The Simple Front Yard Project That Gave My Home So Much More Curb Appeal

published May 8, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
A quaint fairytale cottage, covered by lush plant life and flowers, in the Rose Garden at Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Credit: Bianca Izurieta | Getty Images

They say it takes money to make money, and the saying certainly holds true when it comes to selling your house. As we budgeted for our big interstate move this year, one key line item was funds for preparing our house to show and sell for top dollar. Expenses included things like fixing weather stripping that our cats had shredded, replacing the front door handle that was hard to open, and paying for a deep clean. 

This spending was focused on the overall impression our home would make on potential buyers. While little things like sparkling glass and squeaky clean baseboards contributed to an impression of a well-kept house, our biggest expenditure in this category was having professional tree trimmers cut back the oak trees in our front yard. After all, the front yard is the very first impression buyers have as they drive up to what could be their future home. 

Our house is tucked into the apex of a cul-de-sac. When we moved in, we planted two live oak trees in the front yard, between the house and the street, with the hope that they would provide some privacy. In the decade since, they’ve grown majestically. While they definitely shielded the house from the street, their lower branches were obscuring the house from view. As future buyers drove up, we wanted them to get a peek of a pretty house ensconced among the trees, not wonder where the house was! 

It was tempting to think we could cut the trees back ourselves, but the task is much tougher than it seems. The boughs are thick, requiring specialized equipment, and cutting the wrong way could damage or endanger the tree. Plus, it’s important to know exactly which branches to cut to achieve the desired shape and effect — the landscapers described how they prune to achieve a wine glass shape. As is so often the case when experts do their job well, the end result looks effortless, but there’s a wealth of knowledge and experience that made that happen. 

Credit: Shifrah Combiths

Trimming the trees was not inexpensive, but we were able to get the job done for less because we hired landscapers instead of arborists. (Our trees were still small enough for that to be possible.) The total came to $1,000, which did not include hauling away the debris (that would have been another $400) because we’re lucky enough to have an area we can use for tossing landscape debris. 

Having our trees professionally pruned was like opening a curtain on our home. The trees still stand sentry in the front yard, stately as ever, but rather than hiding the house, they offer a welcoming peek at the home from the moment you approach the driveway. The whole front yard feels larger and more open — the curb appeal transformation is stunning and we’re confident the expense paid off.