Spy Habitat Before and After with Jan Kirsh


HGTV’s programming such as “Love It or List It” introduced viewers to the concept of “staging” to sellers before their property went on the market. Ideas such as decluttering, touch-up painting, upgrading hardware, etc. were discussed and implemented during segments to make the property stand out to potential buyers. Little attention was paid to the landscape but savvy sellers know a house’s setting is equally important for “curb appeal.”

Landscape and garden designer Jan Kirsh understands that first impressions are critical. I have long admired Jan’s talent and I recently had an opportunity to visit one of Jan’s projects to see how she had transformed a site’s curb appeal for new clients. Jan needed to improve the gardens quickly so the property would be ready to place on the market.

Two site issues presented design challenges. The house was close to the street and sited slightly downhill from the road so making the house more visible and welcoming from the street was critical. Jan’s task was to revise and improve the existing landscaping while keeping the work effort and budget reasonable.

At her direction, Jan’s landscape crew worked quickly to remove overgrown shrubs and pruned additional shrubs and trees to open the view of the house from the street. The most dramatic change for me at the front of the house was seeing how the selective pruning of the crape myrtles revealed that had previously obscured the home’s stylish architecture.  Now the house was part of the landscape instead of being hidden behind it.

The rear yard sloped down to Peachblossom Creek and had also become overgrown. Overly large planting beds on the hillside were reduced in size and reshaped by bringing in new sod, rather than filling the space with yet more plants. This allowed the firepit area to become a focal point instead of being lost in the planting beds.

Finishing touches to the landscape included adding plants of a smaller scale to complete the foundation plantings, pulling weeds and removing the less desirable herbaceous plants. The result was a much tidier garden on a beautiful property with lots of potential for the new owners. 

Known for functional, artful four-season gardens, Jan Kirsh has worked collaboratively with clients for over 30 years to bring her unique hardscape and planting style to homes on the Eastern Shore and beyond. Ever conscious of the existing architecture and surrounding site, Kirsh’s successful garden making experience allows for dramatic results, whether she is providing a quick on site consultation, staging a home for sale or drawing a master plan.  She delights in turning her clients dreams into reality. Contact Jan at 410-745-5252 (o), 410-310-1198 (c)

A portfolio of her landscape work can be seen at her website www.jankirshstudio.com Or reach her via email at.jankirshstudio@gmail.com.

For more information about this property, contact Sharon Woodruff at Benson & Mangold Real Estate,410-770-9255 (o), 410-829-5026 (c), or swoodruff@bensonandmangold.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.


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