Getting your home ready for the sales market starts with sprucing up the outside -- especially if you want to entice buyers inside. Simple landscaping upgrades will increase the value of your home. They'll also help real estate agents attract prospective buyers. Landscaping upgrades don't have to cost a lot, but they are just the bait you need to get the fish on the line.
Look at the lawn as if you’ve never seen it before. Is it ready to be photographed for the cover of a magazine? A well-kept yard gives buyers the impression that it’s easy to handle weekly gardening chores for the property. Lush green grass is a draw, so, whether you do it yourself or hire a lawn service, make the lawn a priority. Mow, edge, fertilize, reseeding, and remove any weeds.
Organic fertilizers are better for the environment, and they don’t have that strong chemical smell. Organics are animal or plant-based: composted manure, leaves, twigs, and grass. Like synthetic products, natural fertilizers have ratios of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Soil pH and the type of grass determines the best mix to use in your yard. Edging the lawn against the driveway and walkways gives it a well-manicured look. Trim or prune all shrubs and bushes. That completes the look of your manicured lawn.
Clean up or add mulch to flower and shrubbery beds. Because mulch loses its color over a season or two, new layers are great refreshers — but too much of it keeps nutrients from soaking into the soil. Mulched beds should have 1 to 3 inches of wood chips around trees and shrubs. Clean out the old, rotting wood scraps; they attract bugs, molds, and diseases and can emit unpleasant odors.
Nothing draws the eye more than bright, beautiful color. Dress up your yard with flowers. Of course, your area's climate determines what kind of flowers to place in gardens and beds. (We recommend native plants since they're easy to maintain and eco-friendly.) You can also add potted plants and annuals around the perimeter of the house.
Colorful blooms native to Georgia to consider include:
Scarlet Sage — bright red or purple flowers over green foliage will bloom in the summer and fall. It requires little water and can grow in sun and shade.
Birdfoot Violet – these purple flowers need no maintenance and make an excellent ground cover. They grow well near rocky borders, and the leaves stay green throughout the summer.
Blue mistflower – this flower practically grows itself. Plant around the edge of your home and watch it reseed and bloom year after year. An added bonus? It will attract hoards of butterflies to your home.
Butterfly milkweed – This beautiful orange flower is one of the few that attract monarch butterflies. It also attracts other pollinators to your garden.
Spotlights and solar sticks brighten up the garden. LED bulbs come in many colors; they use less energy than incandescent ones and shine in specific directions. Dressing up the garden, landscaping and patio with LED strings, and updated light fixtures adds to your home's aesthetics.
Waterfalls, outdoor fountains and small ponds add charm and ambiance to your back yard. Designs can be simple or complex; you can add ornamental fish and plants to the pool. A basic pond requires a solid liner, high-efficiency pump, stone, and gravel. A filtration system keeps maintenance to a minimum.
Now, before you say, “Why put all that time and trouble into a water project when I’m just going to sell the house?” Consider this: Buyers think it’s pretty. They haven’t seen anything like it, anywhere else. It's something they may not do for themselves … but it’s cool. And then they say, “I want that.”
While you’re decking out the landscaping, don’t forget to clean up the deck and driveway, (rent a power washer,) splash some paint here and there, and make small repairs. When it comes to selling a house, curb appeal is the first step. Oh, and clean off the steps, too.
Lucy Crawford is a home design and DIY writer, and lover of herbal tea. With her busy hands, she is always challenging herself with a new DIY project. She enjoys designing spaces where she can relax and enjoy a good book.