Landscaping adds more value than just about any other home renovation – anywhere from 5 percent to 11 percent, depending on location. And it’s a project you can tackle by yourself or outsource to professionals, depending on your time, energy and budget.
Either way, the basic elements of landscape design will come into play. They include
Scale (size and proportion of elements in relation to each other); Form (shape of plants and branches); Line (how plant groupings fit together); Texture (the surface of landscape objects); and Color.
But where to start? A good way to gauge the scope of your landscaping project is how long you expect to enjoy the results.
If you’re looking to sell your home in the next year or less, invest in improvements that will yield immediate results – and serve as a foundation the new homeowners will appreciate. This includes edging and widening your flower beds, adding mulch, fertilizing the grass, and blanketing the yard with low-cost annuals, larger perennials, and shrubs that stand at least four feet high.
If you expect to stay in your home and want to improve for the long-term, prune foliage such as azaleas, hollies, rhododendrons that will generate new growth each season. Replacing non-flowering plants with unique and eye-catching ones, such as a Japanese maple or flowering shrubs. Get creative: you don’t always need to color within the lines or plant along them. Even if you do the work yourself, invest in the assistance of a landscape designer to create a master plan that considers your climate, soil, goals, preferences and budget. Consider fencing your backyard, or create a natural barrier by planting small evergreen shrubs that will mature in a few years.
To make your landscaping budget go further, divide your project into phases and pay as you go. Shop at a mix of home improvement stores (for landscaping timbers, rocks and common plants) and specialty stores and nurseries that can offer you expert advice and a more interesting selection. Consider online sources but don’t forget to factor in shipping costs. And be neighborly. Sharing the purchase or rental cost of specialty yard equipment such as tillers and aerators saves money and spreads goodwill.