Curb Appeal is an ongoing series to help buyers and sellers learn more about how to make the exterior of their property more marketable.
Houses are generally built relatively the same especially in new suburban neighborhoods. A great way to stand out is through landscaping. It provides a house the “wow” factor that makes it distinct from the rest. However, generally, people are reluctant when it comes to this and are afraid to explore this aspect of their house. Sure it may present numerous challenges, but you can always take it step by step. You do not have to revamp the entire garden at all once.
The purpose of this article is not to teach you how to landscape. I do not have enough experience to do so. Instead this article offers you with ideas that you could incorporate to your garden and reasons why you should. So here it goes.
Before you start making any changes, you have to be clear, or at least have an idea, of what you plan to do with your yard. Will you be using it for entertaining or just for aesthetics? Do you have children or a pet that will be playing in the yard? Practically, you would want to have a space that looks nice but at the same time functional for entertaining, barbeques, or just a place to enjoy the great weather.
Once you have decided, it’s time to get to work.
Grass and Weeds
You could start with the small things first. The most basic part of a garden or yard is the grass. A good sign of a well kept home is a well-kept grass, as some people would say. This would mean eliminating the weeds, and cutting and trimming the lawn. Also, there are many organic and environmentally friendly fertilizer and weed killers out there in the market, which you could use to ensure a nice, healthy, and weed-free lawn.
And if you feel that there is too much grass, consider dividing the area and lay it out in such a way that some of it has grass and other areas have mulch with decorative bushes.
Who doesn’t enjoy the sight of blooming flowers during spring? If you want to liven up your yard, you cannot go wrong with colourful flowers. There are tons out there to choose from, all of which have their pros and cons: from the duration, to its maintenance and cost. It is good practice to do some research or inquire about these before deciding.
Although flowers look very beautiful, they generally do not last that long. One thing to consider is not only its flowers but also its foliage. Leaves always last longer than its flowers.
A common misunderstanding is that all leaves are green. There are various plants out there that have different coloured leaves: from bright yellows to the dark reds and even aqua blues. These could add that colour you desire and at the same time last longer.
Also, do not be afraid to experiment with contrast, specifically in colours of plants and the mulch around them. Try using light coloured mulch for dark coloured plants and dark mulch for bright coloured plants.
Aside from just adding flora in the garden and yard, consider having custom plant boxes around the porch, driveway, and walkways. That way, you have more colour and life in these sometimes-barren areas. Also, it gives height to your plants while protecting them too.
Trees and Energy Consumption
Next, trees are also another thing to consider since they provide shade for your “outdoor living room” – although they will take years to grow, and yard work during fall will be increased. Nevertheless, a tree is always a good place to read book during a nice afternoon.
Some people even use trees as a way of reducing cooling costs in the summer by planting them in the west and south sides of their home. It provides shade against the hot and bright summer afternoons. Plants and trees can also help you save on heating costs during the winter by serving as windbreakers that cut the wind and reduce the impact of wind-chill hitting your home. Shrubs and bushes near the house’s foundation also serve as insulators during the frigid winter season.
These may not necessarily be significant changes in utility bills, but it positively impacts the environment in the long run as well.
Another thing that you have to remember, which may be a little obvious but still safe to point out, is that plants are ALIVE and they GROW. So with that being said, you have to remember to trim and maintain your plants. An overgrown and unkept garden can easily impact in the opposite way; it can deter and ruin the curb appeal of your house.
As always, remember to keep it appropriate and do not go overboard. We do not want people to have to look through a forest first before seeing your house. You should ensure that everything gels together. Lastly, remember that the more stuff you have going on, the harder it is to maintain.
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More articles on home staging and creating curb appeal can be found here.