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Sold on kerb appeal

If you wish to make the most of your home’s street appeal there are key external areas of the home and front yard that, along with clever planning and design, will get you the best results.

Photo courtesy Lawn Solutions Australia

How do you maximise a project’s street appeal and is it going to be worth your while? On a number of fronts it makes sense to refine the external elements with as much finesse as the interior – your builds are your marketing portfolio after all and any owner will appreciate an inviting home to return to as much as the subsequent resale value. Happy customers mean happy recommendations. 

There are plenty of factors to consider of course, from the roof, walls and doors to the garden. HIA member Nic Crowe, managing director of e-Scape Landscape Architecture in Perth, says the main entry and front yard is a fundamental space to prioritise in any design.

‘This area helps to add value and street appeal and it covers a range of practical and aesthetic choices to enhance any property,’ he says. 

A landscape architect, Nic says the use of high-quality materials, especially out the front, is important because that’s where homeowners lead their guests into their home.
‘Special features, such as architectural screening on a facade, can be done in an attractive way to offer shading and make the space more useable,’ he says. 

‘Driveway finishes and complementary material choices to the entry sequence is key to build on the theme you’re trying to develop with the property. That can work well with aspects like lighting, letterbox layout, steps and parking areas to give you a great outcome.’

 
sa 5 Photo courtesy e-Scape Landscape Architecture Photo: Kate Brockhurst
sa 4 Photo courtesy B&D

Attractive exteriors

While jumping on the design of a home’s frontage in the early stages is going to offer cohesion to the overall street appeal of a property, any landscape scheme should follow the home’s architecture. 

When it comes to beautiful and durable exteriors, matching high performance with aesthetic appeal was a challenge that Bondor’s innovation team was excited to take up, according to Paul Adams, Bondor national manager for residential systems. 

The challenge to adapt Bondor’s insulated architectural wall systems to create attractive residential exterior facades resulted in LuxeWall®. The product capitalises on existing architectural wall panelling metallic lustre and matt finishes, combined with the benefits of faster construction times and lower maintenance. 

Designed as a secret-fix system into standard timber or steel framing systems, Paul says he is pleased by the take up of the product. 

‘Innovative builders in both metropolitan and regional areas are incorporating LuxeWall into their designs, they love the finish and the ease and speed of install,’ he says. ‘LuxeWall is available in a range of matt and metallic lustre colours in smooth and profiled finishes that are popular with homeowners and trending well in the current market.’

Another advantage he says is the integrated insulation of the product which delivers superior thermal performance in a time of increasing energy costs, especially considering that the energy required for heating or cooling Australian households contributes up to 40 per cent of a resident’s energy.

‘Bondor’s building systems are also resistant to building or ground movement, preventing finishes cracking as experienced with traditional masonry and painted and texture-coated products,’ Paul says. 

He adds that architects, developers and building designers appreciate this advanced lightweight cladding technology for its architectural beauty and climate control benefits for incorporation into their sustainable and budget-conscious projects.

 

‘Smaller spaces are a real opportunity for clever solutions to maximise their useability. A designer can help by addressing the functional requirements but offer aesthetic choices and design responses that will lead to a high-quality space.’

Nic Crowe, e-Scape Landscape Architecture

Bondor Photo courtesy Bondor
sa 7 Photo courtesy e-Scape Landscape Architecture

Designer garage doors

No longer just a practical consideration, homeowners today are as concerned about the appearance of their garage doors in their home’s overall design as much as their roof, external walls or front door. Accounting for around 40 per cent of a home’s facade, garage doors have a significant impact on street appeal so it pays to get it right. 

With this in mind savvy manufacturers, such as B&D, have given the humble car entrance a stylish overhaul. With the launch of its new Designer Series, the range offers designers, builders and homeowners the chance to showcase a true showstopper, even if that means at first sight the door is not a door at all. 

Partnering with Biowood® and other suppliers to offer a variety of on-trend, sustainable cladding materials, it’s the diversity of cladding options available that sets this range apart. Homeowners can now enjoy finishes such as Castellated Black Japan Biowood® – which is a moulded resin/reconstituted timber composite product, both dynamic in appearance and durable in performance. 

The Castellated profile appears as a series of battens although it is much easier to install thanks to large format sheets. These can be ap-plied to the garage door and across the facade to provide an almost seamless appearance. Other benefits include its fire resistance and low-maintenance properties – being water-, mould-, mildew- and termite-resistant. It’s this combination that ensures the product is long-lasting and keeps exteriors looking just like they did from day one. 

The Designer Series can also be coupled with B&D’s flushmount sectional garage door and openers, ensuring homeowners are spoilt for choice when choosing an option that will maximise their street appeal.

 

‘Using planting to frame the home is a simple idea that can be done by anyone. Building a consistent theme in the garden, and transfer-ring that to the surrounding spaces, can be quite effective to make all the spaces feel designed.'

Nic Crowe, e-Scape Landscape Architecture

Lush landscapes

Nic Crowe of e-Scape Landscape Architecture says many of his clients are looking for help with establishing a cohesive design vision for their projects and in setting a sufficient budget early in the process. 

‘A landscape architect can help with the spatial layout, materials and plant selection that will enhance the house,’ he says. ‘Choose someone who fits what you’re looking for, and has a broad range of design skills and experience to work with builders to get the best result.’

He says his business is not tied to any style so firstly it’s about drawing inspiration from the house and then carrying some of those mate-rial selections and colour palettes throughout the design. 

‘Heritage houses, for example, generally have stringent planning restrictions of what you can do with building form but it does also lend itself into the landscape,’ Nic explains. ‘Complementary material selection, such as brick, limestone and blockwork, plus light coloured paving inset with formal and semi-formal planning, tends to be my go-to for heritage projects when trying to preserve that older character and feel.’

Getting a sense as to whether the frontage will have an open or closed feel will determine if you include any boundary walls or gates, an important design aspect to consider earlier on in terms of access to the property and security. 

‘For a Hamptons-style home we used a blend of contemporary and traditional planting choices, such as layered hedging and avenues of trees for a nice open feel to the frontage,’ Nic says. ‘Using high-quality stone paving in muted grey tones generally suits that style. It’s important to have a nice blend of planting selections and some lawn so you have a sense of openness, which is key for a Hampton’s vibe.’

 
sa 3 Photo courtesy e-Scape Landscape Architecture
sa 1 Photo courtesy e-Scape Landscape Architecture

Lavish lawns

A luxurious home can have its wow factor seriously undermined with a bedraggled lawn. Taking your first steps onto a property sets the stage for expectation in the rest of the home, and those with natural street appeal present with higher value in a monetary sense. This is an important consideration for those building for sale and builders interested in improving resale value for their clients’ properties. 

When looking at the possible inclusion of lawn in a project you want to ensure that it’s a turf that can be easily maintained by homeowners without impacting too much on their busy lives. Hand-selected from more than 10,000 turf varieties, Sir Grange is soft and dense, with a luxurious feel underfoot, as well as some very practical qualities.

Zoysia grasses, such as Sir Grange, require low-maintenance since they are a slow growth option – with some of the slowest growth rates of turf grasses available in the world. Its leaf also has a high silicone content, which makes it strong. Once established, Sir Grange doesn’t need to be mown as often as traditional warm season grasses, meaning it can be trimmed with a standard rotary or cylinder lawnmower less frequently than couch, kikuyu and buffalo varieties. Zoysia grasses are also drought tolerant and can survive through sub-freezing temperatures or full sun exposure – a hardy grass suitable for the diverse climate conditions found across Australia. 

From a visual perspective, Sir Grange can be manicured between 6–50mm, allowing its height to be fine-tuned to better meet the vision of a build, while its added benefit of being weed- and insect-resistant, helps to maintain its appeal.

Though it may not be top of mind for some, forward-planning builders and designers will choose to complement their premium exterior and internal finishes with a lawn of equivalent luxury.

It’s said that it’s the details that count, so a layer of turf, a statement entryway or porch lights right down to the house numerals mustn’t be underestimated. Whether you’re building to sell or meet a brief, carefully consider your choices and specifications in all the areas that impact on a home’s facade and kerb appeal, from the walls to the doors and landscape design.

This article was compiled with contributions from Bondor, B&D Garage Doors and Lawn Solutions Australia.

 

‘An adaptable approach is needed for renovations to spatially layout a garden because you need to work around aspects that you can and can’t change. The approach where you knock everything over and start from scratch is on the way out. Builders who work with a good designer to offer an integrated approach is a better outcome for the environment, particularly with tree retention and to maintain canopy cover.’

Nic Crowe, e-Scape Landscape Architecture

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