Landscaping can boost your home’s curb appeal

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    Grass, leaves and flowers are returning color to Middle Tennessee just in time for National Lawn and Garden Month this month.

    As buyers and sellers enter the real estate market, there’s an increased emphasis on making a good first impression with homes’ exterior, yard and landscaping. Here are a few tips to maximize that curb appeal.

    Here in Tennessee, Bradford Pear trees are enemy No. 1. Inexpensive and pretty, they are desirable by many. But their weak wood makes them susceptible to storm damage and they put off an unpleasant smell. Consider a crabapple as a good alternative.

    There are other plants to avoid because of their tendency to take over your yard … and your neighbor’s yard, too. These include bamboo, English Ivy and Chinese Wisteria. They quickly can spread and potentially destroy other healthy plants.

    Crape myrtles are great to plant. They love warm, sunny climates like ours. Smoke trees also like hot weather, plus they produce foliage in both summer and fall. When looking for a larger tree, red oaks are known for their long-term value and tremendous amount of shade.

    Perennials are always a good landscaping choice because of their low maintenance. Even those who lack a green thumb can score a victory with these flowers. You still need to know the right flower for your spot, but consider favorites such as mums, daylilies and hostas.

    Lawn care is a year-round process, but with the right attention you’ll cut down on the workload. Aerate in fall’s cooler temperatures and fertilize in the spring. Water early in the morning and deeply to nourish roots. Watch for weeds and remove them promptly. If you use a sprinkler system, make sure the heads are adjusted properly to give full coverage to your lawn.

    Though it doesn’t grow, your walkway is part of your lawn and adds an extra element of welcome. If your home has a cottage-like feel, consider a pea gravel path. Stone makes for a good path to almost any home. Also consider how edging can accentuate the path.

    The National Association of Realtors provides a great consumer website at houselogic.com. The site covers topics from DIY projects to the financial aspects of homeownership, including a season-by-season lawn maintenance calendar. Online resources like these are just one more way Realtors support their clients beyond the transaction.

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