Beyond Curb Appeal: Low-Maintenance Landscaping as a Selling Point

by Luke Whittaker

Beyond Curb Appeal: Low-Maintenance Landscaping as a Selling Point

 

While the real estate market is improving, it is still a tough market for homeowners interested in selling their homes without taking a loss.

One easy way to improve your chances of attracting buyers and selling your home in a reasonable time is to increase curb appeal by taking steps to remove clutter, enhance landscaping and make your home stand out in your neighborhood.

Your front yard, driveway and the exterior of your home come together to create the first impression potential buyers will have of your property.

If the walkway to your front door is strewn with children’s toys or the flowerbeds bordering your front porch are overgrown with weeds, interested parties that drive by your house will not be impressed and may become concerned about the quality of care provided to the rest of the home over the years.

You want to draw people in and make them want to see the inside of your home.

The best way to do this is to make sure the front of your home is impeccably landscaped, clean and inviting.

There are dozens of simple, affordable ways to improve curb appeal, as well as many options that require more of an investment but also provide more of a return.

When considering ways to enhance the look of your home, you should keep in mind the time and expense involved in maintaining any changes you make to your landscaping or your home’s exterior.

Your home may be on the market for several months before it sells.

During this time, you will need to handle maintenance yourself or make arrangements for professionals to take care of your yard to keep it looking its best at all times for impromptu showings.

Because of this, you may want to consider low-maintenance landscaping ideas that help to ensure your front yard always looks clean and attractive.

As an added benefit, choosing low-maintenance landscape for your home can increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers, particularly if your target market includes retirees, busy professionals, active families, or folks looking for a second home to use as vacation home or income property.

 

Easy Landscaping Ideas for Increasing Curb Appeal

 

Easy Landscaping Ideas for Increasing Curb Appeal

 

The first step in how to add curb appeal to your home is to determine your budget for improvements.

Whether your budget is $50.00 or $50,000.00, you have options that will make your home more appealing to buyers.

The next step is deciding which improvements are worth the cost by determining which will most likely provide the highest return for your investment.

For example, some home improvements can increase the value of your home significantly, which makes them worth investing in if you have the upfront cash to do so.

Other enhancements are so inexpensive that they are worth doing simply because they will give your property a cleaner, more inviting look.

Let’s start with 10 affordable landscaping ideas and easy improvements that will enhance the visual appeal of your home at little to no cost to you.

 

1. Trim any tree branches that obstruct views of your home, views from your home or walkways.

2. If you have mulch, bark or wood chips as a ground cover around plants or trees, or in flower beds, freshen them by adding a new layer.

3. Consider painting just the trim of your house if you cannot afford a full exterior paint job, or if you home’s paint is in good condition.

4. Clean any leaves, sticks and weeds from flowerbeds filled with ornamental grasses or flowers.

5. Prune bushes and shrubs to give your front yard a well-manicured look.

6. Check your lawn for weeds, brown spots or dirt patches. Seed, fertilize, weed or aerate as needed.

7. Remove weeds from your driveway and walkways, and the sidewalk in front of your house. Spraying white vinegar in cracks where weeds grow is a natural way to help limit future growth.

8. Consider adding molding, trim, shutters, window boxes or other simple additions to increase the visual appeal of your home.

9. Make your home easy to find by placing attractive address tiles or an address plaque near the front door.

10. Remove debris and clutter from your yard, walkways, driveway and porch.

11. Add color to your front steps, front porch or patio areas by buying some inexpensive, colorful pots to fill with flowers.

 

Just make sure you do not go overboard with this and make the front of your home look too cluttered or too eclectic.

 

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Increasing Curb Appeal

 

When making simple additions to your yard or your home’s exterior, keep in mind that you want your house to stand out from your neighbors, but you do not want it to stand out so much that it looks like it does not fit in with other homes in the neighborhood.

These 11 simple ideas show just how easy it can be to increase curb appeal, regardless of your home improvement budget.

When making changes and improvements to your home in preparation for putting it on the market, remember that low-maintenance options will make your life easier while you are trying to sell your home and can make your home more appealing to buyers interested in yards that are easy to maintain.

 

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas for Increasing Curb Appeal

 

Potential home buyers who are busy, retired, disabled, live an active lifestyle or planning not to use the home as a primary residence will appreciate attractive landscaping that requires less maintenance than conventional choices.

For example, many professionals may not have time to devote the hours required to properly maintain a beautiful, lush lawn and may not be interested in spending the money to hire professionals to care for a natural lawn for them.

These buyers would likely appreciate a home with little or no natural grass that is instead landscaped with native plants, paving stone walkways, rock gardens or a synthetic grass lawn.

Moving away from a conventional grass lawn that starts at the driveway and takes up most of the front yard is also a perfect way to make your home stand out, since most homes in most neighborhoods have this traditional look.

Here are 10 low-maintenance landscaping ideas that can go beyond simply increasing curb appeal to allow you to use minimal yard work as a selling point.

 

1. Get weeds under control.

 

Whether you choose a conventional herbicide or a natural weed control option (like white vinegar), getting your yard’s weeds under control is an essential step in beautifying your home and limiting yard work.

Spray driveway cracks, use natural ground covers to limit weed growth in flowerbeds, pull existing weeds and consider options that inhibit weeds from growing in the first place – like artificial turf.

 

2. Install solar lights to light walkways or accent landscape features.

 

Low-maintenance solar lights can be found just about anywhere, including drugstores, so you should have no problem finding inexpensive solar lights that can just be stuck in the ground by hand.

This super-simple landscape lighting idea is affordable and easy to do yourself but can have a significant impact on the look of your home.

This soft outdoor lighting is perfect for lighting the walkway leading to your front door or for showing off special landscaping features you have installed.

Solar garden lights look particularly nice along a walkway made from paving stones or river rock.

 

3. Redo your concrete driveway, walkways or front porch with river rock or paving stones.

 

Concrete driveways age and crack, becoming an unattractive – but typical – sight in most neighborhoods.

Stamped concrete is a better option that can provide some color and design to your front yard, but you can achieve an even higher-end look with paving stones or more of a countryside feel with river rock.

Choosing hardscape materials like paving stones also allows for simpler future repairs, if required, since just one or a few pavers can be replaced.

Attempting to repair concrete usually requires doing a large section that never quite matches the original color.

If you plan to create a walkway or redo an existing one, keep in mind that a broad, gently curving path is more appealing than a straight, narrow walkway leading to your front door.

 

4. Choose drought-resistant plants.

 

Native plants that will naturally thrive in your area without special fertilizers or soil additives require less water and care.

This is a great way to add color and texture to your yard with little ongoing maintenance requirements.

Choosing drought-resistant landscaping, particularly when paired with an automatic drip system for irrigation, will appeal to buyers who want an attractive yard but do not have the time or ability to take on excessive yard work.

This is also an appealing feature for those who are looking for investment property or a vacation home.

Front yard landscaping should primarily include low- and medium-height plants that will not block the view of the front of your home.

Always design your landscaping to act as a frame for your home that keeps your house as the focal point.

 

Landscaping Ideas to Spruce up your Curb Appeal

 

5. Add a gate, arbor or attractive fence.

 

Adding these affordable features can significantly enhance your home’s curb appeal and can often be accomplished without professional help.

Pre-fabricated garden arches or fence panels can be assembled and installed relatively easily, and can be stained or painted to match the color of your home.

The only maintenance required for these additions is usually a coat of paint or stain every few years.

 

6. Install garden art (sparingly).

 

It is easy to overdo it when it comes to garden art, so do not take the focus off of your house or make your yard look cluttered by installing too many pieces of outdoor art.

A single stone statue, bird bath or fountain is all you need to add visual interest to your yard.

Keep in mind that water features often require more maintenance and cleaning, so you may want to go with a stone or metal statue that will likely only need an occasional rinsing off to look its best.

 

7. Replace natural grass lawns with synthetic grass.

 

Artificial turf is increasing in popularity for residential use, and for good reason.

This easy-care option allows you to have a lush, green lawn that never requires mowing, weeding, fertilizing or watering.

A little monthly maintenance is all that is required to keep fake grass looking fantastic, so this is an ideal option for those who do not enjoy yard work or will not be living there full time.

 

8. Cover all patches of dirt with an attractive ground cover.

 

There is no reason to have bare patches of dirt in your front yard.

Low-maintenance ground covers, such as gravel, mulch, wood chips or bark, are inexpensive and easy to install without having to call in a landscape company.

As an added bonus, these ground cover options require no water, limit weed growth and are easy to freshen up with a new layer if harsh weather or sunlight steals their color.

 

9. Create a seating area on your porch or in your yard.

 

Even a small front porch may have enough room for an inviting bistro set, but you can also create a seating area in your yard.

Many homeowners limit their outside seating to their backyards, but creating a welcoming spot that inspires thoughts of enjoying a morning cup of coffee while waving to neighbors as they walk their dogs will appeal to many buyers.

Any level spot will work for this, and if your front yard is mostly taken up by a big, square lawn, this is a great way to break up the monotony of your yard and add visual interest.

You can build a small wood deck, remove part of your lawn and replace it with a paving stone patio or simply put down some gravel bordered by flowers or colorful native plants.

 

10. Increase space for parking.

 

If you have space available that is currently taken up by an over-sized lawn or unnecessary side yard, consider creating an additional parking area.

Standard two-car driveways rarely meet the needs of today’s home buyers who are often looking for ample guest parking or a space for their RV, boat or kid’s car.

If your budget allows, a patterned paving stone parking area would be a particularly appealing addition that would definitely enhance your home’s curb appeal and could increase its value.

 

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas: Final Thoughts

 

Low-Maintenance Landscaping Ideas: Final Thoughts

 

As you look for ways to increase curb appeal with low-maintenance landscape ideas, keep in mind that you want to choose options that have a general appeal.

You want your home to appeal to a variety of potential buyers who should be able to look at your home and see themselves living there.

Keep it simple, uncluttered and not too personalized in order to attract the widest range of home buyers and have the best chance of successfully selling your home.

 

 

Photo Credits (in order of appearance): stock.xchng, rhansman; stock.xchng, Lenscap;  stock.xchng, Kinsey; stock.xchng, stevekrh19; stock.xchng, BeverlyLR.

About the Author

Luke is the Co-Founder of  INSTALL-IT-DIRECT and Estate Weddings and Events .When Luke is not working on EWE or IID, his second passions are in health, education(obsessed with learning) and traveling the world(life is too short to remain idle). His favorite destinations to date are Laos & Croatia. Patagonia is next on the list for 2014...Follow him on Google+Twitter, and Linkedin.

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