LESLIE: Well, your front yard creates a welcome entry to your home. And when it comes time to sell, it’s also your chance to make a good first impression on potential buyers.
TOM: Well, that’s right. Curb appeal is what draws people in and helps your home stand out visually from the pack. Here with tips to help make sure your home makes a grand entrance is This Old House landscaping contractor Roger Cook.
ROGER: Thanks for having me.
TOM: So, people can become easily overwhelmed when they’re planning any landscape project. And I think that’s especially true when you’re trying to create a design that’s going to give the home that first big impression. So, what would you say are the keys to sort of giving your house a wow factor?
ROGER: If you’re selling your house, you only get that first minute that people pull up for them to decide, “Whoa. Do I like this or do I not like that?”
TOM: Yeah. Or not, right?
ROGER: Very, very quick.
TOM: Yeah. And it’s actually even more important than that because, many times, we’re shopping for homes online. If that picture of your house doesn’t create that impression, you’ve kind of lost the battle.
ROGER: Oh, you have to remember you never get a second chance at making a good first impression. And so, what you want to do is create an environment that looks welcoming to the house.
Now, for years, we’ve been doing what’s called a “foundation planting,” because we have a foundation that sticks out of the ground. Well, nowadays, houses are sighted a little better and you don’t need to line the foundation with plants. So you want to create something that has different textures, different flowers, different colors and just invite people to go up the front walk.
LESLIE: And along those lines, is it smart to sort of line your walkway, maybe, with a low shrub or pretty plantings?
ROGER: I like having color because it just leads you up to the front door. And I’ll even take that color that you have on the edge of the walkway and combine it with some pots or hanging baskets from the house itself.
TOM: Now, creating a garden is something that people often do in the back of their house. But is there an option to create sort of an entry garden at the front of your house?
ROGER: You can do a lot of different things at the front of the house and it all depends on what you are. Right now, there’s a thing called “edible gardens” where you put in plants, like blueberries and things, that you can actually pick. You can do that in the front yard, too.
The scope is endless. You can do so much to the front of the house. It’s just picking the right blend of material.
LESLIE: And I think it’s also important to think seasonally, you know? So much of what’s on the market – with a home sale, you might list your home in the summer and then come wintertime, you’re still trying to sell it. So you’ve got to make sure that whatever you’re doing either stays looking nice or you’re refreshing it every season.
ROGER: No, you’re exactly right. You need to have some bones, some structure that’s going to be there all season long. And then, as true gardeners, transition the color so that you have different things in flower all the time.
TOM: And is it a good idea to also sort of mix up the colors and the textures so you have a really kind of carefully crafted space?
ROGER: It’s always nice to have things that complement each other. Me, I keep putting purple and yellow together, because I’m a guy and we (inaudible at 0:24:56).
TOM: And those are your colors.
ROGER: Yeah. And again, it’s personal thing. If you’re not selling the house, then you’re doing this decorating for yourself. So use colors that you like and plants that you feel are good for your environment.
TOM: And of course, like everything in our home, maintenance is really important. So how do we set up those beds in the way to kind of reduce weeds and really minimize the maintenance?
ROGER: Well, again, weeds – by planting things that are going to grow full and keep the weeds down and mulching the beds. That helps with the weeds.
What you want to do is you want to put in plants that don’t require a lot of work. Some of the hybrid tea roses are pretty fussy. They’re beautiful but they’re fussy. You want plants that are going to grow and fill in and come back year after year after year. And there are now these things like daylilies that bloom more than once, so that’s an interesting fact. So you don’t have to replace it with another color.
TOM: So I guess, Roger, this seems like it could be an overwhelming project but it’s also important to remember this is something we can build on. We can start small and build out a small area and then complement that every season, correct?
ROGER: Right. You can graduate it in any way you want. What I tell people is to put in the basics, the bones, first and then dress down from there. Or do one side, do one bed and then next year, do another bed and another.
TOM: Roger Cook, a guy that always creates a good first impression, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
ROGER: You obviously don’t know me very well.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by The Home Depot. More saving, more doing.