Early April Gardening
Home Staging for Outdoor Living
Your complete Early April Gardening Checklist to get your property ready for the spring real estate market.
EARLY APRIL GARDEN CHECKLIST
Spring is on the way and the real estate market is in full swing. Many people are getting their homes ready to sell and most will focus on the inside of the home to stage it for a quick sale. Home Staging and preparing your home to sell is extremely important to get top dollar but don’t neglect the yard. If your landscaping looks tired and is in need of some TLC what will this say to a potential buyer?
Many buyers will drive right by a home where the landscaping is neglected and never see all that fresh paint and interior improvements. All that hard work you just did to stage your home to sell will never to be seen. The impression you leave a potential buyer when the yard is not maintained instills a fear that the house may have issues. Don’t be a drive by!
Emotions play into the purchase of a new home. Homes with gardens and beautiful outdoor living spaces can give the potential home buyer a wonderful feeling. Let them visualize moving in and enjoying a beverage on the patio while watching the birds and the butterflies jump from flower to flower. Don’t leave them with the impression that this home is too much work and has not been cared for and allow them to move on to the next property!
In this article, take note of the things you need to do to maintain your yard and invite the home buyers in! April is an important month to get this started for a full season of color and a professionally landscaped property.
This article is part of monthly series of garden maintenance to help buyers, sellers and homeowners keep their yard in top shape. Stay tuned for “Late April Gardening Checklist” and more!
- Dig, divide & replant clumps of overgrown ornamental grasses.
- Poor drainage often leads to root disease.
- Fertilize perennial beds with FlowerTone for full healthy plants & super blooms.
- Protect irises from iris borer by raking away old foliage & disposing of it.
- Prune roses the first week of April. Hybrid teas yield roses on new growth; therefore, prune canes to 7-8” long, always cutting 1/4” above a bud; cut on an angle so the high side of the cut is just above the new growth.
- Climbers produce roses on old wood, so limit the pruning to dead or diseased canes. Cut to the ground any canes damaged by winter or devastated by cane borers, also any sucker canes springing up from below the graft union. Mulch with new wood mulch to a depth of 3-4”.
ANNUALS & VEGETABLES
- Allow soil to dry before tilling it. Plant peas, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, spinach, root crops & other cold hardy vegetables.
- Plant cheerful Pansies in sun or light shade in average, moist but well-drained soil with organic matter.
- Make sure your garden is neat and contained. Vegetable gardens can be very attractive with proper fencing and neat rows.
- Don’t keep old compost piles on the property if you are selling.
TREES & SHRUBS
- Now is the best time to transplant dormant shrubs. Apply a root stimulant when planting to promote root growth.
- When you have to transplant a large shrub, put it on a snow shovel & slide it across the lawn. Prune Pee Gee Hydrangea by moving down each cane until you find the lowest pair of fat flower buds, opposite each other about 5-8” above the soil. Prune 1/4” above this pair of buds on each cane.
- French Hydrangeas are pruned differently – by moving down the cane only 6-10” to find the uppermost flower bud (flower buds being fat in size compared with skimpy lower buds which produce foliage). Prune 1/4” above this bud, then repeat for the other healthy canes.
- Fertilize Hydrangeas after pruning. In acid soil, French hydrangea flowers will be blue, in which case, you add aluminum sulfate to the soil. (By omitting phosphorous in the fertilizer, the aluminum & iron in the acid soil will create the bluest pigment possible for the most dramatic blue flowers you’ve ever seen). Where the soil pH approaches or exceeds 6, the pigment will be pink to white.
- Hedges that are over-grown or unshapely may be sheared severely now to improve their outline. By doing this now, the stub ends will soon be hidden by new growth.
- Fertilize your trees & shrubs when the frost is leaving the ground & it is soft – the fertilizer reaches the root zone easier.
- There is a right way and a wrong way to prune shrubs and trees, don’t make these common mistakes pruning.
- Rake lawn of dead grass, leaves, twigs & other debris.
- Mowing should begin when grass reaches a height of 2.5-3”. Use sharp mower blades.
- Japanese Beetle grubs are now at root level in the soil. Begin control for grubs & other soil insects. Target the application before a heavy rainfall, otherwise you must soak it in.
- As snow disappears from the lawn, it may leave a trail of fungus damage in its wake, known as “snow mold”. If patches are present, brush vigorously with a steel leaf rake to prevent the mold from smothering the turf.
- Cut a fresh edge around all your gardens. Use sod to patch any bare spots in the lawn.
- If you are into chemicals and weed control, consult with local nursery on the 4 step process. Try hard to stay away from these, they are extremely harmful to bees and other beneficial insects . Dandelions and violets can be a beautiful site in the spring.
Know that you have the basic chores done and be sure you pay attention to other outdoor projects that need to be attended to before listing you home.
- Power wash siding, clean roof of moss.
- Clean lawn furniture. Consider replacing old outdoor furniture cushions with new ones for a fresh inviting look.
- Fix broken gutters, downspouts, leaky faucets
- Hide hoses, put away garden tools.
Before putting out your bird baths and other garden art make sure you clean them as well. Just like staging the inside of your home be mindful of yard “clutter”. Less is more when it comes to cement statues and pink flamingos.
Your April Gardening check list should include installing fresh mulch and always make sure you have annual color to get you into the summer. If you neglected to plant fall bulbs that bloom in the spring there are plenty of other spring plants you can buy. Pansies are so colorful and can withstand some cold and even snow! You can also get some early blooming perennials as well. For a complete list of what blooms when see G A R D E N S B Y E I L E E N.
Remove bird feeders from decks, porches and patios and move them to a grassy area. Although they can be quite beautiful to watch close to the house, they make a big mess! Not what you want potential buyers to see.
Don’t sabotage the sale of your home by neglecting the “hardscape” (stone walls, patios, garden art) in your yard. Make sure you clean your bluestone patios of mold and dirt. I usually spread a bag of new stone dust in the cracks after a good cleaning. The patio and walkways look like new every year and what a great first impression to a potential home buyer.
HOME STAGING YOUR OUTDOOR LIVING AREAS
Having multiple, inviting outdoor living spaces where a buyer can visualize entertaining family and friends on a summer night is so important. For showings, I suggest setting a few inviting outdoor sitting areas. Perhaps 2 Adirondack chairs in the lawn where folks can enjoy some private conversation or a swing bench by a pond. Who doesn’t want to sit here with a morning cup of coffee and and listen to the birds! Set the mood for buyers to “feel” the serenity and picture themselves in this home.
If you have a deck set up a dining table and chairs. Set the table with some colorful outdoor dinnerware, beautiful linens, wine glasses, a Chrystal pitcher of water with lemons, and lets not forget the fresh FLOWERS!
One last very important thing to remember is “less is more”. If you are a master gardener and you have gardens everywhere you might want to consider downsizing the gardens. Some of us just can’t have enough gardens. Resist the urge to overdo it! Most people don’t have the time or the know how to maintain large gardens and this can scare away potential buyers. I have seen it happen where a buyer loved the house and walked away because of the large beautiful yard that many of us would die for!
First impressions are very important! A well maintained yard says a well maintained home. How nice is it to walk up to a home on a clean walkway surrounded by beautiful plantings. It screams “Welcome to your new home!”
Additional Curb Appeal, Home Staging and Gardening Tips
Home Staging and Selling Your Home via Paul Sian
Home Staging and Preparation for Selling A Home via Bill Gassett
10 Ways to Add Instant Curb Appeal to Your Home via Sharon Paxson
8 Ways to Enhance Your Homes Curb Appeal via Michelle Gibson
Does Your Home Have Web Appeal? via Kevin Vitali
How to Divide Ornamental Grass via Fine Gardening
How to Prune Roses via Fine Gardening
Pesticides Slowly Killing Bees via PBS
Real Estate, gardening and Connecticut information was provided by Eileen Anderson, recognized leader in her field. If you are looking to hire a top realtor Eileen can be reached via email at Eileen@eileenandersonrealtor.com or by phone at 860-966-2112.
Thinking of selling your home? I love Real Estate and helping people find the home of their dreams in a town where they can feel a deep sense of community. I enjoy sharing my knowledge of all the great things to do in the state of Connecticut and my passion for gardening.
I am licensed for residential real estate sales in the state of Connecticut including but not limited to the following CT towns: Avon, Bloomfield, Burlington, Barkhamsted, Canton, Colebrook, East Granby, Hartland, Hartford, Suffield, Windsor, New Hartford, North Granby, Farmington, Litchfield, Simsbury, Suffield, Old Lyme and West Hartford, CT.