formal landscape of shrubs and trees completements
the modern, straight lines of this home, in the
two-year-later after image.
as every house has a personality ó whether itís a
ranch, bungalow, Queen Anne, Tudor, Cape Cod or any
other architectural style ó the landscape that
surrounds it has a personality, too, especially out
front. There are formal gardens ó neatly trimmed and
fertilized lawns, tightly manicured evergreens and
plenty of straight lines. There are cottage gardens with
billowy, informal plantings of annuals, perennials,
flowering vines and roses. Thereís the prairie garden,
the shade garden, the collectorís garden that sports
every new plant, and thereís everything in between.
the look, the front landscape creates a first impression
about who lives there and ultimately affects its resale
lot of older gardens have a little of this, a little of
that, and the clutter creates visual noise," says
landscape architect Billy Goodnick of Santa Barbara,
Calif. "What you see from the street needs to be
the author of "Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space Into
the Garden of Your Dreams" (St. Lynnís Press),
coaches real estate agents and homeowners on how to
create a landscape that attracts buyers.
the whole garden is a jumble of stuff, get it down to
key groupings of plants," he advises. "If your
garden is so personal and unique, it could come back to
bite you. By the time youíre getting ready to sell, itís
usually too late to redo the garden."
are several ways to improve the curb appeal of your home
even if youíre not planning on selling anytime soon.
new perennials or annual color to existing garden beds
to stimulate the overall look," says landscape
architect Deirdre Toner of D.T. Design in Old Mill
Creek, Ill. "And add several containers that work
with the homeís architecture that can be filled with
seasonal displays. Strategically placed, they can also
be used to attract attention away from a dated yew hedge
along the foundation." Toner also suggests adding a
seasonal botanical wreath to the front door, which
creates an inviting entryway.
landscape should be the bow on the package," says
landscape designer Diane Smith of The Perennial
Professionals in Northbrook, Ill. "It should
enhance the house and make it look nice from the
street." She suggests starting by taking a good
look at planting beds around the homeís foundation.
"They can get out of control, become massive and
eat up lawn space. Get rid of old, overgrown evergreens
and plant something more in scale with the house."
often overlooked fix is the sidewalk leading to the
front door. "When front walks get tired, itís an
opportunity to redesign the walk. Donít just do what
you had before," Smith says. If the walk has
broken, cracked concrete, now may be the time to replace
it with pavers and perhaps change it from a straight run
to a curving path. Smith recommends that walkways be at
least 4 feet wide so that two people can walk
side-by-side to the front door. Adding an outdoor foyer
ó a place for a bench with some pots ó sets out the
welcome mat for visitors.
it does come time to sell your house, Goodnick
recommends staging the landscape. "You only get one
chance to make a good first impression. Do a good
cleanup and some simple grooming of the plants, and
power-wash the walkway. You can get fancy or fussy near
the door by adding a few little treats ó some potted
plants with color ó along the way as visitors enter.
Make it look inviting."
Considering a makeover?
are some tips from the landscaping experts we talked to
on increasing the curb appeal of your home.
"If you have a lot of tiny plants, the landscape
may need to be scaled down," says landscape
architect and author Billy Goodnick. "The view may
need to be simpler with bigger masses of plants and
fewer types of plants. You donít want it to look like
itís too busy and too much work to maintain." On
the opposite end of the spectrum, he says that oversize
plants may work against you, too, and you may need to
remove some, especially those that obscure the windows
or walkway. "You want big plants to frame, not
obscure, the house."
out the view. Cross the street and take a good, hard
look at your front landscape to see what plants may be
overwhelming the house. Try to view it as a first-time
visitor would. "Now, as people do much of their
home shopping online through Zillow or Realtor.com,
viewing the propertyís front or foundation landscape
is the initial green or red light for a buyer,"
says landscape architect Deirdre Toner.
your beds. Does the landscaping reflect the style of
your home? "If you have a modern house thatís
very linear, youíd want the bed lines to mimic the
house (with) more architectural plants ó vertical
grasses, for example," says landscape designer
Diane Smith. "Bed lines (the edges that meet the
lawn) should be simple and clean, and the beds spacious
enough for plants with room for them to grow."
candy. "Color is important," Smith says.
"The home landscape should embrace the seasons ó
bulbs in spring, flowering shrubs, long-blooming
perennials. Itís nice to try and get something
blooming from spring through fall."