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Getting the Best Price for your Home Includes Landscaping for Curb Appeal
by Michael J. McGroarty
If you own a home, then sooner or later you are going to be ready to sell that home. Maybe you've already sold a home or two. People tend to move more often than our parents did.There are a lot of things that go into getting the best possible price for your home, but the very first thing your home needs is curb appeal. When a prospective buyer, or a realtor for that matter, pulls up in front of your home, they immediately form an opinion about your house. Fair or not, that's what people do. You can have the most beautiful home in the city, but if prospective buyers don't get a super positive feeling about your house the minute they lay eyes on it, they are going to enter and view the rest of your house with a negative impression.
Fixing that problem is easy enough to do. When people pull up in front of your house there are two things they see. A house, and the landscaping in front of that house. If the landscaping is unattractive, the house will appear to be unattractive. Landscaping for curb appeal does not cost a lot of money, it's simply a matter of making sure the landscaping is neat, with well defined edges, and colorful. But when landscaping for curb appeal, the most important thing you need to do is to raise the beds with topsoil. Of course you have to do this before you plant.
Plants do much better in raised beds, and the plants in the beds really stand out. In order to raise the beds around your house you do not have to buy expensive stones and build retaining walls. Just establish the outline of the planting beds, cut an edge into the soil with a spade, and fill the planting beds with approximately ten inches of good rich topsoil. You'd be amazed at how much you can raise a planting bed without any type of retention.
Here are two more things you don't need:
Plastic edging. It's expensive, a lot of work to install, and it never stays in place. You can cut an edge with a spade and your landscape will actually look better. Then you can make the bed a little larger any time you need to.
The other thing you definitely do not need is weed control fabric. Thestuff just doesn't work. The weeds grow right on top of the fabric, then root through the fabric making it even harder to keep your beds weed free. You'll find a really good article on weed control on my website.
When landscaping for curb appeal, plant placement and selection is very important. In a corner bed you need a centerpiece. I like Canadian Hemlock because they are evergreen and provide an excellent background for more colorful plants. In front of the Hemlock you can use a bright colored evergreen like Gold Thread Cypress, but don't use too many. Usually three is all you want. Around the backside of the same bed you can use a darker evergreen like Taxus or even a flowering shrub that you keep trimmed down low like Weigela. Lots of colors are fine, but don't stagger the colored plants in your landscape, use them in groupings, and be careful not to use too many in any one grouping. When you use more than three of any colored plant they lose their effectiveness. You are adding them for contrast, and when used sparingly they look much better. There are lots of landscaping photos on my website that will give you a lot of good ideas.
In front of a house I like to use an arc of medium height plants like Blue Girl Holly, then put a couple of taller plants behind the arc. When landscaping for curb appeal you want the landscape to stair step toward the house. In other words, the lawn is the bottom step, the raised bed is step two, low growing plants step three and so on.
If you are re-landscaping an older home you probably should start with a sledge hammer before you do anything else and bust out the sidewalk to the front door. Builders put in the ugliest sidewalks in the world, and they usually are hard to maneuver as you walk toward the front door. Once you have the old sidewalk removed, let your imagination run wild. Remember, you are landscaping for curb appeal, and there is no better way to establish ultimate curb appeal than with a beautiful curved walk that gently winds its way to the front door. Once again, there are photos of such sidewalks on my website, and you'll see what wonderful landscaping opportunities they present.
The last step in landscaping for curb appeal is to create an interesting shaped raised bed in the front yard. Fill this bed with spring floweringbulbs, and annual flowers for the summer. If your house is going to be on the market in the fall, add some chrysanthemums for a burst of fall color.
So what's the best benefit of landscaping for curb appeal? You'll gain great experience so you can make sure your new home is landscaped just the way you want it!
Michael J. McGroarty is the author of this article. Visit his most interesting website, http://www.freeplants.com and sign up for his excellent gardening newsletter.
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