Most people work hard to improve their front gardens when selling because it’s crucial to create a memorable first impression. However, not everyone knows where to start or what to do. It’s a good idea to update and freshen your gardens a couple of months before you want to sell so that it has the chance to settle in and so that is not a last-minute scramble.
Here are some tips that will save you time and money.
1) Take a walk around the block. Instead of starting at the local nursery (or hardware store!) with “I need some low maintenance plants that will make my house look good”, take photos of your favourite front yards and use them for inspiration. If a plant grows well in your area, you’ll have a better chance of it growing well in your yard.
2) Prune existing plants. Dead branches look bad-cut them off! Follow the Australian Standard Practice for pruning large branches. Cut small branches close to the trunk and follow the 3 steps for larger branches. Tip pruning is when you trim off about 2-3cm from the foliage and it stimulates more growth. If the plant is spindly or ugly, remove it.
3.) Weed. If you’ve every whipper snipped that ‘patch of weeds’, you’ll know that they will come back thicker and faster than ever. If you’ve ‘smashed them with weed killer’, they take a while to die and you still need to remove them. A solution that costs nothing is to pull them out! If the weeds persist after removal and mulching, use a salt and vinegar solution-it’s faster and more effective than the chemical options.
3 Check the soil. Is it dark and crumbly or grey and gritty? It’s very important if you are planting or improving gardens that you get the soil right. A time and money saver is to add organic matter like compost and well- rotted manures to the soil where you intend to place new plants. You don’t need to add it to the whole garden. Dig a hole a little deeper than the height of the pot, place the soil from the ground into a bucket and mix with organic matter. Place your plant in the hole, back fill with bucket mix and water.
4)Feed your plants. For your existing plants, mix some manure or compost with some all purpose fertilizer and sprinkle some around the drip line of each plant, but not too close to the base of the plant. Water in with some seaweed solution and some liquid fertilizer like Powerfeed or Nitrosol. This will improve the health of your plants and encourage new growth.
5) Tidy garden edges. If you don’t already have edges on your garden beds like rock or treated pine, a FREE and attractive way to define your gardens is with a shallow trough. Just spade a sharp edge and clear the trough so there is a neat division between garden and lawn.
6)Mulch. Horticulturists and gardeners alike know the importance of mulch. It retains moisture, increases microbial activity and helps to suppress the weeds. However, I suspect the most important thing to you when prepping for sale is that everything looks good. The right mulch can lift the appeal of your gardens enormously. Go for a rich, natural looking mulch and spread to about 5cm thick.
7) New plants: When it comes to incorporating new plants into your gardens, you must consider these things-location, aspect, soil type, style of your home and of course, your budget. Make sure you read the labels, google before you buy or talk to an expert. Hiring a professional horticulturist will ensure you don’t waste money on plants that won’t survive or work well in your gardens.
Improving your street appeal adds immense value to the worth of your home. With a little effort and following the advice above, your house can captivate potential buyers before they even step inside.
Christine Dodd is a Horticulturist and founder of Street Appeal Garden Solutions. If you need help with preparing your yards and gardens for sale, contact her via the contact page.