7 Easy Landscaping Moves to Up Your Curb Appeal This Season

published Nov 20, 2019
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When I was trying to sell my house, curb appeal made a big difference. My poor little yellow house languished on the market for what felt like an eternity—especially since I was paying my mortgage and renting an apartment a few hundred miles away because I moved for a new job. Luckily, my realtor, Peg Collier from Weichert Hallmark Properties, had my back.

She said we needed to spruce the place up a bit. The inside was easy. A new coat of paint and some appliance upgrades did the trick. But when we went outside, things got a little more complicated. Turns out, it’s hard to landscape sandy, Florida soil, especially when the house backs up to a swamp. But in less than a week, Peg worked her magic. She turned my curb appeal up to 11. I barely had to do a thing, but somehow, I ended up selling my house for 1.5 times my original purchase price.

Landscaping can get even harder in the fall and winter. But these experts have some tricks that will make your property shine no matter where you live.

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Fix Your Patchy Lawn

“Bare spots are not visually appealing, but they’re easy to fix,” says Phil Dwyer, Ph.D, a turf grass scientist at ScottsMiracle-Gro. For great grass in the fall, you’ll need to plan ahead. “Simply lay seed—around April/May for Northern US grasses and later in spring for Southern climates—then water each day until the grass reaches a good height for mowing.”

By the time fall rolls around, you should have a lush lawn. If it looks more like your uncle’s head without his toupee, fear not. Dwyer recommends using a product like Scotts Turf Builder Thick’R Lawn Sun & Shade to give your grass and soil a boost while also planting more grass seeds.

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Bring Out Your Dead—Plants, That Is

Another thing you can do for free (the best price) is to pull up dead plants.

“Remove all overgrown and dead shrubbery,” says Brittany Auman, owner at Auman Landscape in Carroll, Ohio. “Homeowners can do this themselves on a weekend morning.”

Auman also suggests weeding your lawn and garden at the same time. Compost or dispose of this yard waste before potential buyers visit the property.

Lots of plants lose their leaves during the fall, so be careful you don’t get rid of something that will rise again during the spring. You may have to make some concessions to the seasons. Your pad’s future owners will thank you.

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Add Some Color with Perennials

Now that you’ve vowed not to chop down your gorgeous trees after they lose their leaves, you still need to get color from somewhere.

“Plants are the backbone of any landscape and also one of the easiest, and cheapest ways to improve your curb appeal,” says Jane Clark, a marketing executive for Fantastic Gardeners Melbourne. “In particular, perennials are the best choice. You can buy them once and they’ll come back every year. Some of them may even keep their leaves during through the winter.”

Many perennials still bloom in the fall, but what will survive as the seasons change depends on your local climate. Consult an expert at your local gardening center to find out what to plant. When in doubt, choose native species. These will flourish with less upkeep and are better for the environment.

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Gardening Without a Green Thumb

But what if you, like me, kill plants just by looking at them (are they insulted? what’s going on?), there are landscaping options even you can do.

“Add seasonal potted easy-to-care-for plants and flowers,” suggests Michelle Mumoli, realtor and CEO of The Mumoli Group in Jersey City, New Jersey. “You don’t have to plant them. They stay alive for several months, and by that time, your home will be sold.” Evergreens are a no-brainer for fall and winter.

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Shape Your ‘Scape

When it comes to boosting your curb appeal, attention to detail will win you just as many points as big flourishes.

“Keeping landscape borders crisp and clean will give an instant boost to curbside appeal,” says Steven Diaz, the owner and operator of Swankyden.com. “It makes the eye see the entire landscape as maintained and appear inviting. If you’re new to landscape stick to straight lines. They’re much easier than fancier curves and still look great. This applies to shrubs as well.”

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Add Small Touches

Nancy Wallace-Laabs, a real estate broker and co-owner of KBN Homes, has a few tips for little things you can do, even if your plants aren’t giving you much color.

“A bag or two of mulch is a cheap investment in covering up dirt spots in flower beds and around bottom of trees where grass might not be growing due to lack of sunlight,” says Wallace-Laabs.

She also suggests placing a seasonal wreath on your door for showings and giving plants a quick boost.

“If you are having an open house or showing on your property, lightly water any and all plants to give them a quick shine,” says Wallace-Laabs. “Only do this when the weather permits, or you might find yourself with frozen plants.”

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Focus on Things That Don’t Grow

If all the leaves have fallen, and your landscape looks ready for hibernation, don’t panic. You still have options. Add some decorations the weather can’t kill.

“Be creative with paving and tile work,” says Desiree Thomson, a landscaping expert at Gardening Services London. “Add а visual element to your garden with wide and geometric paths. Decorative paving slabs in warm colors draw the eye to the front door in the simplest way possible.”

Add more color, maybe with a fresh coat of paint on your front door.

“Changing your front door color to more popular color like blue, mauve or yellow really makes a huge difference in aesthetics but also on the final sale of the home,” says Regine Nelson, a realtor at Wealthward Realty in Austin, Texas.

Consider picking out a new mailbox, too. “A more modern mailbox with backlit numbers not only makes your home look more up to date, but it enhances the curb appeal for those driving around at night,” says Nelson.

What’s something you may have missed? Make sure every surface looks spotless before you take any pictures.

“While not technically a landscaping tip, home sellers should also power-wash both the home’s siding and any hard surfaces leading up to the house,” says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder at SparkRental. “That includes walkways, porches, patios, even patio furniture. You want it to look bright and sparkling clean, not stained, faded, or mildewy.”