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Gardening projects to improve the curb appeal of your home

If you plan to sell your home this year, you may be focused on home improvements that make the most of your space inside. But have you given much thought to the look of your home on the outside? If not, you should know that improving the outdoor space around your home may help increase the value of your property, and the added curb appeal could help you sell your home faster.

If you would like to improve the exterior aesthetic of your home, but don’t know where to start (and don’t want to spend a lot of money), read on! We asked Eric Malcolmson of Spruced Up Property Beautification Services in Toronto seven questions about freshening up the look of your garden on a budget.

1. If a homeowner wants to improve their garden, when is the best time to start?

If we have the luxury of time on our side, we recommend a big garden clean-up in the Fall when we can dig up weeds and trim trees and bushes without affecting buds for the season to come. However, there is still a lot that can be done in the spring to beautify the garden. We like to wait until mid-April to start any work for the new gardening season as there is a lot of insect activity early in the spring, and if we dig too soon, that can disrupt the cycle of the local ecosystem. Once it’s time, the best thing for your garden is to control the weeds, and to water more than you think is necessary. Water is the number one factor for a healthy garden!

2. If budget is an issue, what would you suggest for the best “bang for the buck”?

When starting a new garden project, or refreshing an old one, budget is always an important factor. At properties with mature gardens, we often see beautiful gardens that have been neglected over time as life gets in the way. Before making a significant expenditure to add new landscape elements, working with what is already there may be a possibility. Failing that, and especially if it’s for a homeowner planning a sale, planters may be the most viable option.

3. Should the focus be on cleaning up existing elements or adding new ones?

In many cases, realtors hire landscaping companies to stage the garden for a property’s sale. Usually, this involves adding planters and annual plants, rather than taking a risk that mature plants won’t take in time for the sale and closing. If you plan to prep your own garden to improve the curb appeal for a sale, the focus should be on cleaning what is already there. You might also consider adding mulch or other decorative touches so purchasers don’t feel like getting the garden under control will be a project if they buy the house.

4. What is one of the most common DIY gardening errors you see?

A common error we see is people forgetting that plants grow, often rather quickly. They see a plant on sale at the garden centre and buy it without researching how big it will get later in the season. We also see gardens that are bright and vibrant, but only for a few weeks because there isn’t any variation in the timing of the blooms. To avoid either of these gardening mishaps, we recommend doing your homework before heading out to buy plants to ensure a variety of plants that will bloom for the whole season, without taking over the whole space.

5. How much should a homeowner budget for annual garden maintenance?

Obviously, the budget is somewhat dependent on the size of the property and the individual tastes of the homeowner. As a guideline, for most of the homes we work on, it is usually $2,500 annually to start and end the season, and then a set biweekly fee if the owner chooses to have us take care of the maintenance. If you plan to take care of it all yourself, the budget will be dependent on the plants selected and the materials used to maintain it.

(NB: If your annual home improvement budget is approximately one percent of your home’s value, consider setting aside 20% of that figure for annual exterior maintenance.)

6. For absolute beginners, what is the easiest type of garden to create and maintain?

While annual plants are tempting every spring, they also come with an annual commitment to care for them. On the other hand, once established, perennial gardens are ultimately less work and require less water than a traditional lawn. If your focus is on a garden that is filled with native plants, it will pretty much take care of itself.

7. Are there any last garden beautification tips you recommend for homeowners?

Don’t try to do everything at once! The garden that works for a couple might not be as practical once they add kids or pets to the household. If the last year has taught us anything, it’s that we have to be prepared to be flexible when it comes to making plans – including in the garden. Try to build a garden in phases instead so you can decide what you like and don’t like, and what may be just more work than you’re willing to take on.

Many thanks to Eric for taking the time to share his gardening wisdom with us!

As you can see, whether you decide to sell, or choose to stay and enjoy the fruits of your labour, some simple, inexpensive adjustments to your garden this spring can help you increase the value – and the curb appeal – of your home. And when making purchases for your garden, choose a card with a cash back option, like the Home Trust Preferred Visa. Visit our website to apply today!

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