How to Create Curb Appeal
Photo by Dee Nash
Your home and its surrounding landscape tell a story. I’ve been looking at homes with my son as he buys his first house. Some of the stories we’ve seen are sad with overgrown trees and shrubs while others are empty, blank slates.
Spring is a popular time to buy and sell houses. Think of your front yard as your welcome mat even if you plan to stay for years to come. Do you love to garden? Or, are you a minimalist who favors easy-care trees and shrubs? Whatever your style, give your home a once-over this spring to create curb appeal.
Invest in long-blooming perennials and bright annuals.
Oklahoma’s hot summers require strong colors that look good even after long days of bright sunshine. Instead of pale flowers, opt for brightly colored annuals and long-blooming perennials. Autumn sage (Salvia greggii) ‘Pink Preference,’ zinnias, perennial phlox (P. paniculata) and coneflowers like (Echinacea purpurea) ‘Cheyenne Spirit,’ blend into a beautiful mixed border. A bonus: You also get butterflies!
Use texture and colorful foliage for visual interest.
Many flowers bloom in an Oklahoma spring and then take a long summer vacation before flowering again in fall. Texture and colored foliage carry your landscape through the hot and dry months.
Speaking of both colorful and textured foliage, I finally found a coral bells cultivar that stands up to Oklahoma’s heat and cold, (Heuchera spp.) ‘Dark Secret.’ My two plants came back bigger and better last spring than they were the year before, even after a couple of late freezes. ‘Palace Purple’ is an old standby, but ‘Dark Secret’ is darker and more vigorous. Another great plant for color and texture is smoketree (Cotinus coggygria) ‘Royal Purple.’ If you want a medium-sized shrub, cut it back to the required height in early spring. Otherwise, it grows into a leggy tree. Pruning won’t hurt it, but it probably won’t bloom, which is fine.
Try variegated foliage like Japanese false nettle, (Boehmeria nipononivea) ‘Kogane Mushi’ in a shady area. It reliably returns to my garden year after year.
Provide an area to sit outside.
Before people had air conditioning, homes had spacious front porches to sit outside on warm evenings. Recapture that nostalgic feeling by building an area where you can drink your morning coffee.
Create a patio of flagstones, bricks or cobbles and place a table and chairs, or a bench with pillows for comfortable seating, in the front or backyard. It’s also a great place to rest occasionally while weeding. In the backyard on a covered patio or deck, string cafe lights to create ambiance and buy some outdoor furniture. You can often find furniture online or at garage sales. With a little spray paint, a new rug and new cushions, build a personal haven. Add containers of plants and scented flowers to enhance your space. Scented geraniums, petunias, gardenia, lavender, jasmine and roses are all good choices.
Use decor to mark a change in season.
Plant daffodils and other bulbs in fall for colorful spring borders. Pile pumpkins on your porch or around containers at the front of your home to mark a change of season. Afterward, place pumpkins on your compost pile instead of putting them in the trash. You might even grow pumpkins in your compost pile!
I hope these ideas give you a jumpstart planning the sort of garden you want to magnify your home’s curb appeal. Scented plants, a place to rest, along with shrubs and trees are all ways to improve your home and tell your life story. What will yours be?