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From meteorologist to landscaper
June 10, 2011
While he's been out in some of the worst weather, meteorologist Mike Seidel got a taste of a real hot job, landscaper.
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Saving money on curb appeal By Buck Lanford, Good Day Atlanta anchor

ATLANTA - Krystee Manifold-Spencer is used to making amazing makeovers happen on HGTV's Curb Appeal. Good Day Atlanta's Buck Lanford helped Krystee transform the front of a house in just a matter of hours using three main things: paint, flowers, and furniture.

They started with the stairs. With a little scraping and paint they made them look brand new again for about $25.00. On the side of the stoop they used an exterior masonry paint to stick to the brick. And on the steps they used a porch and floor paint meant to stick in high traffic areas.

Next they tackled the landscaping. It's a project that Krystee said most homeowners can tackle on their own.

"You can do it yourself," said Krystee Manifold-Spencer. "It does take a lot of work and you are going to sweat, but you can do it yourself."

The bushes in the front of the home were out of control and had grown into each other. They took some of the bushes out and replaced them with smaller, lower lying plants. For the sake of time, they got some help with the landscaping from Southern Landscape Designs.

Owner Jonathan Beam gave some advice on what to look for when buying plants.

"You want to stick to native plants, anything that says dwarf in front of it is going to be slow growing, which means you need more patience to let it grow in, but also you won't be out there every Sunday trimming your shrubs," said Jonathan Beam. "I like to use a lot of succulents because we've had a lot of droughts here in Atlanta. Succulent is a type of plant that retains a lot of water."

The total cost for the landscaping project came to about $100.00.

Next they added some color to the steps and porch with flowers and plants. Krystee had filled two large pots with ivy.

"All the big box stores carry terracotta pots. [There are] some really cool shapes out there. The great thing about a terracotta pot, they're super inexpensive. You can buy any size, even the huge ones that are hip height; you can get for about $30.00 which is amazing," said Spencer.

Next, a cool spin on hanging baskets. Spencer had several strawberry pots to hang from the ceiling of the porch. Each one cost about $12.00.

Two big planter boxes were filled with flowers, grass, and sweet potato vines. Those went on the porch railing. Between the cost of the flowers and the planter boxes, each finished rail planter cost about $30.00.

And for a unique touch they planted varying heights of flowers inside some bushel baskets lined with gingham fabric. Krystee bought several bushel baskets for $6.00 and the fabric was $2.00 a yard, bringing each finished basket to just about $7.00. Spencer said the secret in any kind of container planting is to use, "A mix of plants, varying heights, something with color, and something that trails."'

And last, Spencer gave an old glider a fresh coat of paint. Someone gave her the glider for free. You can often find them for just a few dollars at yard sales and flea markets. She used some paint from a can that cost about $7.00.

The whole transformation only took a couple of hours and a couple hundred dollars and it made a big difference.

"We're spending very little time, very little money, and we're still able to make a big impact. And the key to that is doing the plants, adding a little color there. We picked the right places to add the paint, to draw your eye to that walkway. That was our big focus, getting people up to the front door, making them feel welcome," said Spencer.

And one final piece of advice from Spencer and Beam: be patient. It takes time for flowers and plants to grow in and look as great as they do on HGTV. So don't overbuy and plant too much.

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