Let’s Talk Landscaping

When getting your house ready to sell, and, honestly, when maintaining your home, landscaping is just really important. Let’s start by focusing on maintenance.

Putting in a nice yard can be expensive, so you want to take care of it over time. This means watering as needed, trimming and pruning to keep it from getting over grown, and weeding to keep it from being pushed out by invasive species. This applies to homes, but it also applies to townhouses and condos. When you live within a Home Owner’s Association, the association needs to be doing the needed care and maintenance of the landscaping. If it is let go, it becomes a liability when it is time to sell the property.

Yes, this is important because it keeps the property from looking derelict, but it is also important for the purpose of keeping the structure healthy. When trees or shrubs grow up against the structure it becomes an avenue for water intrusion and pests. The rule of thumb is that plants and trees should be cut back to at least 6 inches from the building. Truly invasive species, like English ivy, can even tear a building apart. The roots of the ivy dig into the siding and mortar and literally tear it apart. So take care of your investment by taking appropriate care of the landscaping.

Construction of a cantilevered glass extension to a period property by Stephen Marshall Architects
I personally have a rather large yard of very well established landscaping. I do what I call “walk about” gardening. In early spring, when the yard is really starting to grow, I make a habit of walking around in it a couple of times a week. I take a bucket, a small trowel, and some good garden clippers, and I spend about 20 minutes pulling weeds and clipping at over growth. I do this until about the middle of June. It’s amazing. I get a lot accomplished without feeling like I’m spending too much time at it. This is because I don’t leave it to be done all at once. If I get a handle on it in the spring, the rest of the year is pretty easy. I simply don’t let the weeds get established. This combined with mowing and the occasional “project”, keeps my yard in pretty good shape.

When it comes time to sell your home, the well-cared for yard becomes an asset. Here are some specifics that I think sell your home:
1. Water the lawn. Keep it nice and green. You will have to mow more, but a brown lawn is simply unattractive.
2. Clip back bushes and trees so that the house can be seen. Make sure shrubs aren’t blocking the view of windows. Bushes should be kept below the bottom height of the windows.
3. Really focus on what’s around the front door. As Realtors are opening the lock box, potential buyers are standing on the porch looking around. They need to like what they see. This means that in addition to putting a new coat of paint on the door and cleaning the weather stripping, you should plant some flowers in a few pots and put out some annuals in the garden beds near the door.

My last advice for maximizing your yard when you are going to sell your home is don’t over landscape. I have many times had buyers decide against a house because they lack confidence about their ability to maintain the yard. They know that they don’t want to commit to something that looks like it will take too much of their time, or they have no idea how to do it. It screams “too much work”. So do have a beautiful yard, but don’t turn it into something over whelming.

I hope you have found this information helpful. As always, thanks for reading.