15 Curb Appeal Front Yard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

By Amy Beardsley

Posted on August 26th, 2022

Outdoor Seating | Address Numbers | Window Boxes | Replace Mailbox | Hide Garbage Cans | Plant a Tree | Exterior Light Fixtures | Power Washing | Paint Door | Plant Flowers | Sod | Garden Edging | Build a Pathway | Window Shutters | Fences

Light green front door surrounded by flowers and ornamental grasses

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Homes with high curb appeal can increase a home’s value up to 7%, according to a joint study by the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Alabama.

That means with a $300,000 home, you could be looking at $21,000 more for your sale, just for improving the way your front yard landscape.

On the flip side, a RE/MAX Twitter Poll found that 46.2% of respondents agree that a neglected exterior is the biggest turnoff when touring homes.

Luckily, upgrading your curb appeal doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money, and just doing a few simple things can get you thousands of dollars more during your home sale. We put together some curb appeal front yard landscaping ideas for people on a budget, from the least to the most expensive.

General clean up and sprucing might not require much of an eye for style, but to really make the best decisions on creating the most stylish home exterior and front yard that you can, it’s a good idea to bring in an expert.

Our friends at Clever Real Estate can match you with top local real estate agents who are experts in current curb appeal trends. An agent can help you set up a picturesque front yard landscape that can increase the value of your home and attract more buyers.

If you’re on a budget and wary about spending too much on an agent, Clever can help you save while getting full service. Clever offers a free service that matches you with trusted agents who come from Keller Williams, RE/MAX, and other national brokers — AND you'll save thousands, thanks to pre-negotiated listing fees of just 1% or $3,000. The average homeowner who lists with Clever saves $9,000!

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15 Curb Appeal Front Yard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget (From Least to Most Expensive)

1. Set Up an Inviting Seating Area

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Although outdoor living areas can be costly, you can do a lot with a small budget. Second-hand furniture, some cushions, or even a DIY fire pit can go a long way toward making home buyers feel welcome.

Decide where your seating area will be. If it’s not on a porch or balcony, you should level the ground. Gravel or pavement can be a great way to define the space. Then, use Facebook marketplace, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, or Craigslist to shop for used furniture and decor to give the area warmth.

2. Replace the Address Numbers on Your Home

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Front yard landscaping ideas can be super simple, like replacing the numbers on your home. Getting new house numbers can add a touch of color, sophistication, and modernism to your house.

You can find a variety of house number styles and materials at home improvement stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware.

3. Install Window Boxes

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Bring old-world charm and color to your home with a green or flowering window box. They're inexpensive and easy to install but make a big impression.

You can technically make window boxes yourself, but you’ll save time and spend about the same amount if you buy and install premade window boxes. Pretty much any home improvement store sells window boxes.

Then, buy and insert plants that reflect the style and vibe you want your home to have. If you can’t keep plants alive, fake plants can do the trick.

4. Update Your Mailbox

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A decades-old, weather-beaten mailbox with a wobbly stand or loose door screams neglect. Instead, pick up a new mailbox and stand to create visual appeal and pique your buyer's interest. It’ll show them that you take good care of your property.

When setting up a new mailbox and stand, you may need additional tools and supplies, like numbers, paint, and concrete. Mailboxes last longer and are less likely to topple when you place them in a small concrete foundation.

5. Fence in Garbage Cans or Central A/C Units

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If your garbage cans or A/C units are visible from the curb, a fence or barrier can keep them from being eyesores. Paint, stain, or growing vines can add visual interest, too.

Amazon has small kits you can install in a few minutes for a quick and cheap privacy fence. Alternatively, you can get more creative with unique or modern materials from your local home improvement store.

6. Plant a Tree (or Three)

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Planting trees helps reduce air pollution and brings new life to your yard. Shade also helps keep your house cool in the summer and provides habitat for wildlife.

Keep in mind that trees don’t grow fast, so this might not be the best option if you don’t have a lot of time before you are planning on selling your house. You can plant a more mature tree, but it will take a lot more work than if you plant a younger tree.

Have utility companies check for gas, power, and cable lines in the spot where you want the tree. Then start digging. You can break up the surrounding dirt in the hole to help the roots spread faster. Leave a mound around the tree to capture water, and use mulch to retain moisture.

7. Update Exterior Light Fixtures

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Updating your home’s exterior light fixtures is another great curb appeal project for homes with small front yards.

If you’re taking the DIY route, ensure the correct circuit breaker is turned off before beginning electrical work. Don’t hesitate to hire a professional to make sure it’s done right and up to current electrical code.

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8. Power Wash the Driveway and Walkways

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Hiring a professional to power or pressure wash your home’s driveway and walkway removes years of dirt, algae, oil, and dust, has a very high return on investment to boost curb appeal and make your home sparkle.

However, you should always test a small area before power washing the whole surface, especially if you’re dealing with older concrete, as power and pressure washing can sometimes do damage.

9. Paint the Front Door

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The key to an inviting front door is the prep work. Before you start painting, remove all hardware on the door, then wash and dry the door before using primer. If necessary, sand the door and tape over areas you do not want to paint.

A fresh new front door color creates instant curb appeal and is perfect for homes with small front yards. Using a particularly unique (but not garish) color can help your house stand out to buyers.

10. Plant Colorful Flowers

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Create a calming or exciting mood with a colorful flower bed. Work with a lawn and garden professional to choose colors that catch a buyer’s eye, fit your budget, and create a welcoming atmosphere.

The flower garden size you choose will impact your final cost. If you’re limited on funds, opt for a smaller bed. You can achieve the pop of color to attract the attention of buyers without breaking the bank.

11. Lay Sod

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Sod creates an instant yard that can add 15% to 20% to the house's value. It's the perfect solution to a patchy or incomplete yard.

You may need to apply herbicide to kill the existing ground cover and wait before laying new sod. Consider renting specialized equipment or hiring a professional if you have a large area to sod.

12. Invest in Garden Edging

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Garden edging creates a visual distinction between the grass and planted areas. It’s a great way to create the illusion of more space in a small yard, and it can give a large yard some contrast.

Consider using budget-friendly materials, like plastic strips, to save money if funds are tight. But if you’re looking for a more sophisticated look, go with stone, brick, bamboo, or concrete edging.

13. Build a Stepping Stone or Gravel Pathway

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Walkways are a symbol of hospitality. If your walkway is overgrown or nonexistent, your house is not nearly as welcoming as it could be. Add a stone or gravel path to your outdoor areas to create visual interest and invite buyers in.

The cost of a stone or gravel path depends on which materials you choose and the path's size. Gravel is cheaper than stepping stones, and some materials are pricier than others.

Setting up your pathway yourself could cut labor costs. Just make sure to clear and prepare the area first to ensure proper installation and create a long-lasting impact.

14. Add Window Shutters

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Decorative or functional window shutters allow you to add color, texture, and nostalgia to your home. They come in a variety of materials like wood and vinyl.

Installing shutters is straightforward but requires exact measurements and may involve ladder climbing. It can be intimidating without professional help. Consider hiring a pro to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

15. Install a New Fence

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Fencing can provide your home with security and privacy. Choose from wood, metal, vinyl, or composite materials that suit your home's style.

Installing a fence is tricky, so it’s best to leave it to a professional because they have specialized tools to secure fences if your home has a challenging landscape like rocks or tree roots. But if you choose to do it yourself, make sure to dig deep enough for fence posts and position them in concrete for stability.

Alternatively, if your existing fence is falling apart and you don’t want to spend money replacing it, consider removing it entirely.

Remember that you don’t have to do everything on this list. Your real estate agent can help you prioritize the projects most likely to boost your property’s curb appeal and catch a buyer's eye. We recommend bringing your agent into the process early on so you don’t waste money on projects that might not actually improve your home’s value.

Overwhelmed by the idea of finding a good agent in your area? We’ve partnered with Clever Real Estate to bring personalized introductions to the best real estate agents in your area right to your inbox.

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FAQs

What is the cheapest way to increase curb appeal?

The cheapest way to increase curb appeal is to set up an inviting seating area using second-hand furniture. Here are 14 other ways you can increase curb appeal on a budget.

How do I landscape my front yard on a budget?

You can landscape your front yard on a budget by planting flowers, bushes, and trees yourself in a small area that fits your budget. There are also other options, like installing garden edging, adding fences, building a walkway or garden path, and laying sod. Learn more about how to improve your front yard landscaping on a budget.

How can I make my front yard look more expensive?

You can make your front yard look more expensive by fixing your patchy grass with sod, planting flowers and trees, setting up an inviting seating area, and installing things like garden edging, a stone walkway, and fences around A/C units or garbage cans. Check out our list of 15 easy ways to improve your curb appeal on a budget.

What is the cheapest type of landscaping?

The cheapest type of landscaping involves laying a stone path, planting some flowers, using fun pots or planters, and setting up an inviting seating area. Learn more about how to improve your front yard landscaping on a budget.

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Posted in Home Improvement, Preparing to Sell Your Home, Selling a House