Contrary to popular belief, kitchens and bathrooms are not the best investment when it comes to home renovations; at best, you’ll only recoup about 60 percent of your costs, especially if you put in high-end upgrades. If you are looking for the best place around your home — the place that will help you earn back more than 100 percent of your costs — there is no better place to turn than your landscaping.
Even if your yard already looks okay, there is always a residential yard work available to make it better without spending a fortune. Here are some tips and tricks for improving your landscape — so you can improve your home’s value, too.
You might be watering and mowing on a schedule, but that doesn’t mean you are caring for your lawn in the ways it truly needs. Correct lawn care is complex and highly dependent on your grass type, your climate and your soil. For instance, if you have Zoysiagrass, live in a dry region and have alkaline, sandy soil, your lawn care regimen will be vastly different from someone who has tall fescue, lives in a humid area and has neutral, clay-filled soil.
To see the most improvement in your lawn, you should consult a lawn care professional to get a customized care schedule. However, there are some smaller changes you can make to your lawn care to help it grow thicker and greener. For one, you might consider using a lawn aerator to alleviate soil compaction that might be stifling your grass’s roots. You might also try administering fertilizer in late fall and late spring or overseeding sparse or bare patches of lawn.
Finally, you should use a lawn edger to clean up the borders of your grass. Few mowers can reach the corners and edges of a lawn, so these parts tend to become overgrown or scraggly. Finishing your mowing with a quick bit of edging simply helps your lawn look over-the-top, driving up the value of your landscape.
The number-one thing homebuyers look for in a landscape are tall, old trees. Old trees give charm and character to a property, and the natural shade they produce tends to be more calming and comforting than that provided by patio covers or umbrellas.
Unfortunately, if you don’t already have big trees in your landscape, it is going to take some time and work to get them there. You can buy relatively mature trees — those starting over 20 feet tall — but they tend to be expensive, difficult to transport and finnicky to care for. It’s more practical for most homeowners to invest in trees that are between eight and 10 feet tall, which have 1.5- to two-inch trunks. This is because younger trees are cheap and easy to find, they transition well to a new environment, and it is possible for you to plant them yourself.
However, you will need to wait between five and 10 years for these trees to look established in your landscape, during which time you will need to care for them. This includes picking up their litter, trimming them, watering them and more — but because a big old tree adds between $1,000 and $10,000 in value to your home, the effort is usually well worth it. You may also consider tree pruning to help your trees grow more beautifully, which primarily involves removing dead, diseased and loose branches that prevent the trees from flourishing.
In addition, there are times that the location of the tree is simply inconvenient to you. Whether your tree blocks a nice view or creates too much shade, a tree removal service can trim or remove the tree to your specifications.
Most plants don’t look their best year-round, which means if you focus on landscaping with warm-weather plants, your landscape will look dead and barren come fall and winter. This isn’t ideal because it means that your landscape is valueless for about half the year.
Because you can’t anticipate when you will sell your home, you should prepare your landscape to look good no matter the weather outside. You should invest in a variety of perennials, which flower at different times of year, and you should also have a few containers filled with annual blooms to provide extra color. Then, even in the middle of winter, your landscape will look lively and appealing.
The only trendy item on this list — but a major trend that cannot be ignored — is the need for outdoor living spaces. Spending time in the yard or garden is growing in popularity, so your yard should have some type of outdoor entertainment space, where you and guests can enjoy your lovely landscape with some food and drinks. Fortunately, hardscaping an outdoor living space isn’t terribly difficult or expensive, and it helps you reduce the amount of yardwork necessary for maintaining your landscape. You should try to include a covered portion, like a gazebo or a pergola, as well as a fire pit, which is another hot trend in backyard landscaping.
Your landscape is more important to your home’s value than you might expect, so if you know your landscape is lacking, you should invest some effort into improving it. Fortunately, with the addition of some features and new attention to others, you can achieve an attractive — and valuable — landscape around your home.