The Value of Landscaping on Your Property

The Value of Landscaping on Your Property

Looking to do some remodelling and transform your property into a gorgeous piece of real estate? Or, are you planning to sell your beloved home soon, and are eager to find buyers willing to pay a good price for your property?

Here are the reasons why you should invest in landscaping, and how you can do it:

 

It sets a good first impression

Well, you know what they say. First impressions matter. Your home’s curb appeal (or lack thereof) can spell the difference between a potential buyer just driving by, and actually stopping to look around. And, how can you convince them to buy your home if they are just driving past and never looking back?

Think of it this way- your home’s exterior and interior design and architecture can go out of style at any given time, but with landscaping? Plants, trees, shrubs, and luscious flower beds just keep on growing and blooming as years pass by.

Of course, that is to say, you are taking care of them. And, that’s just the thing. How lovely your lawn and backyard looks like translates to the amount of care, time, effort, and money you’ve spent on your property, and your potential buyers can see that.

And, even if you are not putting up your home in the real estate market, who doesn’t love a pretty looking facade? Either way, a good landscaping not just looks pretty, but also serves as a good investment.

 

It adds value to your property

So, just how much value does landscaping add to your home?

The answer to this actually varies greatly, depending on who you ask. The most conservative figure we found was around 5%, which is an easy $10,000 or so on a $200,000 home, while the average seems to be somewhere between 10 to 15%.

This is just talking about the added property value, but in terms of return on investment, that’s a different thing altogether. Say, you spend a thousand bucks on your home landscaping project. Who knows, you may get an easy 10 to 100,000 dollars back once you sell your property.

Whichever the case, the money you need for landscaping is really small as compared to how much you can get in return, and that’s just talking about the monetary value of landscaping. Having a beautiful, functional outdoor space with lots of greenery does a lot for you, too.

 

What the buyers are looking for

Ultimately, when it comes to landscaping, everyone wants a beautiful, seamless, and coherent appearance, rather than an unorganized mess. This is why planning is important.

There is also the factor of plant size and maturity. Mature gardens not only look better, but they serve as a more credible testament to your care and effort on your home, as opposed to a freshly planted one.

If your garden is regularly trimmed, shows diversity, and gives off beautiful vibrant colors and lovely blooms, then you are well on your way to a top notch landscape.

 

How to landscape on a budget

The least expensive but most important thing you can do for your property is to keep things neat and tidy. You wouldn’t want to give off the impression that your lawn is unkempt and not taken care of.

Mow your lawn, cut the grass, trim your hedges, prune the plants, pick up clutter and debris, edge your driveway, remove weeds, and even invest in a bit of power washing for your driveway, patio, and other hardscapes.

If you have a bit of cash to spare, a nice paint job on your hardscapes and front door can certainly be beneficial.

Some things you can add to beautify your property without breaking the bank are some nice potted plants, as well as pretty but functional lighting.

 

Landscaping tips: 

  • Match the landscape design to your home’s architecture and the layout of the surrounding area
  • Don’t go all out- aim for something beautiful but low maintenance
  • Go for something that looks good all year round
  • Focus on the pathways, and don’t forget your front lawn
  • Go for privacy without sacrificing ambience
  • Don’t forget the irrigation system

 

Taking Care of Your Lawn The Right Way

Taking Care of Your Lawn The Right Way

The dos and don’ts of grass care and trimming, and other lawn care tips from the pros

Creating the perfect landscape takes a lot of tie, hard work, and money- but once you see that beautiful, luscious greenery that simply feels like heaven (not to mention one that your neighbors will be envious of), you know that it’s all worth it.

However, your lovely lawn won’t take care of itself. If you don’t give it the right time and attention it needs, it won’t stay beautiful on its own.

This is why, for all homeowners, regular lawn care and maintenance is important to keep everything in great condition- healthy and moist soil, lush and vibrant grass, and a clean and litter free facade, you get the picture.

If you’re new to the game, don’t you worry. We’ve got you covered- read on further to know about the best tips and tricks to taking care of your lawn the right way, so you can keep the weeds out and the grass as green as it should be.

 

Pluck out weeds

This is really just lawn care 101, but a lot of times, it’s easy to get lazy to do it, especially on a regular basis. Plus, not all weeds are ugly- some of them bloom into cute little flowers in many different colors.

The thing is, ugly or not, weed is harmful to your lawn because it has the capacity to prevent air and nutrients to reach the grassroots, which can lead to your lawn looking a little dehydrated and dull- or worse, even withered and dead.

Sadly, it’s close to impossible in preventing weeds from growing on your lawn, but removing them is definitely doable. You can either pluck the weeds out by your hand or by using a hand tool (making sure to remove everything including the roots), or you can spray the whole lawn with a low toxicity herbicide, especially if the problem is a bit too much to handle the good old fashioned way, or you don’t have enough time on your hands.

 

Clear out thatch

If you find a good layer of organic matter on your lawn, such as dead leaves, dried grass and root stems, clippings, and so on, then it’s a good sign that you need to do something. This buildup of matter in between the soil and grass leaves can easily block moisture and nutrients from getting into the soil and the grassroots.

Sometimes, this may not be as visible, but you can quickly identify whether it’s there by feeling the ground. It should feel spongy, and the area look duller than the rest of the lawn. This can be dealt with by raking the layer of mulch using any scarification tool available.

 

Remove the moss

If you live in an area that gets a lot of rainfall, your property is an unfortunate recipient of regular runoff, your property layout has plenty of slopes and dips, or you water your grass and plants a bit too often or too much, extreme moisture or pools of water can build up in certain areas of your lawn.

These wet areas, especially those that get a lot of shade throughout the day, has a layer of organic mulch, is prone to poor drainage, and has a high clay content in the soil, can create a buildup of moss, which can cause a host of problems.

To successfully clear up this moss, it’s not enough to dig it up. The reason behind the moss buildup must be identified so that the problem doesn’t persist.

 

Improve drainage and air circulation

While it’s true that your lawn must be watered often, and the soil must always be adequately moist, overwatering and pools of water is also problematic. If you believe that you are not watering your lawn too much, and still see a lot of water pools, the issue could lie with drainage.

In order to improve the situation, the cause of the issue must be identified, whether it’s your soil composition, landscaping, and so on, a.k.a. The soil permeability and the topography of your garden.

And, while you’re doing that, enhancing the air circulation on your lawn by aerating it is also beneficial for your grass and soil, because these need both water and air to grow properly.

Easy Ideas to Dress Up Your Driveway

Easy Ideas to Dress Up Your Driveway

Driveways (and pathways, for that matter) are not just functional outdoor hardscapes that get you from point A to point B. When done right, your driveway can easily enhance your curb appeal and impress your neighbors and visitors alike, and make your home look a lot more inviting. 

In terms of the driveway itself, it can be made from a variety of building materials, each of which give off a certain look and add aesthetic value to your property. There is a wide range of options, such as cobblestone, brick, pavers, asphalt, concrete, and slate, to name a few. 

Choosing the right materials and extra fixtures should complement the architecture of your home, as well as the surrounding landscape, rather than clash with them. Check out these ideas on how to turn your driveway into the star of the show and make your property go from drab to fab:

 

Clean and edge your driveway

Of course, the most important thing is to ensure that your driveway is always nice and tidy. Regardless of how it looks like and what it’s made of, if the driveway is dirty and unkempt, there really is nowhere to go but up. 

Regular maintenance is an absolute must- it should be clear from litter and debris, built up dirt and dust is cleaned off, and any damage should be repaired before it gets worse. Some of these can be easy fixes that can be done during your weekly cleaning, while some, like power washing and repairs, may require the help of professionals. 

There is also the issue of edging. It creates a denitive section by clearly defining where the driveway ends and where the lawn begins. A properly edged driveway just looks more maintained, and, well, nicer.

 

Create the illusion of a border

If trimming your grass to edge the driveway doesn’t cut it for you, you can take things further by creating a border through adding brick pavers at the edge of the driveway, to line it from the street to the garage. 

This creates a nice visual effect that defines your driveway and lawn space better, and also serves as a welcome break from the seemingly endless slab of concrete that is your driveway. 

An arguably better alternative is to plant flowers and shrubs along the edge where the grass meets the driveway. It also works as a nice border, plus, it adds some much needed burst of color and greenery to an otherwise drab, gray driveway.

 

Install lighting

If you have a somewhat long driveway that isn’t quite illuminated by your front lights or the street lamps, then lighting is an absolute must. You wouldn’t want any untoward accidents happening because of a pitch black driveway, now, would you? 

Otherwise, they can still be installed for value adding purposes. Ample lighting helps set the mood and lights up your property in a pleasing and inviting manner. Believe it or not, the right lights can easily accentuate the good stuff.

There are many options to choose from when installing outdoor lighting for your driveway. You can even go with the solar powered ones to be more environmentally (and budget) friendly. You can try out floor lighting, street lamp style lighting fixtures, or even dome lighting. It’s all up to you! Just make sure that the lighting setup complements your property nicely.

 

Enhance the bare driveway

If you are looking for something to dress up your driveway without adding much frills to your property, you can simply enhance the existing driveway. This idea works best for plain concrete or asphalt driveways, but feel free to experiment!

For one thing, you can apply a concrete or asphalt sealer to keep the driveway looking fresh and new for longer. This may take a few days to complete the project, and may be best to hire a professional, but it’s well worth it.

Another idea is to stain, stamp, or paint your driveway. There is an endless selection of patterns, colors, and tints that you can use to spice up the look and appeal of your otherwise plain driveway. These methods work with concrete and brick, but feel free to ask your local contractors.

With the right design and care, your driveway can be transformed from being the least appealing part of your property into one of its main assets.

Common Landscaping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Landscaping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Who doesn’t love a great looking backyard? Maybe you’re a new homeowner eager to design the perfect landscape of your dreams, or maybe you are thinking, it’s time to revitalize your sad looking lawn.

Well, either way, don’t fall victim to these common landscaping mistakes. You may have the best intentions for your property, but if you don’t do things the right way, you’re really just doing yourself a disservice.

Take a look at the most common landscaping mistakes and how you can avoid them:

 

Planning

  • Not having a plan– this is perhaps the most dreadful mistake you can commit in the name of landscaping. Having a good and thorough plan accounts for pretty much everything else on this list, such as how much of everything you need and where to place them, when and where you should start your work, and how to make everything look seamless.
  • Not setting a budget– if you have a plan, then you have a rough idea of what you’ll need, and you can prepare accordingly. Taking up a landscaping project can be costly, and without a strict budget, you may either find yourself overspending on things you won’t be using, or having to stop in the middle and ending up with a half finished, hideous looking backyard.
  • Not hiring a landscaper– really, the best decision you can possibly make is to hire an expert landscape contractor (a landscape designer or architect, if you may) because they know all the right things on how to best make use of your space, and what works and what goes well together. They don’t only give you a nice looking backyard, but one that will keep looking nice for a long time.

 

Building

  • Not identifying erosion prone areas– one of the most important things that you need to consider for a functional and sustainable (not to mention safe) backyard, is knowing which areas are prone to erosion and runoff. From here, you can figure out what fixtures you need, such as retaining walls, what plants to go with that help prevent erosion, and how to deal with the inevitable runoff.
  • Not starting with the hardscapes– plants are easy to, well, plant, and to relocate. Hardscapes are not. The first thing you need to build before planting trees, shrubs, and flowers, are your driveway, pathway, deck, patio, pool, treehouse, and whatever else you want on your backyard. This is to ensure that they are in the right locations, and are adequately sized to actually be functional. Then, you can proceed with the rest of the landscape in a way that will nicely complement these fixtures. Even your fence affects how your backyard will look like.
  • Not installing an irrigation system– you can’t make the irrigation as an afterthought after planting everything- otherwise, you’ll have to dig everything up. Besides, different plants have different watering needs, and you need to account for those as well, if you want your plants to live a long, healthy life.

 

Planting

  • Planting the wrong plants– your backyard is only as sustainable as to whether you are planting the type of fauna that is suitable to your geography and climate, as well as your property’s soil condition and the wildlife in your area. There is also the issue of choosing between annuals and perennials, as well as taking into account the plant’s size at maturity, and the color palettes that you are aiming for.
  • Planting in the wrong spots– different plants have different sunlight and water needs, and that must be taken into consideration, lest you want them to wither and die. Moreover, plants, trees, and shrubs shouldn’t be too close to fixtures such as your house, pool, patio, and so on. Where you plant also affects whether your space can remain functional, as well as how you section and add privacy to your property.
  • Planting too much, or not enough– overcrowding and overdecoration can easily make your property look like a hot mess that resembles a secluded forest rather than a family friendly backyard, while not having enough greenery makes it look bare and unkempt.

 

Maintenance

  • Not accounting for maintenance and upkeep– your backyard will only keep looking good if you are willing to put in the effort to regularly maintain it. Otherwise, you are wasting your money on nothing. Only invest in a backyard that you will be able to keep in good condition. For example, a symmetrical layout means more effort in trimming to preserve the symmetry.
  • Too much cutting, trimming, and pruning– on the other hand, you may be over eager in maintaining your backyard, hence you cut the grass to a mere inch of its life, or you prune the trees and hedge the shrubs so much that it won’t grow back. Again, different plants have different needs, and if you want them to grow healthily, you must account for these needs.
  • Neglecting the front yard– finally, while your backyard may be your pride and joy, it is important to remember that your front lawn is the first thing that people see whenever they look at your property (aside from your home front, that is), which is why it is also deserving of great care and attention so that it always looks its best.

Having a lovely, beautiful yet functional backyard is the dream of any homeowner, and when you keep these things in mind, you can be well on your way to making that dream into a blissful reality.

Choosing The Right Soil for Your Landscape

Choosing The Right Soil for Your Landscape

Are you thinking about transforming your property by undertaking a big landscaping project? We bet the answer is yes- after all, who doesn’t want a lovely, intimate backyard that just looks like paradise, and an attractive lawn that gives you that much desired curb appeal?

If this sounds like you, don’t get carried away. Before you get absorbed in all the planning- from hiring landscapers, choosing plants, deciding on decorations, styles, and hardscapes- there is something you need to do first (aside from setting aside a working budget, that is).

This is important, because it serves as the groundwork and foundation of everything else that will go on in your landscaping project. Identifying and preparing it properly will set a good precedent for all the other steps that will follow.

We are talking about, well, the soil.

 

It’s important to know the right soil for you.

Soil is essentially just a combination of different weathered rock particles- namely, sand, silt, and clay. There are five different types of soil, one of which is what you will find on your backyard. Each of these soil types is a different composition of sand, silt, and clay, which determines its texture, moisture content and retention, among many other things.

Having said that, the composition and health of the soil that you have on your property further depends on various factors, such as the local climate and precipitation, and whether the soil has been fertilized.

It is therefore important for you to determine not only what type of soil you have, but also what condition that soil is in, so you can make the necessary preparations and adjustments in order for the soil to be suitable for planting, not to mention so you can knowledgeably pick which plants, trees, and shrubs would grow best on your soil.

 

The different types of soil:

 

Sandy

Sandy soil looks and feels more or less like beach sand, in that it has large, loose, and dry particles. Given those properties, sandy soil cannot retain water, as the water just passes through quickly in between the particles, making this soil type unsuitable for most plants. On the up side, this soil type works great for areas like garden paths, under the trees, and on driveways.

 

Silty

This soil type has smaller particles than sandy soil, which enables it to retain water. When moist or wet, silty soil feels slick to the touch and leaves dirt residue on your palm. Although this soil type is fertile, it cannot hold as much nutrients as many plants require. Moreover, silty soil can pose problems in terms of aeration and drainage.

 

Clay

This one holds the most moisture due to its small and compact particles which settle together, holding all the water and nutrients in place. This quality makes clay soil a suitable soil type for plants, save for the lack of air circulation. Clay’s poor drainage makes it ideal for plants, but bad for areas that get a lot of flooding. When wet, clay soil is cold and sticky, but warm, smooth, and hard when dry.

 

Peaty

Peaty soil can be thousands of years old, is usually found in cooler areas, and appears as dark brown or black. It retains water really well, and has a very rich concentration of organic matter and nutrients, making it really great for planting (once you reduce its moisture content). However, one downside is that peat soil is extremely tough to work with when dry, and can even be a potential fire hazard.

 

Saline

If you are living somewhere with a particularly dry climate, your soil may be brackish, crumbly, and appears to have a thin white layer on the surface. This is saline soil, which has a really high salt concentration, making it harmful for plants. Since the salt absorbs most of the soil’s moisture, it prevents proper plant growth and germination, and also causes irrigation and drainage issues.

 

The best and easiest way to test what type of soil you have is by doing a moisture and touch test- simply pour a bit of water onto the soil, then scoop up a handful of the wet soil onto your hand. When you roll the soil into a ball, you should be able to feel its texture, as well as how moist it is, and whether it stays together or crumbles onto your hand.

After that, the next step is to “fix” this soil type, by balancing the three particles (sand, silt, clay) in order to end up with loam, which is the best for plant growth, irrigation and drainage, air circulation, and many more.