Improving your outdoor decorations and landscaping can and will add value to your home. Plus, it’s easier than you might think. Discover what is available and what you can use to turn your property into an oasis.
It’s a little-known fact that adding landscaping elements to your home can add 7 to 15 percent to its market value. For investors, landscaping projects alone return 100 to 200 percent of your investment when it comes time to sell. Money Magazine reports that a swimming pool returns only 20 to 50 percent of your money. Mature landscaping can lower energy costs, dampen noise and even help reduce air pollution.
Here are some simple landscaping concepts to consider when looking into improving your curb appeal:
Select Indigenous Plants
Select native rather than exotic plants for your landscaping projects to reduce maintenance and environmental demands. Indigenous grasses, trees, and even shrubs will grow well together (and at predictable sizes!). They do not need watering (except during establishment), nor do they require chemical fertilizers because they are already adapted to local conditions and insects. Native plants not only accent your home, they also attract colorful birds and butterflies.
Use Small Spaces Effectively
Container gardening can work miracles in small spaces, with the added benefit of being easy to move according to the plants’ needs. If you live in a condo or an apartment, bring life to your entryway, patio, or balcony with attractive hanging baskets and planters. Try to limit the different kinds of plants and materials you use in a small garden.
Create an Outdoor Space
Consider adding a deck or a patio for entertaining and relaxing. This addition can also be a great investment. According to the 2008 Cost vs. Value Report, installing a deck can provide an 81.8 percent return on investment. Select from a variety of different surfaces to fit any particular style or budget: concrete pavers, natural clay, wood, stones and brick.
If this is the first time you’ve lived in a desert climate, one great place to learn about the landscape is the Gardens at the Springs Preserve, an eight-acre botanical preserve that features a wide range of desert landscapes and demonstrates native and non-native desert plant life with interpretive stations and hands-on activities.
Make a Plan
Wandering the aisles of your local nursery can be fun, too. However, you should develop a game plan to stay both on task and on budget. Put your ideas on paper, with a landscape master plan that outlines where your new plants will go. Remember to allow space for young plants to mature and spread.
Two Yards Are Better Than One
Talk to your neighbor about a combined landscape upgrade. Many suppliers offer better prices on larger quantities of material. Your neighbor will thank you!
Water Smart Landscape
Enroll in this program to earn a rebate of $1 per square foot when you upgrade your grass to water-efficient landscaping. Please note, you must be pre-approved before you make any changes to your yard. Here are the steps to apply:
- Call (702) 258-SAVE before you begin.
- Participate in a required pre-conversion site review.
- Upgrade your landscape once you have approval.
- Call for a final inspection.
Prep work is critical to the life of your yard. Properly remove turf areas you don’t use, grading for proper drainage and the addition of substrates like mulch. Mulches such as rock or wood help retain soil moisture and shield plants from extreme cold or heat.
Beware of Irrigation Short Cuts
Assess your current irrigation system. Which areas need sprinklers? Which need drip irrigation? Be sure to consult a professional if you plan to convert an existing system, though. Ill-advised short cuts can take a toll on plants and cost you more in maintenance, parts, and water in the long run.
Buy Starter Plants
Those 5-gallon plants are pretty, but pricey. Choose 1-gallon containers instead. Fall is a perfect time to plant, and even small varieties will mature quickly. Colorful groundcovers like Lantana or Myoporum will spread easily, require little maintenance, and are water-efficient.