Inexpensive annuals are easy to establish, and they make good fillers when your bulbs, perennials or flowering shrubs stop blooming. For fast curb appeal, pop them into containers, hanging baskets or window boxes for splashes of color. Marigolds, petunias, and geraniums are popular and easy to grow. If you're selling in the cooler months, try flowers like pansies and mums or ornamental kales and cabbages.
Catch a buyer’s eye with sweeps of azaleas planted in beds or around your mailbox or porch. Most are hardy in Zones 6-9 and need filtered sun or a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. The shrubs come in a variety of colors and sizes.
When you're ramping up your curb appeal, start with evergreens that give structure to your yard. Boxwoods make great foundation plants and come in many sizes, so you can also add them to beds and borders. Mix in annuals and other plants with year-round interest, says Julie Arnold Camp, a realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Metro Brokers in Atlanta. "Annuals give color during the length of the listing. Using pots is also a good idea to add seasonal color, or to add color to an area that has no interesting character."
Sun-loving daylilies add cheerful color to your home when they're planted in masses. These tough perennials tolerate heat, drought and many pests and diseases. Grow early, mid- and late-season varieties, and you’ll have a flower show that lasts for weeks.
Deutzias are also wonderful shrubs to grow for year-round interest and curb appeal. In the spring, they produce clusters of small, white or pinkish flowers, and in the winter, their leaves drop to reveal attractive, peeling bark. Give them a spot in sun to part shade.
Bare spots under your trees don’t make a good impression when you want top dollar for your home. Tuck shade-loving hostas into those areas, or use them around shrubs and in borders. Their flowers aren’t showy, but their leaves, which come in shades of green, gray, blue, cream, and yellow-gold, are standouts. Choose small, medium or large varieties; most are hardy in Zones 3-9.
Hydrangeas give you a lot of bang for your curb-appeal buck. They’re easy to grow, need little care and put on a spectacular show when they bloom. Most of these flowering shrubs prefer morning sun with afternoon shade and are hardy in Zones 4 or 5-9. If you use lush, leafy hydrangeas to camouflage an unsightly foundation, leave a couple of feet between the plants and the house, so they have room to spread.
Nandina, or heavenly bamboo, provides four-season curb appeal in some regions (the plants are evergreen in Zones 8-10 and semi-evergreen or deciduous in Zones 6-8). These practically carefree shrubs have airy-looking foliage and white flowers in the spring. In fall, red berries appear and the foliage turns vibrant shades of red, bronze and purple.
Rose aren't attractive in the winter, and even when they're blooming, they often need pruning, fertilizing and spraying. But some roses, like the Knock Out family, are low-maintenance, which many homebuyers know and appreciate, and they produce spectacular flowers from spring until frost. Smaller Drift roses, which mature around 18" tall, are also easy to grow and make a pretty groundcover for sunny spots.
Don't forget to see your mailbox as a potential buyer will see it. If it's a plain Jane, dress it up with a mix of plants. Try evergreens like compact inkberry hollies, graceful ornamental grasses and other perennials and colorful annuals like coleus and lantanas. Be sure to choose plants that like the same basic growing conditions. Avoid plants that need frequent waterings, unless you have a faucet nearby.