So, after 5 weeks in the swamp that is Florida, I'm finally back home. My roommate was also gone for the same duration so our lawn was looking a little "tired." In general, we don't water the lawn, ever! We let the "powers that be" handle that part of the landscaping. I mow the grass, trim the bushes and whack the weeds, but spending money on making the grass grow faster has never made a lick of sense in my brain. Fast forward to a week ago and I've become the watering king.

Every morning I move the old school "rainbow" style sprinkler around the front yard (and sometimes the back) to ensure a good dousing. It is truly amazing how resilient the grass is. After just a week, there's a wave of green making its way back and overtaking the massive brown carpet that once was. Perhaps I'm a bit of a simpleton and am amazed at such a basic function of nature. Or, perhaps I simply appreciate the power of water and sunshine! Either way, our lawn is back to being a little less gross. (It was honestly getting embarrassing!)

It's no secret curb appeal is super important. It has always been a critical part of the sales process and has taken a bit of a "front seat" this year. With more folks doing drive-bys and fewer committing to an in-person showing, your job as a seller has become more and more important when it comes to how your home "shows" from the outside. "I encourage all my sellers to tidy up the lawn, front porch and even the garage door," notes Badger Realty agent, Michele Jordan. "Getting those buyers past the drive-by has become more and more important in this current climate," she continued.

If you're thinking of selling your home, (which you really should be!) it's time to take a peek at your landscaping and ensure that you're ready for those showings. Much like we have been talking about for the last few weeks, this is not something you want to spend a lot of time or money "fixing." As I noted, just some basic watering is doing wonders for our lawn. Perhaps some raking, some grass seed for those bare patches and a good trim is all your lawn needs. I wouldn't go nuts. This might also be a perfect time to remove some sections of the lawn and replace them with hardscaping (rocks, mulch, shrubs, etc.). Eliminating lawn is simply awesome for the environment, your weekend free-time and your water bill.

Another spot that will play a big role in your home's curb appeal is the flower beds. We have a couple small sections around the house that would qualify (barely) as flower beds. One of them has a nice big rose bush, but that only sprouts once a year. The rest of the time it is just an angry (prickley) shrub. If you're putting your home on the market soon, it's likely time to invest (not too much!) in some new flowers. If yours have already bloomed and dried up, replace them (or add to them) with some flowering ones. Adding color and life to those beds will go a long way in impressing the potential buyers. It's one of the ways you can nonverbally show them how much you care about the home.

Trees and shrubs are another whole can of beans. Most importantly you should ensure there are no branches hanging over the footprint of the home. This is just a safety issue and will save you (or the new owners) an insurance headache if/when it comes crashing down. This is also a good opportunity to clean up errant or dead branches throughout the yard. This helps the tree continue to grow and be healthy and looks much nicer to boot!

We had an "incident" while my roommate and I were away last month. We paid a friend to trim our shrubs at the end of the walkway and he got stung by a bee! Turns out, if you ignore your shrubs and bushes long enough, someone else will make them their home. We still haven't eradicated the nest yet, but that's on the to-do list for this weekend.

Take the time to trim your shrubs and make sure you rake up all the clippings. It's just one of those things that speak volumes about the care you take in the home. It is one of those "curb appeal" features that tells the potential buyers that the rest of the home is likely well taken care of too! If you have super tall bushes, consider hiring someone to handle that. Otherwise, grab your clippers (or go rent some) and get to work. I recommend doing a bit of reading on how much to trim and how often. I worked for a landscaping company a couple decades ago and was amazed at how much he trimmed. They always looked amazing within a week, so I've stuck to that mindset ever since.

Get your curb-appeal "on" this weekend and tidy up your home. Even if you're not selling, you'll come home to a more attractive home that you can be proud of. See you at the landscaping store!

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