By Brianna Atkins
Spend money to make money is an important motto in business circles. Your Houston home is an investment. When spending money on it, consider features that increase the property’s value -- especially if you have the house for sale.
But before you dig the plot, consider your options.
Sunshine Vs. Shade
The amount of sunlight your yard receives will determine what kind of flowers and vegetables to plant. For example, root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes, etc.) grow in partial shade. Want to plant tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and beans? Choose an area in the back or side yard that will receive at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. Same thing for flowers. For example, black-eyed Susan, Eastern purple coneflowers, and Texas lantana enjoy full sunlight. Azaleas, camellia, and hydrangea prefer filtered shade.
Low-maintenance plants still require some upkeep, but it’s easier when you include some of Houston’s best native plants in your garden. Native plants such as coral honeysuckle and the American basketflower adapt to the local soil and climate and -- despite Houston’s hot summer weather -- don’t need much water. Native shrubs like wax myrtle and yaupon hollies grow well without fertilizer, which keeps chemicals from flowing through groundwater into nearby watersheds.
Broccoli, beans, tomatoes, peppers … they’re all part of a vegetable garden that just about everyone recognizes. Planting dates for Houston gardens vary, depending on the flowers and vegetables you choose.
Tip: If you want to present a thriving, colorful garden during an open house or home showing, plan the dates when veggies are at or nearing maturity. (Impress your buyers with the ethereal look of a full garden. The more they can visualize themselves in this pleasant scene, the more likely they’ll make a bid on the property).
Surround the home with shrubbery in beds of well-draining soil. Options to consider? Evergreens like sea green juniper, Japanese boxwood, and knock-out roses. Argarita has fragrant yellow flowers in spring. Gardenia shrubs are like perfume on a warm summer evening.
Mulching beds and gardens takes less time than constant weeding. Organic mulches like wood chips, grass clippings, and pine needles break down over time and improve the soil. Inorganic mulch (gravel, crushed rock, clay) lasts longer but keeps water and nutrients from reaching plant roots.
Rock Gardens and Xeriscaping
For a truly effortless gardening experience, how about a section filled with rocks? Rock gardens in various shapes and sizes are popular these days, and they don’t take much time to manage. You can put succulents and cactus in them, and with a little weeding and watering here and there, you’re good to go. Spice up your rock garden with groundcovers, ornamental grasses (like blue sedge and pink muhly), and drought-resistant perennials. You can toss in a few tile pavers, bird feeders, and a bird bath among the xeriscaping.
Show off your growing flowers, veggies, and herbs in tall, mid-sized, and small containers. Attractive planters in neutral shades highlight the natural colors of perennial flowers like delphinium, daylilies, and garden mums. Pots need to have drainage holes at the bottom for excess water. Because many plant roots grow and spread quickly, bigger containers will handle years of growth.
Simple Suburban Setting
House values change but the idea of simple suburban living is the same wherever you go. The more idyllic the home looks, the more likely it is to sell. Remember: You're not just selling a house, you're selling the desire of living the homeowner’s dream.
Curious about your Houston home value?
Brianna Atkins is a writer, home stager, and designer in love with soft fabrics, hardscapes, and modern touches.