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Landscaping Ideas and Resources

flower garden walkwayHome Sellers - Spruce Up With These Landscaping Ideas

When you take a look outside your window, what do you see? Do you wish you could have done things differently as far as your landscaping was concerned?

Visit our Landscaping Tips for Home Sellers section for more articles

Now that you are looking to sell your property you would most certainly want to spruce up the yard and add special effects where appropriate. Clean and well-maintained yards create a positive first impression for a prospective buyer.  The front yard and entrance create “curb appeal” and the backyard highlights the possibilities of additional outdoor living spaces.  Take a good look around you and identify the changes you would like to make. The following questions are a good starting point to determine where and what type of changes may need to be made:

  • Do you have outdoor living spaces with furniture and/or cooking features?
  • Do you have specialty arbors or vines?
  • Are there awnings or overhead coverings?
  • Is there children’s play equipment?
  • Is there adequate place with shade and sun? 
  • Are there water features already within the landscaping? If not, are you willing to add one to spruce up the yard? 
  • Do you plan to hire professionals or do the project yourself? 

Steps to solving the issue

  • Once these questions have been answered you will start to see the major areas that need to be worked on. It is also important to take the opinions of your friends and family members regarding this matter – an outside viewpoint can be helpful when thinking about where to start.
  • You can always begin with a basic plan. If you do not have any time constraints then you may choose to do some of the minor repairs yourself. If some of the projects are too large or time consuming and/or you need them done quickly, you may want to use a professional landscaping service.
  • It is best to draw up a list of all the projects you plan to undertake, taking note that small scale changes are sure to have major impact on the overall “sprucing up” project. You also need to prioritize these goals based on realistic expectations in order to ensure that the ultimate project suits your requirements and budget. 

Here are some specific suggestions for special effects – water features, play equipment, outdoor living spaces:

Water feature repairs and maintenance

If you have water features in your yard, it is sure to impress the potential buyer. Naturally, these structures should perform the way you want them to. However, sometimes repairs and rework has to be done.

  • Statues and water fountains may need to be restored to their former glory.  Repair any cracks or chips if necessary.
  • Clean up the algae and leaves from ponds and fountains and surrounding area.
  • For leakages: You may need to cut off the water supply and apply adhesives to the leaks in the structures. You may even need to re-install the isolation valve and the water line. The new line should also be concealed so it is not visible. 
  • You can consider buying power washers to clean grime off the water features.
  • If you have a pond, you can use a sump pump to remove the dirty water. 
  • You can also add a fresh layer of gravel and refill the pond with clean water. 
  • By adding some plants and fish to the ponds, you can help maintain the ecological balance of the pond and also help it to remain clean. 
  • If you have irrigation facilities like water sprinklers, make sure they are working properly. Repair leaky faucets and other plumbing issues. 

Remember that water features can be impressive, but the more complex the feature is, the more intimidated your buyers may be when it comes to maintaining it. So if you are planning to add in a new water feature just for increasing your property value, try to keep things simple and cost effective from a maintenance point of view. Examples of cost effective water features are simple bubbling brooks and bamboo water fountains, both of which can be highly relaxing yet easy to maintain. 

Removing clutter and making the back yard play sets safe

Potential buyers are looking to see how much usable area they will have if they purchase your home, so it is important to remove all clutter – those items that clearly do not belong in plain sight. You need to remove things like toys, trampoline as well as broken down play-sets when showing the property. They might be considering adding a Jacuzzi, their own garden gazebo or even a play set so a clutter free yard will allow the prospective buyer to imagine their own arrangements.

On the other hand, there may be buyers with families who might appreciate sturdy and good quality play sets that already exist in your yard.  If you are planning on leaving them for the new buyer, you need to make sure that your play sets are repaired and well maintained. You might want to consider adding safety landing areas like mulch, soft play sand or pea gravel to take care of this aspect. Repainting the play sets and taking care of basic maintenance is sure to go a long way when selling.

  • A specific inspection of the play set should be done with close attention to cracks or loose bolts or screws.  Plastic play sets should be replaced if damaged.
  • Repair any sharp edges and pieces that may tear clothes.
  • Ensure that swing chairs are stable and replace corroded hardware if necessary.
  • Sandbox areas need to be refilled annually 
  • Wooden play sets need to be observed for ants, wasps etc. 
  • Repainting play sets can help them look attractive and new. 
  • Buying reused play sets may save you money; but remember that these may be chemical sprayed and can be harmful to kids. 
  • Trim down the trees near the play area. 

Enhance Outdoor Living Spaces with Light and Color

  • Lighting

A nice touch to an existing outdoor living area is adding new light fixtures.  This can be the addition of purchased wall mounted lights, holiday-type lights strung in trees or large bushes surrounding the gathering spot, kerosene or oil lamps perched high on poles, or an array of colorful candles placed on tables.  Lighting will go a long way to create an inviting atmosphere and a comfortable place to relax or entertain guests.

  • Furniture

Repair or replace any existing seat covers, chair cushions, table cloths, barbeque covers or floor mats or rugs where necessary.  If you are replacing, think about creating a color scheme that flows throughout the entire area.  It is personal choice if you go with bright colors or soft subdued colors; the important thing is to try and be consistent.

  • Colorful Additions  

Consider using pots to display colorful plants or flowers.  Choose varieties that are suitable to your growing climate, and pay attention to the amount of upkeep or maintenance they will require to continue to look their best.  

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