Don’t do it for the neighbors. Or the realtor. Do it to make coming home every day so much better — for you. Try these curb appeal tips from top gardeners.
What you want to plant and what can survive in your climate might not be the same. Before you look on Pinterest and gardening sites for inspiration from real homes, make sure you have a sense of what’s really possible for local rainfall levels and temperature highs and lows.
You can start by learning your planting zone, which tells you what kinds of permanent landscape plants — including shrubs, trees and flowers — can live in your area. It might lead you to trade some high-maintenance colorful flowers for low-maintenance perennials.
Either way, start asking yourself practical questions. How much maintenance are you up for? How much sunlight does your yard get? Not all plants tolerate direct sunlight, so you’ll have to landscape accordingly.
You don’t have to start from scratch with landscape design. Take a walk, and see what neighbors are planting, especially neighbors who get similar sunlight. Pros say those plants are likely to do well in front of your house, too.
Visit a local gardening center. Look for ideas on Pinterest using keywords that describe your climate, the architectural style of your home, and any special features you want like garden beds or a certain kind of walkway (like stone or brick).
When you find something you like, save as many examples as you can so you can hone in on what you really do (and don’t) want. It also makes it easier to show your landscape designer your favorite options.
Don’t get seeds, potted plants or other yard supplies until you’ve prepped your outdoor spaces. First, move anything that you no longer use, like old patio furniture.
Once you have a clear view of your yard, you can get a real sense of how much area you need to cover (which helps when you’re buying supplies or trying to take measurements for ground cover or flower beds). Clear plant debris and any weeds to the root before you lay down compost.
Landscaping costs can start low at a couple hundred dollars or so, but it can also get pricey. Still, experts say it’s key to maintaining your home value.
If you’re new to landscaping, a professional landscape designer can help with the layout for both front and backyard landscaping, which includes lighting design, water features and plant selection for your yard.
Next, a landscaping contractor will actually prep the area, get plants and materials, and install everything (including your water system).
Regular weeding and gardening services can keep invasive plants from drowning out your flowers or garden bed. (How often will depend on whether you have a small yard or a large lawn.)
For more on costs, see “How much does landscaping cost?”
Scrap your old design, get a new one, plant your garden and make sure it stays in shape all season long. These pros can help:
Tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll show you pros right for the job, with prices.