Everyone wants his/her home to look as wonderful on the outside as it does on the inside; however, if you don't consider yourself to have a green thumb, gardening can seem daunting. Worry not, reader! We spoke with Frank Bennet, Director of LanArc, Inc., a local landscaper in the Raleigh, NC area, who gave us some helpful gardening tips.

Add to Your Curb Appeal

One great way to put a personal touch on your home and add curb appeal is to create small areas of color by using a combination of annual and perennial flowers. These small beds not only add value to your landscape, but are also beneficial to the environment by providing a valuable habit for pollinating butterflies and hummingbirds.

Ask the Pros

Understanding the growing season in your area, as well as the different soil types, and selecting plants and bed locations can be challenging. In The Triangle area, we are fortunate to have a long growing season and a huge selection of beautiful pollinator-attracting flowers, both annual (which only live for one growing season) and perennial (which regrow every spring). Locally-owned garden centers are a valuable resource for finding the most suitable varieties, and getting expert advice from someone familiar with your area.

When’s the Right Time to Plant?

The general rule of thumb for the Raleigh, NC area is to plant after the last frost of the winter season, which is typically around April 15th through Mother’s Day. Be sure to get your beds established before the summer heat sets in!

The soil in this area is typically clay, which lacks the essential nutrients for flowering plants. A simple solution is to use raised planting beds. Amending the soil with potting soil and compost will add nutrients and provide drainage; work these additives into your native soil about 6-8 inches deep. You can certainly plant in the summer months as well; just be sure to water frequently.

Annual favorites that do well in our area are:

  • Geraniums (sun-loving)
  • Petunias (sun-loving)
  • Begonias (sun-loving)
  • Impatiens (shade-loving)
  • Zinnias
  • Coleus
  • Vinca
  • Marigolds

And for the winter months, pansies are great!

Plants That Give Back

Beneficial pollinator perennials are also a great way to create a colorful palette to your landscape. Below is a list of local North Carolina varieties that are recommended by the National Wildlife Federation and the Pollinator Partnership, which provide cover and nectar for the beautiful butterflies they attract.

  • Coreopsis
  • Chapel Hill Gold Lantana
  • Echinacea – Coneflower
  • Aster
  • Rudbecia (Black-eyed Susans)
  • Salvia

Get Started Gardening in Your Backyard

So with all these ideas, where do you begin? Start with small beds, and before you know it, you will be amazed at how those small weekend projects transformed your home’s curb appeal. You’ll be enjoying the benefits of having a beautiful and colorful garden for years to come!


Reyna Estrada


Reyna Estrada has been with M/I Homes since 2008. As an Internet Sales Manager, she is fully versed on the homes offered in the Triangle, as well as topics like home ownership, design trends, and things to do in the area. Reyna and her family have lived in the Triangle for almost 20 years, and they enjoy traveling and exploring new cultures.