It’s been a long, weird winter, but the sun is peeking through, things are warming up, and it’s time to take on some outdoor projects. Whether you’re just getting settled into your new home, or sprucing it up to sell, planting season is a great opportunity to up your home’s curb appeal with some flowers, greenery, and an outdoor spring cleaning.
What’s Curb Appeal?
Ah, curb appeal. It’s that magical something that makes folks drive up to your house and say, “wow, what a great looking home!” Essentially, it’s the look and feel of your home from the street. Is it well-kept? Fresh-looking paint? Nice landscaping? Those are the kinds of things prospective buyers are looking for. And really, it’s the kind of thing YOU want to think when you drive up to your house. “Wow! My house looks awesome!” Whether you’re getting ready to sell or just want to brighten things up a bit, it’s not that tough to give your outdoor spaces a fresh look.
Planting Season! Where to start.
Learning what to plant and what does well in our region is a great place to begin. The Eastern Panhandle is in the USDA plant hardiness Zone 6b. Typical last frost date is May 1st, but that can vary a little, so watch the weather. With a last frost date averaging November 1st, we are lucky to enjoy a nice, long growing season. Knowing this, you can plant flowers and grasses to bloom at various times throughout the season, keeping that curb appeal at max for months.
Best plants and flowers for the region
Ultimately, the best plants and flowers for your home are ones that grow well in our hardiness zone and are native to the West Virginia/Virginia/Maryland region. When plants are well-adapted to the region, they’re frequently easier to maintain and use less water. Several of these varieties are also pollinator-friendly, which means you may see butterflies and hummingbirds hanging around.
A few examples of plant/flower species well-suited to our region:
- Wild Blue Indigo – May, full sun
- Common Milkweed – June, full sun
- Cardinal Flower (shown in main photo) – July/August, best in partial shade
- Smooth Aster – Sept, full sun.
These are just a few! My favorite resource for learning about native plants is the West Virginia Native Plant Society’s website. There’s a page about invasive species as well, which is another detail to keep in mind as you plan. Invasive species are plants not native to our area and cause problems by taking over and posing a threat to the natural, local ecosystems. These guys may look nice, but can wreak havoc on our region’s natural spaces. Find out about the biggest offenders here.
Other Spots to Freshen Up
Consider taking a close look at your walk/pathways, front door and landing, and windows. If you don’t already own one, the Ranson Home Depot has pressure washers for rent at a reasonable price, and I can’t stress enough how a good ol’ pressure wash can clean up hardscapes. Blast out any mold that may have grown through concrete seams, dirt collected over the seasons, and you’ll be amazed.
Bonus! Just in time for your tax refund, you can score some fantastic deals on outdoor big-ticket items. According to Consumer Reports, now is a great time to buy pressure washers, as well as gas grills, lawn mowers, and room air conditioners.
Planting season is NOW. Get your landscaping full of flowers and you’ll be enjoying your yard all summer long. If you’re prepping for sale, attention to these details is money well spent.