Improve Front Yard, Increase Curb Appeal

I, myself, didn’t think that improving your front yard can do a lot to the image of your house. Either you are selling your house or just want to upgrade your front yard,continue reading the article that I stumbled upon and I want to share to you, guys.

A good first impression can make a world of difference when you’re selling your home. By upgrading your curb appeal, you have a chance to influence how potential buyers feel about your home before they even step inside. While it’s important to balance the money you spend on improvements with a realistic idea of what you can recoup, many improvements to your landscaping can cost little, compared to the benefits of increased home value and a faster sale.

Below is a list of some simple ways to improve your curb appeal when selling your home.

Get a fresh perspective

Before you can choose which projects to start with, it helps to see your landscape with fresh eyes and a broad, overall view. We get so used to our landscaping that it can be hard to pinpoint what others might see. There are two simple tricks to seeing your landscape with a new viewpoint. With both of these techniques, the goal is to forget what you think you know about your landscape and to instead see what is actually there.

The first is an old artist’s trick. Stand back from your landscape, far enough away that you can see all of it at once. Then squint your eyes until they blur, and try to clear your mind.

There may be areas that, when viewed with blurred eyes, appear dark and overgrown. Some areas might feel messy because there are too many small plantings, statues, or pots. Or, you may have an area that is bright and clean, but a little too bare. All of these insights can give you a general idea of which projects to tackle first.

The second technique you can use to see your landscape with fresh eyes is to take some black and white photographs of your landscaping. Taking color away can make a familiar space seem new, so you can see it with objective eyes. Nowadays, most digital cameras have a black and white setting, so this is easy to do even if you’re not a techno-whiz.

Define the borders and add mulch

Clean edges fool the eye into seeing the entire landscape as neat and well-maintained. If lawn has crept into your garden beds and created an uneven line, then defining the border can improve the look of the whole landscape.

Start by laying out a garden hose, or using spray chalk to outline the new border. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of creating a wavy, “drunken snake” of a line; instead go for broad, sweeping curves that are in scale with the size of your home. Then, use a mattock or pulaski to chip away at the grass until you have a clean, attractive line.

Once you’ve established a neat border, a layer of wood chip mulch adds a refined look. Not only does it help keep weeds down during the selling process, but the bright color is attractive, smooths out an uneven soil surface, and generally gives the landscaping a professional finish.

Prune overwhelming shrubs

While pruning can be tough to tackle if you don’t know what you’re doing, there are a few simple pruning techniques that can make a fast difference.

Just remember that you don’t want to prune anything severely if you can help it, or attack anything with the hedging shears unless the plant is quite clearly meant to be a hedge. That kind of pruning makes it obvious that the maintenance got out of control, which is not the signal you want to send to potential buyers!

Instead, focus on subtler ways of pruning. One technique that makes shrubs look neat with little effort is to “skirt” them. Skirting is when you prune around the base of a shrub, removing any branches that are within 6 inches of the ground. This gives a more open appearance, and works wonders on Rhododendrons and other shrubs that can look moundy and overwhelming when sprawling on the ground.

Another good pruning task is to gently prune any plant that is touching the house. Plants that lean on the house can cause chipped paint as well as mold and ant infestations. If your buyer has a home inspection done, it’s a problem that will be noted in the report. Pruning plants 8 inches to 1 foot away from the house will give the landscaping a more open appearance, as well as give you room to power wash the house or touch up paint as needed.

The only shrubs that should be pruned heavily are those that are flopping over a walkway, blocking the view from the street to the front door, or keeping light from streaming into a window. Even then, it’s better to thin plants gracefully or consider even removing them, rather than going in for The Big Chop.

Add color with paint and pots

If a focal area isn’t drawing the eye as it should (think front door, patio and seating areas), a bold shot of color can be just what’s needed. While the obvious solution is to use container plantings, there are a few important points to remember.

First, less is more. Choose just one or two larger pots that have a distinctive color or shape, rather than lots of small pots that can feel cluttered.

Next, go for a simple one- or two-color planting scheme that highlights what is special about your home, like the color of the stone, trim, or surrounding shrubs. This keeps the focus on your home, rather than on the individual plantings.

Lastly, don’t be afraid of paint. If your patio furniture looks tired and worn, it will be hard for potential buyers to envision themselves sitting there. Freshly stained or painted patio furniture can draw the eye and help buyers imagine the great times they’ll have in their new landscape. Choose a color that picks up on some element in the landscaping, and add a few cushions to set the scene.

Ask for help

Most landscape designers offer a one-time consultation service. If you’re having trouble deciding what to focus on, even a short meeting with a professional can help you pinpoint the tasks that will bring the greatest return.

As you can see from these projects, even a small investment in the landscape goes a long way towards increasing your curb appeal and making it more likely that buyers will fall in love with your home.

Collecting Water using the Green Gutters

greenhouse gutter

One way of conserving the environment is to utilize the little or the much it offers. This means that whenever possible we should try and conserve for future use. Water is one resource that can be conserved and used later since it is not perishable. By placing gutters along our greenhouses we are able to tap and conserve water which we can later use to irrigate our gardens. Regardless of the size of any greenhouse, placing a rainwater catchment system is important to conserve water which could go to waste.

This innovation ensures that the rain is able to be saved for future use. The water efficient system it able to collect rainwater from the roof of the greenhouse and redirecting it into storage tanks. It doesn’t matter whether you are well established farmer or a simple owner of a greenhouse to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, water should be conserved since it may not always be there when needed. A water catch system is always necessary. Though there are plenty of reason why we need to install water catch system, three reasons are what matter most:

greenhouse gutters

  • Cost saving

Every year the cost of water increases dramatically all over the world and even though it may not be something that worries, it is important to conserve the most crucial resource on the planet.

  • Conservation of an important resource

Fresh water is a resource that need to be conserved because once it is wasted it cannot be recovered again therefore we should try as much as possible to conserve whenever possible

  • Time management

A lot of time is used to irrigate your crops and when the dry season comes it might be even harder to do so due to water shortage, therefore storing water will come in handy at this time since you wouldn’t need to look for water to sustain your crops.

Note that you will need to inspect and clean the gutters for you to collect clean water. The gutter cleaning exercise will involve scooping out leaves and other debris as well as dirt that might have accumulated in the gutters. Besides, you will need to scrub the gutters to ensure that they are clean.

In a case where you don’t want to keep on cleaning gutters, especially if you home or the area where you have the greenhouse has a lot of trees, you may consider installing gutter covers.

Gardenias: Heavenly Aroma but Gardening Nightmare

gardenia

If you’ve never smelled a gardenia in bloom you might want to avoid doing so in the future. The heady aroma is seductive – perhaps even addictive. Before you exhale you’ll be considering a purchase. And this is something a smart gardener might want to avoid. The gardenia is a lovely plant but it can also be a brutal mistress. You bring home the plant and place it – indoors or out – and wait for the lovely blooms. Enjoy that first batch because it might well be the last. Before you know it the blooms are gone and the leaves begin to yellow and then fall off leaving you with a leafless brown corpse. If you are quick you might have tried various soil additives (from iron to coffee grounds) before the plant dies. If you are slow you might not have to. The results will still be the same.

kleim's hardy gardenia

A landscape designer arranged for me to have a full dozen Kleim’s Hardy planted in my beds. One lived after the first summer. It’s still alive three years later and laden with lovely blooms though it’s crooked after heavy snows this past winter. Eleven were replaced last spring – dead corpses removed and more glossy and lush Kleim’s Hardy gardenias planted in their stead. This time I was ready with corn meal, special fertilizers and a deal with the local Starbucks for coffee grounds. With this many it’s best not to try and drink the coffee yourself. But, right on schedule, the leaves began to yellow and fall off. In early spring only four had any green leaves.

At the first mention of replacing them again there was an uproar around the house. The general feeling being that as the gardenias were destined for a grisly yellow death we ought to just stick with the dead gardenias we already had. We could, I was told, just get some air freshener which smelled of gardenia and pretend we’d had the few glorious days of blooms. But a new cultivar, Frostproof, was available at the local garden center and, after much agonizing, three were purchased as a Mothers’ Day gift. The rest are languishing in their post-bloom death state waiting to be replaced by hardier, though less heavenly, plants. In the car, as we brought the latest potential victims home, a child muttered, “These don’t look dead … are they really gardenias?”

The one successful gardenia I have does offer some insight into the plant’s needs. It’s located with morning sun and afternoon shade and next to the house protected from a lot of cold weather in the winters. The ground drains well in this bed and the soil is acidic – a nearby group of azaleas are quite happy. If you succumb to the scent of gardenias try to plant yours in a similar location. Fertilize them immediately after they bloom. Do not over water them. Do not underwater them. Test your soil and be sure it’s exactly as they desire. If the yellow still takes over consider voodoo – or a gardenia scented air freshener.