The term “curb appeal” refers to what you view as you drive up to enter the front door. It’s the first impression. The first feel. The first gotta-have.
So, to create a desirable curb appeal for your new home, or one that you’re getting ready to sell, let’s start with vertical elements. Are there any small trees close to the front of the house? Adding a small flowering tree will not only be stunning from the road, but planting one in front of a window gives you the benefit of looking out from the inside as it flowers. (Make sure to plant your tree at least 5 feet from the foundation or sidewalk of your home.) Suggestions could include Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) or Cornus kousa (Dogwood). Both trees can take full sun to partial shade.
Little Lamb Hydrangea
Most of us have windows at the front of our home, so let’s not cover them up, but accent them with a shrub that is 4 feet tall at maturity. Suggestions: Fothergilla gardenia for sunny locations; Hydrangea paniculate “Little Lime” or “Little Lamb” for shady locations. I love using white blooms leading into the home—nature’s landscape lighting when the moon illuminates the garden. Don’t forget to add some good top soil mixed in with organic compost to amend the soil.
Pachysandra terminalis Groundcover
In front of your low shrub, I would suggest using a groundcover that will enhance the shrub with a different color or texture that will spread to the edge of the sidewalk or entry. Using a groundcover that has a subtle fragrance is also welcoming as you enter the front door. Suggestions: Juniperus horizontalis “Limeglow,” Taxus cuspidate “Monloo,” or Hypericum calycinum for sunny locations; or Pachysandra terminalis or Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis (Dwarf Sweetbox) for shady locations.
Pansies, Parsley, and Lettuces
Lastly, consider a ceramic pot that is at least 18 inches in diameter to fill full of colorful seasonal annuals. Or be creative and plant some lovely herbs and veggies and place the pot next to the front door entry. Suggestions: Pansies or violas for our cooler months as an annual, or cabbage, beets, and lettuces. Add some lemon thyme, oregano, or mint to soften the edges – the aroma is heavenly! (I like to mix annuals with veggies and herbs!)
Finish up by applying a dark mulch or my favorite, double ground pine bark, to freshen up old landscapes and enhance new plantings. (Make sure it’s a 3-inch to 4-inch layer to retain moisture and reduce weeds.) And, more importantly, be sure to clean and sharpen those bed lines! Not only does it look manicured, but it shows you’re meticulous and consciousness about your home.
Enhancing your home with curb appeal is not costly but will make your home picture perfect and welcoming for new friends and potential buyers.
—Shelly McKinney can be reached at Snow Creek Landscaping, which offers several curb appeal packages for any budget. Learn more at snowcreekinc.com.
Photos Snow Creek Landscaping