Getting ready for fall in the garden

Sellers will often ask ‘what will set us apart from those competing in our price bracket,’ and, in all honesty, my answer usually depends on the season. I am Deb Sarsany of The Deb Sarsany Team at The Real Estate Group and in my latest Eighteen21 column I’m going to talk about preparing your garden and yard for the fall so that if you’re putting your house on the market in the coming weeks you’ll stand out from the crowd. It’s a sellers market, sure, but you still want to make the very most from your sale. 

If you are going to spruce up the yard, but you’re on a tight budget do not fret. Those plants left on the racks at the garden centers at the end of summer, a little worse for wear, just need a good home and they can be rescued for a fraction of what you would have paid in spring. Now is the time to watch for sales at garden centers. The real deals are the perennials that will, if taken good care of, thrive in early fall. If a plant looks particularly tired don’t be afraid to negotiate the price down even further. The cost of patio furniture has also reduced, anywhere from 30% to 50% in some stores. 

It’s not unusual for plants to do well at this time of year because the ground is warm: good for digging and encouraging root growth. The sun’s heat is also less intense, which is good for foliage. It won’t, however, do any harm to add some compost to rejuvenate the soil. If you have a vegetable patch in the garden and you want to show it off, rather than let it dwindle, then late summer can be a great time for cool weather crops such as sugar snap peas, lettuce, kale, green onions, radishes, carrots and even green beans.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when choosing plants or, if you’d rather go it alone, grab a book and read up. At the garden centers though you may even find gardening and landscaping professionals, who will know exactly what will work best for you. As the weather cools, buyers will be more comfortable spending time walking around the yard. Many will even take a seat on the patio and imagine living there. A couple of pots filled with plants will add color and beauty to a front entryway. 

When it comes to late summer lawn care there are a few things you can do to keep it looking well maintained. Make sure you’ve adjusted your mower height to leave grass a little taller. Taller grass shades the soil and reduces water evaporation, leads to deeper roots, and prevents weed seeds from germinating. Sharpen your mower blades too: dull blades will tear up the grass. Water properly: deeply and infrequently. Treat your lawn for grubs: Japanese beetles lay their eggs in early to mid summer and these will hatch mid to late summer. If you have a dog clean up after it and flush with water to dilate areas he or she has urinated to prevent dead spots. If you can face it, let clippings lie on the lawn – the process of grass cycling saves you time, money, and fertilizer. Just make sure you’ve collected the clipping if you have a showing – and moved them from the sidewalks, deck, or patio. 

So, for those of you who are ordinarily less inclined to keep up with garden maintenance at this time of year, know that a little extra time and investment could go a long way if you are planning on putting your home up for sale. I’ve said it before people and I’ll say it again ‘curb appeal is everything,’ your home will make a lasting impression on buyers before they even walk in through the front door so make sure it’s a great one! 

To get in touch with my team and I visit on Facebook, which is updated regularly with listings and tips for buyers and sellers in central Illinois, or call (217) 313-0580.