With Tucson's housing market showing signs of life, curb appeal is starting to get more attention.
"The market has made a huge turn," says Realtor Jennifer Philips with Home Smart Real Estate.
"Curb appeal is everything in this market," Philips adds. "It's one of the most important features of selling a house."
Early summer is prime home-buying time as people search for new locations while the kids are out of school.
It's a challenge for sellers because it's the driest time of the year. Good curb appeal, that pleasing first look of a property, can suffer from rainless, dusty conditions.
Not to fear. Here are some ideas to keep the front yard looking fresh, whether you want to sell your home or improve the view for yourself.
Invest a few dollars on blooming plants. Realtor Barbara Lasky with Tierra Antigua Realty likes vincas, which come with red, white or pink flowers. "They can withstand our intense summer sun," she says.
Landscape designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery suggests color from desert-adapted plants.
Lantana, desert marigold and golden barrel cactus are good choices for adding low-maintenance color, says Przygoda-Montgomery, owner of Boxhill Design.
An inviting yard doesn't have to rely on plants. Pick a color from inside the home and bring it outdoors with a complementary welcome mat and ceramic pots.
"Do a group of pots with flowers and you have instant color and ensured freshness," says Przygoda-Montgomery.
A front porch increases colorful possibilities, says Lasky.
"Add colorful pillows to the swing or seating area," she says, "or add a colorful bistro set and door mat."
Painted metal art can add whimsy as well as color to the garden, she says.
Trim away any winter damage on plants, suggests Gabriel Lobato, owner of La Cholla Landscaping. That would encourage new, fresh-looking growth.
Keep the landscape well-groomed by blowing off plant litter, says Przygoda-Montgomery.
Pull out dead or dying plants.
"If something is looking really unappealing in the spring, it's not going to look better in the summer, usually," she says.
Gardening to-do list for June
If you can handle the weather, tackle these June gardening tasks that are recommended by the Pima County Cooperative Extension's master gardener program.
• Take care of the vegetable garden. Shade vegetables, hand-pollinate squash, remove tomato and pepper plants with curly top disease, plant yard-long beans and prevent blossom rot by watering evenly and consistently.
• Get ready for other seasons. Apply pre-emergent herbicide before the monsoon rains come.
• Solarize garden beds for fall planting. Till and wet the soil, then cover with an anchored, clear plastic tarp. This helps kill weed seeds, soil fungus and nematodes.
• Give plants some TLC. Remove faded blossoms of annuals so they continue to bloom instead of go to seed. Water patio plants twice a day and move them into the shade.
Contact local freelance writer Elena Acoba at email@example.com