By Michelle Rauch, Gardening Enthusiast
First impressions aren’t limited to people.
If you have ever been house hunting you may recall making a snap judgment about a house the minute you pulled in front of it. One that may or may not be accurate. When I bought my house six years ago I knew before we got out of the car it was “the one.” The curb appeal was great. A well-manicured lawn and a row of neatly clipped bushes lined the house. Fortunately, the inside of the house didn’t disappoint me and my judgment based on curb appeal was accurate. Studies have found that a first impression based purely on landscape can account for nearly 85% of what a person sees when they are house hunting.
The value of a great yard goes beyond what people think. Money Magazine found homeowners get anywhere from a one hundred to two hundred percent return on the investment into curb appeal. Putting a little time and money into your yard pays off on the overall home value. A Gallup poll reports a seven to fifteen percent increase in the value of a home with great curb appeal. It’s also been proven a home with a great yard sells quicker than one with an unsightly yard. The bottom line—it’s an inexpensive way to add value and appeal to your home.
There are dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you tackle the front yard. Overgrown hedges, trees, and other unsightly growth are a big turn off. You know the house. It’s the one you can’t even see and are wary about what may be lurking in those bushes. Or the house that just has a hodgepodge of plants with no symmetry or attention to detail. A yard with brown spots is a turn-off, too. You can also have too much of a good thing. When it comes to ornamental concrete, less is definitely more. I’ve seen homes with every square inch of the yard covered in concrete and silk flowers. When the sale signs have gone up it’s been no wonder they’ve stayed up for months. Just remember the old adage about one man’s trash is another’s treasure. Just because you think it’s beautiful doesn’t mean everyone else will.
Those are the don’ts. Now for some dos. If you don’t want to invest in permanent perennials, shrubs and trees, container gardening is the way to go. Window boxes spilling with flowers are gorgeous. Pick a color that complements the paint on the house or the trim. The style of window box can add character. Painted wooden boxes create a traditional or cottage look. There are metal boxes if you prefer a more modern flair. I have iron baskets with a coco liner.
Adding colorful containers to your porch draws attention to the front door. Complement that with a beautiful wreath. Dress up a curbside mailbox with plants and flowers. It’s all easy and affordable. Take a step back and look at your own yard objectively. Hopefully, you’ll see the grass may indeed be greener on your side of the fence which is not only a sound investment for a sale, but could add to the property value when the assessor comes around.