The Power of Flowers
April 19, 2021
Sweet spring breezes and mild temperatures combine in April to create the perfect climate for sprucing up your home’s curb appeal with colorful flowers and plants. From perennials to annuals, flowers and plants can soften the lines of a home and add visual interest through color and texture. Inside your home, plants and flowers add pops of color and draw a potential buyer’s eyes away from less than perfect spots.
If visual appeal is not enough to get your hands in the dirt, a quicker sale or higher price might be. Money may not grow on trees, but homes with high curb appeal tend to sell for an average of 7% more than similar houses with an uninviting exterior, according to a joint study by the University of Alabama and the University of Texas at Arlington. Further, the premium rises to as high as 14% in slower real estate markets with greater housing inventory, shows the study, which was published in the Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics.
Find the best plants to use around your home by working with a locally owned garden center or nursery where experienced growers can help you select the right plants for your area. Before you go, it helps to know the basics for your planting areas. Find your USDA plant hardiness zone. How much direct sun does it get each day – or is the area in shade? What is your soil type? A new Alabama product, SoilKit, is an easy and inexpensive way to analyze your soil and prepare for growth.
Here are some tips on using flowers and plants to enhance your home’s beauty and value:
A front-yard utility box or street sign may be a necessity but it doesn’t have to be unsightly. Pretty ornamental grass, snapdragons, zinnias, and other tall plants can camouflage utility boxes. Just be sure to allow an access point through the planting in case a technician needs access to the box.
To hide heating/air conditioning units and utility meters, consider planting well-spaced hollies. Leave the boxes and meters accessible, but let the hollies steal the show.
Septic tanks often have a noticeable concrete cover that allows access to the tank. Home improvement expert, Bob Vila, recommends placing easily moved potted plants with mulch over the concrete to look like a “secret garden.”
A great place to add a welcoming pop of color is around a street-side mailbox. Sun-loving, low-maintenance lantana will show off all spring and summer long.
Many homeowners find container gardening simpler since there’s no need for soil analysis or the commitment to in-ground planting. Even if you like the look of in-ground planting, containers can be placed beneath the surface and covered with mulch to achieve a planted look. The real beauty of container planting, says HGTV is “If you don't like the way the pots look together, simply move one out and another one in until you get something you like.” HGTV suggests combining containers with annuals, perennials, and plants with complementary colors. Think orange geraniums, pink impatiens, and yellow marigolds.
Containers are perfect for accenting doorways and walkways to welcome guests. Garden centers and online vendors offer pre-made arrangements that simply slip into a standard container. Do it yourself by planting flowers and herbs like geraniums, lavender, rosemary, and pineapple sage in urns or colorful ceramic pots to create a lovely view and fragrance on the porch or entryway.
Hanging baskets and window boxes bring the color and texture of plants upward. Petunias, especially the continuous bloom varieties, create a trailing effect in baskets. Impatiens and geraniums come in both warm and cool hues to add just the right touch to window boxes. For even more contrast, mix in trailing green plants like creeping Jenny, moneywort, or ivy.
Planting On A Budget
As a rule, annuals cost less upfront than perennials and seeds cost less than plants. Dollar stores often sell flower and vegetable seeds for 25 cents per package just before spring. If you have the patience to start seeds indoors, water them, and protect them until planting time, the return on investment could be bountiful.
Perennials are an investment but save money in the long run – and it’s fun to watch them return every year. Daylilies are low maintenance and come in varieties that bloom at different times in the spring and summer. Hostas dazzle in the shade with green leaves ranging from lime to emerald – and they thrive either in beds or pots.
If you really want a return on your planting investment, create an herb garden. Herbs grow well in almost any size container and offer a tasty complement to spring and summer dishes and drinks. Basil, mint, oregano, and rosemary set in small-to-medium containers yield enough herbs to share with friends. Just remember to water and harvest often to promote growth.
One final tip: Use the hotel management theory to manage your blooming plants. Make sure there’s always something checking in when something else is checking out. A local garden center or grower can suggest varieties to ensure there are colorful blooms all season long.