Are Your Shrubs Overgrown? Curing a Common Detriment to Curb Appeal

I have a secret: I am easily irritated by shrubbery. The master gardening, real-estate-selling homeowner in me just can’t believe how common it is for people to have overgrown shrubs and plants in their landscapes.
overgrown bush imageIf you are a homeowner or are preparing your home for sale, take a step back and look at your home as if you are seeing it for the first time. How is your curb appeal? Does the architecture of your home dominate or is it being dominated by your overgrown shrubbery?

Signs your bushes and shrubs are overgrown

  • They are obscuring your windows.
  • They are crowding your walkways.
  • You can’t remember the last time you trimmed them.
  • They are hiding your house and dominating the facade.
  • How to Plant and Maintain Foundation Shrubbery

  • When planting, allow spacing for mature sizes. For example, if a shrub is listed as obtaining a mature height of say, five feet tall and wide, then it should be planted at least 30″ away from the foundation to allow for half the mature spread to reach the house. *A caveat to this is that home inspectors do not want any vegetation touching the home or foundation so allow extra space or trim accordingly.
  • In terms of windows or roof lines: a general rule is to keep/maintain the shrub at a height of 2/3 to 3/4 of the height of the window or roof line. This allows for the architecture to continue to dominate.
  • Trim shrubs often. Never skip trimming, even the first year they are planted.
  • Avoid trimming in extreme temperatures.
  • As a closing thought, don’t be afraid to scrap a tired, overgrown landscape and get a new start. Local landscape designer, Rich Harms, advises that, “Whereas trees should be considered a permanent fixture, shrubs generally, but not always, arrive at a point where they’ve outlived their aesthetic appeal regardless of care.”

    I would like to thank landscape designer, Richard Harms with Rich Designs, LLC, for contributing expertise for this story. Thanks, Rich!

    About the Author

    Sarah Snodgrass is a residential real estate agent specializing in Kansas City's historic neighborhoods and enclaves.

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