house with curb appeal has fresh landscaping and pops of color


From desertscapes to lush lawns: Different shades of curb appeal by the region

The image you have of curb appeal in your head is likely different from people who live in a different region or on the opposite coast. Location, climate, and architectural styles influence what makes curb appeal attractive. Cape Cod cottages line the Northeast coastline, while traditional Tudor homes span across the Midwest.

Here’s what you can expect for curb appeal in the various regions of the country:

  • Coastal curb appeal:
    Coastal cottages and beach bungalows boast nautical blues and natural elements like stone and wood. Clean white exteriors are complemented by blue shutters and large windows that overlook the porch rockers. Ready to handle any ocean breeze, landscaping is kept simple.
  • Midwest curb appeal:
    Traditional suburban neighborhoods take on four seasons in the midwestern states. Freshly painted fences surround large, tree-lined yards that are consistently trimmed and raked. Seasonal plants add color and dimension to large Tudor, brick, and stone homes.
  • Southwest curb appeal:
    Water-wise rock, sand, and cactus landscaping give stucco Southwest ranches manageable curb appeal. Light stone pavers and energy-saving windows and doors are ideal for the hot, dry climate.
  • Pacific Northwest curb appeal:
    Modern mountain homes with clean lines and neutral palettes stand out in the northwest foliage. The damp climate is perfect for slate stone and wood landscaping elements that contrast with evergreen grass.
  • Southern curb appeal:
    Classic colonial homes sit on large lots in the southern states. Preserved original pillars and porches charm buyers who pull up the long driveway. Warm welcome mats and wreaths make the old houses feel like home.

Curb appeal is more than a pretty sight: It’s cash in the bank, too

Curb appeal’s visual interest and dramatic makeover potential make it great TV and wonderful fodder for browsing those shocking before-and-after photo essays. But does all that reality TV encouragement to spruce up your home’s outdoor appearance hold water, or is curb appeal as vapid as the ever-entertaining House Hunters?

Experts in the real estate field and ROI research echo the same truth: curb appeal matters big time—especially for home sellers. Check out these stats if you don’t believe us:

“First off, it’s going to be how well the house and the yard are maintained,” says PJ Hartley, a top-performing real estate agent in Tyler, Texas who’s sold over 74% more properties than the average agent.  “Now the inside of the house can be a total let down, but I think the front yard being pretty and attractive sets the stage of paying more for the house.”

From the street to the front door—curb appeal is everything in between

To better unpack the abstract idea of curb appeal, we’ve broken it down into three different levels representing different areas of a home’s frontward presentation from the bottom up.

house with different levels of curb appeal
Source: (breadmaker/ shutterstock)

Curb Appeal Level 1 (Bottom): General landscaping, bushes and shrubs, flowers and decorative plants.

Starting from the lowest point of a buyer’s line of vision, landscaping is the first level of curb appeal.

Standard lawn care service is the number one project that appeals to buyers and is estimated to return 267% of the cost, according to the National Association of Realtors’ 2018 Remodeling Impact Report.

“Where the plants are and how they grow into their shape makes a big difference in how well the front of your house shows,” says Hartley. “In the South where I am, the grass is still a big deal. Buyers want it green, healthy and trimmed.”

If there are areas of the yard that look disheveled or unkempt, Hartley recommends using a few beautiful elements to draw buyer attention away from the negative.