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Planting for Curb Appeal

There's no more affordable—or DIY-friendly—way to improve the look of your home than with new landscaping. Here are six ways to ensure success.
1. Add containers: Set on a stoop or hung from the edge of a porch roof, potted plants can draw attention to and frame an entry. Choose blooms that tie in with your paint scheme or porch furniture, such as the bright orange, red, and yellow ones shown above.
2. Go for year-round interest: Too many yards look lifeless and dreary in the colder months. Avoid this by choosing a mix of plants that put on shows at different times, from spring and summer flowers to colorful fall foliage to eye-catching winter berries and seedpods.
3. Choose dwarfs: Nowadays, many popular foundation plantings come in growth-restricted varieties, so you needn't constantly prune them to keep them from shrouding the windows.
4. Vary textures and shapes: Syncopate the look by using different plant shapes, from narrow to bushy; textures, from fine needles to broad leaves; and leaf color, from pale to deep greens and even yellows, blues, and purples.
5. Create architectural depth: Rather than make a single-file row of plants along the house and property lines, place them two or three deep, always with the tallest in back so that all rows are clearly visible.
6. Plant for mature size: Don't space plants by eye—or else what looks right when new shrubs are a foot wide will become an overcrowded mess when they've grown fivefold. Unless you're creating a hedge, treat the spacing suggestions listed on plant labels as the minimum.
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