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Are you getting ready to sell your house?

5 Landscaping tips for the house seller

You've decided to sell your house. You've read about the renovations you need to do, but have you taken a good look at your landscaping?

Landscaping is the "icing on the cake" when you're selling your house.

Good landscaping tells potential buyers that you've cared for your property and adds to the value of your home.

According to experts, improving your landscaping can add 6 to 7 per cent to the value of your home. On a $400,000 home, that can mean an extra $24,000 to $28,000.

The photo above is a "before" photo.

Notice the landscaping. There is no lawn and the plants just seem to sprout up everywhere without regard to their appearance. Now look at the "after" photo below.

Yes, the appearance of the house has been vastly improved, but take a closer look at the landscaping. Imagine how the house would look if the seller hadn't improved the landscaping.

Without the landscaping, the money spent on renovating the house would have been wasted.

Landscaping is an inexpensive way to improve the appearance of any home. It will add far more than its cost to the value of the home, but you need to know what to do. Here are five landscaping tips for the house seller.

One: Remove Bald Spots

The "before" photo above is an extreme example of bald spots in the garden. The seller did the right thing when they invested in turf to cover the rough ground in the front of the house. Your house may not have as many bald spots. If it has any, find a way to fill them in. It can be with plants, pebbles or even mulch.

What you don't want potential buyers to see is bare ground that tells them you have neglected your garden.

Two: Create Garden Zones

Take another look at the before and after photos above. Notice how the seller created garden zones using garden edging materials. The tree is surrounded by stones and timber edging replaces the random plants in the "before" photo. The result is a neat and tidy garden that enhances the appearance of the home.

Where there used to be an uneven path to the house, there is now a straight, clearly defined path. By dividing the garden into zones, the seller has created a beautiful and tidy front yard that anyone would admire. The garden now enhances the appearance of the home and enhances its value.

If your home is on a sloping block, you may want to spend a little more and have a retaining wall installed. Retaining walls over a certain height (600mm in some areas and one metre in others) have to be designed and supervised by a structural engineer, but they can give your front garden a tidy, tiered appearance that will flatter your home.

Whether your land is flat or sloping, the important thing is to create zones.

Garden edging can divide your lawn from your plants or draw the eye to the tree in your front yard. Edging is the cheapest way to turn an untidy garden into a beautiful garden.

Three: Weed, Mulch and Prune

You may have taken care of your garden, but before you put your home on the market, make your garden perfect. No one likes to see weeds or dead limbs in a garden. If you can do it, do it or consider hiring a garden maintenance service to remove weeds and prune your plants. They can also top the soil with mulch, which looks much better than bare earth.

Mulching helps keep weeds at bay and helps with moisture retention in your garden.

If you have a lawn, take a close look at it. Are there brown spots or weeds? If so, weed your lawn and get rid of the brown spots … your green lawn will enhance the value of your home.

The goal is to make your front garden immaculate.

It's the first thing people will notice when they come to your home. If your front garden is well-maintained, it will tell them you have taken pride in your property and they will feel more confident about buying your home.

Four: Don't Forget Hardscaping

"Hardscaping" includes driveways, pavers, fences and other hard surfaces. These are just as important as your softscaping (plants, lawns, etc.) projects. Imagine making your garden immaculate, but leaving a rough, cracked cement driveway or unpainted fence.

Your beautiful garden would just draw attention to the hardscaping you've neglected.

If your driveway is in good condition, but looks dirty or has oil spills on it, pressure clean it … make it look like new again. If you have an old concrete driveway that has large cracks in it, have it repaired and resurfaced … it will be worth the expense.

Fencing, pavers and other hardscaping should look clean and tidy. If your fencing is chipped or faded, have it painted. If it's leaning over, have it repaired. If it needs replacing, replace it. You don't need to spend a fortune. As long as the fencing looks straight and well-maintained, it will make a good impression.

Five: What Should You Do in Your Backyard?

Your front yard will draw potential customers into your home, but they will also look at your backyard. Like your front garden, your backyard landscaping should look well-maintained, but there is one more thing to consider.

Home buyers today want to enjoy the indoor/outdoor lifestyle and will place more value on a home that has a patio they can enjoy in any weather.

If you have a pressure cleaner clean your driveway, also clean your patio pavers. If you have a concrete patio, you may benefit by having it paved. If you have decking, consider having your decking resealed.

If you don't have a patio cover, look into ways you can create a patio cover. You may want to have a patio cover or have an awning installed. An awning may be less expensive and modern awnings can extend much further than in the past.

You may not have to do all of these landscaping jobs before you sell your house, but you should take a careful look at both your softscaping and hardscaping.

Remember, too, that any improvements you make will highlight the areas you neglect. Do whatever it takes to make your landscaping shine. It will be an investment that pays dividends when you sell your house.

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