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Article: Invest in the Outside

Created on: Monday, June 09, 2003

There are a few investments you can make in the interior of your house that will come back to reward you when you're selling. Basic paint and/ or wallpaper spruce-ups will help sell your house and maybe pay off in a higher selling price. But what if a buyer looks at your house from the outside and doesn't even go in?? It happens! The new paint and wallpaper are never seen. Investing in landscaping pays off more than you would think. First, it acts as a magnet to buyers who may drive by. They want to see the inside if the outside looks so good. Second, it leaves a fine lasting impression after they've driven away. And very often, the only picture they may have of a house is an exterior shot. Here are some ideas to keep in mind that help foster that important first impression: With any house style, the plantings must relate in scale to the windows and doors, and the house should relate to the grounds. Overgrown plants are unruly and give the impression the owners are reclusive or have lost control, perhaps inside the house as well as out! Under-scaled plantings have no impact. An awkward house needs to be anchored to its setting by appropriate planting; undesirable views should be screened. The following criteria should be kept in mind when designing the entrance garden, conforming to the style that best suits your house: The front of the house should have a focal point; a dominant feature, a "special" such as an ornamental tree, or the doorframe itself. The front of the house should then be framed by "skeleton plants", background for the focal point and providing year-round interest. Fill in around the focal point and layer in front of the background the decoratives, or pretties -- those plants which provide color splashes and seasonal interest, thus enhancing the focal point. Infill with bulbs, ground covers and annuals to complete the design. In the best examples of entrance design, the entrance drive plantings and walks intrigue and entice visitors, and above all, make everyone feel welcome! Isn't it the welcoming home that you'd wish to buy? And, of course, if you're not planning a home sale, isn't a "'welcoming home" the place where you want to live?

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