Sunday, September 30, 2012

Curb Appeal

Landscaped properties sell homes by adding curb appeal.
Well maintained landscaping shows that you care about your property.

Keep paving smooth, presenting a neat appearance. Comfortable entries allow you to enter a home guiding you in the most efficient manner. Walk grades, or steepness, should be no more than 5% with a minimum width of 42”. If stairs are necessary, always plan for at least two or more. A single stair is a “trip step.” Build each step a maximum of 6” high and the tread (the part you walk on) a minimum of 14” deep.
Comfortable Entry
Trip Step
Use landscape lighting for aesthetics, security and safety. Down-light from trees and use a few lights against the house or on plants with interesting growth habits. Invite buyers to experience your property in the evening to view this different atmosphere.

Color in the landscape “pops,” especially flowers. Sellers who do some homework in the year leading up to a listing can show their garden’s potential. Take pictures when plants are at their showiest times. Passing along information on plants, and photos of gardens is as important as other information buyers receive about your home.

Here are further landscape design suggestions to enhance your property:

• Balance the front of your property equally with trees and shrubs. Trees add the greatest value, according to the American Nursery and Landscape Association, so install them first. Create large beds, 8-12’ wide, around the home’s front corners. Utilize vertical plants, like holly, hinoki falsecypress, water lily star magnolia or chindo viburnum (V. awabuki ‘Chindo’), planted about 8’ off corners to “anchor” the house to the landscape. Install shrubs no closer than 3-4’ from the foundation.

• Design tiered beds – low flora in front, taller plants to the rear. Install them in groupings for impact. Use broadleaf evergreens, or other shrubs. Fill in open spaces with groupings of perennials or annuals that flower at various times throughout the growing season. This type of arrangement requires a planting bed 10-12’ wide. Keep planting beds edged and free of weeds.

• Choose shrubs for year round ornamental value, especially if you don’t know when you’re selling. Some shrubs and trees offer 12-month interest, like kousa dogwood with spring flowers, edible summer fruits, fall color and interesting winter bark. Little Henry Virginia sweetspire’s foliage turns maroon in fall, with deep maroon stems in winter, and white, fragrant, horizontally growing panicles of flowers in late spring/early summer.

• Containers enhance entries. Any plant that can be placed in the ground can be grown in a container. Any object that will hold soil with drainage holes in the bottom will work. Think of your containers as a garden – install trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, fruits and vegetables, as long as the size of the container will accommodate the size of the plant. Containers allow gardens in areas without space for traditional landscaping.
Colorful Container Planting
 • Watering and drainage are critical to plants in containers, especially hanging baskets. They can require watering every day during the summer if located in the sun.

• Repeating plants in mass by using the same colors in large sweeps will be an eye-catcher for buyers if in bloom when you’re planning to sell. For example, plant masses of mums in fall, moss phlox in early spring, purple coneflower in early summer, and black-eyed Susans later in the summer.

• Outdoor art or a specimen plant near the entry will attract attention. Only use a piece or two. Sculpture serves as a contrasting element with gardens. Design plants and sculptural elements in proportion to the size of your home or property.

©2012 Joel M. Lerner
Editor, Sandra Leavitt Lerner
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1 comment:

  1. Nice post. I approach the subject from a number of angles, including how to landscape with the four seasons in mind. Thank You!

    Landscaping Virginia