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Rediscovering your home's curb appeal

Updated on May 25, 2016
Catherine Wambui profile image

Catherine is a homemaker, gardener and writer. Her day job is a lab tech. Hubs include home improvement, gardening and science.


Joined: 9 months agoFollowers: 0Articles: 1

Let's begin

For me, the work of rediscovering our curb appeal is an annual one. And the work begins in the fall when the massive oak tree in the front lawn begins dropping its leaves and never stops until the middle of winter.

With such a huge tree, there are two approaches to take. The first is to do multiple rakings every two or three weeks. The second approach is to wait until the tree has dropped the bulk of its leaves and then rake in one fell swoop. I have used both approaches and hands down, multiple rakings is in the long run easier.

Hard work for sure but the end result is that you restore the charm of your home by rediscovering your curb appeal.

"Wow, I love your house"

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The end product, an attractive and inviting curb appeal.Beautiful cottage in the shade of the massive oak in the front lawn
The end product, an attractive and inviting curb appeal.
The end product, an attractive and inviting curb appeal.
Beautiful cottage in the shade of the massive oak in the front lawn
Beautiful cottage in the shade of the massive oak in the front lawn

Tools and equipment you need

  • Rakes
  • Yard bags
  • pruning shears
  • a wheel barrow
  • lawn mower
  • safety glasses
  • trowel
  • gloves
  • trimmer

Tools and Equipment

Along with a lawnmower and trimmer, additional tools needed to get your yard work done are different sizes of rakes.   A shovel and wheelbarrow come in handy too.
Along with a lawnmower and trimmer, additional tools needed to get your yard work done are different sizes of rakes. A shovel and wheelbarrow come in handy too.
The smaller tools are pruning shears, trowel, gloves and shears
The smaller tools are pruning shears, trowel, gloves and shears

Ready, Get set, GO

Once you have assembled all your tools and yard bags, all you really need is persistence and determination. It's understandable if you struggle with getting started. I do too. The piles of leaves are usually so high that it seems I shall never make a dent.

As with anything, the trick is to just get started. In our yard, the leaves pile up on the Southwest corner of the house where there is a retaining wall. This winter was particularly windy so even though we did rake and mow the leaves in the fall, the front yard still looked like this at the end of spring

I thought we raked in the fall...

The retaining wall keeps the leaves from being blown away.  Under those leaves are irises.
The retaining wall keeps the leaves from being blown away. Under those leaves are irises.
Somehow the leaves find the way back into our yard especially during windy days
Somehow the leaves find the way back into our yard especially during windy days

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves. Leaves Everywhere!

Once started, the only way to dig out your curb appeal is through hard work. Over the course of the fall and winter, the leaves are not selective in where they accumulate. As a result not only does the yard end up full of leaves but so do the flower beds that are next to the house and along the retaining wall.

As spring starts, here come the weeds and they are especially indiscriminate in where they grow .

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Perennial bed with leaves and weeds.Opposite perennial bed with leaves and weedsFlowering bed by retaining leaves with first spring flowers popping out of a pile of leaves
Perennial bed with leaves and weeds.
Perennial bed with leaves and weeds.
Opposite perennial bed with leaves and weeds
Opposite perennial bed with leaves and weeds
Flowering bed by retaining leaves with first spring flowers popping out of a pile of leaves
Flowering bed by retaining leaves with first spring flowers popping out of a pile of leaves

Mowing vs raking

With all these massive piles of leaves, what's the best option--mowing or raking?

In the past, I always raked, Mowed leaves always seemed to leave too much debris and was easily tracked into the house. However, in recent years, I have come around to the benefits of mowing or mulching leaves vs raking.

Are there downsides? There sure are. As expected, the mowed leaves do create a lot of flying debris on windy days and the small pieces of leaves are easily tracked into the house which means more sweeping the entrance and vacuuming the carpet.

But as in many other things in life, you weigh the pros and cons of something and make a decision. I liked the idea of using the mulched leaves to enrich the soil as well as providing a place for winter birds and critters to get food and water. And ultimately, it was easier than raking and I am excited to see how the enriched soil improves my yard.

Should you mow your lawn or rake the leaves?

MOWING
RAKING
Mowing is a time saver. Definitely takes less time than raking
Takes more time and is harder to do
Less yard bags needed
Requires more yard bags depending on the amount of leaves. I have used more than 3 dz bags in the past
The leaves are mulched. You still need to dispose of the brush
Have to figure out a way to dispose of the yard bags. Most cities provide a brush and leaf pick up twice a year
Mulched leaves act as organic mulch
Another method required to fertilize/ enrich your soil
 
 

Let's mow

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Mowing in progress.  Piles semi-leveled for easier mowing.Progress!Leaves left in hosta flower bed.  Used a smaller rake for removing leaves.Front lawn mowing complete.
Mowing in progress.  Piles semi-leveled for easier mowing.
Mowing in progress. Piles semi-leveled for easier mowing.
Progress!
Progress!
Leaves left in hosta flower bed.  Used a smaller rake for removing leaves.
Leaves left in hosta flower bed. Used a smaller rake for removing leaves.
Front lawn mowing complete.
Front lawn mowing complete.

Will it ever get done?

The simple answer is an enthusiastic yes. Section by section. Once you have pooled all the leaves. The piles will truly be humongous. You might want to spread out the piles a little. For me, failure to do so resulted in a broken lawnmower. Luckily we had a backup lawnmower while the first one was in the repair shop.

Having a way to track your progress is a good way to keep your motivation up. I do this by taking before, after and during photos. These photos help me keep perspective and focus on what I have accomplished while pushing on with the work. I will use progress photos of one of the flower beds that border the house

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I see progressBags of mulch ready for mulching the flower bedsBrown mulch. Weed cloth used for areas with pervasive weeds.
I see progress
I see progress
Bags of mulch ready for mulching the flower beds
Bags of mulch ready for mulching the flower beds
Brown mulch.
Brown mulch.
Weed cloth used for areas with pervasive weeds.
Weed cloth used for areas with pervasive weeds.

In a nutshell

So the entire process in a nutshell is:-

  1. Rake leaves into piles
  2. Mow the leaves
  3. Rake leaves from flower beds.
  4. Pool leaves into piles
  5. Use smaller rakes to remove leaves from flower beds
  6. Move leaves from flower beds into piles for mowing
  7. Weed your flower beds. A weed cloth can be used to prevent weed growth.
  8. Mulch the flower beds
  9. Add flowering plants and hanging pots to your porch
  10. Sit back and enjoy your work.

When all is said and done: Curb Appeal Rediscovered

Curb me beautiful
Curb me beautiful
Flower beds in the front and side yards.
Flower beds in the front and side yards.
Irises blooming in mid-spring
Irises blooming in mid-spring
Peony flower bed against retaining wall.
Peony flower bed against retaining wall.
Weeded and mulched flower bed adjoining the house.
Weeded and mulched flower bed adjoining the house.
Grass coming in beautifully in the front lawn
Grass coming in beautifully in the front lawn
Flowering plants on porch
Flowering plants on porch

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