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Making a polyculture lawn look conventional to sell house

 
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Location: Porter, Indiana
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So for the past 6 years, I have been slowly waging a war against grass around my house. I have seeded with white clover, put in fruit trees and grapevines, used a good chunk of the property for a rootstock nursery and vegetable garden, and mowed about 1/3rd as often as my neighbors. Now I'm facing the prospect of selling the house and moving to a different area. In a perfect world, potential buyers would see my yard and pay a premium for it, but in our "weed 'n feed" culture, I know it will turn off many people. So, my question is what is the easiest/quickest/cheapest way to make a permaculture-style yard look like a conventional one (at least temporarily until the closing papers are signed ).
 
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John,

Great question. I have a chapter on cultural norms and our obsession with neatness. Unfortunately, most buyers are not going to see the beauty in nature the way we do. They will most likely want a neat and tidy lawn and landscape. I would mow regularly, which will damage the plants we like like clover, and will advantage the grass. This is bad for the environment, but good for perception. I would do some pruning to make sure nothing was hanging over walkways, driveways, and looked manageable. I would keep the gardens weeded as best you can, add some fresh shredded hardwood mulch to keep the weeds down and give that "neat" appearance.

I hope this helps, and good luck with the sale.
Phil
 
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When it is freshly cut does it look more green and grassy? If so you could just keep it cut low for the duration, keep all those pesky beatiful flowers and other food producing things from popping out visually.

A lot of people will probably be more down to earth paying attention to things they cant change about the house and the price etc. so as long as the lawn is cut, the edges trimmed tightly, hedges and bushes trimmed to appear organized, many people would not notice. Or think too much about it if they did notice.

If they were "lawn people" then they would maybe be more interested in cutting all the mixed polyculture off and reseeding with a proper grass seed anyway. I think it is a relatively small cross section of buyers who would make or break a Good house deal over some turf. As long as it has curb appeal and is set at a good price it will hopefully draw in enough interest to sell quickly.

If they dont want fruit trees then include the price of removal in the repair cap, or just remove them yourself if they want that in the contract.
 
John Wolfram
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Zach Muller wrote:A lot of people will probably be more down to earth paying attention to things they cant change about the house and the price etc. so as long as the lawn is cut, the edges trimmed tightly, hedges and bushes trimmed to appear organized, many people would not notice. Or think too much about it if they did notice.



Phil Williams wrote:I would do some pruning to make sure nothing was hanging over walkways, driveways, and looked manageable. I would keep the gardens weeded as best you can, add some fresh shredded hardwood mulch to keep the weeds down and give that "neat" appearance.



Great ideas. I'll be breaking out the string trimmer for edging and calling around for wood chips.
 
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