Your home’s front yard is the first impression it makes on visitors, does it make a good one? Many people are surprised by how much a front yard can affect how people perceive a home, but appraisers regular tell people looking to sell their home that a well landscaped and welcoming front yard can actually add ten of thousands of dollars to your home’s value. While the back yard often adds more dollars to the final sale price, the front yard is what will draw buyers in and convince them to come and view your home in the first place.
If you’re considering selling your home, prospective buyers will always do a drive-by before asking for a viewing. So if you want to entice buyers to see your home, or to make your friends and family admire your home, then you’ll want to make your front yard look gorgeous.
Deciding why you’re landscaping
What makes a front yard beautiful can be subjective. Landscaping your yard to make it appealing falls into two categories: what makes it beautiful for you and what makes it beautiful for others. Before you start spending money, know which one you’re doing.
For example, if you’re selling your home, then you’ll mostly be landscaping for others. If that’s the case, then you’ll want to try the following tactics.
Landscaping to sell your home
- Focus on your grass
A healthy, green lawn is your first step to attracting potential buyers. The sight of a lush green lawn thick with healthy grass and not a weed insight will help make your lawn (and your home) appear cleaner, more well-kempt, and more appealing. It also sells a lifestyle to your potential homebuyers. Your healthy grass doesn’t just show how much you care about your lawn, it suggests to your buyers that if they own that home, they’ll have the means and the time to maintain the same kind of lawn. Remember, selling your home is about selling more than just a house, it’s about selling a lifestyle.
To make your lawn green and thick, know what kind of grass you have (cool weather or warm weather grass) and then learn how to feed it, cut it, and water it. Aerating your lawn in the months before you list it for sale will help promote growth and increase the oxygen in the soil, which will help your grass grow better.
- Less is more
When you’re landscaping to sell, understand that your lawn has to follow the same rules as your home’s interior to get the best possible price: declutter and then declutter some more. While you may love your faux grazing deer, your collection of exotic wind chimes, or your unique lawn sculptures, they won’t appeal to buyers. If you’re struggling to see what you should remove, get an unbiased friend whose opinion you trust to look long and hard at your yard and tell you what distracts them from your home. Ideally, you want your landscaping to highlight positive aspects of your home and detract from negative aspects.
This doesn’t only apply to decorative pieces but also applies to greenery. Overgrown shrubs, invading trees, and too much large plants can really take away from your home’s beauty and make it harder for people trying to look at your home to really see it.
- Add color and mulch
Strategic pops of color and mulching can help draw the eye and spruce up your outdoor space. Once you’ve cleaned up overgrown shrubs and plants, you may end up with some scraggly grass beneath or dirt that has been starved of light. To help make these spots less of an eyesore, add mulch to the base of trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. This will help make your yard look more cohesive and cleaner.
Adding seasonal color to your yard is a way you can frame parts of your home that you find especially attractive. Flats of annuals can be quite inexpensive and are a quick and easy way to add color. In the fall, mums can be a very inexpensive and attractive option.
In the summer and spring, hanging flower pots are easy to care for and water and can be swapped out quickly to change the look of your front yard. To frame your front door, consider a couple of large planters with an assortment of tiered plants.
- Separate spaces
Adding clear distinctions between walkways, flowerbeds, and trees can help make your front yard look tidier and more attractive. Landscape edging is easy to install and can help delineate spaces. You’ll be amazed at how much a plastic line between your yard and flowerbeds can change the look of your space.
You can also get more decorative edging that looks like stones, or small fences, it all depends on what style you’re looking for with your home.
If you’re landscaping to stay in your home
If you have no plans to sell your home, then your options for landscaping open up. With only yourself to please, you can get much more creative with what you want to do with your outdoor spaces.
Here are some ideas to make your front yard unique and appealing:
- Make a stepping stone path
Most houses have a walkway up to the front door, but that doesn’t mean you need to stick to standard paving stones. One of our favorite ways to add visual interest to your front walkway is to create a whimsical stepping stone path out of round paving stones and mulch.
Other options are to use a moss propagator to make your stone path look more authentic and ancient. If you are using the moss option, you’ll want to find a way to delineate the path from the rest of the yard and to prevent the moss from taking over your grass. One way to do this is to use edging, followed by a row of river stones and then more edging. This will create a dried river bed look.
- Plant a wall of blooms
When people want to create privacy for the front of their house, they often opt for a fence. This is especially useful if you’re also worried about security. However, if you’re looking for a lower maintenance, greener option and live in a secure neighborhood, consider planting a wall of flowering shrubs. Take your cues from the cottages in Nantucket and plant thick rows of lush hydrangeas to block views of your home. Hydrangeas come in a variety of colors and are low-maintenance plants with abundant, long-lasting blooms. To make sure no one comes into your yard, add a white picket gate in front of your walkway to make it clear the separation between your private space and the public.
Lilacs are also another great option. While these flowers are short-lasting, they smell delicious and are beautiful. While purple is the most common color, white is also popular and they make a beautiful contrast when combined. When lilacs aren’t in flower, the plants still offer abundant privacy with their thick leaves.
- Create a homey verandah
If you’re lucky enough to have a wraparound front porch or verandah, don’t waste it! Create an outdoor living space on your porch by taking a bit of the inside…outside. Use solar lanterns and string lights to create an ambiance at night, and have an outdoor rug to define a seating area. We love the recent popularity of outdoor sectional couches that help create such a cozy outdoor area. You can also purchase unique seating options like outdoor bean bag chairs. There’s something incredibly fun about lounging on a bean bag under the stars!
If you don’t have a porch, you can create one with large, irregular stones edged in the gravel. This will make a spot for you to put down some furniture and will also help you save on water costs.
- Use tall grasses for visual interest
We love the look of tall grasses waving in the wind, and even more so when it’s used in landscaping! Tall grasses can add a tiered landscaping look to your home that can break up a long, flat yard. Tall grasses work really well in arid climates because of their hardy nature. You can position them in front of a low fence to add a bit of security and privacy. Combine them with low trees and low-level, clumped shrubs for visual interest. If you have a tall fence, you can still use the grasses to break up a long flat line or use them to frame a gate or the entrance to your backyard.
Also, if you’re thinking of tall grasses looking just like a lawn gone mad, think again! Tall grasses like pampas grasses can actually have large, flowering seed heads that sway up to six feet above the heads of passersby. They can remain well into the months of fall–making these plants ideal for seasonal transitions.
Whether you’re designing your front yard for the enjoyment of your family or to close a quick, lucrative sale on your home, remember that beauty is always subjective–but a well-maintained yard is always a good idea.