Hopefully you are reading this entry outside, because the weather is absolutely spectacular this week. Speaking of outside we thought it would be a great time to start planning your outdoor living space projects for the summer, and speaking of spectacular we have brought Karl Struck who is a Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Certified Professional from the Traverse Des Sioux Garden Center in St. Peter, Minnesota. Karl’s expertise spans from knowledge of plants from A to Z, to designing and building unique outdoor living spaces that can give your home added appeal.
If you remember back we had a great Mailbag question from Kyle in Maple Grove requesting advice to give him advantages for his open house. Marilyn Ritcher offered up some great suggestions including, “you need to start with the exterior of the home. This is where the client begins their assessment of your listing.” We thought we’d use this as a starting point with our Professional, Karl Struck. Here is what Karl had to say, “First of all, we don’t want the yard to have a good impression, we want it to have an impact! I want that yard to stand out in a way that shows that this property is coveted. Not only does great landscaping add a “wow” factor to your property, it also enhances perceived and accepted value. Costs don’t need to be extravagant, simply cleaning up or removing overgrown shrubs is a great first step. Lawn fertilizing along with weed control can quickly turn around a sad lawn. Many homeowners with undeveloped spaces prefer to add on other items such as retaining walls, fire pits, or even outdoor kitchens. In the last few years the interest in back yard kitchens has boomed, entertaining is very important for our customers and can equally help with image perception to potential buyers.”
Karl has provided a handy guide for helping out with first impressions:
1. Make sure front yard shrubbery is manicured and fits the dimensions of the house. Plants that are along the foundation are very important to the look of the house. Removing shrubs that have grown too large and replacing them with smaller varieties is often is a great way to spruce up the front yard. Replacing old edging at this time is also a worthwhile chore. This can often be a do-it-yourself project and will provide great results.
2. A lush green lawn can go a long way to making a house feel welcoming. A regular watering schedule, plus a spring feeding in April will provide great growth throughout the season. Spraying dandelions in early May isn’t a bad idea either.
3. Cracked cement walkways or an informal seating area can be turned into elegant brick paths and patios. There are many new styles of paving brick that can fit a wide array of house styles and architecture. This is a great added value and has helped many houses sell.
4. Don’t forget about outdoor lounge areas, whether this is a deck or an outdoor kitchen. Minnesotan’s want to spend our beautiful summer months outdoors. If your deck is looking aged, a pressure washing and new stain will make it look like new again. Further out in the yard, many homeowners are now appreciating fire pit areas. The thought of enjoying a cold beverage and warm fire on a calm Minnesota evening is a great feeling for potential buyers.
Karl has an extraordinary eye for shrubbery and landscapes so we had him give his thoughts on what types of plantation is the most appealing to potential clients. “In my opinion the front door is very important. I would recommend purchasing a flowering container. Again your local garden center will have pots planted with annual flowers that will bloom all summer and provide a great impact on the front stoop! If you have planting beds in the front, marigolds and petunias are old standbys that provide all season color with their constant blooms. For a couple bucks you can really provide a nice “show” for the potential buyer. If you have a couple of shrubs that are looking ragged, I’d recommend pulling those out and replacing them with something from your garden center’s nursery yard. There are three shrubs that I use more often than anything else combined. I like these for their ability to grow under a wide array of soil conditions, light situations, and for their ability to be showy throughout the season. The first one is the Limelight Hydrangea. This shrub grows to four feet high in a rounded form; bountiful large white flowers cover the plant from the 4th of July through the first several hard frosts. The second plant that I love is the Magic Carpet Spirea. This is a low mounding shrub with brilliant rust/gold foliage in the spring changing into lime green leaf, followed by small purple flowers throughout the summer. The Magic Carpet stays low and will reach a mature size of two feet high. The third plant that I immensely enjoy is the Holmstrup Arborvitae. I will use this upright evergreen to frame a door by planting one on each side of a stoop, other uses include using it to anchor the corner of a house or to provide height against a blank wall. This is smaller arborvitae; it will grow to about 8 ft high while remaining about 3 ft wide.”
It is certainly easy to see Karl’s passion and craft in his Landscape and Nursery business. If you’re looking to improve your outdoor living spaces this year we strongly encourage you give Karl Struck a call. He would be more than willing to travel to your residence to plant new vegetation or design and build your new fire pit, deck or barbeque area. Otherwise, he is headquarter in St. Peter, so if you get down that way stop by the Traverse Des Sioux Garden Center to see what projects he has going. You can follow his work here. As always, thank you for reading.