As much as anything else, beautiful landscaping really helps with curb appeal. Deep, green grass framed by bright and fragrant flowers puts potential homebuyers in a good mood and shows that you’ve been a good steward of the property. Wilted shrubs, yellow grass, and dead flowers may lead them to think otherwise. Here are few things you can do to keep the outside of your home looking great during the warm Summer months.
Sure, flowers diverse in colors and sizes add some pop to your landscaping. But, a full, lush lawn is the real crowd pleaser. In the Pacific Northwest, having a green lawn is no problem nine months out of the year. It’s those other three months that you need to worry about.
Many rules hold true no matter what the calendar says. If cut too short, the grass is unable to produce the energy it needs to grow back. That leads to shallower roots, which leads to a weaker lawn. The rule of (green) thumb says to cut no more than the top third of the grass no matter the season. During the summer, it’s helpful to keep the grass a little longer than usual, too.
In the middle of summer, it’s tempting to water the lawn every morning or night. But too much water can actually hurt the grass. Areas that are consistently damp, or even have standing water, invite disease or can limit the amount of oxygen the root system receives.
It’s also important to take note which parts of your yard need the most attention during the summer. Is the yard always in the sun. Or, is it mostly shaded during the warmest parts of the day? If it’s a combination of both, water the areas that need it, leave the rest alone. And never water in the middle of the day. The water may evaporate before doing any good and could even burn the grass a little by reflecting the sunlight.
Keeping the lawnmower blade sharp, not bagging the clippings, and leaving more aggressive chores (like fertilizing, aerating, or dethatching) for the fall are other steps to keeping the lawn beautiful during the warmer months. The less you mess with the lawn at this time, the better the grass will grow.
The Flower Beds
The flower in your landscaping will need a little bit more work. While Spring is when most gardeners put in the bulk of the effort, there’s still work to be done in Summer. One of the easiest to spot chores is deadheading, the removal of spent blooms. Removing the withered petals, or cutting back the plant, can help spur new growth. This will also help keep certain plants where they belong instead of spreading across the flowerbed.
Watering, of course, needs to be more regimented for flowers than it is for the lawn. Soaker hoses help deliver water right where it’s needed. But, hanging plants will need water every few days, maybe more during drought situations.
The other “W” word – weeding – is also important. Just like the plants to you want, dandelions and other weeds also spent the Spring and early Summer establishing a strong root system. When pulling these weeds, it’s important to get the roots, not just the visible leaves. If the invaders have made themselves too much at home, a weed killer may be employed. Just make sure to not overspray the surrounding plants you want to keep.
Replenishing mulch, adding flower fertilizer, and even planting fall flowers are other things you can do to keep the flowerbeds blooming through the warm weather and into fall. It’s a little more work than the lawn, but the added bursts of color can keep your landscaping and curb appeal in fine form.
Trees and Shrubs
Established trees have seen their fair share of Summer and will whether the heat as they’ve done in years past. Still, occasional inspection is important to make sure this isn’t their last summer. Fortify any mulch rings around the trees – these should be at least two inches thick to keep competing grass and weeds at bay.
When it comes to watering trees, a deluge is better than a drip. Trees planted in Spring especially need the water to grow strong root systems. An inch of water a week will keep the trees healthy and growing.
Trees and shrubs can also use the occasional deadheading. Remove any dead branches or shoots so the plants can concentrate on the healthy parts. But don’t over prune – this can weaken the tree as well and will stress the tree during this growing season. It’s better to get big pruning jobs done during the cooler months.
Well-maintained landscaping is the best welcome mat a home can have when trying to court potential homebuyers. Yes, it’s a lot of work, but most of it is inexpensive and can be done over a few hours each week. All of that elbow grease is worth it if a homebuyer stops to take a look instead of driving on through.