Restrictions On Your Outside Décor
There are many instances where you are limited either by law or custom in your choice of outside décor for your home. So make sure your home isn't affected by these restrictions before starting to decorate the outside of your house. Even if your neighbor's house isn't restricted, yours might be if it is of architectural or historical significance.
If you live in a Historic district, Conservation area or live in a historical building, you may be restricted in the colors you can use for painting the outside of your house. This is normally to keep the buildings in harmony with the historical period. You may be required to use specific types of historical style paint and colors. You may also find that you aren't permitted to change the front of the property in any way. These restrictions could prevent you replacing old style wooden windows with modern aluminum ones, or changing the style or color of your front door.
These historical properties may be listed federally on the National Register of Historic Places, statewide or locally and restrictions will vary accordingly. The greatest level of restriction normally applies at a local level, so check with your local ordinances if you live in a historical area, to see if these restrictions apply to your property.
Historical districts aren't always very old, for example, the Morningside District in Miami was built between the 1920's and the 1940's. Certain states, like Tennessee, are particularly careful with their historic districts and have very strict rules about preserving the outside appearance of historic buildings in these heritage neighborhoods. If you live in this type of area, you may need to get permission from city hall or the local district to change anything about the appearance of your property. In some cases this can even include asking permission to prune your trees.
Home Owners Associations
HOA's (homeowners associations) can also have very strict rules and regulations regarding the outside appearance of your property. If you don't want to be told what color you can paint your garage, you may prefer to live in an area without a HOA. On the other hand, these HOA's can be very useful in making sure that your neighbors don't turn the next-door property into an eyesore. In some states, like Texas, HOA's can even foreclose on your home if you don't keep your dues up to date. If your neighborhood has an HOA, make sure you have a current copy of its rules and regulations, before starting to paint the outside of your property. You don't want to paint it bright blue if the rules only allow you to paint it white or cream.
Gated communities also tend towards uniformity and may require you to maintain the outside of your property to a set schedule. They can also restrict the type of outside décor you are allowed, as well as the color scheme of your house. Some gated communities, like retirement ones, may also restrict you on the age of visitors, who you can rent to and so forth.
If you live outside of these areas there is normally nothing to prevent you painting the outside of your property anyway you wish. However, it is probably advisable to fit in with the local style if you are thinking of reselling in the near future.