The time is coming when many neighbors, unspoken or spoken, are beginning to compete against each other to have the best lawn on the block.
There is a very particular science to curb appeal, the way a home looks from the street. From maintaining a green and trimmed lawn to making flower beds pop, there are many ways to enhance the landscape around a home.
The fastest way to get instant curb appeal is to plant annual flowers, which do not grow back after their season is over. Charlie Rippy, president of Smith Landscaping and Construction in Columbus, said annual color is “the most bang for your buck.” Rippy said flowers such as lantanas and petunias are popular annuals.
If replanting every new growth season isn’t an option, perennial flowers allow for regrowth every spring and add color — just not as quickly as annuals.
Something everyone struggles with figuring out is what type of bedding to use. The three most common bedding types are mulch, rocks and pine straw. For those looking for easy maintenance, Clay Bowen, maintenance manager with Evergreen Landscaping and Management in West Point, recommends rocks as it is easier to clean those beds. Mulch is a classic choice, but it can lose its color so it requires more maintenance. Pine straw works best for lawns that may see a lot of water.
“Bedding is a personal preference,” Bowen said. “Pine straw holds its color longer than mulch typically does. It’s easier to remove and put down. A lot of bedding choices have to do with washing away. Recently I did a job where there was a really big slope and rather than putting mulch down, I put pine straw down because at any minute rain would wash mulch away, whereas pine straw holds in place.”
The most important aspect when it comes to flower beds is not what type of bedding is used, but Rippy says making sure that the bedline is clean and even is what increases the curb appeal the most to him. This means all of the plants are trimmed down, no weeds are present, flowers are in bloom and healthy, and there is an even layer of bedding.
Trees and shrubs add to making a home more attractive from the exterior, and later as they grow, they can help with energy costs once they are large enough to offer shade. When planting trees, it is crucial to keep in mind the placement.
Jeff Hairston, Evergreen Landscaping owner, said because trees don’t stay the same size as they were when planted, the location needs to be well thought out.
“Make sure the location fits (the estimated tree size),” Hairston said. “If you plant a tree right next to your house, you could end up blocking windows or having to take the tree down altogether. Prepare for the growth of your plants, especially trees.”
Both landscaping companies agree that one of the best things anyone can do to increase their home’s curb appeal is to have a green, healthy lawn. This can also be one of the biggest challenges as there can be obstacles such as dead spots, patchy grass and weeds.
Bowen recommends changing the pattern of the way grass is cut to keep it continuously healthy.
Rippy recommends being on a spraying regimen.
“We do a four-application per year spray,” Rippy said. “In the spring we do a pre- and post-emergent. A pre- will keep the seeds from germinating. The post- will kill any unwanted weeds in your grass. We come back in June or July and spray a post-emergent which kills any weeds we missed, then we fertilize. The key to keeping a weed-free lawn is spraying.”
Making a home look inviting and well-manicured from the outside is not only a competition for the block, but it allows homes to sell faster once they hit the market. The lawn is the biggest and most important place to begin.