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Give Your Driveway and Front Walk Some More Curb Appeal

Give Your Driveway and Front Walk Some More Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of your driveway and front walk is really important in creating a good impression of your house. After a tiring day at work, a beautiful front walk is something which makes the entry to your sweet home refreshing. Also, if the driveway is damaged, the tires of your car can get damaged as well. So, here’s a guide on how to increase the curb appeal of the driveway or front walk of your house.

Get rid of the cracks.

Cracked asphalt on the driveway should be replaced by a new layer of asphalt. Stones and gravel that were previously installed may scatter up and need to be replenished.

If you are not willing to repair cracks at the moment, you can hide the cracks by using plants and bushes. The material that you choose for repairing the cracks or building the pavement depends on the place where you live and the durability of the material. If you are looking for long-lasting stuff, cobblestones and pavers would be the ideal ones to choose since they last longer. For easy installation, crushed stones and gravel work best.

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Asphalt, on the other hand, is suitable for use in cold environments, but it does not last long.

Decorate the edges.

If the asphalt is in proper condition, you may decorate the edges to boost the curb appeal. It can be done by using bricks, stones, and pavers. Tiny fences can also be used.

Look into doing a checkerboard style.

If you can’t decide which one to choose among pavers and turf, let’s have both! This can be done in various ways. The pavers can be placed diagonally over a grass lawn or in a grid pattern. Care should be taken to ensure the grass is properly trimmed from time to time. Otherwise, it does not do proper justice to the landscape of the driveway.

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Add some outdoor lighting.

There is a variety of entrance lights, such as tire lighting, globe lighting, and mushroom lighting, that operate on low voltage and can be used to light up the front walk of your home, making it more pleasant and visually appealing. Install the lampposts on both sides of the driveway, keeping uniform gaps between every two pairs of posts. You can do it on your own or appoint professionals for the purpose.

The wattage of your transformer should be a little more than the total wattage, which is calculated by multiplying the number of lights and wattage of each light. The cost of tire lighting is $9–$20 per unit while that of solar lighting is $13–$30. You can also install entrance lights within $10–$20.

Before you proceed, it must be kept in mind that the light must produce a shadowy, mysterious effect and should never be of the same intensity as daylight.

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Do a bit of gardening.

A touch of greenery can add a bit of beauty to the driveway or front walk. This can be done in various ways. The most common way is to dig out the border on both sides and plant bushy trees there. Low plantings and manicured lawns can also be added.

Alternatively, you could go for tall trees separated at a uniform distance that line up with the pavement. If you are choosing this option, light stands should not be there.  The trees should be trimmed from time to time and must be of equal height. Another idea is to plant trees in a pattern of increasing heights. So, the first tree should be the shortest and the one nearest to the house must be the tallest.

Thinking which tree to choose? For building an alley of trees, ornamental pear trees would work best. If bushy plants are your choice, Zelkova and Annabelle are the right ones to go for. Others include Fairy-tale rose, Germanium, Japanese Forest grass, Lady’s Mantle, Alyssum, and Barrenwort. Flowering plants not only add to the beauty of the driveway or pavement with their attractive hues but also attract butterflies, transforming your place to a heavenly paradise!

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Featured photo credit: Brick Staircase & Planters by Kay Ellen via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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