5 Easy Landscaping Tips for Quick Curb Appeal

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When you're selling your home, good curb appeal invites buyers inside. But landscaping expenses don't pay homeowners back as much as interior upgrades can. Knowing this, many homeowners are confused over how much effort to put into landscaping when selling their home.

"You don't want to spend a lot of money on your yard when you're moving," says Brad Mclean of Mclean Landscapes in Northern Virginia. "But there are some basic ways to quickly create an appealing and cared for yard."

Here are some quick and simple landscaping fixes that enhance curb appeal and deliver a low-maintenance but high-class look.

1. Remove debris every day. "You don't want your yard to look like a lot of work to keep up," says Annette Weese, manager of Cold Creek Nursery in Aiken, S.C. She advises homeowners to be mindful of keeping the grass raked and free of pine needles, pine cones and leaves. A yard full of leaves only shows the amount work awaiting new homeowners. And for some that's a deal breaker.

2. Trim everything back for a just-planted look. Weese advises keeping bushes neatly trimmed below the windows. In addition to a groomed appearance, trimmed shrubs look easy to care for and suggest slow growth -- another important element in a low-maintenance look. Also, windows and natural light are big assets; so letting shrubs grow to block these detracts from exterior curb appeal as well as the interior of the home.

3. Make a splash with annual color. "Its amazing what a little color can do to change the look of a house," says McLean. He recommends adding 15 to 20 pots of an inexpensive, easy growing seasonal bloom. Keep it simple and choose one type such as impatiens or pansies, and depending on the season, even mums. You can break out a little and try alternating colors. Be sure to select a long-blooming variety, so your landscaping efforts will carry you through the entire season.

4. Top off the flower beds. Refresh flower bed mulch and re-edge for a clean look that pops. It's a classic approach to enhance curb appeal and will slow down weed growth, so there's one less thing to worry about. If you are doing this yourself and live in a termite area, remember to keep wood-based mulch pushed away from the side of the house. Other mulch choices include, pine needles, pea gravel, bark, and shredded hardwood mulch.

5. Get the golf course green. It isn't easy to green your yard in a pinch, if your grass is dry, dull or has brown patches, but who wants to inherit a sickly yard. In this case, McLean suggests a little-publicized, quick fix: turf paint. The result is instantaneous, lasting and affordable. It's commonly used on golf courses to maintain year-round greens, and can add luster to any dull yard, without damaging the grass.

This minimalist curb-appeal landscaping plan should revitalize any yard that's not in serious trouble. By the time you're done, you'll have bright color, lush greens and a well-manicured yard that says 'I'm easy and neat.' Best of all, sellers don't need landscaping skills or a fat wallet to win on curb appeal.
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