The splendor of your home begins with its landscaping, especially when it comes to increasing your property value. Adding trees, shrubbery, and hardscaping won’t break the bank if you're able to do most of the job yourself. Well-designed landscaping will also enhance your home's curb appeal and reduce your utility bills.
Trees, Shrubs, and Flowers
Trees protect your property from unseasonably cold winter temperatures and shelter the house from the hot summer sun. Well-placed trees may cut HVAC utility bills up to 25%. Plant native trees as a windbreak around the back and side yards. Layer evergreens like lemon-scented gum, western redbud, and carob in an arc-like circle. Place deciduous maples and oaks nearby to create cool, shady areas. Fill empty spots with shrubs. California aster, big berry manzanita, and monkey flower are a few brightly colored native plants that attract pollinating birds, bees, and butterflies. Even better? Native California flowers draw fireflies to your yard. Why spend money on outdoor lights when mother nature can provide the rare light show for you? Since we’re one of the few places with fireflies that light up at the same time, might as well take advantage of it.
“Low maintenance” landscaping is ideal, but there’s no such thing as “no maintenance” when it comes to lawn care. Along with weeding, watering, and fertilizing comes the mowing … that’s when it can be fun! Instead of straight back and forth cutting, spruce things up a bit with checkerboards, zigzags, diamonds, and squiggles. For a professional look, lawn striping blades and rollers are available at your local hardware store and online. One thing to note: Grass gets tamped down with every mow. Try changing directions each time for blades to spring back into shape.
With a tap of your cell phone, you can turn on outdoor lighting, barbecues, swimming pool heaters, robotic mowers, and water fountains. Today’s landscaping technologies include garden cameras, wireless speakers, and app-controlled LED lighting. Specially-designed lawn sprinkler systems turn the water on and off when soil is dry or wet. Artificial Intelligence and smart devices also monitor soil moisture, nutrition, and fertilizer needs.
Rain gardens control excess moisture, cut down on soil erosion, filter water contaminates, and create a wildlife habitat for fireflies and pollinating insects. Planting a rain garden is a simple DIY job, but before digging, be sure the yard has well-draining soil. The garden should be at least 10 feet away from the house.
Outdoor living is part of every homeowner's dream. While a new kitchen and bathroom give you a good return on your investment, expanding your living space into the yard with a new cozy gazebo or pergola, barbecue pit, walkways, outdoor kitchen, deck, or patio allows you to enjoy the upgrades while increasing the value of your home. Decorative fencing is a nice touch with glass blocks, wood, steel, iron, or bricks. Before digging that first post hole, determine the fencing restrictions for your neighborhood. Swimming pools are (almost?) a must in California. But when it comes time to sell the house, a pool’s value is based on the sales market -- not how much it cost to build. Still, would-be homebuyers in the Golden State are bound to consider properties with pools. Your family will enjoy it, too.
DIY is a money-saver -- if you know what you’re doing. There’s satisfaction when accomplishing a project and then enjoying the outcome. But some goals (with high material costs) are better left to professionals who are qualified, bonded, and insured. “Satisfaction guaranteed” isn’t just a consumer buzz phrase; it’s protection against a DIYer’s “oops” factor.
Written by Vivi Wong.