When you think of home, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If you ask Miranda Lambert, it’s the handprints on the front steps and live oak in the yard, which she references in her hit song, “House That Built Me.” For Josh Gracin home wouldn’t be the same without a “Front Porch Kinda Love” and Tim McGraw finds home “Where the Green Grass Grows.”
See a pattern? Even country stars know the importance of the exterior of a house. Maybe that’s why it’s the outside upgrades that give you the best return on your remodeling dollars.
With that in mind, we came up with a few of our favorite landscaping trends that can help increase the value of your home.
Low Maintenance Landscaping
Landscaping that takes little work pays off big time. You’ll spend less time and money on a low maintenance landscape. When it’s time to sell, prospective home buyers may prefer a simple design that won’t need a lot of upkeep.
To create a low-maintenance yard, choose native plants accustomed to the climate and soil conditions in your area. This includes your lawn. Choose turf that will grow with minimal watering and fertilizing. Consider decreasing the size of your lawn and replacing it with native plants and mulch that don’t need much tending. Island beds or plant beds with curved lines add sophistication while reducing the amount of grass you’ll have to mow.
Another option is hardscaping. These wood, stone, brick, or concrete features can add to your outdoor living space while cutting down on lawn size. Decks, patios, outdoor kitchens/living rooms, and paved pathways fall into this category. They also give you more room to enjoy the next backyard barbecue.
Trees add beauty and cooling shade to your yard. Plant them correctly, and they can improve the energy efficiency of your home. Choose trees that grow well in your area, and take into account the size they’ll reach when fully grown.
Outdoor Living Space
Outdoor living spaces have been trending for a while now, and the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing. A finished patio adds another room to your home. Popular features include pergolas, firepits, and outdoor kitchens. If that’s not in your budget, refresh your current deck or patio. Stain your wood deck or add pops of color with potted plants or colorful cushions.
Privacy screens, living walls, and gazebos are popular ways to provide privacy and a sense of seclusion in your outdoor living space. Water features such as backyard fountains and waterfalls can muffle neighborhood noise and add a touch of Zen.
A fence can add privacy, security, and curb appeal. Fences also appeal to home buyers with kids and pets. Choose fencing that compliments the style of your home. Wood fences are still a popular choice, but newer designs using vinyl or metal can add an interesting touch.
Landscape lighting adds warmth, ambiance, and safety to your landscape design. It can also enhance your landscaping and the exterior of your home and extend the hours you can enjoy your outdoor space. Solar lights are an inexpensive option and easy to install. They’re especially appealing along driveways and walkways leading to your home.
When you’re deciding which landscaping improvements to make, keep your neighborhood in mind. If you’re the only one with a fancy outdoor kitchen, you may not get a good return on your investment. Likewise, if you’re the only home on the block without a deck or patio, it might be tough to sell your home. You should also choose the investment you and your family will enjoy the most. That value is far greater than the dollars you’ll recoup when it’s time to sell.
Vandana Kumar is a writer and landscape designer. In her backyard designs, she likes to incorporate outdoor kitchens — and makes a devastatingly good tandoori chicken in hers.