The Only 6 Things You Need to Up Your Curb Appeal, According to Landscapers

published Aug 22, 2019
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It’s pretty incredible what a hands-on day in the yard can do to improve the whole look and feel of your home’s exterior. But that effect isn’t just in your mind. In fact, zhuzhing up your landscape can increase your home’s value, too. According to a March 2019 Zillow Research report, basic landscaping and yard care actually is one of the most important things a homeowner can do to up a home’s curb appeal, only behind painting the home’s interiors and exteriors.

And while everyone loves a dramatic before and after, there’s a pretty powerful argument to be made for regular yard maintenance. Why spend a thousand dollars-plus when it’s time to sell to turn your outdoor space from “Grey Gardens” to gorgeous if you can instead just work in your yard for a bit every few weeks? If “time and money” is your answer, let me introduce you to a few affordable helpers that will take out most of the frustration out of that grunt work. I asked two professionals—Sam Souhrada, maintenance division lead for FormLA Landscaping in Los Angeles, and Blythe Yost, co-founder of Tilly, an online landscaping design company—to share what basic tools they’d recommend to anyone with a yard. Here, their six must-haves:


A broom

Most people are quick to pick up a leaf blower, but not only can they disturb your neighbors (and can cause hearing damage), gas-powered blowers also pollute the air from dust and carbon emissions. Instead, Souhrada says to grab a broom.

He recommends Quickie’s corn broom ($26) for smaller yards and the brand’s industrial push broom ($25) for larger land areas.


A pair of pruning shears

Both experts recommend that you get a good pair of pruning shears. Yost even calls this pair from Felco ($50) her primary gardening tool.

“From deadheading cosmos to fine pruning apple trees, these make it super easy to take care of any size garden,” she says. “I keep a pair in my shed, my trunk (for clients), and my kitchen drawer for trimming fresh flowers.”


Also Souhrada opts to use these Fiskar shears ($11) over hedge trimmers for pruning since the mechanical variety can actually stimulate the wrong kind of growth.


A spring rake

Spring, in this instance, isn’t the season, but mechanism: According to Wirecutter, a spring rake is one “with a rake head that attaches to the handle by a brace with a spring.” And, according to Yost, you’ll want to use one year round—not just for fall leaf clean up. She recommends this one by A.M. Leonard ($29).

“Use it to tease out the thatch in an aging lawn, smooth out the mulch in a freshly-dressed bed, or clean up branches and leaves after pruning the surrounding foliage,” she says.


A narrow trowel

For everyday hand-planting and weeding, Yost recommends a six-inch trowel, otherwise knowns as a soil knife. Her favorite is another one by A.M. Leonard ($26). (Many have also posted about the product on the popular Reddit thread r/BuyItForLife.)

“You can use this to break up soil for annual planters or unearth a dandelion taproot with its long thin blade,” she says.


A smart irrigation system

Want to smartly take care of your outdoor space? Invest in a WiFi-controlled watering system, says Souhrada. He recommends this eight-zone system by Rachio ($222) which not only will allow you to run and adjust your sprinklers from afar, but it will also monitor how the system adapts to daily changes in weather and help lower your water bill by up to 50 percent.

Looking to make some money while tending to your yard? Here, eight landscaping ideas that’ll up your home’s value.

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