Personalizing your new home isn’t just deciding where to hang the pictures or how to organize the dining room. It’s also about the outdoors too, with a one-of-a-kind landscape design. Exterior landscaping gives you a chance to put your stamp on your new home’s outdoor appearance and give the neighbors a taste of your personal style.
But landscaping offers a lot more than self-expression. Investing in new landscape features like a revamped patio, well-planned lighting, and interesting and tasteful beds can add as much as 12% to your new home’s value. Not too shabby! Here are some good starting places for whipping your new landscape into shape.
Plan Your Space
No matter how eager you are to dive in and get your hands dirty, it pays to spend a little time planning first. Specifically, you should think about your lawn’s existing layout and how you’d like to use the space in the future. You’ll also need to consider your yard’s unique features: how much shade it receives, the soil type, and drainage levels. Maybe you want to pick native plants for your beds to save on maintenance or like the way certain ornamental grasses complement your home’s architectural features.
Are you looking to integrate a posh new patio or a sheltered pergola for outdoor entertaining? Or would you rather devote more room to lush foliage and bountiful beds? What about a water feature, pathway, or firepit? Answering these questions will help you determine what you need to kick off your landscaping projects.
DIY or Hire Out?
When it comes to landscaping, homeowners span the gamut from determined weekend warriors who basically live at the nearest hardware store to proud indoor types who wouldn’t know a trowel if it bit them on the nose. It all comes down to how you like to spend your time and money, of course, but professional service does come with certain perks. For one thing, professionals are happy to offer opinions on what you should do with your outdoor areas.
And certain improvements go a lot more smoothly with a professional on board, especially if you’re looking to build new structures or add water features or lighting. But choosing a landscaper can seem overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. Look for one that will provide you with mockups and design plans, rather than managing the whole design in their head. You may also want to find a firm that has an arborist or horticulturist on staff, particularly if you’re looking to install exotic plants and trees in your yard.
Set Up Your Sprinkler System
Unless you go with something unconventional like xeriscaping, you’re probably going to need a sprinkler system to keep your flora looking its best. Many new homes come with an irrigation system, so your first step should be to familiarize yourself with the controls and layout. Check that the sprinkler heads are actually working and that there is adequate spray coverage for plants that doesn’t involve excess watering of surfaces like concrete, siding or gravel.
Next, you’ll probably want to set a timer. This can get tricky. How frequently and how long you water depends on the weather in your area, the time of year, and the type of plants you have in your yard. Your local county or city government may also have water restrictions that govern this sort of thing. For this reason, it’s wise to have a pro visit to ensure that your timer is set up properly. But a good rule of thumb is that the timer should go off at least once a week.
However, you can reduce your watering commitment with careful planning. Spreading mulch over beds and around trees ensures that thirsty roots won’t dry out between waterings. Choosing native plants also helps, since these species are more likely to flourish in your yard’s conditions—without a ton of extra pampering.
And then a toast is in order! You’re ready to starting living your best life, in both the interior and exterior spaces of your brand new home!