4 Tips for Instant Curb Appeal

4 Tips for Instant Living Art Curb Appeal

Guest Article by Janet Martini, Co-Owner of Ca-Jan Designs 

Homes and businesses with colorful and attractive landscaping can get more prospective buyers and consumers to the front door than homes or businesses without. Vibrant plants create an inviting and welcoming environment. A home or business without a spacious yard can have this kind of curb appeal without spending an extraordinary amount for landscape design, even if you live or work in a small space such as a studio, apartment, or townhome.  Container gardening is the perfect way to create instant living curb appeal.

Container gardening is a method of gardening that doesn’t need “ground space” to cultivate plants. Plants are grown in different planters, pots, urns, etc. and are arranged at front doors, entryways, patios, pools, even under windows as window boxes. Container gardening is one of the most cost-effective and easy ways to create and maintain instant living appeal. In addition to “eye-catching” appeal, the benefits of container gardening are many:

·         Ability to garden in a variety of places

·         Less space and more mobility

·         Fewer weeds

·         Less physical effort

·         More design possibilities & plant variety

·         Easier to change

·         More accessible

·         No heavy gardening tools

·         Customizable to your preferences, ie, veggies, herbs, flowers-annual, perennials, bulbs, evergreens, etc.

·         Instant Curb Appeal, especially if you are selling your home!


Here are some before and after photos where already beautiful homes were greatly enhanced with container gardens.



Below are container garden components and some tips for creating your own instant living art curb appeal to make your home or business the talk of the town!


Container Garden Components:

·         Planter or other container

·         Coffee filters or landscape fabric to cover drainage holes

·         Perlite - provides drainage, moisture control, lightweight

·         Soil – use appropriate for plant type-containing organic material

·         Plants – appropriate to season, light, color preferences

·         Fertilizer – granular/extended release-containing organic material


From Your Front Porch to Pool: 4 Tips for Container Gardens


           1.   Select Containers that Coordinate with the Style of Your Home or Business

Whether it’s classic, sleek or modern, containers come in many sizes, styles and colors. Keep in mind, you may want to coordinate with the color of your door or trim or add a boost of needed color for your home or business. Whatever style you choose, outdoor planters need a drainage hole(s) to properly drain excess moisture.


2.      Use Good Soil

After you select your planters, your next step is to fill them with materials/soil that will provide needed nutrients so your plants will thrive. We recommended that you use soil that contains organic material so don’t skimp on cheap soil; read the label or ask your garden center. Prior to adding soil, we recommend placing a coffee filter or landscape fabric over the drainage hole. By utilizing this, excess moisture will be able to escape but not soil or perlite. The next step before adding potting soil is to add perlite. You can mix perlite with your potting soil or add it on top of your coffee filter/landscape fabric. Perlite is a naturally occurring volcanic glass, which, under pressure becomes a lightweight material that provides drainage and promotes moisture control/root growth. We put perlite directly on top of the coffee filter, filling the container about one-third. Next is your potting soil but don’t add soil until you have your plants, starting with the taller/larger plants first then filling soil into your planter based on size of root balls and ultimate height of plants.



3.      The Right Plants in the Right Place

The first item for your container garden plant selection is the type of lighting you have. Whether it is a covered front porch or open patio or pool, lighting is very important for success; morning sun (East facing) is cooler than afternoon sun (West facing) so this is key. Full sun, part sun or shade?  If you are unsure how much sun your planters will receive, check prior to purchasing plants or check your mobile phone for a compass app and take note. Once you know proper lighting, we recommend, for staying power of your containers, that you use a combination of evergreens and perennials first and then add seasonal annuals. A good combination is for 75% of your containers to be evergreens/perennials and 25% seasonal annuals.  (For the proper lighting-always check plant tags and/or ask your garden center.) The number of plants for each container will vary based on the size of your planters.

Plant considerations:

·         Use “thriller, filler, spiller” design

·         Select plants with similar needs, ie light, water, soil

·         Use as many woody plants, evergreens, perennials, vines, as possible, highlighting with seasonal annuals

·         Incorporate 2-3 color wheel preferences



Now, let’s get your Instant Living Art Curb Appeal finished! To create visual appeal for your container gardens, consider how you arrange your plants inside the containers as well as how you place the containers at your home or business.  Taller plants go towards the back and center of the planter, and smaller plants and spillers are in front and/or on the outer sides.


Placing your container gardens: Arrange pots with the same plants in them on either side of a doorway, entryway, or walkway. Place smaller pots in odd number of groupings or staggering them on different steps to change the height.


4.      Watering and Fertilizing

After installation, use a granular and/or extended-release fertilizer with organic material and sprinkle all about the container. Next, water thoroughly all around the planter at the top of the soil trying to avoid leaves and flowers as much as possible.


For ongoing care of your plants, prior to watering, always finger-test approximately 1” into the soil in several places around the planter to determine how dry the soil is before watering. As a general guide, your planters may need to be watered twice a week depending on the season, rain, wind, and temperature, especially if in full sun (sometimes every day in hot summer months). 


For outdoor containers:  Water early in the day as watering at night can make the plant susceptible to fungal infections such as mold, root rot and eventual death. Water slowly with the “shower” setting on the hose sprayer (under the leaves of the plants; getting water on the leaves may also induce rot), until water runs from the bottom of the pots to ensure good coverage.


“Deadheading”:  removing spent or faded blooms, “dead” heads,” of flowers from a plant.   This promotes new growth/ re-blooming and improves the overall appearance of both the plant and our gardens. Plants have only one mission in mind and that is to make more plants. Once their flowers fade, they get busy focusing on their next task – making seeds. By cutting off the dead blooms, we redirect the plant’s efforts from making seeds to making new blooms. 


To deadhead, simply pinch or prune off the finished bloom below the spent flower and just above the first set of healthy leaves. Check to make sure you do not accidentally cut off any new flower buds hiding in the wings.  

Always here to help, contact the experts at Ca-Jan Designs or follow us for inspiration.  








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