First im­pres­sions al­ways count when it comes to houses. shows you how to smarten up the ex­te­rior of your home to make it more of a des res


IF you want to in­crease your home’s ‘kerb ap­peal’, giv­ing the front a makeover is a must, whether you’re sell­ing or stay­ing put. Here’s how to do it:

THIS time of year is ideal for bright­en­ing up your front gar­den with win­dow boxes, hang­ing bas­kets, troughs and tubs planted with colour­ful bed­ding plants.

To de­fine the en­trance, es­pe­cially if there could be con­fu­sion about which door is the front door, use plants to help guide peo­ple on their way in. A FRONT gar­den can add con­sid­er­able value to your home if it’s made into off-street park­ing, es­pe­cially in ex­pen­sive ur­ban ar­eas.

Plan­ning per­mis­sion is some­times re­quired for this, or there may be plan­ning re­stric­tions on things like its size and the ma­te­ri­als used – gravel or per­me­able paving, for ex­am­ple. With or with­out off-street park­ing, you can cre­ate an at­trac­tive, low-main­te­nance front gar­den with gravel, peb­bles or slate chips com­bined with plants.

TATTY wood­work at the front of your home looks aw­ful, so spruce up wooden win­dows and doors with ex­te­rior wood filler and paint. You can also, of course, paint metal win­dows and even UPVC ones.

Chang­ing the win­dows can make a mas­sive dif­fer­ence to the frontage, but it’s not cheap. And be care­ful not to de­crease the value of your home – re­plac­ing orig­i­nal wooden sash win­dows with mod­ern UPVC win­dows will de­value a prop­erty in some ar­eas, for ex­am­ple.

ONE of the eas­i­est ways to up­date the look of your front door is to change the door fur­ni­ture – chrome or satin nickel is more fash­ion­able than brass and gives a smart, con­tem­po­rary look, suited to both pe­riod and mod­ern doors.

Get metal door num­bers to match, or con­sider frosted-film num­bers if you have a glazed or par­tially glazed door or porch. They can be fid­dly to fit, but look great.

PAINT­ING the door a dif­fer­ent colour can also make a big dif­fer­ence.

Ide­ally, the colour should go with the build­ing’s brick­work, paint­work or other ex­te­rior fin­ish, and suit its age and style of ar­chi­tec­ture.

While some of the clas­sic colours are al­ways popular for front doors, in­clud­ing red, black and stately dark blue, there are also colour trends – greys and duck-egg blues and greens have be­come popular in re­cent years.

have a monoblock drive and want to re­place it as it needs lots of clean­ing to look nice. Any low main­te­nance, at­trac­tive re­place­ments?

AWEEDS and moss will al­ways form on block paving, es­pe­cially in shade. Regular pres­sure-wash­ing re­moves the top fin­ish – then the sur­face is no longer smooth and even harder to clean.

Gravel is the so­lu­tion. It’s easy to lay and just needs a rake now and then. It’s also a de­ter­rent to would-be bur­glars as you can hear them com­ing!

QWE re­cently re­moved an ivy grow­ing up a painted rough­cast wall. How do we re­move the mess of ten­drils?

have no chance of re­mov­ing those pesky ten­ta­cles – I re­cently wore a screw­driver down to a metal pin try­ing to get the lit­tle suck­ers off. I even­tu­ally gave up. I tried a heat gun, wire brush and jet wash but ended up paint­ing the wall. I can still see them.

is the best way to re­move sev­eral lay­ers of con­crete floor paint in prepa­ra­tion for re-seal­ing and paint­ing?

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