So the house is going on the market and you need the most curb appeal possible? You have probably heard that painting the front door is one of the most cost effective ways to improve the appearance of your home. It is true that you can only make one first impression as buyers pull up to your home. However, do not forget that your lawn and landscape are a huge part of your home’s curb appeal.
Many aspects of your lawn and landscape take months or even years to improve. However, there are some basic changes that you can make on the fly to ensure you get plenty of wow when you show the house. Buyers equate a well maintained lawn and landscape with a well maintained home. If the yard is messy and poorly managed, the buyers start to question how well the house itself was maintained.
Understand that many of these improvements are best done by a lawn-care professional. You can quickly and inexpensively have the pros transform your shabby yard into the neighborhood gem. Here are some ideas for improving the look of your home.
When a potential buyer drives down your street, they are going to be comparing your yard to every other yard they pass. If your neighborhood is like mine, there are lawns that are nothing but weeds and lawns that are like a green shag carpet. Your lawn does not have to be the best on the block, but you certainly do not want it to be the worst. Thankfully, most weeds can be controlled quickly. Then you just need an occasional treatment to keep them gone until the home is sold.
Weeds such as dandelions, spurge, and henbit can normally be knocked out with just one or two treatments. That means that the worst eyesores you face could be gone in just a few weeks. A treatment every four to six weeks afterwards will keep them gone. Tougher weeds like clover, chickweed, and crabgrass will take a bit longer. However, they do not stick out as badly as other weeds. Keep in mind that any improvement is a good thing. If you are tight on funds and need that curb appeal, consider paying to have just the front and side yards treated instead of leaving your lawn full of weeds.
Pruning and Trimming Trees and Shrubs
One of the easiest ways to judge landscape maintenance is looking at the shaping of the plants. The reason for this is that it only takes one or two pruning jobs per year to keep the landscape looking sharp. If a homeowner is unwilling to have some pruning done annually, what does that say about the maintenance of the home?
Aside from times of extremely high temperatures, you can prune and trim most trees and shrubs during the majority of the year. Take shrubbery for example. Un-kept shrubs look like a boy that is long overdue for a haircut. However, with a little sculpting from a local professional you can have your shrubs looking sharp and sculpted. In most cases they will also clean up all of the clippings and dispose of them for you. This leaves you with a sleek look to your landscape.
In addition, there are times when dead or excess growth needs to be eliminated. There are many ornamental grasses and other plants that leave dead plant material during the cold months. It is best to trim away this dead material so that new, fresh grown can emerge in the springtime. This leaves you with a more attractive landscape in the winter and in the spring.
For larger trees, dead and low hanging branches can be an issue. Dead branches are ugly and dangerous. If a potential buyer has children, you can be sure they will be eyeballing that dead branch. Low hanging branches can make it hard to mow or trim underneath the tree. The larger the branch gets, the tougher it is to remove it without hurting the appearance of the tree. Also, if you have any trees that are completely dead, they could potentially damage your home or a neighbor’s home. Be sure to have the tree dropped professionally if at all possible.
Mowing and Trimming
You may not think that mowing techniques and equipment make much of a difference, but you would be wrong. Your old push mower may get the job done, but does it really leave your lawn with the best appearance possible? A professional cut will be made with a commercial 21-inch mower, resulting in a beautifully manicured lawn. Who would not want their lawn to look like a professional golf course?
In addition, a professional mow job is always done with a sharp blade. Most DIY mowers have a dull blade that rips the blade of grass instead of slicing cleanly through it. This gives the lawn a dingy, pale appearance and leaves it more susceptible to fungus that can kill the grass. Also, the pros will always trim and edge along concrete and mulch to give the lawn a nice, geometric appearance. When a buyer looks at your lawn, they can tell if the mowing is done properly.
There are a few other moves that you can make to improve the appearance of the lawn during specific times of the year. In the early spring, a heavy dose of fertilizer can help green up the lawn faster than it would revive on its own. If your house will be on the market over the winter and into the spring, a winterizer fertilizer can help establish the root system and give you a healthier lawn in the spring. In the summer months, watering can be important. Just watering one to two inches per week during dry periods can keep your lawn green when other lawns are brown. Finally, seeding bare or thin areas in the spring or fall can help you have a more consistent lawn. Just remember that you must adjust your watering to accommodate the new seed.
In the end, any improvement is a move in the right direction. Most people have no idea how long their home will be on the market. If you want your home to sell quickly and for a good price, you must generate interest from the first moment a buyer sees your home. How else to do that, than to spruce up your lawn and landscape? Make that investment and you will not regret it.