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    How to Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal

    By By Shelley Stonebrook
    July 15, 2013, 5:08:17 AM EDT

    Summertime is the season to showcase your home. Porches and decks are stained to avoid splintering in blistering heat, old siding is replaced, and window boxes brim with peonies. These façade facelifts have special appeal to those buying or selling a home. According to the Husqvarna Global Gardening Report 2011, well-designed landscaping raised perceived residential property value by as much as 18 percent in the U.S. In fact, the study revealed that each dollar homeowners invested in curb appeal translated to an estimated 1.8-dollars return on their investment. That pricey paint can may just pay for itself.

    Of course, you’ll want to prettify your dwelling regardless of whether you’re in the market to buy or sell. Your house is your sanctuary from the world. It needs to be inviting, comfortable and beautiful so that you can feel safe and sound. The science (and art) of “building biology” compares your home to a living organism. This organism is healthiest when it is clean and follows a few simple guidelines. Here are four ways to boost curb appeal with a green twist, starting the moment you pull in the drive.


    Delightful (Permeable) Driveways

    Blacktop or concrete driveways are durable, sure, but they are not the most attractive options — nor are they the greenest. Concrete requires a huge amount of energy to produce and it traps and stores the summer heat, essentially baking your residence with its heat-island effect. Add to this the fact that rains cannot permeate concrete to replenish groundwater, and concrete driveways become a lose-lose first impression to your home.

    When replacing or creating a driveway or parking area, consider either permeable pavers or open-cell concrete blocks. These blocks are designed to support vehicles, but are sufficiently open to allow water to drain through them. The spaces are filled with gravel or sand. Grass or low ground cover can grow in the open spaces, which helps reduce heat buildup. These are only a few of your options for green patios, walkways and driveways.

    Make a Mailbox

    Mailboxes are often overlooked as a decorative feature. But we all got ’em and they do not need to be relegated to utility-only status. Crumbling, tilted mailboxes send an immediate sign that a home is either greatly loved or sadly neglected. While attractive units are out there, the best mailboxes I’ve seen are handmade. Try this one from PVC pipe for a funky, cool recycled look. Or, use whatever salvaged items you have at hand — chimney bricks, totem poles, even a wagon wheel or vintage sewing machine, to craft a truly one-of-a-kind mailbox. Learn more in Mailbox Mania. Your postal worker will not be the only one to notice.

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