Spring rains have saturated most of the U.S. this April and now is the time for homeowners to get outside and enhance their lawn, flowers and gardens, especially if planning to sell a home this summer.
Landscaping curb appeal is a known added value for home sellers, serving as a first impression of a home. Agents and buyers agree that a lush lawn and tidy landscape add to a home’s value and reflects positively on the overall care and condition of the property.
The four most common areas of landscaping that have the biggest impact on buyers are:
Lawn and landscaping
Front entrance including the driveway and walkway
Home owners don’t have to take on a massive landscape transformation to benefit from a curb appeal spruce up. To instantly add curb appeal without making a large investment, homeowners should:
- Keep a trim and healthy lawn with weekly mowing and line trimming. Clean up outdoor light fixtures from dust, cobwebs and dirt.
- Add solar lights along walkways and in flowerbeds to add nighttime appeal and effect. If the home has a wood fence, paint the ‘showing’ side and repair loose boards, holes and worn areas.
- Weed and clean the driveway area and walkway.
- The front entry is a home’s welcome sign. A freshly painted front door, a potted plant, a rocking chair and a welcome mat go a long way to a great looking entry.
Know your lawns
Before throwing down any seed or sod, homeowners should know what lawns do best in their location. Grass types are classified as “Warm Season” grass or “Cool Season” grass. This is determined by the grasses’ active growth period. For example, areas in the middle of the country are known as the transition zone. Mixtures of cool- and warm-season grasses are often necessary there, but cool-season varieties are the most successful.
Test your soil
Existing soil needs to have the proper pH value and nutrients to support a healthy lawn. Soil can be tested at any time. However, if you test in the fall or early spring, you have time to make adjustments before you start planting and tending to your lawn.
Different types of grass require different fertilizers. As previously mentioned, know what type of grass your have in your yard and fertilize appropriately and at the right time. If you have pets or children, be sure to purchase a fertilizer that is safe for them.
Mowing a Lawn 101
Stick to the 1/3 rule try not to remove more than 1/3 of the grass blade length in a mowing.
Mow when the grass is dry. This is when grass blades are upright, and less clumping.
Mow in the morning or night. Mowing in the heat of the day stresses the grass.
Aim mower clippings (unless you bag them) towards the area you have already cut.
Leave clippings (unless you bag them, or their clumped) as it returns nutrients and nitrogen to the lawn.
If you bag your clippings, consider composting them.
Prune away winter damage once plants have lost their leaves. Cut limbs back to live wood.
If you’re mulching a large area, use a cheaper hardwood mulch for the ‘filler’ then top-dress it with your mulch of choice. You can also top-dress old mulch by just adding a 1-inch layer on top. It’ll look brand new, and you’re not paying for something you don’t see.
Annuals are plants that live for only one season. Late spring is the best time to plant annuals such as Petunias, marigolds, salvia, and impatiens. Make sure roots are not too matted so they can expand into the soil.
Flower gardens make a yard look beautiful and welcoming. Vegetable gardens give the added bonus of providing fresh vegetables to eat.
One of the best gardening tools is a monthly landscaping calendar. To download one for your area, visit The National Gardening Association’s website. Plug in your zip code and you get a specific plan for your area.
Plants, flowers and shrubbery are great ways to add allure and definition to a home’s landscape. Flowering plants are a wonderful addition, but homeowners should consider the appeal when the plants are not in season and flowering.
Planted herbs are easy to plant and maintain. They also do great in pots for entryways and backyard patios.
By investing a little time and money into the yard this spring, homeowners can increase their home’s valuable first impression and “wow” factor.