Landscaping

Five Affordable Ways to Maximize Your Curb Appeal

Photo courtesy of Thomas Lynch

First impressions matter - especially in real estate.

Award-winning Maine landscape designer Thomas Lynch outlines five affordable ways to increase your home's curb appeal. This is especially important during the selling process, when you want your house to shine!

 

1. Trim Trees and Shrubs

Removing dead and diseased trees and limbs along with proper trimming and pruning of shrubs instantly improves curb appeal.

Your property will appear well maintained, which is a big plus for buyers considering purchasing your home.

 

 

2. Clean Garden Beds

weeds-in-a-bag

Well maintained garden beds also highlight the care you've given your home. Remove weeds and other unwanted plant materials from beds, cut a crisp new edge, and apply a fresh layer of natural mulch (not dyed).

If you have a hose connected to an outside spigot that simply is sprawled out in the garden bed, consider buying a hose reel or decorative hose hider for it. There are a wide variety of options, both simple and ornate.

 

 

3. Manicure the Lawn

Mow, trim and edge your lawn regularly, and especially before showings! Even if your lawn has a few weeds here and there, it will look much better to buyers when it's neatly mowed.

 

driveway-washing4. Freshen Walks and Driveways

Pressure washing your front walkways and putting a fresh coat of sealant on asphalt driveways, or a fresh topcoat of aggregate on your gravel driveway, is a cost effective way of refreshing your hardscaping.

 

 

5. Add Color

 

Planting flowering annuals offers a quick and inexpensive way to make your home look bright and inviting. Add color around the mailbox, lamp posts, as well as some planters on the front entrance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Williams Realty Partners of Keller Williams Coastal Realty is the number one Keller Williams Team in New England. WRP is a full service team collaborating to bring buyers and sellers together. With this structure, our agents get to spend their time doing what they do best: working with clients to provide an exceptional experience whether buying or selling a home.

 

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Raised Bed Gardening & Hugelkultur

 

Outsmart Those Rocks!

Raised bed gardening is extremely popular right now, particularly in New England, and with very good reason. New England gardeners digging in their yards sometimes feel like they’re not really digging in soil, they’re digging in rocks with a little dirt thrown in to hold it all together.

Once built, a raised bed or hugelkultur mound (we’ll get to hugelkultur in a moment) placed on top of all those backbreaking stones turns gardening from work to joy.

Raised bed gardening also hugely increases where you can garden. Heck, you can even build a hip-high container, put all terrain wheels on it and pull it wherever you want!

But wait, there's more!

Raised beds also have several other advantages. They drain better and the soil is leraised bed imagess compacted, which makes it easier for roots to grow (just don’t walk in your raised bed!).

Gardeners aren’t stuck with whatever soil they happen to have in the yard, either. It’s common for gardeners to add topsoil, moisture-retentive compost and other nutrient rich matter to their raised beds, ensuring healthy, high-yielding vegetables or flowers.

Need another reason to love raised beds?

In the spring, soil in a raised bed warms faster than the cold, thawing ground. With a raised bed and the addition of a landscape cover over your plants, you can begin the spring growing season early by a month or more, and extend it well into the fall.

Raised Bed Materials

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to raised garden beds. A raised bed can be as practical and homely as a simple heavy-duty black plastic garbage bag filled with soil, or a work of art made out of sculpted cedar that would look right at home at Martha Stewart’s next garden party. They can sit on the ground or be raised up on stilts, which is a godsend to those who love to garden but have some physical limitations.

Raised bed kits made of wood, plastic, or metal are easy to find at a local Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowe’s or through an online retailer, often under $100. DIY versions include hollowed-out hay bales, pallets, or even a simple mound of soil.

Hugel-what?

And that simple mound of soil brings us to hugelkultur.

Hugel is “hill” in German, and hugelkultur is the practice of cultivating plants on a hill or mound that is composed of layers of decomposing wood, branches, leaves, grass and plant clippings, topped off with soil. The decomposing wood from the logs and branches at the base attract earthworms and other beneficial soil life, which in turn provide aeration and nutrients to the plants grown on the sides of the mound. Decomposing wood is also wonderful for water retention, meaning less watering. Once a hugelkultur mound is built, plants can be grown in that rich environment for years to come with little further effort.

We hope we’ve convinced you to give raised bed gardening or hugelkultur a try, because they certainly make growing your own vegetables and flowers a heck of a lot easier, and the ways you can use these beds is practically endless.

For more information about Hugelkultur:

https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/2019/09/01/maine-home-garden-news-september-2019/#article-1

Williams Realty Partners of Keller Williams Coastal Realty is the number one Keller Williams Team in New England. WRP is a full service team collaborating to bring buyers and sellers together. With this structure, our agents get to spend their time doing what they do best: working with clients to provide an exceptional experience whether buying or selling a home.

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Go Native To Make The Most Out Of Your Landscaping!

Landscaping With Native Plants Makes Your Life Easier (And Your Wildlife Happier)

Native New England plants give you a lot of bang for your gardening buck. There's a beautiful shrub or a perennial for almost any location you've got, whether it's sunny, shady, dry or downright boggy.

And why wouldn't there be? After all, these plants evolved here in New England, not in Asia somewhere. They're able to survive and thrive in conditions where imported plants struggle. Not having to replace expensive trees and shrubs will even have your wallet thanking you for gardening with New England plants!

Landscaping with native plants makes your life easier; you put in less effort watering and pruning, and in return you have more time to lie around in a hammock, enjoying a glorious landscape.

And the local birds and other critters will love you for going native. Why put out a plastic bird feeder when you can plant a beautiful living one instead?

If you've got a larger space that remains somewhat wet, plant larger trees like the native river birch, or willows such as the pussy willow and the black willow.

They provide habitats for insects that the birds will feed on. And our winged friends adore the berries found on native shrubs such as viburnum, elderberry, chokecherry and serviceberry.

Many New England neighborhoods are surrounded by woodland, and there is often a harsh, abrupt transition from the forest to the lawn. Any of the native New England plants listed above will help make a softer, more natural transition from woodland to suburban yard.

For sheer toughness combined with beauty, try a Northern Bayberry. Equally at home as a lovely hedge or toughing it out in sandy, thin soil, bayberries were once used (and still are) to scent candles.

This photo shows the Northern Bayberry extensively used in the landscaping surrounding the York Public Library in York, Maine.

The shorter shrub is the bayberry, and the larger tree in the picture is a native amelanchier (aka serviceberry, Juneberry, shadblow). The tree is just beginning to ripen its berries for the local birds.

You can't go wrong with trying some of our native New England and Maine perennials and shrubs this gardening year.

For more information, please visit:

https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/manual/plants-for-the-maine-landscape/

 

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