Sprucing up the exterior this spring

You don't need to be a landscaping expert to boost your home's curb appeal

If you're like me, winter can never end soon enough. The daffodils are peeking out of the ground and bags of topsoil are starting to arrive on your neighbour's driveways. It feels like spring may be making its presence known. Since we moved, my seedlings game (dahlias, marigolds, zinnias, marvel of Peru, coleuses and an assortment of long life vegetables) is in high gear as I plan new gardens. Gardening isn't for everyone; I get it. That said, there are several low maintenance options to boost your home's curb appeal while also enhancing the value of your property.

Vegetable gardens have always been a favourite way for novice gardeners to begin transforming dull outdoor spaces. Start a small plot in a sunny spot in your rear yard. Lettuce leaf, tomatoes, cucumbers and root vegetables such as carrots and radishes are all great examples of simple plants to maintain. It is essential to follow spacing directions on seed packages or plant identifying tags from the nursery to ensure a good crop and avoid a hot mess in August that can occur from overplanting. My experience can tell you that fifty-two tomato plants are too many for an urban garden. If you are considering a move within the next couple years, a small raised garden bed may be a good alternative that won't overwhelm a potential buyer. Low maintenance perennials such as hostas, ajuga, and Japanese painted fern are great examples of easy-care shade plants. Lavender bushes, Black-Eyed Susan, peonies, and salvia are perfect examples of foolproof perennial plants that grow in sunny garden spots. Simple pallets of no more than three colours that compliment your home's colour scheme will maintain curb appeal and is a good general rule of thumb to follow.

Landscaping doesn't have to mean making new gardens. Native trees to Ontario such as sugar maples and yellow birch give you an option to fill a space and offer a sea of colours that change with the season. If you're looking for a statement, Grimo Nut Nursery in Niagara-on-the-Lake provides a variety of unique trees such as pecan, fig and paw paw trees that have been adapted to grow in our zone. Another way to fill a big space is to incorporate a small water feature. Water features such as ponds or a fountain give a calming atmosphere with generally low maintenance seasonal tasks.

Whatever you do, plant what you love and keep it simple if you're starting new. The Waterloo Horticultural Society keeps a fantastic Facebook Page full of ideas, and Grand Gardeners is an active group of local gardeners eager to answer any questions. Of course, if you still think you'll kill anything brought home from the nursery, Costco Waterloo had some sharp looking artificial grass in stock ready for you to roll out and enjoy the fruits of your neighbour's labour.