As you choose a finish, think about the size of the area in which you will apply it. The faux-brick panels look best on larger areas, but don’t have a realistic appearance when applied to smaller areas such as jambs and headers. A few strategically located sections of a premium finish will go a long way toward improving the curb appeal of the site.
Consider the Manager’s Office
If containing costs is a top priority, then an office is likely not part of the plans. But if you’re building one, a small office can be the centerpiece of the site. Rather than apply architectural finishes, high-pitched roofs or other expensive treatments to the large storage buildings, use them on your office. The office is generally one of the most visible elements of the site, but usually not particularly large. Tie the site together visually by using the same finish in a few small locations elsewhere on the site that are visible from the street.
If you’re like me, you appreciate good design when you see it. But I know my limitations. When it comes to picking out what finishes and colors look good together, I get mixed results. If you want the look of a site with an architect’s touch without the expense, ask your building supplier to show you some of its best-looking projects and use that as inspiration. Or, identify attractive commercial structures on other retail business and find inspiration for colors and materials.
You might have to include landscaping to get approval from your local planning commission. Even if it’s not a requirement, it’s still a good idea as it’s a low-cost element that can add curb appeal. Scope out home-improvement and warehouse retailers for special buys, particularly in the spring.
In creating a landscape plan, consider not only upfront cost but long-term maintenance. In planting beds, use rocks over a weed barrier instead of mulch. Select climate-appropriate shrubs and plants to minimize the need to water. Add punch to the site with perennials that come back year after year.