3 easy tips for maintaining your house's curb appeal through the winter months.
As temperatures begin to drop and leaves begin to fall, the exterior beauty of your home doesn’t have to fade along with the summer season. In order to maintain curb appeal throughout the fall and winter months, put on your gardening gloves and heed these recommendations from the landscaping pros.
1. Prepare and protect your lawn, shrubbery, and plants for the change in seasons.
Now is the time of year to invest time in the maintenance of your existing grass, shrubbery, and plants, according to Fred Wheeler with FMW Consulting. In order to prepare your lawn for cooler days ahead, Wheeler recommends cutting grass to a height of 2" and applying fall fertilizer no later than mid-October.
“In addition, lawns should be given a good soaking before your irrigation system is shut down for the season, spring flowering perennials should be cut back to within 2" of the ground, and spring flowering shrubs should be pruned as required to maintain their desired size and shape,” says Wheeler. “For summer and fall flowering shrubs, wait until the middle of next April to prune.”
In order to protect perennials and other plants that may be sensitive to cold weather, Wheeler suggests a covering of 2" or 3" of organic mulch. When it comes to transplanting, Wheeler advises that evergreens be transplanted no later than mid-October and deciduous plants no later than mid-November.According to Wheeler, these suggestions are general guidelines – best practices may vary depending on your geography and climate. If you are unsure how to prepare and protect your existing landscaping, be sure and consult a landscape professional to avoid issues come spring. “It’s always best to know, rather than just think, when making landscaping decisions,” he says.
Also, as an ongoing grass maintenance measure throughout the fall season, don’t forget to rake leaves on a regular basis. In addition to cluttering the lawn, unattended leaves can damage the grass underneath either by trapping moisture or preventing water from reaching the grass.
2. Add winter trees, shrubbery, and perennials to enhance curb appeal.
Although spring is typically the season in which homeowners tend to invest time, money, and effort in landscaping, you can incorporate a number of trees, shrubs, and plants into your landscape design in early fall to enhance the appearance of your home throughout the cooler seasons.
“To add visual appeal during the fall and winter months, we like to use ornamental grasses, sedums, evergreen vines and groundcovers, and boxwoods,” says Courtney McRickard, owner of Three Sixty Design in Denver, Colorado. “We also love to add color and visual interest by using beautiful, colorful pots with evergreens, which add an architectural quality to the landscape.”
Evergreens are ideal for adding interest due to their ability to withstand cold temperatures and still retain their color and foliage year-round. The branches of evergreens also serve as beautiful snow catchers, adding contrast and dimension to your landscape once the snow begins to fall.
In addition to using brightly colored pots and evergreens to introduce color, you may also want to plant a few winter-fruit-bearing shrubs, such as hollies, American beautyberries, crab apples, viburnum, and snowberries. These shrubs not only expand your winter landscape palette beyond traditional greens and browns, but their fruit also serves as an important food source for birds throughout the winter.
According to Wheeler, winter pansies, fall mums, and fall asters are also a great way to add color in the late fall and early winter. “I also like to incorporate plants that have unusual characteristics and texture, such as ornamental grasses, burning bush, ninebark, viburnum, and contorted filbert,” he says. “Just be sure and use caution when planting any evergreen plant material late in the year, as it may not do as well if it is planted after mid-October.”
3. Use lighting, statues, and other architectural elements to create interest.
When used in moderation, artistic landscaping elements have the ability to add both personality and curb appeal. Strategically placed items, such as lit stone pathways, arbors with strings of lights, birdfeeders, benches, statues, and other features can add visual interest and create contrast against an otherwise stark backdrop.
“Adding planters, incorporating artistic elements, and hardscaping projects are all great fall and winter outdoor activities,” says Wheeler. “In fact, we like to try and complete hardscape projects during the fall and winter months, when practical. That way, as soon as the weather breaks in the spring, we are ready for the next season and can concentrate on plantings.”
Lisa Taylor is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. She has more than 16 years of experience as a communications professional and has worked with a variety of companies in the home products and building materials industry. Originally from Memphis, TN, Lisa earned a BA in Journalism from the University of Memphis in 1995 and a MA in Journalism from the University of Memphis in 1997. She spent the first 11 years of her career working in account service for Memphis advertising agencies Thompson & Company, Oden Marketing & Design, and Carpenter/Sullivan. Lisa then spent five years in Nashville, TN, with The Buntin Group, an Adweek Top 100 U.S. advertising agency, and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation, a leading manufacturer of building materials. Lisa currently lives in Denver, CO, and is Principal/Owner of Wazee Marketing.Website: www.wazeemarketing.com