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Staging your Yard, aka Curb Appeal to Sell

Dear Reader,

Along with the other work I do now, I still love plants. I have a bachelor's degree in Horticulture and Landscape Design and worked as a Horticulturist and Landscape Designer for many years. I LOVE helping people envision and bring to pass the dreams they had for their outdoor space. I love plants and I love the beauty and grounding they bring. In this article I am going to address a question that came up from a friend this week about landscaping to sell your home, enjoy!

It is the season for selling your home. When you are busy trying to pack, declutter, list and find somewhere else to live, your landscape is generally just a little flicker of acknowledgement in a busy month. However, your landscape can make a big difference in the sale of your home. Selling your home is NOT the time to hire a Landscape Designer. Let’s just get that straight. If you sell your home to a plant enthusiast, they will most likely completely change the landscape anyway. There are a few things you SHOULD do to increase the curb appeal of your house and help it sell faster. We will call it front yard staging.

First thing to do in front yard staging is to look at the trees and shrubs in your yard and cut out any dead wood and branches. Don’t go crazy trying to topiary your shrubs (or even prune to shape). An easy prune of dead branches in your shrubs will allow them to look healthy and show that they are easy to maintain. Pruning dead wood out of trees is a way to make the whole space look prettier, healthier and more complete (and less haunted).

Second is to edge your lawn. If you want you can go a step further and hire someone to aerate, dethatch and fertilize, but at a bare minimum, go around the edge of the lawn, along concrete and planter beds with an edger or a straight shovel and define the line. Between planter beds and lawn cut a deep edge, cutting through the roots of the lawn, at least 4”. Do keep your lawn mowed during the duration of listing. If you are no longer living in the area hire your neighbor’s son to do it. A crisp edge on the lawn will give the space a manicured look even if the lawn is in less than stellar shape.

Third is to fill the front planter beds with annual flowers. Trim back any perennials that will be fading during the listing months (even if it is bad practice horticulturally), and plant annuals that will fill the space with color and contrast. Pick plants with contrasting foliage to what is already planted (or contrasting foliage to each other if you have nothing planted) and flower colors that brighten the home. Don’t try to ever match the color of the home, but bring brightness to darkness, color to neutrals, and pop to catch the eye. Don’t worry about having lots of different varieties, pick 3-5. Plant 2-3’ swaths of each. Repeating along the planter bed in unequal swaths. Meaning 2’ round area of plant 1, 1’ round area of pant 2, 3’ round area of plant 3, 1’ round area of plant 1, etc. Be sure to water thoroughly and water daily for the first week or so until the roots are established. Again, if you are not living in the area, hire the same person who is mowing your lawn to water if the beds are not on a sprinkler system. This will be the icing on the cake and show the exterior of your home in the best light.

Additionally: If you choose not to plant annuals in your front beds (time, $, commitment), cover the beds with a good layer of non dyed mulch. 2” of local wood chips and it will give it a clean, professional look.

Fourth, and maybe just an afterthought after seeing the first picture is to remove small pots and personal items from the front of your home. If you do have pots of flowers you would like to keep in the yard, tuck them into flowerbeds where they are less conspicuous and clean the pot marks from the stairs and deck.

With these four simple tips you can stage the front of your home just in time for listing it for sale without having to spend thousands, or even hundreds of dollars. Keep in mind the person buying your home will love your home and it will bring them joy for many years to come. We are just giving the front a little face lift to show just how beautiful the home can be.

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