Styled, Staged & Sold

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Make the Most of Your Landscape

By Kris Kiser, President & CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI)

Moving into a home requires your clients to get acquainted new neighbors, schools, stores, creaks, and noises the house makes, not to mention the requirements for lawn care. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) shares these tips to help new homeowners become backyard-ready and make the most of their outdoor living room:

1. Assess the existing landscape.

Take a look at what currently exists in the yard to determine what you love about it and what you’d like to change. Don’t be afraid to ask the previous owner about the plantings. They might be able to provide a list of landscape items to make your job easier. 

2. Plan for outdoor living.

Determine what will work with the existing landscape for your entire family, including your kids and pets. Take into account your family needs and lifestyle. Then, research options for enhancing your yard with hardy turfgrass, climate-appropriate plants, and a mix of adaptive and native plants to foster biodiversity. 

To preserve your corner of the ecosystem, plant a good mix of grass, trees, shrubs, and flowering plants to support our pollinator friends: birds, bees and butterflies. Nature starts at your backdoor!

3. Plant with your pets in mind.

If you have a turfgrass lawn, you’ve got a playground. However, you should know there are many types of grasses—and some are better than others for pets, especially dogs. Also, if your yard has artificial or synthetic grass, you’ll want to replace it with real turf. Plastic grass is bad for the environment, hard to keep clean, and can get too hot for your pet’s paws. And remember, avoid toxic plants that can be harmful to pets. (See the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants for tips.)

4. Right plant, right place.

When you’re ready to dig in and plant in your yard, heed the “Golden Rule of Landscaping”: Put the right plant in the right place. Select plants that will thrive in your climate. The microclimate in your new neighborhood may be very different from the one you just moved from, even if you didn’t relocate a great distance. Know where you land on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map to determine what types of turf, trees, shrubs, and plants will thrive in your new location.

5. Learn about any restrictions and rules. 

Some neighborhoods with homeowner associations have restrictions about what you can and cannot plant in your yard. Other communities may have watering limitations during part of the year that require a smart irrigation system. Become familiar with the rules so you can plan accordingly.

6. Assess your outdoor equipment. 

The power equipment you needed at your previous home may not suffice at the new property, or perhaps it’s time to upgrade your equipment to better suit your needs. Take an inventory of your existing outdoor power equipment (lawnmower, leaf blower, etc.) and match it against the needs of your new yard. At the very least, now is also a good time to get your outdoor power equipment serviced for the upcoming season.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kris Kiser is the president and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation.

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REALTOR® Magazine is the official magazine of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and the business tool for real estate professionals.