If you’re planning to put your home on the market, it pays to pause and take stock of what your property looks like from the street to all those prospective buyers walking or driving by.
Curb appeal is critical, especially in a buyer’s market: After all, very few buyers are going to come inside for a closer look if your landscaping scares them away. Luckily, you don’t have to have a green thumb to clean up your yard and create an inviting entryway with flowers and low-maintenance plantings. With a trip to the local nursery and a little elbow grease, you can spend a weekend making your property more appealing with a few easy landscaping tips.
1. Add a Wreath
If you feel like you kill plants just by looking at them, this is the solution for you. Choose a seasonal wreath to hang on your front door for a welcoming touch that gives the illusion of a green thumb.
Choose a well-made wreath made with natural products instead of plastic. For winter, classic evergreen wreaths look great well beyond the December holidays. For other seasons, try a wreath made with a base of dried grape vines, hay, magnolia leaves or any other organic product that strikes your fancy.
Pro Tip: Think elegant rather than cutesy, and skip the references to specific holidays for a wreath that will last for months rather than weeks.
2. Add Hanging Baskets
This easy tip requires nothing but a trip to the nursery to pick out a few ready-to-hang baskets of flowers. Every home can benefit from placing these near the entryway to add a touch of nature with colorful flowers – especially important for houses with small yards and a high percentage of paved areas. Hang them from your porch ceiling with galvanized screw hooks, or sink a shepherd’s crook hanger into the ground to line the path to your front door.
Pro Tip: Set a reminder on your phone so you don’t forget to water your baskets when needed.
3. Tidy the Lawn
If you have a grass lawn, weekly mowing and trimming is the bare minimum requirement for making your yard look its best to buyers. During the spring and summer months, consider regular fertilizing and watering to keep it green and attractive instead of brown and seared. In the autumn, rake and bag leaves promptly.
If these chores drive you crazy, or if you do not have the time to do them due to other obligations, you may want to hire a lawn service or landscaping company on a limited contract to make sure your property always looks its best. You never know when someone will drive by for a peek, so these tasks can’t be put off.
Pro Tip: A one-time visit from a professional landscaping company can get you started and make ongoing DIY maintenance seem less challenging than starting from scratch.
4. Trim the Hedges
Mature foundation plantings, like a fresh coat of exterior paint, can be a selling point for any home, but only if they look great. If it’s been a few years since you’ve trimmed the hedges around your home, now’s the time to shape them up. Use your pruners to cut away and dead branches first, then snip away to even out the overall shape. Step back regularly to check for balance.
Most shrubs look fine with a natural, rounded shape rather than artificial boxy-ness, so go slow and do only what you need to for a nice haircut.
Pro Tip: Pruning with a partner makes getting an even shape easier, since you’ll have an extra pair of eyes to keep take the long view of your work.
5. Fill in the Gaps
If your foundation plantings are too far gone to save, or if you have serious gaps in a garden bed that make your evergreen shrub look lonely, consider adding some low-maintenance perennials to fill in the space. Adding a few daylilies, hosta or other easy-to-grow perennials will make your garden a selling point, since these plants will come back for the new owners year after year. You can also fill in smaller gaps by planting some low-maintenance annual flowers like marigolds or pansies instead.
Pro Tip: Check the labels on plants before buying to make sure they’re appropriate for your garden, including the amount of sunlight and water they need. When in doubt, ask for advice at your local shop to find plants that will do well in your climate without too much fuss.
Whether you choose to tackle these tasks on your own or plan to hire someone to help you with your landscaping, these five tips are a great investment of your time and money for a quick sale. When prepping your home for the market, you’ll want to make sure it looks its best inside and out. A great first step is to ask your agent what improvements they think will help the most as you move forward.