By Tina Jepson
I’m gearing up to put my home for sale and although the market in my area is hotter than hot, I still need to put my best foot forward. Aside from painting over my beloved orange walls, patching up an obscene number of nail pops, and performing a thorough cleaning that Martha Stewart would be proud of, there’s one area of my home that I’ve put the most thought into— my landscaping and outdoor areas.
That’s because outward appearances matter, especially when it comes to curb appeal. Potential buyers will pull up to the front of your home and, if it doesn’t impress them right off the bat, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot.
So before you hammer that FOR SALE sign in, spend a weekend perfecting your yard. Here’s how.
For the best result, use a rake or hand-pull clusters of weeds found in your landscape beds and in other areas of your yard, such as between patio pavers. Of course, try not to disturb any permanent, non-weed vegetation in the process.
If weeds are as big of a problem for you as they are for me, rake the mulch (or whichever material you use in your beds) into a pile. Now, you’re able to really get at the root of the problem (har har).
Tools are definitely your friend if you’re working with weeds in hard to reach places such as on the edge of any landscape borders. I recommend a garden hoe for large spaces and a simple V-weeder with a solid wood handle for compact areas.
Many potential homeowners aren’t interested in a complete landscape overhaul, so if you’ve got good bones in your yard, they’ll be pleased that there’s no major outdoor project to tackle.
To put your best face forward, take a good, hard look at your plants (especially in the front of your home). Is there anything old, out of place, or starting to brown? Your best bet is to remove it before you put your home on the market. Then, simply replace with a new plant such as brightly-colored perennials or foundation shrubs like holly or boxwoods.
Likewise, trim back any dead leaves from out of season bulbs, give any grasses a nice “haircut” and take your loppers to any misshapen trees and shrubs.
Depending on where you live, grass may matter A LOT to your home’s next owners. Some patches of weeds in the middle of your lawn may not have that much on an impact on a buyer, but bare spots are a whole other story.
In anticipation of our own move, we had two overgrown 20-year old Bradford pears removed and we were left with two bare areas that were quite larger than we anticipated. Unfortunately, grass doesn’t grow well in the relentlessly hot Carolina summers, so we had to work hard to get it to start. By seeding, fertilizing, covering with hay and watering constantly, we’re slowly getting the needed result.
If you have bare spots, start working on your grass NOW. Buy the best seed and fertilizer you can and invest in an automatic timer so you don’t have to remember to lug out the sprinkler multiple times a day.
A fresh layer of mulch does wonders in creating a clean landscape. Plus, it’s a relatively affordable “to-do.”
Whether you use pine straw, bark, cedar, lava rocks, or something completely unique to your region, don’t just “fluff” what you have and instead, use some new, fresh materials.
By now, your plants and landscape beds are likely looking fab, but there’s more to your yard than just these things.
Stage your patio furniture, outdoor benches, planters, wreaths, firewood, and more. Consider adding a flag or other decor to help brighten and add personality to your home.
With a bit of sweat-equity, it’s easy to transform your landscape beds and outdoor areas into something potential homeowners fall in love with. And this investment may very well pay off big-time for you when you start collecting offers.
Are you selling your home? What’s your plan to tackle your landscaping?
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson, www.shutterstock.com, and www.dreamstime.com