Spring is a terrific time to have your home on the market.

It's generally considered prime house-selling season.

But if you plan to list your home this spring, know that you won't be the only one.

There could be some stiff competition in your market for buyers' money. 

Be the house that buyers notice and want to tour! Finessing your curb appeal should be step one.

There's no shortage of advice about how to spruce up your home's exterior, but I think it all comes down to three tasks. Tackle these simple chores and you've nailed it!

Contain overgrown shrubbery

Businesses, home sellers, real estate agents, investors, and home buyers all "get" on some level the importance of curb appeal It's the reason the U.S. landscaping services industry has increased by 5.8% within the past five years. 

It's just human nature that the first thing people notice is eyesores. When potential buyers see shrubbery and trees neglected, they form an impression of the property as a whole. They're thinking, "If the exterior hasn't been maintained, there's a good chance the interior hasn't either."

That's why it's important to clean up the yard -- before you list, before you have photos taken, before you hold an open house, and even before you tell neighbors you'll be selling. I've blogged about the best ways to prune shrubbery. It's easy when you know how and have the right equipment.

Mulching around your trimmed shrubbery will give your landscape that finished look.

Add the features people crave 

Good landscaping strikes a balance between
a lush appearance and controlled
vegetation. Don't overdo pruning to
 remove the natural growth patterns
of your plants. Source: unknown
Most Americans prefer to move over the summer months, so take full advantage of your home's outdoor space. Seeing how the outdoor area can be used in the nice weather will boost buyers' interest.

What outdoor living spaces does your home now have? Are they desirable? Do they look cared for? Maybe it's time the porch swing got a coat of fresh paint and some new cushions.

If you have a back deck or front porch, and it is not already staged to sell, what are you waiting for? These are the places where people envision the good times they will enjoy in their new home.

Stage them for entertaining or relaxing. In either case, comfortable-looking seating is important. If you balk at the expense of new outdoor furniture, remember that you will be able to move it to your new home. Other features like a fire pit or shaded patio can also help buyers see the positive possibilities of your home.

Make your curb appeal stunning

Once your landscape is clean and trimmed, and you have staged the outdoor usable areas people love, it's time to add color. How much color you add and what colors you choose will depend on the style of your home, the weather where you live, your budget, and even how the neighbors have landscaped their homes.

If the property you are selling is a condo with
 no landscaping to speak of, your front door
 is your curb appeal. Add color with a wreath. 

You can DIY a thrifty rag wreathor buy
a beauty like this from The Wreath Depot.

Here is a list of 15 possible places to punch up your curb appeal with color:

1. Lawn furniture painted in stand-out colors
2. Colorful fence
3. Outdoor rug on your deck or porch
4. Window boxes with an assortment of flowering annuals
5. Vivid umbrella over the outdoor table
6. Large planter barrel with flowers in bright, contrasting colors
7. Shrubs that are a totally different color than your house siding
8. Porch floor or patio that's a surprising color
9. Bright pillows on outdoor seating
10. Welcome mat in cheerful colors
11.  Wreath on the front door with faux flowers, ribbons, or other embellishments
12. Glazed, ceramic planters
13. Birdhouse or birdbath
14. Utility shed painted a striking color
15. Colorful shutters and front door

Of course, you'll choose just a few of these options. If you're on a tight budget, focus on the front of your home. That's where first impressions are formed. Even simple pops of color there can do wonders.

Plants make people feel good! Studies show that in a work environment, plants reduce negative feelings by up to 60%. No matter what your climate is like, or what the architecture of your home is, there are always plants that are suitable. So, make sure that what people see at the front of your home includes greenery. 

A front entrance doesn't need multiple pops of color.
These handsome steps are flanked by two matching
cement pots filled with purple petunias. Source: unknown

Improving your landscaping doesn't have to take a lot of effort. Commit to these three simple tips and you'll increase the curb appeal of your home to draw in that serious buyer!

There are countless other ways to impress buyers and stage your home for a faster sale. For more tips on how to get your home ready for sale, no matter the season, download my home staging ebooks.

Top Photo: Julia Palosini