Cool Green Gardens

Tips for Selling Your Garden (er, Home) Part 1

Front of house

Are you getting ready to sell your house? If so, I’m sure it’s crossed your mind that you’ll also be selling your beloved garden. Stressful as preparing for the sale of a home may be, the thought of relinquishing your garden to a complete stranger might be even more terrifying. I’m here to offer some points to ponder before plunging the For Sale sign into the soil you’ve nurtured and fretted over for years.

In Part 1, you’ll find ideas on how avoid post-partum let-down as well as ways to make a good first impression.

You CAN Take it With You

First off, where are you relocating to? If your new residence is within a similar gardening zone, consider what you can transplant. Depending on the time of year, most perennials and bulbs can make the move without blinking a bud. The only limitation is how many containers you and your lower back can manage to move. (Note: If you intend to take any plants that the next owner has already seen, you’ll need to disclose this information. And if you’re moving across state lines, there might be agricultural restrictions to prevent spreading pests.)

Colorful hostas

Woody shrubs and small trees are more of a gamble. If time allows, you can prepare them to avoid shock by root pruning with a sharp shovel (or clean cut with loppers for larger roots) just inside the drip line – sort of like using a grapefruit knife to separate the tasty bits from the rind. Tip prune the branches and wait at least a few weeks for signs of new growth. When fresh leaves start to appear, it means new root tips are developing where you cut and the chances of the plant making the move are improved. If the plants have gone dormant, your odds are greatly improved.

This Isn’t About You

a variety of different plants

Garden lovers have a way of letting their “Oooo I have to have that!” impulses get the best of them. As much as you might love your “eclectic” collection, your ideal potential buyer might see the garden as so much visual noise.

Now, I’m not saying you need to carpet-bomb your beds and start over, but consider taming the chaos. Thin out the “onesies” or consolidate them into masses with similar characteristics, ie. silver foliage, grassy forms, warm colors. Reduce the number of garden ornaments to create just a few select focal points instead of looking like the prize shelf at a carnival side show.

Your Mission: Getting Them Out of the Car

Reality check: It doesn’t matter how much time and money you put into those crown moldings or 13 billion BTU cook-top. If you don’t get a potential buyer’s foot off the gas pedal, out of the car and through the front door, they’ll never know the charms of the interior. That’s why curb appeal is so important, because you only get one chance to make a good first impression.Well pruned pepper tree

Overgrown trees should be cleaned up by a professional arborist and unruly shrubs made presentable, but don’t be too heavy handed. Like trimming your daughter’s bang to show off her beautiful face, allow trees to frame, rather than obscure, the façade of your home. Pay attention to plants that encroach on walkways or create a feeling of claustrophobia.

I Want Eye CandyWelcoming front walkway with brick steps

 Make the view from the curb eye-catching. A colorful bed of flowers that can be seen from the street will pull them out of the car. If you’ve got lawn growing right up to the curb, remove a generous portion of sod to make room for posies, or move some big containers to the start of your walkway (but leave enough space for safe passage). At the end of the path, treat the front door as a welcoming visual magnet with additional seasonal color in the beds or a bold potted plant and eye-catching chairs.

Succulent in pot with pink chairs

Read on

Click through to Part 2 to see how to get your buyer excited and reaching for their checkbook.

View Comments


  1. josephhoppe 04/07/2015

    Use only perfect personal accents. Especially in the bathroom, it is important that anything left out for visitors to see is pristine. If you have a gorgeous fluffy white bathrobe, hanging it on a decorative hook on the door can be an attractive accent -- but if your robe is more of the nubby blue floral variety, you might want to hide it away.


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