You can plan for a prettier spring right now
As we write this, winter is at it again with gray days and plenty of reasons to stay indoors. But one thing we like about this season is that we have a chance to brainstorm before it gets too busy, and it’s not too early to think about spring. In fact, it might be exactly what we need to keep us inspired. So grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, get cozy on the couch, and let’s talk spring curb appeal.
1. The grass is always greener when you plan ahead.
We’re not shooting for perfection—that would be silly and stressful, and who needs that? But a nice lawn can do wonders for first impressions…and last, and everything in between.
In fact, according to real estate professionals at Coldwell Banker, a lawn can add as much as 15% to a home’s overall value, a 100%-200% return on investment. And if you’re not in the market to sell your home, it’s still a good bet because a nice lawn extends the living area of your home, giving you more personal space to entertain and relax.
Early spring is an excellent time to survey winter damage, take note of areas that might need a little TLC and tune up your tools (e.g. get your mower blade sharpened at a local hardware store, check the oil, carefully clean the undercarriage, etc.).
Ask us about the products we use on our own lawns, and for tips on watering, weeding, patching and seeding for your best lawn yet.
2. Consider a little early spring cleaning, outside.
One of these days, you’ll walk outside and realize the sun is shining and things are warming up. Take advantage of an early winter reprieve, grab a pair of garden gloves and walk your yard with a heavy-duty trash bag to gather fallen branches, stray trash, soggy leaves and debris. Give everything a once over and see if there are any shrubs and trees that have suffered from winter burn or broken limbs.
Now is a good time to remove dead or damaged limbs with a trimmer and cut back winter grasses (you can cut them down to within a foot or so of the ground). Some people do this in fall, but we like to leave grasses in place for winter interest and wildlife refuge.
Your yard will look better already, and you’ll have gotten a head start on things. Plus a little fresh air, which is always a good thing.
3. Pretty up your porch area.
This is probably our favorite thing to do to get spring ready, because you can really make some small updates that have big impact.
Start by cleaning out your favorite porch pots. Remove the old soil (you’ll want to start with fresh, rich soil when you plant them up this spring) and give your pots a once over with warm soapy water. If your pots have seen better days, you can give them a fresh coat of spray paint, or start over with something new. Try some with a modern mid-century feel or rustic and refined pottery. There are so many choices.
We added some new brass house numbers to our porch area last spring and got so many compliments. We love the ones we’ve found on Etsy, but a quick online search will give you plenty of options, both self adhesive and the type that attach easily with small screws.
Try a fresh new doormat, and consider layering an outdoor rug under yours in a classic check or stripe. This is a great place to add some personality.
You can change the whole vibe with a highly visible new porch light or doorbell, both fairly simple switches that can add character and warmth to any style home.
And it won’t be long before spring pansies, petunias and other cold-tolerant early annuals will arrive, perfect for containers and walkway plantings.
4. Layer your landscape.
According to the consummate guru of home improvement, Bob Vila, a thoughtful landscape design can add 20% to the value of your property. It can also make it much prettier for you in the day to day, which in our opinion, is just as important.
Here’s the thing:
Don’t get discouraged by how big of a job it seems. You don’t have to tackle your whole yard at once. Instead, focus on one area at a time. If you’re dealing with an overgrown landscape, start by removing plants that no longer fit the area, then stand back and see what the area needs.
You can always snap some photos and bring them with you when you shop, taking note of how much sunlight and moisture an area gets. We can help you choose plants that will fit at their mature size, and point you in the direction of fragrant blooms, slow growing varieties, hardy low-maintenance choices, and more.
Layer your landscape based on your priorities, goals and preferences (texture, color, privacy, fragrance, camouflage for utilities, etc.).
5. Add trees.
What better way to mark the seasons than with trees in your yard. And when you think about it, many of our best memories include trees: climbing them, naps in the shade, hide and seek, tree swings, tree forts, picnics, spring blossoms, getting a peek at newly hatched bird’s eggs, changing leaves, evergreens with holiday lights and so much more.
There are so many reasons to plant them, especially when you find the right tree for you and your space. The key is to pay attention to the mature size, and to make sure your space can accommodate that. Also keep in mind exposure and moisture. And once you’ve done a little homework, there are so many benefits.
A survey of realtors showed that 98% believed that mature trees have a ‘strong or moderate impact’ on the salability of homes listed for over $250,000.
And did you know that visual exposure to trees produces significant recovery from stress within as little as five minutes? People even experienced changes in mental fatigue, blood pressure and muscle tension. Studies have also shown that patients with views of trees heal faster with fewer complications, and children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature.
The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equal to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day? Which is crazy, but true, according to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Plus, an air conditioning unit operating in the shade of a tree or shrub uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more ideas on how to prepare for a prettier spring, stop into the garden center and visit us online anytime at benkens.com. And if you need a little something to get you through the gray days in the meantime, stop in or call us at 513-891-1040 for some flowers. Did you know Benken has a full-service, in-store floral shop? We even deliver.