5 low-cost, high-impact curb appeal tricks from a landscape designer

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Take a good look at the front of your house. Does it make a fabulous first impression, or does it fall kind of flat?

Curb appeal is a powerful thing, and experts say it should be at the forefront of your mind right now. A manicured landscape alone can increase a home’s value by up to 12% — and these kinds of upgrades don’t require deep pockets. Curb appeal is more about creativity than it is about cash.

“When you’re thinking of the outside, think of it as a room inside,” landscape architect Steve Griggs tells Yahoo Life. “Every year, just give it a good cleanup, like you would do inside the house. Maintenance is the key to everything.”

Just in time for the start of summer, Griggs filled us in on five easy ways to make a glorious entrance while getting the biggest bang for your buck — and you can snap up everything you need at QVC.

Don’t want to pay all in one go? Opt for interest-free Easy Pay installments instead. Plus, if you’re a first-time QVC shopper, you can grab an extra $15 off your purchase with code OFFER.

1. First, do a deep clean.

Before you tinker with decor, make sure everything in front of the house is clean, which usually means using a power washer, especially if you have a driveway. “It makes everything look fresh and new,” says Griggs.

Most pressure washers are heavy and bulky, but this Sun Joe 24v Cordless 350 PSI Pressure Sprayer — QVC’s top-rated power washer — is totally handheld and connects directly to the spigot. A comes with four different attachments and an adjustable nozzle with five spray patterns to tackle everything from worn-in steps to grimy siding.

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2. Tidy up the landscape.

“Keep the bushes nice and trimmed and tidy, and keep your lawn cut. Keep it watered and well-fertilized,” says Griggs, who believes vibrant greenery has some of the biggest impact possible when it comes to curb appeal.

“By far, I recommend a good irrigation system, too” Griggs adds. Keep your front lawn looking fresh and green with the Aqua Joe 360 Degree Sprinkler with 2-Hour Timer. It’s effortless, and it’s on sale!

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In addition to a powerful irrigation system, this two-pound bag of Barbara King Organic Fertilizer should be on your shopping list, as it’s on sale for just $27 — and Griggs says organic is best.

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Sun Joe’s 3.5-Amp Electric Hedge Trimmer is another wise investment, especially if you’ve been trimming your shrubs by hand. It’s one of QVC’s top-rated and least pricey options. One five-star reviewer called it “very easy to use, light-weight with great results, but a very powerful tool. I couldn’t believe how quickly I pruned my hedge yesterday!”

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3. Have fun with flowers.

Along with mulching your flowerbeds to keep the weeds down and the moisture in, Griggs likes to use planters on the porch. He recommends brightening things up with colorful annuals “that’ll give your home an instant pop.”

His favorites are pansies, SunPatiens and petunias. You can score live petunias on sale right now. QVC has a three-piece set of live petunias for less than 40 bucks.

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Then choose a planter to give your blooms a foundation that reflects your personal style. For modern decorators, we love these metal dome-shaped planters by Barbara King. They’re so chic — and more than 50% off!

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If your style is more traditional, this Zingz and Thingz jewel-toned ceramic planter trio is perfect. The pretty pots infuse your facade with even more color.

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4. Light the way.

“If you want to upgrade a little bit, night lighting is always key,” says Griggs. “It gives your house a nice pop throughout the summer. And it draws interest throughout the whole year, actually. It creates a nice effect even at night in the wintertime.”

To that end, “you want to put some pathway lights along the walkway,” Griggs adds. “Space them about every eight or 10 feet apart.” Customers love these Bell + Howell solar-powered pathway lights, on sale for almost half price. Griggs also recommends using them at the foundation to “shine up on the facade of the house, to accent the house more.”

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And for the porch itself, consider this Barbara King rattan lantern, which is more than 45% off and goes with everything. Plus, the included flameless candle comes with a remote!

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5. Bring the inside out.

For his clients, Griggs likes to create outdoor spaces he calls ‘micro resorts.’ “The idea of this is you want to expand the living space,” he says. “You want to maximize every square inch of your property.” For a porch, he recommends adding something as simple as a rocking chair, a grouping of pottery and/or an outdoor rug to “make it your own little space.”

Start here: this Barstow Rocking Chair by Safavieh is a classic and it’s on sale right now in three colors. It’s made of acacia wood and is the perfect thing to spruce up the front of your house, and make it a people-watching perch.

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Finish it off with this Safavieh Indoor/Outdoor Geometric Tile rug, which almost looks too pretty to be outside — but is there such a thing? It comes in six different colors and it’s made of polypropylene, so it stands up to the elements. It’s a great alternative to your typical doormat, too.

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