First impressions are very important, and this is certainly true when it comes to selling your house. And the first impression is not your entryway, it is your yard and the exterior of the house. If your exterior looks bad, it is probably preventing buyers from even setting up showings. Here are 10 tips to add exterior flair:
- Mobile Gardens – Planting in pots is especially great in Wisconsin, because you can keep them alive indoors during the winter months. Then when spring comes, you can set out the plants in strategic spots around the house
- Ornamental Grasses – The director of design and creative services at Kinsella Landscape says that “Sustainability is the buzzword in yard care.” More and more home owners are looking for alternatives to high-maintenance and/or water-guzzling yards. Some choices include buffalo grass, creeping lily turf, barren strawberry, and low-growing thyme. Another alternative is meadow mix grass, which calls for infrequent mowing.
- Vegetable Gardens – The trend of sustainability and the tough economic times have helped the growing popularity of gardening. Grow your own tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, etc.
- Walkways – The path to the front door does not need to be boring. Consider using brick, slate or stone instead of poured concrete. Accent the walkway with potted plants (see #1), ornamental grasses (see #2), or even sculptures. Create a curve or two.
- Dwarf Trees – These take more maintenance (and expense), but add character to your yard and give a more formal mood.
- Color All Year – Especially in Wisconsin, think of ways that enhance your exterior all 12 months of the year. Think of leaf colors, berries, interesting barks, and sculptural branches. Ornamental grasses give a lot of options, at least for 8 months of the year.
- Mature Trees – Many nurseries have recently had excess crop of mature trees, causing prices to be reduced. So if you need to add character to your yard, look into the possibility of planting a mature tree. Consider how tall it will grow, though. You don’t want to block sunlight or views from your house.
- Mix of Hardscape Materials – The popularity of interior mis-matching has overflowed to the exterior. Try to mix materials that share a common denominator – perhaps scale, color or texture.
- Architectural Features – These can add more than just aesthetics. Build a fire pit into your patio, or even a fireplace. Add a birdbath or fountain to the backyard. Build a gazebo. There are many possibilities.
- Natural ponds – Be careful with the location and structure of your pond. Make sure it flows with the rest of the yard, and is not an obtrusion. Also try to make it look natural. And in Wisconsin, make sure the water is always flowing so it doesn’t become a mosquito haven.
Thanks to Barbara Ballinger’s article “How’s That View?” in Realtor magazine Feb 2010.