By Bill Edwards
Your home is one of your most valuable assets. You can increase its value by as much as 10 percent with a few landscaping upgrades. Here are six landscaping trends sure to increase the value of your home and make it the envy of your neighborhood.
- Go Native
Today’s homeowner wants an environmentally friendly and sustainable house. That’s why it’s important to surround your home with native plants, shrubs, and trees. Plants that grow naturally in New England include the eastern red columbine, marshmallow hibiscus, tulip trees, partridgeberry, and mountain laurel. Some native wildflowers such as purple-fringed orchids and pink lady slippers are in danger of disappearing. The natives need little maintenance or water and attract bees and hummingbirds to your yard.
You can also save water by choosing a grass type that is best suited for Rhode Island’s climate and your needs. Kentucky bluegrass will hold up to a lot of foot traffic but needs a lot of moisture. Fescues and Zoysiagrass don’t require much watering and have a high tolerance for salt.
- Think Privacy and Comfort
Outdoor seating in or beside the patio offers places to enjoy the air, read, and entertain friends. A tree or an umbrella stretching out from a table offers shade. Shrubs that serve as a living fence add privacy and makes the place even more inviting. A living fence consists of trees, shrubs, or plants. It’s a boundary between your property and your neighbors. It creates an enclosed space that provides shade, windbreak, and privacy. Keep in mind, those shrubs and hedges will need constant pruning. You can also use plants to cover a chain-link fence. Annual flowering vines, perennial flowering vines, evergreen vines will add color to your yard.
- Go With a Multipurpose Design
A multipurpose area of your property can also attract attention. For example, a trellis vegetable garden would make a corner more inviting. It offers an area of privacy and a source of food for your family. A manmade pond is another alternative. It provides habitat for wildlife as well as an extra focal point.
- Embrace New Technology
Today’s busy homeowner wants a smart home. Remote control features are a huge selling point. It’s a big plus to be able to answer your doorbell from your iPhone or to program your lights to turn on at dusk. Smart irrigation systems can conserve water by automatically turning off after a rainstorm.
- Build Hardscaping
Picture a stone walkway leading up to your house. It definitely draws attention. You can go a little simpler by creating borders around gardens made of bricks, stone, or concrete. Hardscapes are easier to maintain than large lawns and give you more room to enjoy your yard. Colored concrete or brick pathways, concrete planters, steel or iron fencing or decorative art, set your property apart from the rest of the neighborhood. A raised deck or patio can add a unique visual element as well as a place for entertainment.
- Spring for an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens and fire pits are some of the more costly landscaping trends, but they both add value to your home. The summers in Providence are perfect for enjoying dinner on the patio. Adding an outdoor kitchen can add square footage to your home by giving you more space to entertain and relax. It’s also a huge selling point. You can make it as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, spending anywhere from $500 to more than $10,000. Just make sure there’s counter space, and a barbecue grill or smoker to start. Homebuyers love amenities like a dishwasher, or a mini fridge to make cooking and eating outside more convenient. The return on this investment is huge since outdoor kitchens are trending right across the country right now. While you’re at it, add a pergola. This will allow you to use your kitchen and your patio on the hottest days. You can go a step further by stringing lights on top of the pergola, giving you more light in the evenings.
These six ideas are just a starting point; you can enhance them with your own personal touches. They’re sure to attract attention and give your property more value and curb appeal.
Bill Edwards is a landscaper and freelance writer who enjoys doing handyman project around the house. He and his children recently built a neighborhood gazebo next to the community pool.