Look to Landscaping to Add Value to Your Home
Apr 30, 2016 12:06PM
● By Denise Schreiber
We love our homes and think that they are worth their weight in gold, so when a realtor gives you an estimate of what your house is worth, you may get offended. While you won’t get that much for your house in gold, one way to make more money is to boost the curb appeal of your home.
You may have granite countertops, designer furniture and a master suite to die for, but those looking at the outside of a ho-hum house and landscape aren’t likely to request a viewing. According to home improvement site Houzz, 53 percent of U.S. homeowners say they will remodel in the next one to two years to increase the value of their homes.
So let’s start with the basics. If you have siding, does it need to be repaired, painted or just power washed? Unless your house is a single level, call in professionals to do the work on ladders and scaffolding. Fix, paint and clean your shutters if you have them, and clean or paint the front door since it welcomes people into your home.
Sidewalks should be level and clean. If they are made of concrete, make sure that there are no cracks or holes. If they are made of stepping stones or blocks, remove any weeds and replace loose stones. A porch is important, too; handrails and steps should be painted and secure. If it is a large porch, a swing or a glider is an inviting way to bring potential buyers in for a closer look.
A basic landscape cleanup is one of the best moves that you can make. Rake leaves and any debris that may have been swept into the yard during the winter. Fertilize the lawn, weeds and all, so that it is green and lush-looking. Reseed any bare spots and water until the grass is actively growing. Make sharp cuts when edging your garden beds. If there are any shrubs or trees with broken or dead branches, do a quick clean-up with a pair of pruners or loppers. If it looks really bad, prune at soil height; you don’t want a dead plant staring at potential homebuyers. Prune or remove any shrubs or trees that are blocking sidewalks and doors. Your home is not supposed to look like the local haunted house.
Add a fresh coat of mulch that will give the beds a maintained look, using just one to two inches to make them look new; more than that is a waste of your money. Use regular shredded hardwood mulch; mulch is not supposed to match the colors of your house and red mulch is not the same color as true redwood mulch. You can either have it delivered in bulk or you can purchase it at garden centers.
Decide on the style of your home—is it a classic colonial, ultra-modern or a contemporary split level? Look at your plantings and judge whether or not they match the style of your house. A colonial is going to look silly with a yard full of topiaries and Oriental evergreens. A modern or contemporary home will look equally silly with a cottage-type garden. If you are purchasing topiaries for your landscape, make sure to buy ones that are large enough in scale to your home. Remember that they have been trained this way and they won’t get any larger. Keep in mind that you only need one great accent piece, not 10 of them. The idea is not to make it look like a tree nursery.
Color is always important in the landscape. A plant that has bright golden leaves is going to clash with a plant that has blue foliage. If you aren’t sure, go to the paint store and get some paint chips that you can put together to see what is harmonious. Warm colors include red, gold, yellow, orange, deep purple and burgundy while cool colors include pink, blue, lavender, violet and other pastels. White, green and silver are neutral enough to fit in any color palette.
Adding some color to the landscape is an easy and cheap fix. Plant more annuals for pops of color; add them to nice-looking pots or window boxes. Hanging baskets are great, too, but just a couple are needed. Remember to keep them watered since a wilted plant isn’t inviting. A piece of art of other non-plant hardscaping can be a focal point as well.
Follow these tips, and your home will soon have a sold sign out front!