Landscaping done right: do’s and don’ts this summer

by Sonia Weiser

spring-homebuying-market-home-flowers-front-porchHomebuyers are buying more than walls and windows when they visit an available space, they are buying the landscaping as well. If left uncared for, homebuyers could be turned off to the sale.

Here are do’s and don’ts for landscaping that could benefit your clients this summer:

Do: Keep warm-season grasses fertilized

The front lawn is one of the first impressions your client will get of the house you are showing. In the summer heat, grass is likely to develop brown spots or appear brittle. The appropriate fertilizer could help the grass maintain that luscious green color everyone desires.

Don’t: Water unless necessary 

As simple as it may be to turn on that sprinkler and forget about it, over watering can be a direct result from this careless act. The best time to water plants are when they are freshly planted or show signs of wilting and/or dropping leaves. We suggest watering in the early morning so plants stay hydrated throughout the day.

Do: Plant hot-season vegetables

Fresh lettuce, carrots and peas might be a great idea for the perfect summer salad, however they are a bad idea for your garden. Vegetables like these grow rapidly wrong in the summer producing a bitter taste. Okra, sweet potatoes, chili peppers and eggplant are drought-tolerant and thrive in the summer heat and sunshine.

Don’t: Neglect tree limbs

Summer is the season of thunderstorms. Checking trees for hanging limbs could prevent property damage in the long run. Dead limbs are a threat to power lines and the house AC condenser. Clearing such debris will give homebuyers a sense of comfort in their purchase.

Do: Trim any bushes

Untrimmed bushes are unsightly and dangerous. Besides making the yard look uncared for, untrimmed bushes can trap moisture and attract termites. Vines will form and be a great nesting ground for any bugs that find your home inviting. Along with appearance, trimmed bushes prevent burglars from finding places worth hiding in around a house.

Don’t: Start a project you won’t finish

Turning your back on the garden leaves plenty of room for weeds and pests to pick up where you left off. Summer drought can cause plants to struggle without proper care. Pruners, a cultivator or even your own hands can make great maintenance tools for your yard. Make sure you are tackling weeds before they have a chance to bloom and spread.

Do: Plant tropical bulbs

The best way to create a lush appearance is to plant tropical bulbs that thrive in the summer heat. Plants such as caladiums, cannas, elephant ears and gingers are a positive way to spruce up flowerbeds and the shady spots under a tree. They grow in interesting architectural patterns and require little maintenance.

Don’t: Only water the surface

The key to healthy plants in the summer is watering deep into their roots. Plants follow water and will develop roots too close to the surface if that is the only area receiving the water. A deep soak will eliminate chances of the water of evaporating from the soil too early. Plants will overall stay healthier and live longer when treated down to their roots.

Do: Minimize the amount of landscaping

A house that looks too busy can scare off potential buyers. An overdone yard looks like a lot of work and a bit cluttered. While a lawn overtaken by beautiful flowers might look great at first, a homebuyer might forget these plants will soon leave nothing but dead plants in its place.

Don’t: Include a water feature

A water feature is tricky to sell to a potential homebuyer. Most people associate a pond with expensive upkeep and lots of maintenance. Others fear for the safety of their children and pets —worrying they might drown in the water feature. Some communities require a fence around the pond the same way you would a swimming pool, which could lose the appeal of the pond all together. It’s best to exclude the pond and let the homebuyer decide for themselves later.

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