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Creating an inviting landscape not only ensures a positive first impression with buyers but may also increase your home’s value and lead to a quicker sale.


You don’t have to spend a lot to make big improvements in your home’s curb appeal. Keeping your lawn manicured – mowed and edged – and trimming bushes and trees is an inexpensive way to make a positive impression on buyers. You’ll also want to remove any dead or diseased plants and ensure beds are weeded and freshly mulched.


Before beginning any landscape project, make a plan. And if you live in a neighborhood with restrictive covenants requiring approval by a landscape committee, be sure to follow proper procedures to avoid spending money on projects that you may be forced to undo later. A project plan will also help ensure that you make wise choices and stay within your budget.


Use color and depth to create visual interest, and select a variety of plants that bloom or change color throughout the year so your yard will be attractive regardless of the season. If your yard is open to neighbors’ yards, a street or public areas, consider screening to create a more private space. This can be accomplished with evergreen trees and bushes or with an attractive fence.


Sometimes what you remove from a yard can be as important as what you put in. If the front of your home is obscured by overgrown trees or bushes, remove them or trim them back to help buyers get a clear view of your home. Remember that the goal is to create a welcoming first impression that says, “Come in!”


Trends in landscaping

  • Low maintenance vegetation: less lawn to mow, helps keep weeds in check.
  • More trees: enhance beauty and provide shade.
  • Decks, patios and terraces: offer outdoor living space for dining, entertaining and relaxation.
  • Outdoor lighting: provides enticing views of your home and landscaping at night.
  • Irrigation system: costs more but simplifies lawn care and is attractive to buyers.
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Spring is home-buying season, and if you have friends moving into their first home, you know a housewarming gift is in order.

While flowers and candles are lovely, why not pick up something practical, particularly for those first-time homeowners? Read on for ideas that are sure to be appreciated.


Books
Pay a visit to your local bookstore and check out the home improvement shelves. Books on do-it-yourself home projects or a first-time owner’s guide are great options. Alternatively, pick up a beautiful coffee table book on a subject your friends are interested in.


Gift baskets
Don’t pay big bucks for someone else to put one together; get creative and personalize a gift basket yourself. Try items a homeowner would find handy, such as dish towels, hand soap, linen spray, funky paper napkins and monogrammed coffee mugs. Or go with a theme, such as movies: Pick up a few classics on DVD and add some gourmet snacks.


Gift cards
Buy them a gift card for home improvement, décor, gardening or grocery stores. Or give them a break with a restaurant gift certificate or a one-time visit by a cleaning service.


Tools
A collection of essential tools is something that every homeowner will need at some point. Buy a basic toolbox and fill it with items such as a hammer, various screwdrivers, pliers, a wrench and a tape measure. Or choose one tool – a drill or a hammer – and buy the best quality item you can afford. Include drill bits or nails.

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