investment, as sellers recovered 267% of the cost at resale. Landscaping maintenance and tree care, like pruning and weeding, was ranked #2 on the list, offering a 100% return on investment (ROI).[2]

DON’T CUT THE GRASS TOO SHORT OR LET IT GROW TOO LONG.Allowing an unkempt yard (overgrown grass) to be the first thing a prospective buyer sees suggests the property is difficult to maintain and not worth the effort. Bald or brown spots from overcut grass drying out is also unappealing. Let the grass grow to about 4in and then cut it down to 3in, healthy lawn standard.[3]


DO USE MULCH AND OTHER FILLERS. It makes garden beds appear tidier, even if nothing is planted there. For a budget option, head to the Garden Center at your local hardware store and ask for discount mulch. Every store has torn mulch bags that are being sold at a steep discount – sometimes $1/bag – and the store will repackage it for you to take it off their hands.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE MULCH.  The DIY landscaper’s best friend, it makes the yard feel finished and it can help fix ugly areas. We had a long patch of grass near the fence that wouldn’t grow, despite many attempts to resod. Two bags of mulch and a couple of thrifted gnome statues later and the eyesore became a prized focal point.


DO MAINTAIN IN-GROUND SPRINKLERS. According to NAR, it may not be worth investing in a new irrigation system as you prepare to sell, but it may be worth repairing broken fixtures as irrigation received the highest possible consumer joy score.[4] (Realtors® indicated the ROI was approximately 86% for installing a brand-new system.)[5]

DON’T ADD ADDITIONAL WATER FEATURES. Birdbaths and fountains, while beautiful, can give the impression of being hard to maintain.


DO ADD FLOWERS. Decorate the garden beds, window boxes, pathways and steps. Colorful eye-catchers create sightlines from the curb to the front door. Stand back on your property, look at the full picture, and add flowers as accents where they’re needed most.

DON’T MISS THE WINDOW TO PLANT ANNUALS. These inexpensive, colorful, one-time beauties are most hardy when planted before Memorial Day weekend in the northeast. Perennials and late-summer/early-fall blooms require more planning and investment, as they return after the frost and grow larger each year.


DO GRAB A PAINTBRUSH. Paint the front door, garage door, and mailbox. Paint or stain and seal decking. Consider upgrading the hardware or adding decorative hardware. A handful of these low-cost DIY moves add great visual appeal to your property.

DON’T FORGET TO CONSIDER VISITORS. Boldly display the house number in a location clearly visible from the street. Use a few low-level solar lamps to highlight the walkway or install a motion light for the driveway.

With limited time and resources, start with what’s visible from the sidewalk. And if you’ve cleared the list but something’s missing – pressure-wash! An hour spent cleaning the driveway, walkway, patio, and siding makes the entire property sparkle from afar. The REALTORS® of OneKey® MLS will tell you – a clean exterior makes for a beautiful home, so follow these basic Do’s and Don’ts for added curb appeal on a budget.

Man Gardening


[1] National Association of Realtors® Remodeling Impact Report

[2] Ibid.

[3] Consumer Reports

[4] National Association of Realtors® Remodeling Impact Report

[5] Ibid.