After a long, cold winter, is there anything better than the sight of garden centers filling with flowers and tulips and pansies popping up in yards around the Fox Valley?

When spring arrives, homeowners fling open their doors and take those first, excited steps outside, ready to enjoy their yard, patios, and decks again. But if the sight in your yard makes you want to head back indoors, consider some easy spring maintenance tasks that will make your yard look inviting again.

You may also contemplate doing some upgrades and calling in the landscaping professionals to create some beautiful beds or plant some gorgeous trees. If you’re mulling making some outdoor improvements this year, whether it’s selecting some perennials for a lush new garden bed or a row of evergreens for privacy, remember that experts agree that landscaping is an area you will almost certainly see some return on investment if you place your home on the market.

According to the Appraisal Institute, great landscaping can increase your home’s value and may help sell your property more quickly. Some estimates have professional landscaping and outdoor features adding up to 10 percent to your home’s value!

But before you head to the garden center and fill your cart with every perennial shrub calling your name, here are some things to consider:

  • Try to view your yard with fresh eyes. When you’ve tended a shrub for years, you can become emotionally attached. But maybe it’s actually taking over the porch, and needs to be removed or significantly pruned. Or perhaps you planted a bed with the best intentions but as they’ve matured, you realized they simply don’t go well together. One tip is to walk around your yard and take pictures of various areas. Those snapshots can give you a perspective on what spots of your yard need help.
  • Consider calling in a professional. It’s easy to plunk down several hundred at a big-box store and fill your trunk with every lovely bush in sight. But a well-landscaped yard needs a plan and a hodgepodge of bushes planted willy-nilly isn’t going to achieve that look you’re after. There needs to be movement and flow from bed to bed, with hardscape features like patios and walkways complementing the overall picture. For an hourly fee, a landscape architect or designer can check out what you already have, diagnose any problem areas, and provide you a plan for what will work well in your current set-up. You can take that plan and decide whether it’s something you want to DIY or call in landscapers to implement. Having a plan for the current season and how those plantings will grow over the years could save you money in the long run!
  • Don’t underestimate the effect of regular maintenance. If your budget is tight, and you don’t want to invest in professional landscaping, remember that well-tended, simple landscaping adds plenty of curb appeal. When the temperatures start to warm, take a weekend afternoon to power wash the leaf stains and algae growth from your siding and sidewalks. Trim any shrubs or trees that have become unruly or unsightly. Be willing to bid farewell to any shrubs that have died or have been ailing for more than a season. As soon as you see the yellow forsythia bushes bloom, you’ll know it’s safe to start seeding bare batches in your lawn.  Clear your beds of leaves and last year’s growth, then cut fresh edges on your beds and lay a new carpet of mulch. It’ll do wonders for your home’s curb appeal.

I hope you enjoy these early weeks of spring, whether you decide it’s time for a whole new landscaping look or just the simple pleasure of planting some spring flowers. And if you’re considering selling your home, I’d love to assist you. Please contact me at (630) 715-1887.