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In our last post, we discussed ‘curb appeal’ and how to exploit it to your advantage as a homeowner. For this installment we’ll delve deeper into home landscaping, focusing on useful tips you can utilize throughout your home's life.
As you likely know, gardens can increase property value, IF they are well-maintained and complimentary to the home. In short, they must look good. One way to improve a garden’s appearance is by adding mulch to flower and shrub beds. Overall, this is usually quite an inexpensive option to achieve a more appealing, consistent look that contrasts well against the green of the lawn. There are several varieties available in most home and garden stores (cedar and pine bark are quite popular for their colours). It should go without saying that lawns must be kept mowed and any gardens must be weeded regularly, but adding mulch will help reduce the occurence of weeds and the effort required for removing them.
A home that has a plain lawn, with no landscaping, is not going to fetch as high a price as the exact same home nextdoor with colour and/or features accenting the lawn. This does not mean you should crowd it with exotic, high-maintenance plants, as tempting as that might be. Before planting at all, consider the climate of your location and research which plants are native to the relevant temperatures and seasons. Native plants will require far less care and are more likely to thrive. Try mixing a few of these species together to create unique and eye-catching colour patterns. Don’t forget to consider adding a few shrubs or trees to the property either.
The maintenance of exterior features like decks, patios, and terraces is also included in landscaping; if your home has none, but you have the space and resources to add one, consider doing so. It can do a great to deal to drive the look and value of the home up. If you’re already lucky enough to have such features, power wash them regularly and keep them looking neat. Inspect the structural integrity as well when doing so. Exposed to the elements, colours will inevitably fade over time - a fresh staining every now and then will keep them looking new.
Any fencing surrounding your property needs to be examined for loose or decaying panels. If you are unable to secure or reinstall them, you may need to rebuild these specific parts altogether. Wooden fences (especially picket) tend to add a great deal of value, but they must be secure and, like gardens, they must be well-maintained. If you have wooden fencing, consider staining it for a rejuvenated look. Always power wash as you would decks and terraces.
Don’t neglect these features if you have them. Re-sealing or repaving a severely cracked driveway is one more way to stay on top of your property. Pathways and walkways should also be maintained and tended to on a consistent basis. Ensure that no grass or weeds grow within cracks or past the edges of the lawn (edging should be a final touch after mowing).
This should not be an afterthought! Take the opportunity to give your mailbox some personality, it’s often the first thing visitors see as they approach from the street. If you have a curbside mailbox, try some simple landscaping touches like mulch, a stone garden, shrubs, or flowers at the base (many vines will happily climb the post). Older boxes will benefit from outright replacements and you have a multitude of options at hand for the design and size.
Water features like fountains can significantly beautify your property, especially when used in combination with flowers and shrubs. They don’t work well for all homes, but many will see their value increase if these features are added. Most are designed to pump water on a consistent basis and are quite easy to clean. You’ll need to regularly ensure that all irrigation systems (including sprinklers) are in good working order. Look for and repair any leaks, plugs, etc.. Very old hoses, pipes, and faucets should be replaced.