REAL ESTATE: Selling your outdoor space

Written by on April 23, 2015 in Featured, Real Estate - No comments

You live in the city, so it’s no secret, you don’t have acres of land. That doesn’t mean the acreage you do have has to be a concrete wasteland. Here are a few tips on how to make your home more attractive, to help highlight the front and rear of your home, whether for your own enjoyment or to help sell your home.

The front of your house is the first thing a buyer, guest, or neighbor will notice, so it’s always more inviting when you have some color out front. This can be done by simply placing some planters out front and planting flowers. Most flowers will only bloom for a short period of time, so adding some permanent color, with some green ground cover, that will add color from spring to fall, and possibly even all winter, and will help keep the house vibrant all year long.

Another option is to add window planter boxes. Some owners have chosen to plant ivy that will climb along the front of the house; although this option can make the home more attractive, certain types of climbing ivy can be detrimental to the brick and wood elements of your home. Planting plants that will fall over the front of the box is an option that can add color while keeping the home from being damaged by invasive ivy anchors. One note on this option, is that frequent watering is needed, as the planters dry out easily.

The most difficult option, but perhaps the largest impact on the front of you home, would be to actually have a pit dug out (a service that can be provided by Baltimore City), and planting a tree, shrubbery, or even a rose bush. According to a 2013 New York Times article, homes that sold having a tree between the street and the home, increased the value of the home by $7,130 and sold in 1.3 days sooner than those without a tree. Although the front of the house adds to the initial appeal of your home, ‘greening’ the back yard can increase the attractiveness of your home too.

Most of the backyards in the city are concrete; if you are lucky enough to have a parking pad, it can limit what you do to add green to the backyard. Here are a few options for making the backyard more attractive.

A trend that I have been seeing more of recently has been to install brick or cobblestone pavers in the backyard. Although not green, it helps the yard become less industrial looking, and adds a unique aspect to the home. I’ve even seen some homes, where the owner has planted grass or an easy growing herb between the pavers to help give the yard a more natural look.

A less time consuming project is to build a rectangular flower bed along either the side, or back of the yard. This allows you to plant a variety of plants, flowers, or bushes. I’ve seen everything from a large magnolia tree in Upper Fells, to a rose garden in Butchers Hill, to an herb garden in Canton, all utilizing various sizes of planter boxes. The size of the planter will determine what you can plant, but even a small planter box will appeal to potential buyers (particularly if the buyer has a pet).

If you have a parking pad, you may need all the width of the property in order to fit your vehicle. One option for these owners is a hanging garden, where all the plants, flowers, and herbs are contained by a container that hangs from the fence or an old close line.

The last suggestion I will mention is lighting the backyard. Again, there are a variety of options.

For those that use the backyard for barbecues, hanging a sting of lights adds great ambiance for your social gathers. For those looking for just accent lighting, solar (or conventional plug in electrical) pathway lights, add just enough light to highlight your urban oasis.

No matter what your budget, yard size, or how you utilize your yard, there are options for you to make an impression on your potential buyers or house guests, and spring is a great time to get started on your project.

By Mario Valone

Mario is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Homesale Realty, 1500 Thames St., Unit C. He can be reached at or 410-732-3030, and is happy to answer questions.


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