By Katherine Gotthardt
First impressions are always important, but particularly when you’re trying to sell your house, the way your home looks from the outside makes a lasting impression on potential buyers. Just as a fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive way to brighten up the inside of your home, tending to your garden is an affordable way to spruce up the outside of your home. The better your home looks on the outside, the better your chances are to sell quickly and at a higher price. Here are three tips to liven up your garden for maximum curb appeal and return on investment.
1. Plan and diversify your plant portfolio. Before you begin, plan. You will need to invest in a nice mixture of shrubs, trees and flowers. Do a bit of research to see which plants last a season (annuals) and which will come back season after season (perennials). If you choose only one or two types of flowers, your yard will look great when the flowers are blooming, but less than exciting for the remainder of the year. Create vivid colors for your garden that will give you different looks for different seasons.
If you are having difficulty choosing, consider asking a professional at your local nursery for advice on which plants will produce a variety of colors throughout the year. And if you know you have deer or rabbits in your neighborhood, ask which plants won’t tempt those cute critters to infringe on your investment.
You will also need to know how much room each plant requires to grow, so you can space them out properly. You don’t want your plants squashed together or growing into each other. You also don’t want bare spots. Confused? Consider hiring a landscaper to help plan your garden.
2. Play in the dirt; it pays off. Now that you’ve planned, it’s time to play in the dirt. Rid your yard of weeds, so it looks neat and well-kept. Weeds are not only an eyesore, but they will steal much needed resources from your garden and choke out flowers and grass. Consider using earth-friendly weed killer and pull weeds that sprout in your garden immediately before they have the chance to spread.
If you have dead or dying plants, don’t try to salvage them; pull them up. Withering plants can detract from the look of your landscaping. And if your plants have fallen victim to disease, it’s best to get rid of them before it spreads to your new plants.
Also rid your garden of crawly creatures looking to devour your newly-planted delicacies. Use safe, effective insect repellants around your yard to keep your landscaping investment intact.
3. Keep your lawn in the green. Your flowers and shrubs could be a collective masterpiece, but if your grass looks bad, your garden probably won’t save your curb appeal. Keep the grass neatly trimmed, well-watered and weed-free. After mowing the lawn, sweep up lawn clippings to keep sidewalks and driveways clean. Fertilize and seed bare spots. If you’ve tried everything and still aren’t seeing much success, you might need to invest in a lawn service to help you get your lawn looking as good as your new garden.
Even if you are not planning to move, putting time, energy and funds into enhancing curb appeal can increase the value of your home, while providing a rewarding experience. There’s nothing better than stepping back to view a job well done, especially when your efforts yield a lovely garden.
Katherine Gotthardt is a full-time local writer, as well as Editor in Chief of Prince William Living. She serves as president of Write by the Rails, the Prince William Chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Katherine can be reached at [email protected]