Easter this year is a five-day break and if your garden could do with a facelift then this is the ideal time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into some serious DIY home improvements.
Whether you are selling your home or upgrading your existing lifestyle it is very simple to add thousands of dollars value to your home without breaking the bank when you improve the look of your garden. It is my number 1 hotspot to add value because the street appeal of any property gives buyers and/or visitors the very first impression of your home and investment in this hotspot will reap you huge returns.
Weed garden beds and spray to stop future growth. Adding a weed mat will make weed control even easier to handle and you can buy it by the metre a your local Bunning’s. If you are into recycling I have used layers of old newspapers and even old carpeting to create an environmentally friendly (and free) weed mat. If you have any dead, dying or overgrown plants that have outlived their purpose – cut them back or totally remove them. Invest in a low cost hedge trimmer from your local hardware store to make the job much easier. This is one of my favourite tools!
2. Plants. Replant your garden beds with water friendly, low maintenance plants that look stunning. I love my garden but I hate high maintenance plants and my favourite makeover plants are nandinas, cordylines and kangaroo paws, which come in a gorgeous array of colours. For budget buying of plants don’t go to traditional garden nurseries where they charge a premium – head off to Bunning’s and my best-kept little secret…………..Big W garden centres for the best value plants available!
3. Mulch! Mulching your garden beds gives an immediate facelift and with the Governments Water Rebates schemes you can actually get money back for making your garden more sustainable. Check out the following website to see what rebates are available in your state http://www.savewater.com.au/products/rebates-incentives. After weeding, apply new mulch in a 3-10cm deep layer. Leave a few centimetres clear around the trunks of shrubs to avoid collar rot in some species. Always apply mulch over moist soil and wet the laid mulch to settle it in. Landscape supply companies can deliver bulk quantities quite cheaply. Just measure the areas you are going to mulch, phone your local supplier who will calculate how much you need, recommend which mulch to use and simply place your order for a convenient delivery time. You don’t even have to leave your home! I personally like to go for dark organic mulch, which looks great but also prevents weeds, promotes healthy plant growth and reduces water use.
4. Lawns. Having a lush green lawn is a huge selling point. Green sells! If you have a lawn that is looking a little bit worse for wear, Easter is the perfect time to invest some time and effort to improve the look of your lawn. First mow and edge the lawn then fertilise it with a good quality fertiliser. Fertilising will not only make the grass look lusher but it will also kill and control any weeds. Finish off by giving the lawn a very deep soak. If your lawn is in very bad shape cut your losses and replace it. Artificial grass seems costly at first comparison but consider once it is laid, you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER have to water, weed, fertilise, mow or edge again and it looks fantastic year in and year out. They have 20-year guarantees and for the water saving alone, I believe it is a great alternative. Check out some New Home display centres in your local area and see how they use artificial lawn combined with pavers, pebbles and beautifully sculptured garden beds and you will be inspired to make some changes. Even if you just decide to cut down on your existing dying lawn and replace some of it with pebbles, gravel or marble chip you can achieve a great new look and cut down on the ongoing maintenance. Search google for artificial grass suppliers in your area but here is one I found myself online http://www.smartgrass.com.au/residential.php
5. Concrete or paved paths and driveways. Cleaning is one of those jobs that often get neglected around the exterior of the home but it can have the most dramatic effect. Pressure clean these areas - either DIY and hire an industrial pressure cleaner or employ a contractor to get the best job done. At the same time you can virtually “wash” your exterior walls and windows to “detail” the outside of your home. If you want to add a few more zeros to your street appeal PAINT all your concrete with Paving Paint. Bunning’s stock a few different ranges of paving paint like Berger Jet Dry and White Knight and at around $64 for a 4L can it is a really cost effective way to transform the exterior of your home in a weekend.
6. Roof and gutters. A roof generally occupies at least 1/3 of the total area of your home and therefore is the first thing that stands out to potential buyers if there are any flaws. If your roof is dirty, mouldy, has rusty or faded gutters etc. then the value of your home is going to be significantly downgraded. On the flip side you can dramatically increase the value of your home by addressing these problems. A full roof restoration is costly and unnecessary. I have renovated a lot of homes over the years and a small investment in getting the roof pressure cleaned, tiles replaced and repointed (if necessary) and gutters and eaves repaired and painted has always paid huge dividends in the final result. Be wary of companies that want you to do a full roof restoration – get at least 3 quotes and insist on cleaning and minor repair quotes only. Make sure you clean out your gutters too!
7. Fences. One of my favourite tools is a spray gun for painting. Paint is one of the cheapest ways to upgrade and transform any surface and fences respond well to quick lick of paint. Solver Paints hire out industrial spray gun units for less than $50 and I love the quality of Solver Paints. Choose a colourbond paint colour like Paperbark, which is my personal favourite.
8. Letterbox. This may seem simplistic but adding a nice letterbox to the front of your home improves the appeal. Revamp your existing letterbox with a lick of paint and add some new stick on numbers. You can also add large house numbers to the front wall of your home to great effect.
9. Windows, Screens and Doors. Maintenance and repair of these items is essential in any makeover. Repair and replace flyscreens. Dust and clean windows, ledges and screens. Sparkling clean windows add many dollars to your sale price and should be high on your priority list. Inspect wooden or aluminium frames around windows and doors and repaint if necessary. Look at your front door with “buyers eyes”. Does it look great or does it look ordinary. Replacing or even just painting a front door can have a stunning effect to the appeal of a home. Don’t forget the door handles too. Even if the door is ok – a new handle can make it more impressive. For inspiration check out http://www.doorsplus.com.au/
10. Front Entrance. Finishing touches at your front entrance will complete the final look for your garden makeover.
If you have a good-sized front verandah – install a bench seat or small decorative table and chair setting to create some ambience.
by Charyn Youngson
Charyn Youngson – Author Sold For Top Dollar – Low Cost Home Improvements To Maximise Your Sale, Founder of Houses to Impress