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Five Quick Wins to Spruce Up Your Garden

By Michelle Hopkins2014-07-04

Summer is all about garden parties and al-fresco dining. When you entertain, you make sure your landscaping is picture perfect, your lawn is cut and garden beds are free of weeds right?

That philosophy is even more important when you put your house on the market. The moment someone pulls up to your home, they begin to assess it. You can enhance your curb appeal without breaking the bank, while at the same time boosting your home's resale value so that your external renovations end up paying for themselves.

"My first piece of advice is look at your interior design and flow that style from inside to outside," says Glenna Partridge, landscape architect and owner of Glenna Partridge Garden Design. "If you have a completely different décor outside, it is jarring to the eye."

Great advice, but what if you're putting your home on the market this summer - or have just bought a home with shabby outside space and want to throw a housewarming garden party in a few weeks' time? You don't have months to nurture a beautiful garden so you need some quick-fix solutions.

Here are five instant garden makeover tips to create a stylish and beautiful outdoor oasis that will have buyers, or friends and family, drooling.

1) Curb appeal:The first thing people notice is your front entrance, and a good one can have passing potential buyers reaching for their cellphones to call your agent for a viewing. Initial impressions count, so make sure your front gardens and lawn look great. A really easy and cost-effective way to create curb appeal is a grouping of three large-scale pots filled with similar flowers and plants.

Then add lighting for ambience. There is a great selection of affordable, eco-friendly, durable solar lights that are super easy to install, very attractive and cost nothing to light up your walkways and garden paths - and they're great for parties too! Summertime buyers may not be viewing your place in the dark, but some great night-time garden photos to complement the daytime photos on your home's online listing can be very alluring.

Easy garden makeover for home resale - entryway

2) Trees for privacy:Partridge always recommends trees to her clients. "Trees in containers give instant height and give the illusion of more privacy," she adds. Whether you live in a condo or home, trees craft great privacy screens. In addition, container-grown trees provide interesting focal points, offer background for your flowering plants and can be enjoyed year-round. For larger entryways, a grouping of tree containers looks stunning!

Easy garden makeover for home resale - trees

3) Living or green walls:This new cutting edge trend is really catching on. Living walls are vertical gardens divided into planting chambers that attach to the exterior of a building or on fencing. They are easy to install and come in plastic (which are less expensive and last longer) as well as wood. Ferns, grasses and flowering plants look fabulous on them. "It's a quick and easy way to spruce up your backyard it's like a big piece of art," says Partridge.

Easy garden makeover for home resale - living wall

4) Shelving/bookcases:Bookcases are heading outdoors on balconies, patios and decks! Whether you buy inexpensive Ikea shelving or take your baker's rack outdoors, shelving/bookcases promise to transform your outdoor space. Accessorize your shelves with candles, hurricane vases, multi-hued vases in all shapes and sizes (filled with small plants), or a collection of shells. "Many shops have great nautical pieces that look great outdoors," says Partridge. "Also, hang a set of decorative lights on them to create nighttime ambience."

Keep in mind that bookcases and shelving need to be protected from the elements, so place them under a porch deck or canopy.

Easy garden makeover for home resale - shelving with succulents

5) Succulents:Because many of us lead busy lives work, children and social obligations succulents (like those pictured above and in tip #2) are some of the best plants for forgetful gardeners or those who don't have time for daily watering. Succulents are easy to look after, don't require fertilizer and can survive weeks without watering. Well priced, they are great for dressing up your gardens, green roofs and in containers. They come in an endless variety of colours and shapes. There are some 500 or more species of succulents, including the aloe plant and the sedum, a perennial with thick leaves and star-shaped flowers.

Some of the best sources for your landscaping project inspiration can be found in gardening magazines, newspapers, books or websites. For more great ideas, visit, or

See also:

Tips on Preparing Your Home for Sale Day

Seven Tips for Selling a Home Faster

Michelle Hopkins
Michelle Hopkins is a Vancouver-based freelance writer with extensive magazine, newspaper and online writing experience in home décor, new home developments, culinary adventures, wine, travel and more. Michelle writes for many notable publications including Real Estate Weekly and other Glacier Media Group publications, Western Living Magazine, Vancouver Magazine, Home Décor & Renovations, to name just a few. Michelle is passionate about anything to do with real estate.
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