By Matt Lee
The term ‘curb appeal’ is loaded with all sorts of implications, all of them pointing to something that may or may not add inherent value to your customer’s home.
It’s the first impression every homeowner hopes to use to wow guests, passersby and even potential buyers. However, most people focus only on the home to impress the neighborhood, when sometimes it’s what’s happening at ground level that can elevate their curb appeal from ‘meh’ to ‘Take my money!”
The most important of these ground-level measures is the walkway connecting pedestrians from the curb to the front door. Think of it less as a walkway and more as a carefully curated precessional experience that introduces people into the homeowner’s world. It must be inviting, visually interesting and functionally capable of comfortably moving foot traffic from point A to point B.
These five walkway ideas will pump up curb appeal and leave the lasting first impression your client’s home deserves.
When most people think about entry walkways, they blurt out ‘flagstone’ without a moment’s hesitation. It’s simply a reaction burned into our personal preferences like mustard on a hot dog.
However, there are other natural options that will give an entry sequence an entirely unique look and feel. are a great way to separate yourself from the rest of the block. Not only are they comfortable to walk on, they have an inherent directionality that adds visual flair and orientation to a walkway.
If the planks run perpendicular to the footpath, it slows down the experience – allowing guests to better appreciate the landscape. Conversely, running the planks with the flow of traffic promotes speed and aligned views ahead.
Just be sure to use a wood product that holds up to moisture, as being so close to the ground exposes the wood walkway to moisture and, inevitably, rot.
Exterior lighting can take on several different applications, the primary of which is making sure guests don’t trip and fall at night. And yes, path lighting is incredibly important.
Although perhaps just as vital is how the lighting compliments the other elements of the entry walkway. If your customer has invested in the design of other landscape features such as retaining walls, planters or even water features, you should advise them to also invest in how those things are lit. The look of the fixtures themselves is just as important as the light they emit, as you don’t want them to detract from the experience during the day either.
While you don’t see too many people putting full-blown swimming pools in their front yard these days (although maybe they should), a strategically placed water feature can go a long way with enhancing the curb appeal of a home.
Fountains are great, but fully-integrated systems are even better. Take into account other landscape elements when deciding how to implement a water feature. You can even introduce things like , rockeries or even living things like koi or goldfish to truly bring an entry walkway to life.
Depending on the natural topography of the front yard, introducing a series of terraced landscapes can have a profound effect on the visual fidelity of the home.
Concrete retaining walls, large boulder rockeries or gabion walls are all great elements to introduce as you begin to carve out terraces up or down a slope. Be sure to keep in mind how a series of staircases might integrate with the walls, because in the end that’s what people will be using the most as they make their way to the front door. Even better if the terraced walls are able to complement the home in both materiality and form.
If the home is set back rather far from the sidewalk, you might be able to take advantage of all that exterior space with a series of connected patios and courtyards.
This should be protected from the street with either tall walls or fences for privacy, but can make an incredible first impression to first time visitors. It’s also a great way for the homeowner to greet people if they’re waiting for friends to arrive for a party, as they can make with them before they even reach the front door.
It makes the procession more interesting, and provides them an experience very few homes are able to provide. Just as important is how those courtyards are connected. Use the other elements I’ve mentioned about wood walkways, water features and landscape lighting to cultivate an experience unlike any other.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt Lee is the co-founder of . Founded in 2012, Lead Generation Experts helps building materials manufacturers improve their digital marketing strategy