Selling? Discover how to boost the sale price of a property overnight with an inexpensive garden makeover.

  • Attract more buyers
  • Increase the competition
  • Drive the sale price
  • Get a better result on auction day!

If there’s one thing that every homeowner, investor and real estate professional dream of, it’s watching their property value soar. And while market influences can play a part in a sale or rental price, there are plenty of factors within your control to keep that figure scaling in the right direction.

One of the fastest shortcuts to drive your property value up in a short space of time is not in renovations, decorating or interior design – it’s in landscaping!

When it comes to selling a property, a front garden is the first and last experience that a buyer will have. This makes it a goldmine for increasing value and ensuring your property stands out from the rest on inspection or auction day.

But showing off a property in its entirety creating dream for a wide pool of buyers is all about the finer details, and knowing what to focus on and where to make small investment for big returns is a fine line.

Jared Volfsbergs and his landscaping team have been helping property owners achieve better returns on their investment with garden makeovers for over 12 years. During that time, he’s learned a few secrets that make a big difference on auction day.

Read on to discover his insider tips and tricks to start boosting your own property value overnight, and how to put more dollars back in your pocket on sale day.

First impressions count

Create an impact! It’s the most important thing to get right when selling, yet so many vendors miss the opportunity to capture buyers in those first critical moments.  Before buyers take the time to look inside a property they have to be impressed by what they see on the outside.

The front garden is a sales tool. Used effectively, it can bring great rewards.  Sell a home faster and for a higher price by simply enhance a property’s curb appeal.

  • Remove weeds & mow lawns – Present a neat and tidy aesthetic
  • Make an entrance – Greet and guide your buyers by paving a pathway to your front door. Even on a small frontage, it will give the entrance a distinguished feel and create a warm welcome, leading them into the property.
  • Define lawn edges and garden bed borders – creates a sense or order and frames the space
  • Mulch beds – Adding mulch adds a beautiful contrast against the plants and hardscape features, and the richness of its texture creates a clean, smooth surface and a fresh block of colour.
  • Pressure spray – Revive pavers, decking and any outdoor furniture to give them a sparkling finish.
  • Add plant pots – These are an easy way to add colour to your garden. Place 1-2 pots beside the front door featuring clipped topiary, or a dense, thickly textured plant like mother in law tongue to give the entrance a defined, neat configuration.

Give the backyard some attention too!

The buyer has been impressed by the front, relieved the interior is just as beautiful, now they want to nosy around the back.

When you’re walking around a new garden and inspecting a property, two features always stand out: space and organisation. Focusing on these can reap many rewards later.

  • Maximise space – Give the illusion of space in a courtyard by using large pavers and;
  • Prune and hedge – Cut down and neaten overgrown plants and trees and hedges to create a feeling of spaciousness, but think conservatively. The aim is to make the property look well-maintained and cared for, be careful not to over prune which can often reveal the brown, woody undersides of fresh foliage.
  • Lay turf – A lush lawn will make any home sparkle, turf adds softness and feeling of grandeur.
  • Add flowers – Fill garden areas with bright flowering annuals or perennials to give your garden an immediate lift. Flowers and plants will add colour and texture but minimise the number of plant species in your garden. This will make it appear easier to maintain and give it a more uniform look. Select popular species and colours so as not to polarise buyers and that work well together. This may seem obvious, but make sure all new plants and flowers match the house, fence and existing plants.
  • Imply “the dream” – People love entertaining and outdoor spaces can be somewhat of a luxury. Think of adding some decking and or creating a space for buyers to envisage themselves sitting in. Stage a table with a bottle of white on ice, a couple of empty glasses and maybe even a cheeseboard!

Less is definitely more when creating your design. The main thing is to make it look neat and easy to care for.  And for a final little secret tip? Just before open for inspections, hose down decks and garden beds for a glistening effect.

Selling property?

SPRUCE LANDSCAPING understands your need for an easy solution that fits within a budget, impresses your clients, maximises the competition and has a fast turnaround to fit in with your sales schedule.

Spruce Landscaping will get a garden sale-ready quickly to avoid delaying the sale process, deliver high quality work and provide solutions to fit a range of budgets and property types.

Our focus is on quality and professionalism right from the first contact. Good liaison, attention to detail, high standards and respect for the property are all hallmarks of our work.

Call the team at Spruce landscaping

For more landscaping tips and tricks for boosting property value, or to book in for one of our professional garden makeovers, contact us today!  Or call 1300 556 532.

**‘Landscape plant material, size and design sophistication increase perceived home value.’ Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

Image by Brian Babb via Unsplash

Winter Landscaping Tips For Gardening Success

The Winter months in Melbourne can feel like a dark and dreary time for gardens everywhere. The season is deplete of colour, leaving a cold pallet of brown and grey. Heavy winds cause chaos in plant beds, rain causes a layering of slimy leaves and frosts can kill off coveted plants. It’s not a pretty sight.

For many homeowners and property managers, garden maintenance is the last thing they think about doing in Winter. It’s easy to give their landscapes the cold shoulder and attempt to make up for lost time come Spring.

But as it turns out, this is not necessarily the best strategy. Winter is the perfect time to give gardens some time investment and a much-needed attention to set them up for a ‘bloomin’ marvellous’ second half of the year. In fact, leaving many things until after Winter can hurt a garden more than help it. You just need to know what to do to achieve the right results.

Here are our top tips to give your gardens the attention they crave this cold season, as recommended by our expert landscapers:

Sort Out That Pruning

Many plants and flowers demand pruning and maintenance this time of year. Leaving them too long can create growing problems in Spring and make your landscape unkempt and unattractive. This is the number one job that should be on every Winter gardening list to keep the garden looking lovely all year long.

Start with your flowers. Now is the time to freshen up those roses. Make sure you cut into them heavily, leaving only three or so main stems. Gardenias should also get your attention, as well as Frangipanis and similar varieties. Ornamental grasses should be cut close to the ground to keep them healthy and lush.

Fertilise and Mulch

Winter is not all about preparing your plants for the cold – you also need to think about your soil. Fertilising those garden beds provides your plants with the nutrients they need to stay healthy and strong in cold. Spray fertiliser or lime sulfur anywhere that plants and flowers are growing to perk them up and protect them against the harsh cold weather.

Mulching should come straight after fertilising on that Winter checklist. Add a blanket of mulch to garden beds for extra protection against the elements. You can use a variety of materials for the job – animal manure and compost works well, as do wood chips, straw and even leaves from your own garden. Use a rake or your hands to ensure it’s spread evenly across the surface of the soil.


Most people think to plant in spring, but Winter can be a better option for certain plants.

Evergreens stand out from the street and look amazing during the colder months. Planting and incorporating evergreens into your garden design adds beauty and structure to a space. They come in a range of Winter colours that makes any yard feel cosy. The fur style leaves can be seen in greens, yellows and blues that add texture and make any landscape look picturesque.

Deck out your Garden

The shivering cold weather may be upon us now, but it won’t last forever. Summer is right around the corner. That means one thing – entertaining, and gorgeous outdoor living in the sunshine!

Private decking in a home is the Australian dream and a great way to add value to your property. It’s the perfect option to bridge the indoor living space into the exterior and displays luxury and elegance, while providing an inviting place to sit back and relax with a drink at the end of a hard day. Modern decking and paving come in a range of styles and colours so there’s a project to enhance the look, feel and value of your property out there. Now is the perfect time to plan ahead for the warm seasons.

Pressure Spray & Clean Up Time

Heavy winds and rain in Australia pulls leaves and bark off trees, and spreads it all over lawns and paving along with twigs, sticks and debris from flower beds. While this just a part of every Winter cycle, you shouldn’t let it affect the presentation and appearance of your property.

Professional gardeners always plan for one or two big Winter garden clean-ups to keep yards in top shape during the season and its worth scheduling in the extra time. This includes raking leaves bark and twigs, some garden edging, cleaning up plant beds, creating compost and removing green waste. The results after a clean-up will always impress.

Get rid of leaves and dying plants

When dying leaves in your garden find their way to the ground, they provide the foundation for new life to grow in Spring. You can help this process by making sure damaged plants from the Winter chill get removed. This keeps the bugs and diseases from eating away at your precious landscape.

While you’re in there, dig out the weeds that have sprouted through the surface. Take your watering can out and give the garden enough water to keep your plants healthy and moist – particularly if the rain hasn’t been falling.

Winter shouldn’t be a time to despair about your garden or property’s landscape. The right attention will have it looking divine and inviting all through Winter and the rest of the year.

Have a property that could do with an expert garden makeover this winter? Contact us today!

Daft about daffs

Also known as Narcissus, daffodils are so bright and cheerful in spring! Mass plant to naturalise in lawns or under deciduous trees in clumps for maximum effect.


How to grow:

Fertilise lightly with a bulb fertiliser when planting and also after flowering.

Feed: Fertilise lightly with a bulb fertiliser when planting and also after flowering.

Design: Daffodils look best when they are planted in clumps rather than in rows. The larger the clump, the better the effect. Planting them in groups of the same colour will create a pretty swathe of colour.

Pests: To keep snails and slugs at bay it is a good idea to use a little snail bait or beer traps regularly during growing season.

Store: Daffodils can remain undisturbed for many years. But, if digging is preferred, wait until the leaves have died right down and store in a cool, dry, ventilated place.

Tips: In warm climates, plant bulbs at double the recommended depth.

Tricks: If blooming does not happen one season, it is best to move bulbs to a new location.

Water: Natural rainfall should suffice. Keep bulbs moist during dry spells in autumn and late spring.


Originally published on


Grow and know your herbs

Along with new leaves and brilliant blooms, fresh herbs are in abundance in spring.

For culinary purposes, a herb is defined as the leaf and tender stem of a plant that’s used to flavour food. In ancient times herbs were associated with witchcraft and their use frowned upon, even for curing or preventing illness.

Over the centuries, herbs have been used extensively for medicinal and cosmetic purposes, but we’ve also come to appreciate their culinary value – their fragrance, colour and flavour can awaken the palate, turning the most humble dish into a deluxe delight.


Varieties & usage

Chervil: The most delicately flavoured of all the spring herbs, chervil has lacy, fern-like leaves and a mild taste. Although it is mostly used as a garnish in Australia, chervil is also good with eggs and fish.


Chives: A member of the onion family, chives are available in onion and garlic-flavoured varieties. Particularly good with potatoes and in cream sauces.


Dill: Often associated with Scandinavian dishes, such as gravlax (cured salmon), dill has feathery fronds and a mild aniseed flavour. Also used in Greek and Italian cooking, it goes well with cheese and seafood.


Mint: The most common varieties are round and spearmint, but others including peppermint, apple mint and chocolate mint all have their own distinctive flavour. This herb is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, where its fresh, cooling flavour complements the many aromatic spices.


Parsley: Due to its unassertive flavour, parsley is the most universally used of all herbs. While flat-leaf and curly parsley are common, there’s also a triple-curled variety with flat leaves that are frilled at the edges.


Salad burnet: This hardy herb is one of the first to rejuvenate in spring. Its pretty saw-edged leaves become bitter when mature, but young specimens have a tangy flavour that’s ideal in salads.


Tarragon: French tarragon is the best type for cooking as the yellow-flowering Russian variety is tougher and less flavoursome. Tarragon is a good match for white meats, particularly chicken.



When cutting herbs use a sharp knife or scissors to avoid bruising. You can also tear herbs – the leaves will rip along the veins and release more flavour during cooking.

For optimum colour and flavour, delicate spring herbs should always be added at the end of cooking.

When storing fresh herbs, wash and dry thoroughly, then pick the leaves and keep in an airtight container in the fridge. This way, the herbs are ready to go when needed and occupy less fridge space.

Some herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and mint, can be dried to preserve them. Hang small bunches of herbs upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place, or in a paper bag with ventilation holes in the sides. Chopped chives can be preserved simply by freezing them. Chervil and dill are not suitable for drying as they will lose their flavour.


Originally published on


Spring Inspirations

The tilt of the earth’s axis towards the sun increases during Spring extending the daylight hours and the warmth. Nature responds as new plants ‘spring’ to life, streams swell with run off from melting snow and once again we are lured back into the outdoors.

Spring brings with it a zest for life and new beginnings. Lets bring this feeling of excitement and anticipation into your outdoor room


Spring flowering Australian natives include:
—Isopogon anemonifolius or Broad-leaved drumsticks is a small to medium sized shrub with clusters of globular yellow flower heads. This plant is able to withstand drought and light frost. In coastal areas with exposure to sea breezes, they grow as a tufty ground cover whereas in more sheltered areas they grow as upright shrubs up to 2m high.
— Leiocarpa panaetioides or Wooly Buttons is also a yellow flowering shrub that attracts native birds. It has silvery-grey foliage with hemispherical heads of yellow flowers and grow in sunny locations in heavy soils. In the wild they can be found growing in grasslands and floodplains.
— Doryanthes palmeri or Spear Lilies have long, bright green, sword-shaped leaves that form a giant rosette. Their large reddish-brown flower heads grow in springtime on a 2–5m spike. Spear Lilies like well-drained soil and regular watering.


Limestone is a finely grained stone featuring remnants of sea life and shells often visible on its surface, making it an interesting option for wall cladding. A honed or highly polished finish will accentuate these unique details.

Glass panels are a sensible option for people with a small space or wanting an unobstructed view through to the space beyond. For pool fencing or protection from the weather, clear glass allows a transparency that makes gardens look seamless and larger. You can also explore tinted or textural glass options for varying degrees of privacy or sun protection.

Furniture, Soft Furnishings + Accessories

Day beds and casual dining settings are a great furniture addition for your outdoor room in springtime.

Why not introduce some wall art to your outdoor room. Large sculptural elements could be mounted on walls or hung from the ceiling as a focal point. You could even hang a painting; just ensure it is protected from the weather.


Flowers and their meanings

Everyone loves a beautiful bunch of flowers, but the next time you plan on giving someone a bouquet don’t just go for the next colourful bunch, choose them based on their meaning.

POPPY – Symbolises both dreams and resurrection. In Australia we commonly associate it with remembering soldiers on Remembrance Day.

PEONY – Symbolises bashfulness, peace and female beauty. Give to someone who you highly value.

White roses symbolise purity
Red roses symbolise sacrifice, immortal love and passion.
Pink roses symbolise innocence and healing, great for a first love.
Yellow roses symbolise joy and protection.

DAFFODIL – Symbolises new beginnings, honesty and truth. They are the perfect flower to give as a token of appreciation.

TULIP – The red tulip symbolises the declaration of love. But most tulips symbolise opportunity, adjustment and aspiration.

APPLE BLOSSOM – Symbolises heady love, peace, sensuality and fertility. A beauty to plant in your backyard.

CAMELLIA – Symbolises desire, passion and refinement. Give a camelia to your sweetheart or to someone you hope to be your sweetheart.

DAHLIA – Symbolises a sign of warning, change, travel and adventure. Put on your mantle piece and they will temper your adventurous side.

LILY – Symbolises partnerships and lasting relationships as well as fertility and nurturing. Give to brides-to-be and new mothers.

PANSY – Pansies symbolise remembrance, togetherness and union. They are the flower you give when you are remembering someone who you have shared fond and memorable experiences with in the past.

SUNFLOWER – Symbolises spiritual attainment, flexibility and opportunity. A great house warming gift or for someone who is working towards something.



National Vegetable Championships 2013, Harrogate UK in pictures

The National Vegetable Championships are held this year at the Harrogate Autumn Flower Show in North Yorkshire. More than 100 entrants are competing in 26 classes – including giant vegetables, some of them incredibly large, which are judged on weight alone.

 Judging at the National Vegetable Championships Judging the giant cabbages Derek Bath judging the onions Peter Morris and David Allison judging the Six Veg Collection Judging the Six Veg collection Rhubard rhubard Weighing the giant marrows Weighing the giant pumpkins A competitor stages his entry in the celery classes

PHOTOS: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

Students Learning Through Gardening

gardenerPANAMA CITY — A special needs school in Millville plans to cultivate responsibility and education within its community garden. See photo, Master Gardener Judy Stevens helps Cody Blankenship plant a bean as Cameron Erskine watches at Margaret K. Lewis School in Panama City on Tuesday.

Margaret K. Lewis Exceptional Education Center is introducing about 95 percent of its students to an agricultural and gardening program and plans to plant its own community garden. Leaders of the program said the act of planting a seed and watching it grow allows for a wide range of educational opportunities.

“It’s a great way to go through and say you are responsible for this part of the garden,” said Britt Smith, principal. “Along the line they see what was just dirt or something you put in the ground become a beautiful flower or plant.”

Students began three weeks ago identifying types of plants and tools to prepare for gardening in the cooler autumn months.

At the forefront of the effort is a former MKL teacher, Judy Stevens, who has been seeking grants and other assistance from the community. So far she has received wheelchair-friendly picnic tables, donated by Eastern Shipbuilding, and a $1,000 grant through the local 4-H youth development program.

“We’ve really had a good time doing this and it has been beneficial to them already,” Stevens said. “Some of the kids seem to calm down. Digging in the dirt is therapeutic for some of them that tend to be more excited, so the more we get outside and dig in the dirt the more fun we’re going to have.”

Teachers also have been using the school’s Smart Board technology to identify different biological parts of the plant and regional soil types.

Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 20:59 PM.

PHOTO: Andrew Wardlow

Australian Landscaping Conference

 The Australian Landscape Conference 2013 kicks off again on September 20th to 24th. This year the theme is “DESIGN FOR THE FUTURE: models from the Old World, challenges for the New”.

The conference offers an outstanding range of International and Australian speakers, held at the Melbourne Convention Centre. There are 15 remarkable presentations with 13 by key international speakers. Aniket Bhagwat from India, heads the leading firm, Landscape India; Anne Latreille is a key Australian garden writer; Juan Grimm is from Chile with an international reputation; Ken Smith is at the cutting edge of New York design; Louisa Jones is a world authority on gardens and landscapes of the Mediterranean; Paul Bangay is probably Australia’s best known designer with Simon Griffiths—a world class garden photographer. Raymond Jungles is a distinguished tropical designer based in Miami; Toshio Watanabe is a key authority on the gardens of Japan and Peter Watts has been a highly respected landscape architect and heritage administrator with a deep knowledge of the arts.

The rapporteur sessions enable comment and interaction. There is a marvellous designer gardens tour to the Mornington Peninsula, a Speakers Dinner and Workshops will feature as a new initiative.

For more information head to

Spring Gardening Trends 2014

The public has had their say in the People’s Choice Award, naming Phillip Withers’ garden, My Island Home the favourite at this year’s Australian Garden Show Sydney, held over four days from Thursday 4 to Sunday 7 September in Sydney’s iconic Centennial Park.

His coastal design featured a coral reef made of colourful succulents, surrounded by a mix of exotic and native plants. At its centre, a winding timber boardwalk led the way to a stylish pavilion equipped with hammock and fire pit.

Sustainability, a key trend emerging for spring gardening this year, was incorporated into many garden designs, including that of Best in Show winner, Myles Baldwin, who announced his intention to recycle almost 100 percent of his display garden, Open Woodland, into new projects and sales to clients and nurseries.

The show, presenting progressive ideas on gardening, design and wellbeing, has proved to be an important event for landscape designers, giving their designs exposure both nationally and on a global scale.

“It’s a great way to get what I do out to the public. Everything I do is behind closed doors, so it’s always a bit of a problem to be able to sneak people into private properties. This is a great way to be able to get me out to the public,” said Baldwin.

During Sunday’s closing address, Event Director Anthony Bastic acknowledged the scope and scale of the event.

“This year’s show really catered to every age group, providing a place for outdoor enthusiasts to experience all the latest in gardening, design and wellbeing; for families to enjoy a day out together and kids to get their hands dirty in an imaginative space encouraging natural creativity,” said Bastic.

Now in its second year, the show’s content doubled for 2014 to include 30 display gardens from designers including Andrew-Fisher Tomlin, Peta Donaldson, Christopher Owen and Phillip Withers, a kids area and over 80 garden talks presented over three stages by experts in the field such as Don Burke, Wes Fleming, Jock Gammon and Richard Unsworth.

In addition to the daily schedule, Gardening Australia’s bearded gardening enthusiast Costa Georgiadis entertained crowds on his tours of the gardens, while visitors on Sunday took part in a rare chook auction inside the poultry tent.

Almost 100 exhibitors offered everything from grafting demonstrations, rare plants, vertical gardens, flower bouquets and landscaping supplies to outdoor sculptures, lighting and furniture.

Kim Truc of Ryde TAFE took out the award for the Australian Garden Show Sydney Future Florist Design Cup presented by Oasis Floral.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Andrew Stoner, congratulated the Australian Garden Show Sydney organisers, saying: “The quality and breadth of content at this year’s Australian Garden Show Sydney reinforced it is a leading gardening and lifestyle show, and a highlight of this year’s NSW Major Events Calendar, which is developed by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.”

“The standard of the displays this year was exceptional, with a comprehensive range of on-site activities in which the whole family could take part. The Australian Garden Show Sydney is a great spring event for everyone,” Mr Stoner said.

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