You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes, its pays to wary about a house with bad curb appeal. If you’re selling your home, you can bet that potential buyers are making judgments based on the condition of your yard. In fact, you could have a beautiful, well-kept home, but if the outside doesn’t match the inside, you could be missing out on a sale before buyers even step inside.

Your landscaping says a lot about your pride of ownership. An unkempt yard could make it seem like your home is in disrepair. What’s more, you could actually ask more on the price if your curb appeal attracts more buyers. You don’t need to completely overhaul your landscaping, especially if you’re pressed for time and on a budget. The trick is to maximize your home’s curb appeal by making a few small changes that could make a big difference in how buyers see your home.

Get rid of personal clutter for better curb appeal. Image: Shutterstock/karamysh

Remove clutter

If the outside of your home is an extension of the inside, you probably have a few signs of life littering your yard. From kids bikes and balls to worn-out pots and decor, buyers don’t really want to see personalized landscaping elements. It’s much easier for buyers to imagine themselves in the home if the lawn is neat and tidy.

Look at your lawn with a buyer’s eye and stash any personal stuff. It’s easy to get used to everyday clutter, so use a discerning eye to spot areas that need to be cleaned up. Clip back shrubs that might be overgrown into living areas. Clear off porches except for a couple of chairs, and make sure you get rid of kids’ gear lying around. Choose a few pieces of decor, like a couple of flowerpots in great condition, and store anything else until you’re ready to move.

Mulch can hide your lack of a green thumb. Image: Shutterstock/Artazum

Refill mulch

Mulch is a seller’s secret weapon. It’s an inexpensive and quick way to clean up garden beds and spruce up your lawn’s look without having to plant or weed. Taking the time to fill your home’s garden spaces with mulch gives the appearance of a neat, well-maintained yard.

Choose a larger-sized mulch that covers more space quickly. Make sure that, after its been spread, you clean up areas where it might have spilled onto sidewalks or paved areas. You can use it to hide some of the messier areas of your garden, or spread it at the bottom of trees to give the appearance of a more landscaped, intentional space.

Still think your lawn needs some extra TLC? Contact a lawn care professional to help you improve your lawn and create a plan to make sure it’s green and inviting before selling your home.

Make landscaping part of the living space for more curb appeal. Image: Shutterstock/ppa

Add living space

Give sellers an idea on how they might utilize the landscaping by offering living space. Gardens and grass are great, but if you can sell the idea of actually using the yard, you could increase your asking price. This is especially good for smaller homes.  Styling a backyard as an entertaining space can make it feel like an extension of the home.

Consider how your landscaping could be utilized as actual living space. Whether it’s a play area for kids or a zen retreat in the garden, usable landscaping drives up curb appeal and makes a home more livable inside and out.

Use color to draw the eye to the best parts of your home. Image: Shutterstock/ppa

Pop in some color

If you’re selling your home, you know that the color green rules. Whether it’s your grass or the selling price, you can bet that green is going to make the biggest impact. Still, don’t forget to add other colors to draw focus and call attention to the best parts of your yard. Choose a landscaping color scheme to keep the look clean and focus on your home’s best features. Amazing windows? Use window boxes to show them off. Plant flowers to draw sellers to your garden beds. Or, use a plant pots filled with flowers to make your entryway more inviting.

Color can also serve to draw focus away from some of your home’s less-desirable features. A bright door can help detract from tired paint elsewhere. A lush, green lawn can stop sellers from noticing broken pavers in the driveway. Remember that the eye will go toward color, so an afternoon’s worth of planting and painting could make all the difference in how buyers see your home.

Your seller to-do list is probably already a mile long. But while you’re getting the inside of your home ready to sell, don’t forget about the outside. As buyers drive up to their home, they’re already making snap judgments and picturing themselves there. Make sure your house tells the right story by making sure your lawn is just as gorgeous as the interior of your home sweet home. And you can always call a lawn care professional for some extra help making sure your lawn looks its best.