Potential home buyers form their first impression of a home from its curb appeal.

Yet often a home’s outdoor landscaping is overlooked, or underdone, in the preparation for the sales process. An attractive and well-maintained landscape can add as much as 10 percent to the value of your home.

Ideally the time to get started cleaning up your yard is about a month before you plan on showing your house.

That should give you enough time to get everything looking just right and not leave the impression that you simply waited until the last minute to put things in order.

Follow these tips for sprucing up your yard to help your home sell quickly.

Spruce up outdoor containers. Container plants, especially large tropicals, add considerable interest to patios and doorways where would-be buyers enter and exit the house. Such displays also demonstrate the endless possibilities for designing with container plants.

Touch up the mulch. Nothing spruces up a place like a new application of mulch, so apply a fresh layer in all your garden beds. The color enhances the contrast of the surrounding plants and makes everything pop. What’s more, mulch is relatively cheap and easy to apply.

Plant some instant color. Seasonal color makes the landscape pop as well, and flats of annuals are also relatively inexpensive. Go for a splash of several colors or a more monochromatic scheme, whatever fits in with the look of your home.

Shape unsightly or overgrown trees and shrubs. Regardless of the season, it’s a good idea to tackle any overlooked pruning chores because nothing says neglect like a bunch of dead branches. The idea is to show how well not only your house but your garden has been maintained. It’s okay to prune deciduous trees and shrubs any time of the year.

Tend to perennial beds. Tidy up herbaceous plants, such as annuals and perennials, that don’t look as good as they should. If a plant is in such bad shape that it needs to be removed, either replace it or stick a decorative pot in its place.

Clean up water features. Get rid of any visible algae, remove leaves and clean filters so that the water is crystal clear. After all, a water feature that doesn’t look good or function properly can be an instant turnoff.

Repair faucet leaks. A leaking faucet suggests that there may be other problems elsewhere in the plumbing, and that can be an instant turn-off to buyers.

Power-wash dirty surfaces. Consider buying or renting a power washer to clean paved surfaces. With very little time or effort, you can make grungy, grimy surfaces look brand-spanking new. Power washers also do a great job of cleaning fences, as well as brick and vinyl siding.