Monday, August 6, 2012

Curb Appeal -- Leaving Normile

You can tell much about the inhabitants by the outward appearance of a home.  

Running for public office, my family and I spend alot of time on the streets of our city.   Bet many don't know where Castle street is, or Rainbow, for that matter?  This year we've embarked on a venture which requires walking from one end of town to the other--from Gary to Gulley.  Bill and I amuse ourselves at night by incorporating the names of recent streets into conversation.  "I can't wait to feel Normile again!"  "Honey, then just don't get Morross."  Not very funny, but we're lawyers, not comedians. This is our life right now.

From the stately brick homes of the Aviation subdivision to the sprawling ranch structures of Golfcrest, each abode has unique appeal reflective of its occupants. 

We can spot the home of a registered voter from one hundred feet.  A primary voter?  Impeccable.  The care with which someone invests in their home is consistent with the concern they have about the political process, about their town, their country, their world.  So it is with exterior maintenance of not only the home, but the community. It's not about resources, nor political affiliation for that matter, but pride of ownership or occupancy. 

In fact, party affiliation is the only thing not obvious from the exterior.  Conservatives do not lean towards roses, while Liberals don't favor hydrangea. Yet, creativity, musicality, traditionalism, and practicality are all evident from the curb. 

Imaginitive folks may do away with most of the front lawn, opting for a cottage look dotted with outdoor art, archways and gazebos.  Traditional gardeners lean towards standard foundational planting of junipers, boxwoods and mungo pines.  Practical gardeners favor function over form--hanging tomato baskets, containers of herbs and low maintenance spirea for color.  Safe bets for mutual enjoyment are flowering trees and sturdy spruces.  A windowbox practically makes me swoon.

In the end, it's not about trends, but self expression. Even the tiniest front porch has room for a perky planter.

Curb appeal doesn't require much cash.  A long handled pointed spade, shears, some free mulch and a bit of elbow grease are all that are needed.   Cut in some botanical edges, loosen the soil, trim the shrubs and sprinkle in some natural mulch.  Clean up the front door and sparingly adorn the area with a wreath, planter or some item reflective of your interests, but compatible with the style of the home.

Curb appeal is for those who live inside, taking into account the realities of life and the neighbor's sensibilities.

What really matters in the end is the smile behind the door.