It’s common wisdom that well-designed landscaping improves curb appeal and increases your home’s value. But many people aren’t sure where to start, and if gardening isn’t your passion, the sheer amount of work can seem daunting. Here are six ways to reduce the effort it takes to get stunning and valuable landscaping this summer.
1. Replace high-maintenance plants with native species.
The plants that require the least amount of work to look beautiful are plants that are native to your location. These will require fewer resources than non-native plants—less water, fertilizer, and effort—because they’re adapted to grow in your environment already. They’re less likely to need pesticides too; many have naturally-developed defenses against pests native to your area. That means you won’t have to work as hard for a massive boost in curb appeal. Additionally, native plants turn your home into a thriving part of the ecosystem. They’ll attract pollinators like honeybees and butterflies, and they’re also better for native birds.
There are many gorgeous plants you can use in your landscaping that are native to North Carolina and the Triangle. For flowers, consider coral honeysuckle, Carolina phlox, or Southern magnolia. Looking for a good tree option? Try a flowering dogwood (it’s the state flower of North Carolina!).
For additional recommended native plants including flowers, trees, shrubs, grasses, groundcover, and more, check out the North Carolina Native Plant Society website.
2. Rethink your watering schedule.
When is the best time to water your lawn, flowers, and garden? Turns out, it’s early in the morning. Morning watering gives your plants the water they’ll need throughout the day while saving water and preventing plant diseases. By comparison, an afternoon schedule wastes a significant amount of water due to evaporation, while a nighttime schedule leads to resting water around the roots of the plant, which encourages rot and other illnesses. Those are problems you’ll have to solve later to keep your landscaping looking nice, which means more work for you. For those reasons, morning watering is the way to go.
3. Install a drip system.
Don’t want to get up early to do your morning watering? Invest in a set-it-and-forget-it irrigation system to do it for you. A drip system slowly and evenly delivers water to the bases of all your plants, conserving water as well as a lot of time and energy. All you have to do is flip the on switch at the right time, and all of your plants on the system will receive the water they need. It’ll usually take an irrigation professional about a day to install your system, so you’ll be up and running in no time.
Don’t want to turn the water on and off every day? Check out smart water control devices that can be programmed to run on a schedule and even adjust to local weather conditions. You can pair your drip system with automatic sprinklers for your lawn and never worry about watering again.
4. Got grass? Mow high and leave the clippings.
Many people think that by mowing the lawn short, you’re lengthening the time you can wait between mowings. However, remember that your lawn is alive, and by cutting your grass very short, you’re increasing the stress on the plant—which has high-maintenance consequences. Too-short grass is more likely to turn brown and crispy, fall prey to pests or disease, and even to die in patches. You’ll spend much more time trying to repair those problems after they occur than you would mowing a little higher and more often.
While we’re on the subject of mowing—it’s also a good idea to leave the clippings on the lawn. It might seem messy, but grass clippings fertilize your lawn by adding nitrogen and important nutrients back into the soil. Think about it this way: leaving the clippings on the lawn means no raking and bagging and no extra step for fertilization.
5. Mulch it up.
Mulch is a layer of organic material you lay over the soil to keep it cool, retain water, and add nutrients. Another great benefit? Mulch keeps weeds at bay by smothering them, which means less time spent weeding and more time enjoying your outdoor space. Just make sure that you place your mulch correctly. If it’s too close to the base of your plants and trees, it can encourage rot because it holds moisture. To avoid this, it’s best to leave at least three inches of space between the stems of your plants and the mulch. This will also provide better air circulation and prevent insects from nesting at the base of your plants.
6. Add some shade.
Both you and your plants will benefit from adding some shade to your outdoor space. You can make this project big or small. Try adding a large, ornate trellis with climbing vines, or something simple like a shade sail. Just a little bit of protection from the blazing afternoon sun will help your plants thrive with less attention, making your life easier. Another upside? You can use the shaded space for picnics, get-togethers, outdoor activities, and more.
Curb appeal on point? Let’s talk listing.
Summer is a great time to sell a home. Your landscaping is looking great, and there are more buyers in the market for a new house. The Coley Group is in the top 1% of real estate agents in Raleigh, so If you’re thinking about selling your home this season, fill out the form below. We have the expertise to get the results you want on your timeline.