Beyond curb appeal – the welcoming landscape

By Pam Roy | Aug 10, 2011

Photo courtesy of Pam Roy

Try adding Spirea to your landscape for summer color.

The landscape is the first thing we all see when arriving at a home.  What the yard presents to us is called “curb appeal” by real estate professionals.   If the landscape does not have curb appeal, a potential buyer may never even get out of the car to view the inside of the house.  

What we see when we arrive at a home elicits an emotional response. This emotional response affects the experience we have in that space.  As in the example of the potential buyer above, a yard with poor curb appeal may have lost the agent a sale.

If the lack of curb appeal is in the landscape of our own home, a yard that we arrive at every day, it can have an impact, perhaps unconsciously on us.  

If the yard is unkempt, overgrown or disorganized, it can set up a negative energy that we may experience as tiredness or inefficiency while home, a tendency to not want to spend much time at home, or an inability to relax while at home.  

Curb appeal is sometimes created by installing mature plants strictly for “impact,” to help a home sell.  Once these plants outgrow their space, their impact becomes detriment al.  

Here are a few ways to create curb appeal that will last:

Plan a focal point or something for the eye to settle on.  This can be a plant with interesting foliage, shape or color, such as a Japanese Maple, or a pine with windswept shape, an upright rock, or a colorful container or water feature.

Add color using evergreen or deciduous shrubs that flower for a long period for reliable color that repeats every year (For example, cistus purpureus, spirea ‘Magic Carpet’, Hydrangea ‘Endless Summer’).

Install plants in drifts or groups of plants of the same variety, such as five dwarf rhododendrons, three Pieris ‘Little Heath” or several heather.  Using an odd number of plants in groups tends to look more natural.  

 Remove overgrown or unhealthy plants and prune any foliage crowding walkways. Sometimes it’s better to relocate a plant that has outgrown its place.

Add containers with color at entry to home and on patios and decks.  Anchor these with a central plant that stays in place year round ( Nandina ‘Gulf Stream’, Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, for example), with bright seasonal color planted around the edges.

Weed all planting beds and install a fresh coat of mulch. A dark fine textured aged bark or bark or compost mix two inches thick gives a neat, clean appearance, helps keep down weeds and conserves moisture.  Cut a clean edge on lawn areas and maintain them with a weed eater after each mowing.  

Add color. Did I mention that yet?  Select a color scheme that is appealing to you.  

Adding color can be one of the most effective ways to increase curb appeal.  The well-planned yard has something of color and interest throughout all four seasons of the year, and offers a welcoming introduction to the home.  

Pam Roy, owner of Planscapes, has been a landscape designer and horticulturist for 30 years in the Northwest.  Contact her at 425-252-9469 or view  HYPERLINK ""

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