Plant to Enhance

Making Your Garden Pop

Your home is on the market. You’ve patched the roof, fixed all the leaky faucets, maybe even painted a room or two. You’re not going to put in a whole new landscape, but there may be a thing or two you can do to make the garden more enticing as well.

If the foundation plantings-shrubs and other foliage plants-are in good shape, it takes just a few splashes of colorful flowers to make the garden pop. This time of year, there are nearly limitless numbers of summer annuals and perennials already in full bloom at your nursery. They provide instant color to brighten up any dingy corner. For maximum pizzazz, remember to plant in multiples of the same color or choose a mix of two or three colors. Don’t skimp; there’s nothing worse than a few puny plants dotted around a space that is too big for them to fill. It’s better to group them together in the center of the space than to try and spread them out too much.

Another easy way to add panache to your house’s exterior is by strategically placing containers of colorful plants near the front door and adorning porches and patios. Group several flowering and foliage plants together in a large container or plant smaller pots of several sizes separately and then cluster them. Keep the container style simple; terra cotta pots blend with any architectural style and their neutral earthy color won’t upstage other design elements. They are also relatively inexpensive. The other good part about this plan is that, unlike plants rooted in the landscape, you can take them with you to your next home.

Realtors and color therapists alike understand the psychology of color and all advise that yellow is the best color to ensure a quick sale. Yellow makes the prospective buyer feel welcomed and happy. So, when choosing flowering plants for the entryway, think yellow. Keep the tone pure; greenish yellow looks sickly and orange shades may invite a more intense (possibly negative) response. If your front door is in the shade, consider plants (ivy is just one example) that include yellow variegation or are intentionally selected for yellow foliage. A few strategically placed plants could make all the difference to your sale.

Virginia Hayes, curator of Ganna Walska Lotusland, will answer your gardening questions. Address them to Gardens, The Independent, 122 W. Figueroa St., S.B., CA 93101. Send email to

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