Landscaping can increase your property values
Trees give shade and add value to your home. It gives it also curb appeal. Some buyers like the look and how it “dresses up” a home. Trees and Shrubs enhance a home and make it look more inviting and say "welcome home" to a buyer.
When buyers drive through a neighborhood to check it out it may make a difference whether they like to see the inside or not. Today buyers have access to all the information they want online and they decide whether they want to see the inside of a home from their computers or smart phones before they do a physical drive-by or decide to let their REALTOR know which home(s) they like to view. Sellers have the opportunity to make their home stand out.
Some home owner may not have the time to maintain their yards. It would be smart to hire a lawn maintenance company to do that work for them, after all you are protecting your investment and you want to sell. Here in the Columbia are we have plenty companies like that looking for your business and hiring them on an annual retainer often makes sense and you have no worries. They come more often in summer but come in fall and winter and fertilize and more. Yoiu decide how much yoiu want to have done.
It is important to maintain the yard and keep up with it. I hear from my buyers “I don’t need to see the inside if the outside looks like this” I have heard my clients state that and also if the outside is not maintained they feel the inside is not either. That should give all home owners something to think about.
Making sure that shutters, windows and doors are painted. Gutters should be clean, shrubs should be trimmed away from the house, sidewalks, beds and edges should be neatly defined, weeds controlled. A southern way to make beds look clean is adding pine straw (many pine trees grow here) to beds and around trees. There is also a variety of mulch available to choose from and that all keep moisture in the ground saving you from watering a lot. Another benefit is that it keep weeds from growing too quickly. I prefer pine mulch in a natural color to keep beds looking clean.
Some counties and HOA’s actually have someone drive around and check out where the yards are not maintained and send notices to homeowners and property owners (Commercial too) that if the grass wil not be cut by a certain day they will hire someone and send them the bill. County fines are steep!
Vinyl siding should be power washed on a regular basis or mold and mildew can cause damage aside from looking ugly. Mold is also a health issue.
Getting ready to sell? Step back and take a look at your house and walk around it from a buyer’s point of view.If anything needs to be repaired have it done and the same with fresh paint. Decsk that have splintered boards need to be replaced. Replace hardware and dated lights if necessary.
Overhanging tree branches may need to be trimmed back as well as your shrubs. When you trim the yard or have someone trim it for you make sure it looks nice when they get done and do not make it too bare or “butchered”. Sometimes one can get carried away. In general bushes should be trimmed away from the foundation, same with trees. Many times I find a new home where the bushes and trees have been planted too close to the foundation forgetting they need room to grow. It may look instantly great but in the future there will be problems. I recommend that when you buy a new house invest in planting some trees and bushes, especially when the lot was clear cut, not trees at all left. They grow while you enjoy your home and over time increase your property value. Large trees can be expensive.
Edging the Lawn
Cut the grass regularly, it promotes growth. Then edge your lawn. Amazing to see so many lawns with crawling sprigs of grass all over the curbs, sidewalks and paths. It looks un-kept and spells out work to a buyer. Edging your lawn makes a garden (or yard) look nicer and tamed giving it the appearance of less maintenance. Buyers look for low maintenance. Unless you are a gardener at heart and have a lot of time, don‘t mind uprooting bushes and more, it may turn a buyer away from a purchase.
I fyou don't have an edger you can used a spade to cut a neat separation between lawn and garden beds, sidewalk or fence. I have done it many times. You can use stones, brick or ready borders that can be found in most lawn and garden centers. I recommend to ask a garden center or look it up yourself how much a tree and bush will grow so you know how to figure the space they need over time.
Mulch and Pine Straw
In the Columbia and SC area you may find a lot of pine straw in beds and around trees. I believe that is partially because there are a lot of Pine Trees around. I prefer Mulch myself and feel it also keeps insects at bay. There are lots of garden centers that deliver it by the truck-ful. I prefer pine bark. Mulching and weeding (I follow it up with Preen to keep weeds at bay) plant beds will also make a garden look like low maintenance and I find that it is true. There are lots of dyed mulches and some colors are bright and may not be as appealing to buyers as others. I try to stick with the natural look. Too colorful may not attract a buyer as intended.
I recommend adding a planter with seasonal bright blooming flowers by the door or on the deck, patio. Most garden centers have some readily available for sometimes reasonable prices or crate one yourself and keep it regularly watered. If the house is or will be vacant, that seems pointless unless someone can maintain the blooms. Local Garden Centers are very helpful as to what the plants prefer, sun, shade, all day sun, depending on where you like to create something special. In the end you can take the potted plants with you after you sell to your new home.
In the Columbia SC area you find a lot of lawns have Centipede grass. It tolerates the heat and needs little water to grow. But once shade trees are growing and the grass gets little sun it dies or as I call it “it goes away” and all you see are bare spots and or weeds. Conditions have changed and you may have to replace the sod with a different kind of grass that grows in the shade. Amazingly most home owners do not replace it then with new grass sods that will grow in the shade. There are many helpful garden centers and landscapers that can give advice or visit the local Famers Market if you prefer to lay new sod yourself. Bare spots are not inviting and neither are weeds. It all spells out money, work and not being maintained to a buyer.
I found that on www.SCOTTS.com you can enter your zip code and see what grass grows in your area.
Taken from Scotts.com about Centipede grass: https://www.scotts.com/smg/gtt/2-6_pop-up_bahia.jsp?grassTypeId=f5785048-ee3b-adbc-98f2-99c38e8eac9f
Centipede (and Carpet grass)
Centipede grass spreads through stolons, and forms a dense turf. Because it grows horizontally, it requires less mowing and is easy to edge around garden beds and sidewalks. It is found throughout the warm-humid areas of the south. It does not grow well in hot, dry areas and will die if not supplied with adequate moisture. However, its fertilizer requirements are less than other warm-season grasses.
Carpet grass, while a very different species, needs the same care and looks very similar in a lawn to Centipede except that it produces a crabgrass-like seed head, and does not have hairs along the edges of the leaves.
- Tip/blade: pointed blade with notch
- Feel: dense, soft turf
- Growth: grows low, almost horizontal to the ground
- Additional: will quickly go dormant during a drought
I have found out over the years that grass seed takes a very long time to grow and the amount of water it takes to help it start growing is very expensive. Using sod seems to be the way to go and keep it watered until roots take.
We are fortunate to have the Clemson Extension here in Columbia SC and can get a lot of useful information and help. I added a link about grass and the Clemson Extension
Flowers can spell out “welcome” but in the end it all has to come together for a good curb appeal to make your home look inviting to a buyer. If you do not have a green thumb there is a garden center or landscaper near you to assist you to make your house look inviting and well maintained.
By: Rosemarie Averhoff