A garden is the way to a buyer’s wallet

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Preparing the garden for the colder months will not only keep it looking good, but will protect less hardy plants and make the garden easier to work during spring.

The aesthetic appeal of a property can vastly affect its perceived value. A home that has kerb appeal and is attractive from the outside will entice potential buyers to step in and have a look.

While winter is generally the time when the garden looks a little drab, there are ways to keep it looking its best this season, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Have a plan

Preparing the garden for the colder months will not only keep it looking good, but will protect less hardy plants and make the garden easier to work during spring. It is advisable to formulate a plan before breaking ground. Autumn is an ideal time to evaluate the overall design of the landscape and move or remove plants not working in their current locations. It is also the perfect time for dividing perennial plants and spreading them throughout the garden. This will ensure greater coverage during spring. If homeowners decide to plant additional plants, shrubs, trees and bulbs generally do well if planted before winter. Many hardier shrubs will thrive and use winter to build bigger root systems.

Clean up the garden

As the days get colder, and more leaves fall from the trees, it is an excellent opportunity to start a compost heap. Keep the garden tidy by raking the leaves and removing weeds and diseased plants. Throw leaves and cuttings into the compost heap and discard the weeds, as they will only create problems later.

Hard-scaping elements

The introduction of hard-scaping will reduce areas of the garden that require watering while maintaining the garden’s aesthetic value. Items such as birdbaths and stepping-stone pathways can add interest.

Mulching

A layer of mulching will insulate plants, protecting them from severe temperature changes during winter. It will also reduce soil erosion. Mulching is only necessary for more delicate plants. Smaller plants that are in movable containers should be moved to an indoor location, while larger container plants can be covered with a layer of mulch.

Shape trees and shrubs

With many of the leaves gone, it is easier to shape and trim trees and shrubs, removing dying or diseased branches. This is also a chance to lighten areas in the garden that are heavily shaded and would benefit from more light in summer.

Cut back perennial plants

During the cold months the majority of perennial plants can look tired and messy, making the garden seem untidy, so cut them back to neaten the garden. Certain perennials such as evergreen or alpine types will still be attractive, so they can be left to grow.

“Proper garden preparations will enhance the look of the property… It is worth spending some extra time in your garden during autumn to ensure it looks its best this winter,” Goslett concludes. - Saturday Star

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