Landscaping: 4 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

curbside-appeal-landscaping“Lush landscaping, that’s what sells [houses]. You spend money on trees, and you get it back triple.” – Charlie Munger

The name Charlie Munger may not ring any bells with you, but you’ve probably heard of his business partner, Warren Buffett. Together, they have been making billions of dollars since just about the dawn of time. A little known fact is that Munger made his first million in real estate.

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, you are probably thinking about the inside. But the outside is just as important! Horribly overgrown (and some even outright dead) trees and shrubs, patchy scrubby grass, dried up annuals and old perennials, dated – or even dangerous – maintenance free rock or sandscaping… these are all things that should be looked at.

Here are a few tried-and-true, easy landscaping ideas that can dramatically alter your home’s appearance from our guest blogger, Jennifer Pricci.

Make a Landscaping Plan
I wanted to keep a unified look in my yard, so I decided on a color scheme — pink and purple. I went to the lawn and garden department of the big box home improvement stores and found a lot of plants to fit my theme.

Go Vertical
My yard is about 2-1/2 feet above the sidewalk and surrounded by a rock-and-cement wall, which is actually prettier than it sounds. But once I cut away all the dead, dying and overgrown original landscaping (much of which couldn’t be saved because they were Junipers that cannot be trimmed) I was left with a fairly bare canvas. I wanted to keep some grass, but not very much.

I outlined the front yard with a wavy-edged border to keep it interesting. Next, I added height by filling in the border with mounds of dirt. I covered the whole thing with landscape fabric to try and keep out the weeds, and then I placed all my newly purchased plants around the yard to make sure I liked how it looked before I dug holes in the wrong spot.

Use Lots of Color
On the Jersey Shore we have to contend with nasty winters. That can sometimes limit your choices when shopping for grasses, plants and flowers. I used the United States Deparmtnet of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone Map. The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. Here on the Shore I was able to determine I am in Zone 7a. Now when shopping I was easily able to identify which plants would flourish here based by the Zone indicated on their tags – and the help of some of the more well-versed Garden Center employees.

I was not very excited to do this at first. I thought I would be stuck with unattractive brown grasses and other plants without flowers, but I found some gorgeous greenery for my yard that is absolutely blooming with color.

Perennial Favorites and Other Tips
Another thing to think about is how much time you want to spend digging in the dirt every year. While I enjoyed making my yard look great, I was ecstatic when I was finished. I certainly didn’t want to do this amount of work every year. I purchased mostly perennials — plants that come back year after year. I do supplement with annuals (the ones you have to plant every spring), but my yard is mostly filled with plants I only have to plant one time.

If you want to save some money, start a bit earlier in the season from seed. Seed packs are far less expensive than plants.

While I am not a landscape designer, I am more of a left-brainer. Still, I did look to some other sources for inspiration. My family takes nightly walks through the neighborhood and we brought our cameras with us to take pictures of favorite plants and landscaping themes we liked. A quick consult with the local nursery told us about the plants and their water needs and matched them up with our general landscape design. The results speak for themselves.

Our Yard Looks Great, Now How About You?
My house is centrally located. People walk down my street all the time and whenever I am out, I am showered with compliments about the house in general and the landscaping specifically.

I only spent about $500 to landscape the whole property, but I have easily added three times that in value.

By Jennifer Pricci, Guest Blogger

Like Jenifer Pricci on Facebook
Follow Jennifer Pricci on Twitter
Link with Jennifer Pricci on LinkedIn
Circle Jennifer Pricci on Google+