Get curb appeal
Lawn, garden can add to home value

February 12, 2009

by Donna Sahualla,
Victoria County Master Gardener Intern

edited by Charla Borchers Leon,
Victoria Master Gardener
Above: When trees are located near a front door, it is beneficial for the tree, as well as guests, to have low branches trimmed away from the entrance path.
Ahh, spring time. We all long for sunshine and warmer days. For many homeowners spring is a time to spruce up their yards, and some Victorians may even be considering selling their home. One may question what gardening and selling your home could possibly have to do with one another. As a Realtor, I can tell you that if you are considering selling your home, or are just in need of creating some "curb appeal," then your yard is an important factor to consider.

While it probably won't make you more money, your well-maintained yard will make your home stand out from other homes on the real estate market.

When deciding to sell your home, many sellers do updates to their home to get it in tip-top condition. Painting, updating and general cleaning may be in order. However, many times sellers overlook a detail that may make their home more desirable to buyers.
Photo Credit: Donna Sahualla, VCMG Intern
Right: Guests, and even potential buyers, feel more welcome with a wreath on the door, potted flowering plants and a welcome mat.
Consider this, "What's the first impression my home will make to a potential buyer when they drive up with a Realtor to see my home?" We become so accustomed to our home's appearance that we overlook some of the negatives that buyers may see when viewing our homes for the first time.

Even if you don't plan on selling your home, giving your old landscape a fresh update will be appreciated by your neighbors who view your yard on a daily basis. Not to mention, your enjoyment.

The following are a few suggestions for ways to create "curb appeal:"

Match your landscape to your home's design. In other words, if your home is on the coast or at the beach, pine trees might not be the most complementary selection for your landscape. For example, if your home is traditional, then landscape in a traditional way using plants that are native to our area for best results. And if your home is contemporary, there are many plant selections that will create clean vertical lines in the yard to match the exterior design of your home.

Mow, edge and weed the grass. Your yard is an outward expression of how your home is maintained. That's scary, isn't it? But it's true. To be matter of fact, clean it up. If it appears too much to maintain, potential buyers may think your yard may be too much for them to manage as well.

Assess your trees, making sure there are no branches hanging over walkways, making it difficult for visitors to walk up to your front door. The last thing you want to have happen to a house guest is for them to get poked in the face by low-lying branches or visitors having to weave around obstacles and step off the sidewalk and into the grass just to get to the front door.

Trim down oversized shrubs or if they are too large and overgrown, consider replacing with smaller, more manageable shrubs that don't take away from your home's appearance. Overgrown shrubs are like a cloud hanging over your home and can hide your home's attributes, such as the structural design of your home or a great front porch. Don't allow shrubs to be taller than the top of your house and conceal your home. This is also important when visitors are in your home and are looking out the windows. Making certain that overgrown shrubs are trimmed away from windows will allow sunlight into a darkened room. Every home buyer enjoys a sun-filled room.

Weed out flowerbeds and adding mulch can be a quick fix to clean up your yard. Many times trimming back perennials can aid in developing bushy, lush plant growth.

Add color. Many garden centers are getting in all types of spring flowers - and incorporating some colorful flowers into your landscape creates a pleasant view of your home from the street. If your yard is large, try planting a few near the front door. While the realtor is unlocking the door to let buyers in your home, the guest has something pleasant to view.

Add attractive potted plants to the entrance. Flower pots with healthy plants by the front door are an added welcome to visitors when standing at your front door and makes potential buyers anxious to go inside and see more.

Create an outdoor living area in the back. Don't forget the back yard. Many families enjoy the outdoors and extending your living area by creating an outdoor living area is very appealing to buyers and visitors. Create an area with ample seating under a tree or around a barbecue setting. This is inviting to young and old alike.

Pay attention to details. They may be last, but certainly not least. In creating curb appeal, what one may consider small details can be the "icing on the cake" so to speak. Making certain your mailbox is attractive, your house numbers are visible from a distance and your trash cans are put away is advantageous to a homeowner who is selling his or her home.

Lastly, maintain your yard. Keeping it low maintenance is a key to the continued appearance. Remember to water, especially those potted plants as they have a tendency to dry out faster than those planted in the ground. Trimming off dead blooms on flowers will encourage new plant growth.

Whether you are considering selling your home or your yard is just in need of some "curb appeal" keep in mind that your yard is viewed by all who pass by and is the first impression many see of your home. And if you're selling your home, it could be the difference between your realtor showing your home and selling your home.

1. Match landscape to home design.

2. Mow, edge and weed the grass.

3. Assess your trees; rid walkways of low limbs.

4. Trim down oversized shrubs.

5. Weed flowerbeds and add mulch.

6. Add color.

7. Add attractive potted plants to the entrance.

8. Create an outdoor living area in the back.

9. Pay attention to details.

10. Maintain your yard.
The Gardeners' Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AgriLife Extension - Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or, or comment on this column at