Boosting home's curb appeal is quick, easy

2013-09-14T10:00:00Z 2013-09-16T15:51:04Z Boosting home's curb appeal is quick, easyCarrie Rodovich Times Correspondent
September 14, 2013 10:00 am  • 

There are numerous things you can do to give your home’s curb appeal a quick and inexpensive boost during the fall season.

Area landscaping experts agree that a pop of color can go a long way, as well as doing preventive weeding and watering, and planning for spring.

Bryon Angerman, nursery manager at Alsip Home & Nursery and president of the St. John Tree Board, said using annuals like mums, asters or pansies can add a quick pop of color. 

“They add six to 10 weeks of fall color either in the ground, in pots or hanging baskets,“ he said. “Seasonal colors add instant gratification into landscaping. They’re quick fixes for not a lot of money.“

Marsha Bradley, the nursery manager at Chesterton Feed and Garden, said it is also possible to repurpose existing parts of the landscaping to spruce up the curb appeal, Bradley said.

“People cut boughs off their evergreens and put them into their own designs,” she said. “Or you can cut branches and spray paint them silver and gold to make lovely displays.”

Bradley also said adding a decorative art piece is a good way to add interest. 

“You can change it up during the year,” she said. 

Christine Aylesworth, a horticulturist with Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso, said some plants like evergreens, Japanese Maple and Japanese Forest Grass are easy to maintain as well as colorful.

It is also better to start small with landscaping, she said.

“It’s easier to maintain a small amount of plants properly than a larger amount,” she said. “Keep it simple and manicured.”

Julie Severa, assistant manager of the garden center at Allen Landscape in Highland, said now is a good time to catch up on weeding and watering to help prepare for the spring.

“Weed control is a must. A variety of chemical weed killers are available in a range of prices, but the most inexpensive option would be pulling by hand,” she said. “Keeping up the watering is also important. A lack of watering, especially in the summer heat, stresses plants and the stress shows. Plants won’t look as healthy or bloom as heavily if there is a lack of water.”

Angerman said fall is the time to plant bulbs, seed and fertilize the lawn and add a layer of mulch in preparation of spring.

“A top-dressing of mulch, about two or three inches, gets things ready for winter,” he said. “And one application of fertilizer in the fall can give you a pretty green lawn.”

Bradley said fall is also a good time to start thinking about adding additional beds to your garden. She suggests the “lasagna technique” which relies on nature to do all the hard work.

She said to gather cardboard that is free of staples and tape and lay it over the area that you want to be your new garden. Water it well, and add whatever organic matter you have -- leaves, grass clippings, chopped garden material -- and cover the area with mulch and straw.

“Let Old Man Winter have at the whole pile. During the winter, the grass will die, the organic material will start breaking down,” she said. “As the soil warms in the spring, earthworms will start working their way up the pile and further compost the organic material. When planting time arrives, the gardener should be able to dig appropriate holes in the new bed and plant directly into the ground.”

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