Creating Curb Appeal North Jersey Buyers Can’t Resist (with Plantings that Deer Avoid)

Ah, the merry month of May when all those April showers bring May flowers. It’s planting and gardening time in northern NJ!

Beautiful landscaping creates awesome curb appeal that your neighbors and potential home buyers will enjoy looking at. And as a North Jersey homeowner, you’ll love driving up to your home and seeing lush plantings and colorful flowers, or stepping out into your backyard where you’ve created a landscaped oasis.

Although the New Jersey real estate market is still super-hot, it’s still important to make your property as attractive as possible to buyers—while also deterring hungry deer who roam many of our North Jersey suburban towns. Here are some landscaping tips to boost curb appeal and reduce deer appeal.

Spring planting for optimal color and beauty

Most flowers bloom in mid-spring and there is plenty of late-spring color to enjoy in North Jersey. Later bloomers include lilacs, mountain laurels, and hawthorns.

If you like tending a vegetable garden and have a sunny spot, it’s time to get your veggies on—and harvest them during the summer into the fall. Corn, melons, squash, beans, peas, carrots and radishes can be planted in May; greens may still be planted (spinach, lettuce). And let’s not forget those Jersey tomatoes!

Get the green going

If you use a landscaping company, talk to your contractor about how to keep your green grass healthy. You may need to plant a different variety of grass depending on your property’s soil and sun conditions. Watering and feeding your lawn is important, of course. In addition to traditional fertilizers, there are organic options that don’t rely on harmful chemicals to nourish your lawn. Edge the grass around sidewalks, paths, and garden beds to keep it neat.

Pop the color

Add fresh greenery, bushes with colored leaves or flowering shrubs to your garden beds. Hanging plants on the porch add a colorful touch as do planters near your doorway, around the pool, or on the patio. Laying mulch down in the garden beds also adds color (shades of brown, black) and helps keep in the moisture. You can plant flowers around standalone trees, and add brick or stone borders to dress up your beds.
Add planters with seasonal flowers around your patio, porch, and under the windows.

Tactics for keeping deer out of your garden bed

Many NJ homeowners want to take the natural route and avoid chemical deer sprays and repellents. Or they don’t want to install (and see) deer fencing around their shrubs. Deer are easily startled, so hanging wind chimes or placing wind spinners around garden can help, as will a motion-activated water sprinkler to scare them away.

You can use botanical solutions as well. Deer do not like strong fragrances. For this reason, many homeowners:

  • Sprinkle aromatic spices on their plantings
  • Tie scented bar soap around their gardens
  • Plant aromatic perennial herbs throughout the garden such as thyme, mint, lavender, tarragon, chives, sage, and rosemary
  • Plant a deer-resistant wildflower mix
  • Use a little chemical-free repellent (and fertilizer) such as blood meal or fish emulsion

Deer-resistant plants

There is an extensive array of deer-resistant plants available in New Jersey, but they are not all surefire solutions and may not fully deter deer. Aromatic plants and shrubs with thorn-like leaves will help keep them away. Rutgers University has compiled a comprehensive list of plants, rated from A to D, depending on how frequently they may appear on deer menus (and be destroyed). There are annuals and perennials (shade and sun varieties), ornamental grasses, groundcover, and shrubs.

Get ready to show your home

If you’re listing your home on the real estate market, and you’ve completed your curb-appeal preparations, contact CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty. We’ll market your home to buyers who are ready, pre-approved, and anxious to continue the beautiful work you’ve done. We’re experts in Essex County and Passaic County real estate, and work with home buyers and sellers throughout northern NJ. We’ll guide you through every step of the transaction. And your real estate associate might even bring you flowers to celebrate your closing . . . or a beautiful plant for your next home.

Tips for Boosting Curb Appeal This Fall

Curb Appeal Tips for the Fall - Century 21 CedarcrestIn North Jersey, fall and spring offer great opportunities to jazz up your home’s curb appeal. Before the grass goes dormant and snow covers the ground, there are some easy ways to help your home catch the eye of home buyers in your market—and have real estate agents anxious to show it to their customers.

Power wash your driveway and pathways
Pressure washing revitalizes patios, walkways, and driveways and gives an overall cleaner appearance to your property. If your house’s siding or foundation, or the tool shed could use some sparkle, pressure wash them as well.

Clean up the house’s exterior
Look for areas that need some TLC, such as

  • Gutters– check for leaks and seal those up, clean out the leaves and clear downspouts
  • The deck, which may require a fresh coat of stain or paint, or have wood spindles, railings or floor planks that need repair/replacement
  • Shutters and trim
  • Garage doors and windows – check for any needed repairs, painting, or sealing needs
  • Light fixtures – clean the shades, make sure bulbs are working
  • Railings – clean and repaint rusted spots, check to make sure railings are not wobbling or coming loose from the house or stoop
  • The front door should be as inviting as possible. If it needs to be replaced, there are many options at various price points.

Clean out garden beds
With all the leave falling and summer plants “closing up” for the season, it’s time to rake out the old, wilted flowers and greenery. Remove any annual flowers, pull out the weeds, and bag up the dried leaves along with what’s falling on your lawn. Fall is also a good time to put down a fresh layer of mulch to liven up the garden beds and help retain moisture.

Plant colorful autumn flowers
Your garden beds needn’t look so sad after spring and summer flowers have completed their bloom cycle. There are some wonderful colors to add to your flower beds with cool-season plantings such as mums, asters, flowering kale, celosia, goldenrod, and sumac. If you have flower boxes under your front window, clean those out and plant fall-friendly flowers.

Rake the leaves
A layer of colorful leaves looks pretty on your lawn, but a thick covering of leaves will smother the grass, which reduces air flow and blocks sunlight (and can create a sick lawn). If you have a compost bin, you can turn your dry leaves into a natural fertilizer to enhance the soil in your vegetable garden and flower beds next spring.

Prune hedges, trees and shrubs
Keep your trees and shrubs looking cared for by trimming back overgrowth and dead branches (now that there is less foliage to cover them up). Removing dead blooms can also reduce potential for plant disease and rodent nests. If your trees are growing too close to the house, have the branches professionally pruned to avoid damage from fallen limbs during winter storms.

Take care of patio and porch furniture
If you are showing your home, porch and patio furniture sets a welcoming tone and gives prospective buyers an idea of how lovely it will be to entertain in your backyard or sit on the porch and watch the world go by. Clean the tables and chairs, repaint wicker or wrought iron furnishings if it’s been a while, and consider replacing cushions if they are worn and faded.

Decorate for the season
You don’t need a tractor and pumpkin patch to get into the harvest-season spirit. Dress up your porch with hay bales, displays of pumpkins and gourds, hang a festive wreath on the front door, and swap out your door mat for something in fall colors. The pumpkins can be cut up and tossed around your property later for animals to nibble on as they prepare for the winter. If you have lawn decorations that need some refurbishing (gnomes, deer), fix the chips and paint where needed.

Add landscape lighting
Extra lighting around your property helps your home stand out and offers some security. Solar lights or low-wattage landscape lights connected to a light sensor are easy ways to add lighting. Of course, a licensed electrician can install permanent hard-wire landscape lighting along your front walkway, driveway, or around your patio. These are also excellent ways to spotlight interesting landscape features.

At CENTURY 21 Cedarcrest Realty, our real estate associates will offer suggestions to stage your home—inside and outside—to make sure it always looks its best for home buyers. If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, contact us at 973-228-1050.

Add Curb Appeal to Your Home – On a Budget!

A home with good curb appeal draws in interest, and that’s a good thing, especially if you’re planning on putting your home up for sale. If you make the home look great on the outside, people will naturally want to know what’s on the inside. Of course, if you are selling your home, you don’t want to put too much money into boosting its exterior. Fortunately, there are smart, budget-friendly ways to enhance your home’s curb appeal without hurting your pocketbook.

Paint the Door and Replace Hardware

Give your door a makeover by painting it a bold color, such as red or blue. Clean off all dirty spots, and use metal polish on the door handles. If the hardware is dull and dingy, replace it with a new set. Don’t forget to match the hardware to the other metal elements on your home – house numbers, light fixtures – so that everything functions together.

Clean and Install Light Fixtures

Go through and give your home’s exterior lights a good cleaning. Not only with the glass look crystal clear, but also the light will shine brightly in the evenings. If your home is lacking in outdoor lighting, consider installing inexpensive solar lights. The added fixtures are both decorative and functional, and will help your home pop in the day and night.

Add Potted Plants or Container Plants

Instead of digging and planting, add color and personality to your home by incorporating potted or container plants. With fall coming up, you can add a lot of interest to your home by planting colorful mums in pots and arranging pumpkins and gourds on the stoop.

Refresh Planter Beds

The way you take care of your flower beds tells a lot about how you take care of your home. Give your flower beds an update by pulling weeds, pruning growth, planting new flowers and laying down new mulch. Consider adding an edging system using stone or brick – a small area won’t cost much.

Shutters and Trim

If your home already has shutters and trim, give them a fresh coat of paint. If you don’t have window shutters or door trim, think about adding them. Simple molding installed around your front door is an effective and affordable way to make the home’s welcome point inviting and intriguing.

Exterior Facelift

Walk around the home and decide what could use a facelift. Give the exterior windows a good cleaning. Power wash the deck, walkways and siding for a bright and clean appearance. Remove debris or old furniture and repair railings and cracked concrete. If you’re looking for a suitable replacement, consider stone veneer that’s lightweight, affordable and super stunning.