Home and garden checklist

Published: Saturday, Apr. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 8CALIFORNIA LIFE

Home Checklist

If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, you may want to start with the garage.

A new garage door can add a lot to a home's curb appeal, according to the 2011-12 Cost vs. Value Report.

Conducted in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, the report pegs the return on investment that homeowners can expect from a wide variety of remodeling and fix-up projects when they sell their homes. Garage door replacement ranked in the Top 5; an upscale garage door was one of only two projects that actually went up in projected return over 2010-11 (the other was creating an attic bedroom).

"Many homes incorporate a design that places a garage front and center to a home's view from the curb," said Joe Dachowicz, vice president of marketing at Overhead Door Corp. "Because of this, garage door replacement is and always has been a great investment because it's a relatively low-cost improvement that makes a dramatic impact on a home's curb appeal."

According to the report, a homeowner could expect to recoup about 72 percent of the cost of installing a new garage door. An average garage door replacement costs about $1,500; an upscale insulated garage door, about $3,000. The latter offers potential energy savings, too.

More than 90 percent of home buyers now start their searches on the Internet, according to recent surveys. That makes your home's first impression even more important.

Overhead Door, which has an outlet in Sacramento, offered some more budget-minded ways to add to curb appeal:

Power wash – As an alternative to repainting, blast off the grit and grime and make your house look brighter and cleaner. Rent a pressure washer; the cost typically is under $80 a day.

Weed, mulch, sweep and plant some flowers – A little effort in the frontyard will make your home look well-cared for and welcoming. Add some premium mulch ($35 per cubic yard) to the flower beds along with some blooming annuals.

Paint the front door – A red front door, for example, brightens up an entrance and creates an inviting feel. Add a new welcome mat, too. For about $50 total, your entrance looks brand new and ready for potential buyers.

For more tips and ideas on transforming your home's curb appeal, click on www.overheaddoor.com.

Garden Checklist

Now is prime time for planting summer vegetables. Among those you can plant now from seed: Lima and snap beans, carrots, chard, corn, cucumbers, melons, okra, pumpkins, soybeans, squash and watermelon.

Start setting out tomato transplants as well as seedling eggplants and peppers.

In the flower garden, plant seeds (or transplants) for alyssum, aster, celosia, cleome, cosmos, four o'clocks, marigold, morning glory, periwinkle, rudbeckia, salvia, sunflower, verbena and zinnia.

Plant summer bulbs including dahlias (pictured above), lilies and gladioluses.

Feed citrus with a low dose of balanced fertilizer during this month's bloom and fruit set. If leaves looks yellow, your tree may need an iron boost. Feed with a chelated iron fertilizer.

Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

Weed, weed, weed. Pull them out before they flower.

Watch for snails and slugs. They'll gobble everything in sight – especially tender new growth. Go snail hunting with a flashlight an hour after dark. Hand-pick the critters and dispose of them.

– Debbie Arrington

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