House & Home

April 18, 2014

Tidy landscaping gives a home curb appeal

Curb appeal is something we all should shoot for, whether we’re putting our house on the market or not. While an endless number of things can contribute to curb appeal, there are a few that detract and must be avoided, especially if you’re planning to put your house on the market.

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 colorful plants to draw your eye, maybe a curved stone path for a sidewalk and porch furniture that makes you wish you could take a seat by the door.

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

While an endless number of things can contribute to curb appeal, there are a 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.

“That first glance is the most important,” she 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.”

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

“If they can add bright flowers and make it a happy place, that would be even better. 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, 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.

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

HGTV’s Front Door website has these 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 decks, siding, driveways and walks. Pressure washers can be rented, and there are also businesses 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.

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