Welcome Home: It’s More Than Just A Saying

Simone Smith

Simone Smith

Whether you rent or own, are a long-term resident or in the market to sell, first impressions are important and what’s outside your home should be just as important as what’s inside. Your front yard is usually the first thing you see when you walk out the door and the view that signals your return home, however, if upon arrival you’re only greeted by words on a doormat, you’re doing it wrong.

All too often our outdoor areas are given low priority, receiving the least amount of attention physically or financially and treated simply as spaces to rush through from here to there. However, whether you are conscious of it or not, these areas can have an impact on your daily life both negatively and positively, so let’s go through a few very simple steps that can help you create an enjoyable area to have you starting out on the right foot and welcoming you, your family and your guests to your home.

Step one: I like to call this the Annoyance Reduction Plan. Before you start adding anything you must first assess your situation.

We’ve all been in places that either make us happy and comfortable or maybe a little on edge and uncomfortable without even being aware of why. Take a walk out your front door going your usual route away from your house as well as back to your house — what stands out?

Make notes physically or mentally of what makes you happy or not. Is there clutter? (It happens easily when an area is used as the drop-off spot to or from your home). Are there obstacles to step over or go around? Overgrowth? Dim light? Are there beautiful plants, sounds of birds, a fountain or inviting furniture?

Whatever affects you, just be aware of how it makes you feel. Much like in the popular show “Tidying Up,” the idea is to keep what makes you happy and get rid of or change what doesn’t. Those little annoyances are the last thing you want at the beginning or end of the day, that’s why I consider the Annoyance Reduction Plan the first and best step to being welcomed home.

Step two: Work from big to small. Planting a few 6 packs of colorful bedding plants might be nice temporarily but in Santa Margarita and other hot inland areas the addition of a tree can make the single biggest impact to your yard.

Trees can provide a multitude of benefits including shade, shelter, nesting areas, colorful foliage, blooms, fruit and year-round interest as well as modifying the immediate climate by not only cooling temperatures in the summer but also slowing wind and rainfall, capturing CO2 and producing oxygen.

By the way, California’s Arbor Day is celebrated March 7 and continues for the week!

Step three: Add some lighting. A little bit of strategic lighting can go a long way and doing it right can make the difference between being blinding, utilitarian, or magical. Our night skies are amazing here and our human eyes are made to adjust to various lighting so there is really no need to try to light a yard like it’s daytime.

With the lighting options available your yard can be beautiful, well lit and inviting. Some simple solar lights can light the path to your door, uplighting can highlight the structure of a tree or statuary and string lights can add a festive air to a courtyard or fence line. Have some fun being creative.

By implementing these three simple steps beginning with the Annoyance Reduction Plan, working from big to small and adding lighting, you will be amazed at how welcome you will feel coming home, even before you reach your front door.

Have ideas for Simone? Email simone@colonymagazine.com.