If your garden gnomes could speak, what would they say about you?

When you give guests directions to your place, do you describe your home as "the one with the half-dead elm tree and a canoe on the lawn?"

Or do you count down the days until it is warm enough to unveil your springtime spectacle that puts the Griswold's Christmas display to shame—complete with three-tiered waterfall and working windmill?

There's a reason why experts stress the importance of a home's curb appeal when an owner is preparing to sell. It really is about creating a good first impression. Even if you're not selling your home, when was the last time you evaluated your yard worthiness

Read on to determine whether or not your yard is a jewel in the community crown or if you've crossed the property line into weird neighbour territory. 

Seasonal Item Disorder. From Frosty the Snowman on the lawn, to the shrivelled pumpkin on the front step and the single rollerblade in the bushes—does your yard look like Armageddon strikes four times a year? Seasonal items are just that; they are meant to be brought out to coincide with annual events or changes in weather, and then make a prompt exit from your lawn at the appropriate times of year. Take a cue from Mother Nature and keep the ebb and flow of seasonal paraphernalia, well, seasonal. 

Working yard or yardly working? If your idea of yard maintenance is the equivalent of 'harvesting' your grass once a year, or if you've ever had to cut a path through your backyard with a sickle, then it's probably safe to assume landscaping and yard work are not your strong suit. There's also a very good chance your neighbours are none-too-pleased to be living alongside a slacker grass farmer. It's okay if outdoor labour is not your thing, but perhaps consider some maintenance-free yard options, such as Astroturf or rock gardens. Or hire a landscaping company to handle regular maintenance. Just know that your neighbours are definitely not feeling the naturalist, overgrown-suburban-jungle vibe. Happy neighbours are good—a nature preserve on your front lawn is not. 

Pursuing a plot of perfection. We get it. Your lawn is a blank canvas and your mowing skills are like precision brush strokes, painting a green tableau of utter perfection. You have amassed a collection of gardening tools in your garage or shed that would put a sushi chef to shame: from hedge clippers to gold-plated pruning shears and a rake for any occasion, you take your 'art' seriously and it shows. This is all wonderful and undoubtedly your yard is worthy of all the admiration it receives; however, just bear in mind that your neighbours may not share your enthusiasm for firing up the lawn mower at 6:00 AM on a Saturday while blasting your favourite classical concerto on your outdoor sound system. Be considerate and remember that perfection is an elusive beast and summer is short—make time to enjoy the fruits of your labour, preferably with your favourite cold drink in hand while relaxing on a lounger. 

Grill Sergeant. You spent the winter months watching old episodes or Bobby Flay's BBQ Addiction on Food Network and made detailed notes on the recipes you are eager to try. The focal point of your backyard is a fully functional outdoor kitchen with gas grill, smoker, charcoal kettle grill, wood-burning forno oven, sink and mini-fridge. Many an elaborate outdoor feast has been prepared and it's not unusual to find neighbours lurking along the back alley or peering wistfully through the fence as the unmistakable fragrance of twice-smoked beef brisket slathered in your homemade, patent-pending BBQ sauce wafts through the air. Think about it—your culinary gifts and Iron Chef-sanctioned outdoor kitchen are meant to be shared with the people. Or at least the neighbours. It's a wonderful opportunity to break bread (or brisket) with the people of your community. You just never know who you might meet or what connections you might make—next thing you know, your BBQ sauces are available on grocery shelves and you have an entire line of grill accessories with your name on them!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that's true, the next time you pull your car up to the front of the house or glance at the backyard, take a moment to reflect on the picture you're creating—what kind of words are coming to mind? Are they words you would want your mother to hear? If not, it might be time for a yard makeover. It's time to create a yard that speaks to the very essence of your personal best!


Posted by Wally Fakhreddine on


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