The classic HGTV show “Curb Appeal” is back, but it isn’t the show you remember. Its newest, amped-up iteration, “Curb Appeal Xtreme,” has new hosts, updated designs, and a series premiere that gets pretty emotional.
In the episode “Designing After Disaster,” designer John Gidding, horticulturist Jamie Durie, and carpenter Rachel Taylor meet with homeowners Brad and Kelly. In March 2020, a tornado hit this couple’s home in Nashville, TN. The effects were devastating, ripping off the roof and destroying the back and front yards.
Now, Brad and Kelly are determined to make lemonade out of lemons, building a second story onto their house. However, with all their insurance money going toward this addition, their budget for their yard is coming out of their own pockets, totaling only $40,000.
Find out how the new “Curb Appeal” team turns this disaster into a dream home, and get lots of tips on what you can do to improve your own curb appeal, too.
Paint your chimney to make it stand out
Before starting renovations, Gidding, Durie, and Taylor notice one strange thing about the chimney: The color on top doesn’t match the bottom. When the tornado took off this home’s roof, it took half of the chimney with it, so when it was time to rebuild, workers used bricks found on site.
Kelly actually loves the mottled, multicolored look of this chimney’s top half, and hopes the team can get the bottom half to match. However, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.
“We can’t sandblast the bottom because the mortar is too fragile,” Gidding says, “so we’re layering peach, red, orange, blue, and brown paint on the lower part of the chimney so that it all looks cohesive.”
Painting the bricks is incredibly time-consuming, and Gidding and Taylor work hard to re-create the top color. In the end, the two are happy with their work and reveal a unique, custom-painted chimney to Brad and Kelly. Their paint job worked wonders and added curb appeal in spades.
Don’t overbuild a fence
Brad and Kelly would love to give their yards some privacy, so the team builds a long cedar fence that reaches around the backyard and down to the street. It’s a beautiful feature, but Kelly and Brad are unsure if they need that much fence.
“I wanted it private in the back and along the side for sure,” Kelly says. “I guess it’s just in the front yard, I thought I wanted it to be more welcoming to our neighbors. You know, I want people to feel like they can walk up and say hi.”
Taylor says she can remove this front section of fence, and explains that her efforts won’t go to waste, as she can always repurpose this wood in another area of the yard.
The team takes down the front yard fence and replaces it with lush greenery. The plants separate Brad and Kelly’s home from their neighbor’s, but in a more subtle way.
Add plenty of bench seating to the backyard
After taking down the front section of the privacy fence, Taylor gets creative, using that cedar to create backyard benches.
While setting up the backyard kitchen with Durie, Taylor explains that the project was a big success.
“We planed everything down. We used the router, rounded out those edges, and now we have a high-quality finish from a relatively inexpensive grade of wood,” she says.
Luckily, there was enough wood to create a bench for the long dining table, plus benches around the new fire pit. The benches look great, and Durie also points out that the ample seating is perfect for the parties Kelly and Brad hope to host.
“There’s nothing like a little banquette seat in the garden, because whoever’s cooking up here can actually have a conversation with people over there,” says Durie.
Match tiles to create a cohesive look
The “Curb Appeal” team fills this backyard with useful amenities, including an outdoor kitchen, fire pit, dining table, and garden. Still, it’s important that these features flow together, so Durie makes sure to use the same limestone tile on both the fireplace and the new kitchen.
“The stone around the outdoor kitchen is exactly the same color and texture as the stone on the fireplace,” he says. “That gives the entire project this feeing of harmoniousness.”
It’s a good reminder that an outdoor living space, just like a home’s interior, should feel cohesive with a single design style. Matching tiles in different rooms, or in different sections of the yard, is an easy way to make two spaces feel connected.
Some plants can work in sun and shade
To finish this renovation, Durie and Gidding want to fill the space with lush, beautiful florals. However, they’ll need to be careful what they choose to plant.
“Brad and Kelly’s yard is small, so we’ve got to be strategic about choosing plants that have a big impact,” Gidding says.
They want greenery that could work in both the shady backyard and the sunny front yard—and luckily, Durie says there are some species that will thrive in both spaces.
“These hydrangeas will work in both sun and shade, so we can have a cohesive look across the property and bring lots of color and life back into this yard,” Durie says.
The team spends $1,200 on these hydrangeas, but they’re well worth the cost. These flowers look great, and they make the back and front yards look cohesive and colorful.