Curb Appeal, Part I: Hardscaping, Lawns, Walls & Fencing, Foundation Plantings & Trees
Whether you’re planning to sell your home or not, your home’s curb appeal affects its value. Landscaping is a crucial element of curb appeal. It’s estimated that a well-landscaped home can be valued from 5.5% to 12.7% over a non-landscaped home. That translates into a dollar value between an extra $16,500-$38,100 for a $300,000 home.
Curb appeal includes a number of aspects, from the general cleanliness and maintenance of a home’s exterior and grounds to enhancing elements such as colorful plantings and lighting. In this two part series, we’ll start with the fundamentals: hardscaping, walls and fencing, lawn, foundation plantings and trees. In Part Two, we’ll address color, planters, annuals, wreaths, lighting and the extras.
Clean & Repaired – The most basic place to start is to ensure things are neat and clean. If things are soiled they need to be cleaned, and if they are broken, they need to be repaired, replaced or removed.
Power-washing your home’s exterior might be all you need in lieu of repainting it and power-washing your sidewalk and walkways can give new life to old hardscaping (just be sure to follow directions including whether or not the surfaces you plan on cleaning can handle being power washed).
Hardscaping, Walls & Fencing – Cracked steps? Chipped pavers? Collapsing walls? Broken fencing? These are the types of thing we can get so used to looking at that we don’t even “see” them, but prospective buyers will, and to them it could look like neglect. Depending on what needs fixing, you may have to decide what makes the most sense – fixing the immediate problem, like a concrete patch for a cracked step; replacing a damaged item like a chipped paver; shoring up a failing stone wall or in the case of something like fencing, deciding whether it makes more sense to replace a segment, repair some loose posts, remove the whole thing if it’s too far gone or consider replacing the entire fence.
Lawn – While a perfect, weed-free-no-bare-patches-velvety-green carpet of turf is ideal, don’t underestimate how impactful just a neatly trimmed and crisply-edged lawn can be. Of course you should remove obvious dandelions, and for large weedy or bare spots, you might want to consider patching the area with sod, but if you keep up with regular lawn maintenance (weed/pest/disease control and fertilizing) trimming and edging will give your lawn that curb appealing manicured look.
Foundation Plantings – Whether you have some simple evergreen shrubs or more elaborate landscaping around your home’s foundation, be sure to remove any dead branches, rake up any surrounding garden debris, and if they’re situated in garden beds, make sure those are weeded and have some fresh mulch. While you don’t have to shape your foundation plantings into perfect squares or rounds if you like a more natural shape, do make sure your shrubs are neatly trimmed so they look tended to.
Trees – Do you have trees on your property? Great! According to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers, “A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000.” A Management Information Services/ICMA study says, “Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent.”
Trees are a real investment for your home (and can be pricey to remove so taking care of them makes good financial sense as well as for their aesthetic pleasure). A certified arborist can safely trim larger trees not only to shape them well, but also to encourage necessary air circulation and treat for any diseases or fungal problems. If you don’t have any trees and/or have a small property, consider adding a small decorative tree such as a Japanese maple or lovely blooming cherry tree to your front yard for some extra curb appeal.
With your hardscape taken care of, your walls and fences mended, your garden beds weeded and mulched, your trees and shrubs tidied and trimmed and your lawn neatly manicured (if just the thought of this is making you tired, remember, we can handle all of these jobs so call us!) your home is curb-appeal ready, but if you want to take it to the next level, check in next week for Part II of our Curb Appeal series.
Check out Part II of our Curb Appeal Series – Curb Appeal, Part II: Color, Annuals, Planters, Wreaths, Lighting & Accessories