Curb Appeal and Décor for the Winter Months

Creating a Wintry Curb Appeal 

It’s getting to be that time of year again that us Western New Yorkers and Northwestern Pennsylvanians prepare for – winter. Although we are the best of the best for toughing out a snowstorm, there’s always room for improvement to boost your curb appeal. Whether you’re trying to sell, or just want to step up your curb appeal game, here are some helpful tips for the wintry season! 

Holiday Valley
Greg Spako photography

Plan Ahead 

Bare trees and white snow create clear sight-lines to your home. If you have faded or chipped paint, or your house is just in need of a fresh coat, take advantage of the sunny, cool days in fall to do this update. It’s simple, but makes a huge difference.  

Speaking of fall, make sure you take care of your leaves before the snow piles on top. Clean out your gutters and rake up your lawn to avoid piled up debris.  
Fall in Chautauqua

 

Keep it Tidy 

Keep your driveway, walkway, and stairs clear of snow and ice. Whether you have buyers looking at your home, or guests coming to visit, you definitely do not want anyone slipping or trudging through the snow.

 Light it Up 

Lighting up your walkway and porch makes your house look homey, and it’s safer for guests to walk along. These warm lights create a welcoming atmosphere and illuminates your porch décor as well. Keep an eye out for rustic and stylish lights or lanterns at thrift stores, flea markets, and garage sales. Don’t feel like having them wired? Use an outdoor-rated battery-operated light.  

Evergreens & Year-round plants 

Evergreens are great in the winter because they bring a nice, rich color amid a white landscape. Although they are called evergreens, you can also get them in yellows or blues, and let’s not forget the variety of styles. Make sure that these evergreens are trimmed and maintained! These fine details will make your curb appeal that much better. 

Pine trees with simple lights

Consider including trees and shrubs that hold onto their berries through fall winter to have an additional pop of color! You’d also be surprised at the number of plants that have foliage year-round. When stocking up on perennials, check out the plant label and see if it has foliage in the winter months as well.  

 

Bare Trees, Full texture 

Just because your deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter, does not make them any less pretty. Dogwoods and birch trees have great bark for texture and color when all their leaves are gone and create an attractive focus for your winter landscape.  

Trees in the winter

 

Winter Decorations 

Simple still makes a statement when decorating for winter months. Evergreen boughs and red ribbons are perfect for wintertime. Hanging a wreath on the front door looks nice, or a neatly stacking a pile of firewood on the porch. Planters are another great way to add color to a fence or banister. Fill these planters with evergreens, berries, and pinecones to achieve those winter vibes.  

Of course, adorning these decorations with simple white lights adds a nice tone to these already attractive decorations.  

Holiday wreath

 

 

Check out your hardscape 

Take advantage of winter to examine your hardscape! While evergreens and year-round plants are important for a winter landscape, what your lawn may be missing is something different. Check your focal points and see if a trellis, a bench, an arbor, or garden sculpture is what your lawn is missing. Adding to your hardscape is equally as important and can create a thoughtful, aesthetic look.  

 

 

Read more about these curb appeal tips, or generate new ideas  

1.) Better Homes & Gardens – “Create High-End Curb Appeal for Less” 

2.) Better Homes & Gardens – “Winter Landscaping Tips” 

3.) HGTV – “Tips for Winter Curb Appeal” 

4.) Houzz – “9 Ways to Boost Winter Curb Appeal”

Winter Fun in Chautauqua County!

There are a lot of fun activities to choose from this weekend (February 4 – February 6) in Chautauqua County!  Take advantage of all of the snow that is still falling and do something to celebrate winter in our beautiful area.

Wine & Chocolate Weekend (February 4, 2011 – February 6, 2011)
Visit the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Wine Trail for a wonderful weekend of wine paired with delicious chocolates.  According to the Lake Erie Wine Country website, “This Valentine’s treat is especially for you. Wineries will pair their own splendid chocolate creations with a delightful wine accompaniment. A perfect match!”  Even Hours are: Friday 12-5 PM and Saturday/Sunday 10 AM – 5 PM.  You may order tickets online!

Snowshoeing (February 5, 2011)
This Saturday explore the winter wilderness of Chautauqua County while snowshoeing with Evergreen Outfitters!  Guided tours will lead you through the beautiful winter woods.  Call Evergreen Outfitters (716) 763-2266 for reservations.

Chautauqua Winter Games (February 5, 2011 – February 6, 2011)
Come enjoy this FREE event at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena!   Saturday 9 AM – 8 PM & Sunday 9 AM – 2 PM, this fun figure skating competition will include Freestyle Dance and Pairs Competitive events.  Call the Ice Arena (716) 664-6609 or visit their website for more information.

Snowflake Festival (February 5, 2011)
Held this Saturday at the Jamestown Audobon Center from 10 AM – 4:30 PM.  Lots of indoor and outdoor events will be fun for the whole family!  According to the Jamestown Audobon Center, “Outdoor events will feature eagle caregiver Linda O’Brien answering all those questions you’ve always wanted to ask about Liberty, our resident Bald Eagle; snowshoeing with Evergreen Outfitters; cross country skiing; sleigh (or hay, weather dependent) rides with Dennis Wright; and winter camping and cooking demonstrations by Fluvanna Boy Scout Troop #169. Andrea DiMaio will return with the ever so popular Tails of Tundra Siberian husky rescue, highlighted by scooter and kick sled races. New this year will be 3 Seas Recreation and Suri Alpacas.”  Admission is only $5 and children under 12 are FREE.  Sleigh rides are $5 for adults and $2 for school aged children.

If you’re interested in visiting Chautauqua County this winter, remember Team VP provides full service vacation rentals and real estate sales.  Visit our website to view all of our rental properties, and even book your reservation online!  Call (800) 789-2600 for any questions you may have about real estate, rental properties or our beautiful area!

Winter is Coming… Is Your Home Ready?

It is a beautiful fall day here in Western New York… hard to imagine that before we know it, we’ll be buried in snow!

Fall is coming to a close – this is the perfect time to prepare your home for the winter with preventative maintenance!  Whether you’ve just moved into a new home, you are a first time home-owner, or you’ve lived in your home for years, it is a smart idea to take care of some simple preparations in order to avoid the risk of expensive repairs down the road.  Here are 10 quick, inexpensive tips for preparing your home:

1.  Check and seal your windows and exterior doors.  Test for drafts on the inside of your windows.  (Hold a lit candle close to the window seems, if it flickers you may have to repair the exterior seal).  Check the caulk on the outside of the window frames (look for gaps & cracks).  If repairs need to be made it is easiest and most efficient to remove the old caulk with a caulk softener so that you may re-seal the window.  The new caulk will stick and seal best to a clean surface.  Check your local home supply store for materials.  How about Chautauqua Brick!

2.  Replace your window screens with storm windows.  Consider covering window wells in your basement with plastic shields.

3.  Have a HVAC professional inspect your furnace.  It is a good idea to clean the ducts and replace the filter to help it work more efficiently through the winter months.

4.  Consider installing a programmable thermostat.  This will allow you to automatically create a heating schedule for your home.  For example, I have programmed my thermostat to raise the temperature slightly around 6:00 AM when I wake up, decrease slightly at 8:00 AM when I leave for work, increase again at 5:00 PM when I return home from work and decrease again at 10:00 PM when I go to sleep at the end of the day.  This way, my thermostat is not being overused when I am not home or do not need the extra warmth.

5.  Have your chimney cleaned and inspected to avoid unwanted fires or fumes entering your home.  Chop and store firewood in a dry area.

6.  Inspect your downspouts and gutters.  Clean the gutters and use a hose to spray water down the downspouts to clear out the debris.  This will allow melting snow and ice to melt and drain properly.

7.  Replace any worn, loose or missing shingles.  It’s better to fix them now and prevent the potential damage caused by the weight of the snow!

8.  Install smoke & carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they are working properly.  Replace any fire extinguishers that are 10+ years old.

9.  Clean and store your porch/patio furniture.  It will be much easier to take care of this without battling the snow!

10.  Bring any of your weather sensitive potted plants indoors.  Clear plant debris away from your house to allow proper air circulation and avoid pooling of water against your house when the snow and ice start to melt.

I hope these tips will be useful to you!  Taking advantage of some of these ideas will help you maintain your home’s value!  Spend a little money in prevention and avoid spending much more $$$ in repairs if winter damage were to occur.

Did we miss anything?  What are your creative ways of preparing for the winter season?