If you don’t have the money to do major renovations inside your home, turn your attention to the outside.  During our time at Hickory street, we only had the money to do a few exterior upgrades, but I think they made a huge difference.
The most drastic change was adding a driveway.  This was a major expense for us, but the saving paid off.  It was $2800 (I know some people may laugh that this was a major expense!) and I think it made a huge difference.
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The least expensive way to change your exterior is by adding plants.  My work was giving away 2 planters that fit perfectly on our front stoop.  We change the flowers out with the seasons and they make the front of our home far more inviting.

The last thing we did was add a fence and replanted the plants in the backyard.  Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of our backyard prior to replacing the fence.  Good looking HUH?!  That car, that belly THAT FENCE!  My how times have changed!
We removed the chain link and the old azaleas that had been taken over by vines.  I took the advice of a local plant company and instead of painting or staining the entire fence, we planted barrier plants that will grow to be 8’ tall.  Over time, they will soften and even disguise the fence.

I used to be a DIYer, but I just can’t do it any more.  After getting about 4 different quotes, we gladly hired Leadenwah Landscapes.  They used low maintenance plants including Ligustrum, Viburnum, Lorepetalum, Arizona Cypress and Dwarf Miscanthus (yes I just copied those from the invoice).  I cannot say enough great things about them!  They came in and were gone in a day.  I felt like I was on an HGTV show!
Not everything is about looks.  This backyard feels so good now.  We have privacy and I am not constantly making a “to do” list when I am spending time in the yard with my family.  If knocking down walls or redoing a kitchen is not in your budget, turn your attention outside!
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