How to Add Value to Your Home With Hardscapes

How to Add Value to Your Home With Hardscapes

Any landscaping project will not be complete without the addition of a few beautiful yet functional fixtures such as decks and patios. While grass, plants, flower beds, and trees certainly beautify a home and add a touch of nature to a field of concrete structures, hardscapes are what make your outdoor space more useful. 

In this article, we’ll talk about what hardscapes are, how to choose the right ones for your property, and how these can add value to your real estate.


What are hardscapes?

Essentially, hardscapes are the more permanent features of your outdoor areas, since these are commonly made with concrete, brick, stone, wood, and metal. These structures are not just decorative, but functional, too, and therefore a practical and worthy investment for any homeowner.

Hardscapes are a critical aspect of landscape design, which really dispels the notion that landscaping only has to do with plants and flower placements. These structures define and organize areas of your outdoors into usable sections, creating different zones for different purposes.

Some examples of hardscapes are patios, decks, pools, fountains, retaining walls, fences, arbors and gazebos, pathways and driveways, steps, and pergolas.


Choosing the right hardscapes

Any kind of hardscape element can be quite costly, time consuming, and labor intensive to build, which is why it’s best to carefully plan what structure you need most and would work best on your property, before diving into your landscaping project.

When deciding what hardscape to install on your property, take a few things into consideration:

  • How do you want to utilize and enhance your outdoor areas?
  • What is the climate and topography of your location?
  • How much budget can you allocate on the project?
  • How much time or money can you realistically spend on maintenance and upkeep?

 For example, there is no use for a driveway if you don’t own a car and garage, and a small backyard may not be able to fit a patio. While a fountain can definitely make your lawn look more stately, the constant running water and sheer amount of maintenance required can be off putting and make a heavy dent on your finances.

On the other hand, a sloping land and an area subject to harsh climates can benefit from a retaining wall, a nice outdoor fire pit can be a nice way to enjoy the evenings with family and friends, and some fences can give you added privacy.


How hardscapes add value to property

If you have a discerning eye, it can be quite easy to tell if a hardscape element is value adding, practical, and actually useful, rather than a waste of money to display lavishness and status. Given that, these things are what you should be looking for (as a buyer) or aiming towards (as a homeowner).

Outdoor lighting should not only set the mood and create an inviting atmosphere, but actually illuminate an area adequately so that it’s safe to stay outdoors in the evening

  • Driveways and walkways should not be bumpy and cluttered, but instead are wide enough and are well lit
  • Patios, decks, and other open outdoor areas should be big enough to accommodate a few individuals, and are best for locations that see a lot of sunlight and not as much rain
  • Outdoor fire pits and swimming pools are not practical in locations that see a lot of snow and long, cold winters when it’s too cold to stay outside
  • Ponds and fountains are not as suitable in warmer climates where it can be a breeding ground for insects, nor for high altitude locations which have low water pressure
  • Fences, if decorative, should look breathable rather than suffocating or imposing, or, if for privacy and safety, should actually do what it’s designed for
  • Retaining walls should not only be decorative, but be placed in strategic areas, such as sloping lands and erosion prone soils

Having said these things, there are many ways that hardscapes add value to your piece of real estate, and not just for a monetary return on investment if ever you want to sell your home. Hardscape elements enhance your curb appeal, make your outdoor areas more usable, and provides added safety and privacy.

A Guide on Planning Your Landscaping Project

A Guide on Planning Your Landscaping Project

The decision to transform your landscape, whether it’s a partial or total renovation, is both wonderful and scary. It’s easy to get carried away with the flurry of everything going on, but the only way to make sure that everything goes right is by planning everything carefully.

There are a dozen different things to consider, from taking care of the soil in your yard, to picking the right plants and where to put them, deciding on what hardscapes to build and with what materials, and many more.

While it might be easy to picture a dreamy landscape in your mind, turning that into a reality takes a lot of time, effort, and skill. And, with all the decisions you have to make along the way, it’s easy to lose track of things, go overboard, forget some details, or just feel overwhelmed.

In order to avoid that, here are some tips on how to properly plan your landscaping project, so that you get things done on time, within your budget, and just like how you pictured it.


Get to know your property

Some of the most important things you need to figure out before starting on your landscaping project have to do with the climate and topography of your property.

Observe the local climate and weather patterns, including sunlight and direction, wind flow and direction, rainfall and precipitation, and so on. Plus, you need to take note of the weather patterns in your area, as well as the microclimates in your own property. In terms of topography, land shape, slopes, drainage, and runoff have to be determined. Moreover, your soil type and composition should also be identified.

All these things will factor in how your landscape will look like, what structures you can build there, whether you need to do something about your soil, what kind of plants are suitable, and so on.


Plan according to purpose

Everything that goes into your landscape has to be aligned with whatever purpose you want to get out of it and who will be using it. For example, an outdoor pool is useless if you or your kids don’t enjoy swimming, but a vegetable garden can be beneficial for those who want to live more organically.

You can create different spaces and sections for different uses, such as a children’s play area, a nice corner for barbecuing, and many more. Of course, if there are small kids, everything must be child friendly and safe.

Planning a landscape with purpose in mind ensures that you are effectively using your outdoor space and getting the most out of it, rather than spending thousands of dollars on something that is purely decorative.


Get inspired with your themes

When it comes to the theme of your landscape, a.k.a. how it will look and feel like, whether it’s charmingly rustic, timeless and elegant, refreshingly mediterranean, or sleek and modern, the best thing to do is to match it with the rest of your property.

This way, you get a seamless, beautiful look rather than a patched up mess. Of course, you can incorporate different styles here and there, but certain elements should be consistent and stand out, so that everything still appears cohesive.

A good practice is to observe your neighborhood for some inspiration on what to do with your landscape. Take a look at how their front lawns and backyards look like, what structures are common, what plants are present in most homes, and other details that are easy to notice.


Set a budget and stick with it

Like we said, it’s easy to get carried away with all the fun and the stress of landscaping, but if you don’t set a budget and stick with it, you’ll either get carried away and spend way too much without getting the most bang for your buck, or you’ll find yourself having to stop in the middle because you’re suddenly short on funds.

Now, it might be hard to even figure out how much you should set aside for a landscape project, especially if you lack the know how on basic landscaping, or even how much a single potted plant costs.

The cost of how much your landscape will actually go depends on a lot of factors, such as how fancy and extensive you want to take things, how big your property is, and of course, whether you are doing everything yourself or hiring a contractor.

 Try to ask around your friendly neighbors so you have an idea of a ballpark figure, or better yet, call up a handful of landscaping contractors to get a free but detailed quotation on how much your project will cost.

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:



  • 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.



  • 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 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.



  • 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.