Easy Landscaping Improvements for Your Home





2-15-19




With spring right around the corner, this is a perfect time to learn how to heighten the curb appeal of your property. While the inside is what drives the value of your house, the outside is what will make a first (and hopefully, lasting) impression on homebuyers.


Add a Border to Your Flower Bed


The outside of your home will have more character with a distinct border separating the flower bed from the lawn. The border should be unique from its surroundings, but also subtle so as not to distract from the colorful blooms of spring.


Ideal materials would be wood, stone, brick and/or concrete. Looking to be more creative? Try using wine bottles and turning them upside down to add a creative and colorful twist!


Which Plants Should I Use?


You can make your yard pop by adding some bright and beautiful flowers. Daisies, daffodils, pansies and begonias are all great choices that are both inexpensive and bright. Hydrangeas can even change colors just by using a different type of soil.


Some strategically placed pots filled with cascading flowers will give your yard a romantic feel.


You can show off how healthy your yard is through planting tomatoes. They can be started indoors now from seeds and then transferred outside in late April, or you can buy potted plants at some point in the coming months. Starting in July and throughout the summer, the fruit will ripen at various rates, adding mixtures of green, red and orange to the palette of your yard. Naturally, this comes with the bonus of having fresh tomatoes!


Garden


A garden is perfect for attracting homebuyers with green thumbs. This region has almost half a year without any frost, leading to a variety of choices for selecting the right vegetables. Use the list below as a general guideline but remember that you need to wait until after the last frost of winter before placing anything in the ground.


Plant as early as April

- Beets *

- Bell Peppers *

- Broccoli

- Brussels Sprouts

- Cabbage *

- Carrots

- Cauliflower

- Kale

- Lettuce *

- Onions

- Peas

- Spinach *

- Tomatoes


Wait to plant until mid-May

- Beans *

- Corn

- Cucumber

- Squash and zucchini


* These grow especially well in this part of Maryland!


Clean Your Walkway and Driveway


You will want to sweep and remove all loose debris on a regular basis, especially in the hours before showing your house, or an open house. A leaf blower may be better suited for occasionally clearing the driveway of excessive dirt, sticks and leaves.


Pressure washers are effective at making these areas look brand new again. Many hardware stores have them available to rent by the day. It's a time-consuming process, but the results will speak for themselves! Use caution to avoid damaging any nearby plants.


An alternate option would be to try an eco-friendly solution, which will be safe to use near grass and other plants. Bleach is a big no-no! Instead, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Saturate the stained area and let it sit for 30 minutes, then use a stiff, nylon bristle brush – not a metallic one.


Weeds


A common issue in warmer months is having weeds that somehow manage to continuously grow up through the spaces in between brick pavers, or through cracks in concrete. They can be relentless, and keeping them out-of-sight may require repeated treatments throughout the summer and fall.


A chemical compound designed specifically for killing weeds is best in the long run. Follow the instructions carefully on the product you choose and spray the necessary areas on a warm day so that the solution dries quickly.


Hopefully, the weeds will wither and die within a few days and the remains can then then be swept away.


Lawn Care


Keep your lawn maintained! This means that it needs to be mowed on a regular basis and possibly even watered during stretches of dry days in the summer. A few extra dollars on your water bill now can lead to offers on the table. Having patches of burnt grass will tarnish the overall image that you are trying to present to potential buyers.


Avoid leaving lines throughout your lawn by using alternate mowing patterns. If you mowed along the length of your yard last time, go back and forth this time (i.e. perpendicular to the long way). With many yards, you can even mow diagonally every third time.


After mowing, use a string trimmer (a.k.a. "weed whacker") to reach anywhere that your mower couldn't. Pay extra attention along fences and around trees!


Finally, use either an edger or a string trimmer to clean up the sides of the driveway. If possible, plan to do this a day or two before it rains, as the result can initially cause the edges to appear "too perfect" and unnatural. After a few days (or following rainfall) though, you'll be left with pleasantly crisp-looking cuts that define the shape of your driveway.


Hide Your AC Unit!


Let’s face it. There aren’t many things more unappealing than the unsightly eyesore that is your AC unit. Below are some options for casually hiding it.


A) Create a DIY wooden fence around the unit using wood pallets. Paint the pallets and attach a flower box to add a decorative touch.


B) Build a vertical garden with pallets and planter boxes.


C) Put artificial hedges around the unit. Real hedges will contribute to debris that could clog the unit.


D) Use a well placed trellis and add some climbing roses or ivy. This will also have the added advantage of shading your unit!


Plant Evergreens


Evergreens are a great choice for adding personality to your home. They will offer a beautiful color year-round, retain their scent and also offer a privacy screen. One subtle benefit that may surprise you is how effectively they can provide a sound barrier for your house.


Unlike flowers, evergreens are very low maintenance. For example, shrubs only need to be trimmed mid-spring before new growth takes effect and then again lightly during the summer for preserving their shape.


Final Thoughts


You don’t need to spend a lot of money hiring a professional landscape designer. Between YouTube and Pinterest, there is a goldmine's worth of tips to help you create a luxurious appearance to the outside of your property on your own.


Again, curb appeal is what makes the first impression, and with any luck, the care you put in now will make your home memorable in even the most competitive markets.


So what are you waiting for? Go out and spruce up your yard!


Are you thinking of buying or selling a home, now or in the near future? Give me a call!