Tidy landscaping gives a home curb appeal

03/21/2014 12:00 AM

08/06/2014 10:26 AM

Curb appeal is something we all should shoot for, whether we’re putting our house on the market or not.

Just think what pleasure you receive when you see a house neatly tended, with some colorful or architectural plant or another to draw your eye, maybe a curved stone path for a sidewalk, and some porch furniture that makes you wish you could take a seat by the front door.

The more houses there are that have curb appeal, the more appealing our neighborhoods and cities are, and the more joy we can spread.

While an endless number of things can contribute to curb appeal, there are a definite few that detract and must be avoided, especially if you’re planning to put your house on the market.

“When I show a house and all the dead leaves are still there in the flower beds, it just gives the impression they don’t care,” Realtor Margie Zwiesler of Re/Max Premier said of home sellers. Overgrown trees and shrubs that cover up the house also need to be pruned to advantage, she said.

“That first glance is the most important,” Zwiesler said. “If the landscaping is mulched and weeded and neat and clean, they’re going to assume the house is kept the same way. I think that first impression is worth a whole bunch of money.”

She advises home sellers to invest in some mulch “and spend an afternoon getting it tidied up.”

“If they can add some bright flowers and make it a happy place, that would be even better yet. Get rid of all the dead winter stuff. I think that landscaping is just as important as staging the house – staging the outside as well. You’re forming a picture of the house for a buyer. They drive by and do in fact come inside.”

Adam Henning of Precision Lawn & Landscape in Wichita said he has clients who seek help with their front yard when selling a house, and he also advises the addition of bright annual flowers.

“Let’s say if you’ve got shrubs out front and they’re not in bloom, the annuals dress that up,” Henning said. The flowers can go in garden beds if there’s room, or in pots on the front porch or in front of the garage, Henning said.

When it comes to mulch, he likes shredded cedar. “It smells real good.”

HGTV’s Front Door website has these additional curb-appeal tips:

• Walk around the exterior of the house with a notepad and a critical eye, noting what looks “off.” Get in your car and drive slowly from both directions during the day and night.
• Assess the state of the house numbers: Are they clean and easy to read? Consider replacing them with something that harmonizes or contrasts nicely with the house.
• Pressure-washing can clean up decks, siding, driveways and walks. Pressure washers can be rented, and there are also businesses such as Aqua Clean Mobile Wash in Wichita that do the washing and also can remove rust.
• Look at your window treatments from the street. Windows look prettier when curtains are open; try to keep the look uniform throughout the house.
• Consider a new porch light, a new mailbox and a new doormat.

With spring now officially sprung, it’s time for all of us to get back outside with a critical eye and see what needs freshening up.

About Annie Calovich

Annie writes about home and garden, including her Bit of Earth column on Saturdays. She has been at The Eagle since 1985, working as a copy editor, a nation/world editor and a reporter. She’s a KU graduate who started out at The Coffeyville Journal.

Contact Annie at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com

Follow Annie on Twitter: @AnnieCalovich

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