You might be certain that once a potential buyer sees the inside of your house for sale, he or she will fall in love with it and be compelled to close a deal. The problem is, the outside isn’t up to snuff, and it’s just not drawing in potential buyers. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune to spruce up the front lawn. Just a few strategic tweaks and a bit of elbow grease can give your property the facelift to start inviting people inside to look.
Go across the street and scrutinize your house and yard as if you were seeing it for the first time. What stands out, and what looks like it needs help? If the first thing you notice is that the boxwoods along the side of the house are looking a bit leggy, or that there are a couple of dead plants by the mailbox, a potential buyer will notice them, too. Make sure the place looks tidy first and foremost. Keep the grass neatly trimmed on a regular mowing schedule, prune or remove ragged or dying plants, and trim shrubs to keep them neat. Pull up weeds in flowerbeds and from any cracks in the sidewalks or driveway.
Just as judicious trimming of a hedge makes it look orderly and well cared for, don’t overlook the impact on a house’s exterior appearance by simply edging the lawn. Driveways, sidewalks, and front walkways are all targets for trimming, with the goal being to remove any grass creeping out from the lawn and onto the pavement. A manual edger is relatively inexpensive to buy, but gas-powered power edgers are often available to rent by the hour and get the job done much faster.
A fresh layer of mulch on flowerbeds, beneath shrubs and around trees instantly freshens and revives the exterior of a house. Mulches come in a variety of materials and colors, such as fine or coarse wood chips, pine needle straw, and even shredded cocoa hulls. Non-dyed mulches give a more natural look, while red- and black-dyed mulches add definition and contrast to an area, though the color fades over time.
Annual Bedding Plants
If the house has some flowerbeds that seem to be languishing or are overgrown, rip out the non-performers and replace them with fresh flowers and instant color. Alternately, put in the work to build a small flowerbed if the house has none. While annual plants like petunias and pansies are mainstays because they are sold virtually everywhere and are inexpensive, consider other interesting and long-blooming options such as marigold, lobelia, nasturtium and verbena. Most annual bedding plants have the best effect when planted in large groups, creating a virtual wave of flowers as the plants gradually spread and grow towards each other. Another option is to use species with interesting foliage, such as alyssum, coleus, dusty miller or ornamental kale.
Michelle Z. Donahue has worked as a journalist in the Washington, D.C., region since 2001. After several years as a government and economic reporter, she now specializes in gardening and science topics. Donahue holds a bachelor's degree in English from Vanderbilt University.